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Revision as of 15:16, 14 August 2006

N.B. This page compares NeoOffice 2.0 (currently the Aqua Beta release) to 2.0.3 and Microsoft Office 2004. To see the version of this page comparing NeoOffice 1.2.2 with then-current versions of (X11) and Microsoft Office 2004, see NeoOffice 1.2 Feature Comparison.

The advantages of NeoOffice over other office suites, particularly Microsoft's, are legion. Most importantly, NeoOffice is free and open source software relieving you of costly licensing fees.

There is a strong community support forum that is also frequented by the developers at


NeoOffice vs. Microsoft Office

Apart from these benefits, NeoOffice 2.0 has features that outshine Microsoft Office:

FeatureNeoOfficeMS Office 2004 for Mac
Price (standard edition)$0.00$399.95
Runs on Intel-based MacsNativelyUsing Rosetta
Document contents searchable by SpotlightYESYES
Type ahead functionality (optional) like many mobile phones haveYESNo
A logical, safe and suite-wide system for templates, so these are never accidentally updatedYESNo
Clean HTML code export (compliant with international web standards)YESNo
Support for international standard ISO 26300 OpenDocument file formatsYESNo
Support for voice-dictation and similar softwareYESYES(?)
Unified User Interface, reducing learning time and costsYESNo
Localized user interface (number of languages)54*7*
International spelling checkers and localized help61**12**
Support for text entry in non-Roman scripts including South Asian, East Asian, right-to-left and complex text layout scriptsYESSome [1]
Supported scripts or languages:
Chinese (Simplified)YESYES
Chinese (Traditional)YESYES
Devanagari & Gujarati (Indic languages)YESNo
Roman (Western and Eastern European languages)YESYES
Roman (Hawaiian, Northern Sami)YESYES
Roman (Vietnamese)YESNo
Writer (word processor):
A logical style system that does not invent styles based on your layout choicesYESNo
Functional bullet/list numberingYESNo
The ability to import WordPerfect documents (thanks to the libwpd project)YESNo
Calc (spreadsheet):
More conditional layout options for cellsYESNo
Style-enabled layout system for text and cellsYESNo
Impress (presentation):
The ability to export to Flash animationYESNo
Superior (3D) font art possibilities.YESNo
* NeoOffice 2.0 only ships with a UI for English; UIs for the other 53 languages are freely available in language packs. Office 2004 is available in English (all versions of Office 2004), and in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish (for some versions of Office 2004; must be ordered separately) [2].
** NeoOffice includes help files in the language packs for many languages, and an ever-growing number of writing (proofing) tools for many languages are available from the project [3], [4], [5], [6] using the Dictionary wizard (in the File menu, choose Wizards, then "Install new dictionaries..."). Microsoft Office 2004 ships with proofing tools for English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, German, Danish, Swedish, Portuguese, Finnish, and Dutch [7].
*** Because includes support for languages and scripts which do not have keyboard layouts in Mac OS X, and because Mac OS X includes system-level Unicode support for many of these languages even though Apple does not ship fonts or keyboards, it is very likely that NeoOffice will support text entry (and perhaps sorting) in the language/script if one installs third-party Unicode fonts and keyboard layouts. See Tom Gewecke's Your Multilingual Mac for more resources. For instance, there is a report that NeoOffice handles Khmer very well, and there has even been a report of using NeoOffice with characters in Unicode Planes 1 and 2.

NeoOffice vs. for Macintosh (X11)

NeoOffice is far more integrated with OS X than the Mac releases of Rather than relying on X11, NeoOffice uses Java and Cocoa to bridge the gap between the interface code and Apple's OS X. for Mac (X11)
Uses your normal Mac fonts (no conversion required)YESNo
Smooth font display (Quartz anti-aliasing)YESNo
Allows international keyboards and input methodsYESPartial
Switches keyboards and input methods along with your MacYESNo
Optimized PDF generationYESNo
Native Aqua menusYESNo
Native Aqua open & save dialoguesYESNo
Native Mac OS X printingYESNo
Native (styled) copy and paste supportYESNo
Drag-and-drop between other applicationsYESNo
Normal Mac keyboard shortcuts (command key)YESYES*
Mouse wheel scrollingYES???
Integrated with Finder and major mail clientsYESPartial**
Spotlight supportBuilt-inDownload required***
Usable with accessibility tools such as iListen, Proloquo, ViaVoice, and othersYESNo codebase (version)****
Runs on Mac OS X 10.3.x and 10.4.xYESYES
Runs on Intel-based MacsNativelyNatively****
* Available only with certain settings in Apple X11, and the control key may not work as expected.
** Finder integration provided by a small AppleScript wrapper; more extensive Finder integration is available using the separate Start application.
*** NeoOffice includes the NeoLight Spotlight Importer; users of must download and install the importer themselves.
**** The official Mac OS X version of is available as separate binary downloads for several languages; builds of 2.0.3 are available in English, French and German for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. PowerPC builds run on Mac OS X 10.3.x and 10.4.x, and Intel builds run on Mac OS X 10.4.x. Builds for other languages may or may not be available.

Still To Do

In all fairness, NeoOffice is not perfect. No software is. Along with relatively large RAM requirements (minimum 384 MB, 512 MB or more recommended), there is always room for improvement. NeoOffice can (and will) get better. Take a look at the following comparison:

Feature NeoOffice MS Office 2004 for Mac for Mac (X11)
Bitmap printing at >300 dpi No Yes Yes
Media (plugin) support No Yes No
Non-Mac keyboard shortcuts Some Some Some
Table drawing options Good Very good Good
Aqua look-and-feel Partial Full None

Other Comparisons

Additional feature comparisons between selected office suites and word processors are available at Mellel: Competitive Comparison (; compares Mellel with Microsoft™ Office, 1.1.x, and Nisus Writer Express, but not NeoOffice®) and Word-Alternativen: Der Test (; compares AbiWord 2.2.x, Mellel 2.0.x, NeoOffice® 1.2.2, Nisus Writer Express 2.7, and Apple's Pages 2.0.x [de]).

Supported File Formats

NeoOffice can read and write a large variety of file formats, both current and legacy. Current and recent Microsoft Office file formats are just some of the import and export possibilities; for a more complete listing, see the NeoOffice File Formats matrix.

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