Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

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Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby AndrewZ » Sat Dec 01, 2007 3:48 am

OpenOffice.org releases a new version every three months, and every other version has new features. OpenOffice.org version 2.4 is due March 2007. Unlike version 2.3.1 (due December 4), version 2.4 will contain new features. The 2.x.1 releases are bug fixes only.

Here is a nice description of framework features in OpenOffice.org version 2.4.0. Impress will gain a presenter view. List of all features and enhancements targeted for OOo 2.4. Here is a short subset of that list is issues with 3+ votes and a short list of new features.

Did you know you too can add up to 2 votes per issue after you register for an account in the Issue Tracker?

OpenOffice.org version 3.0 is due September 2008 and will include many cool new features (short list, long list). As they get closer to the release, these links should become better defined.

In the meantime, you may wish to test OpenOffice.org 2.3.1 release candidate 1 before its final release December 4.
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby acknak » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:11 am

In looking over the latest snapshot release, I was impressed at how many new features for 2.4 will affect FAQ's and topics on the forums. The new features for 2.4 have all appeared in the current snapshot release, and we can actually begin to test them, play with them and even use them--just remember not to trust your important work to an untested software release!

Here are the changes that popped out at me (roughly in order of how often the topic comes up here):
  • No more "Automatic file name extension" on the file dialogs
  • Maybe this will be the end of all the problems when this option is accidentally turned off.
  • Ctrl-click behavior for hyperlinks is now configurable
  • If you really hate this, you can turn it off: Tools > Options > OO.org > Security > Security options and warnings > Ctrl+click required to follow hyperlinks
  • Relative links now available in PDF export.
  • Much better support for links in exported PDF documents.
  • Equations for regression curves
  • You can now have Chart include the equation of the regression line.
  • Better language control
  • The document language is shown on the Writer status line, and a pop-up menu there allows changing of the document language or the current paragraph's language. There are also standard menu items. No more Tools > Options ... hassles for changing the document language.
  • Back references in Find & Replace
  • E.g. to reformat dates from "12/13/07" to "2007-12-13", you can search for ([01][0-9])/([0-3][0-9])/(0[0-9]) and replace with 20$3-$1-$2
  • Reversed scales for Charts
  • You can now plot data such as depth, which grows upward on a normal Cartesian scale, in the more accepted and understandable reversed direction: growing down. Several other enhancements to the scaling options available in Chart have been made, including manual ranges for logarithmic axes, as needed for professional presentation.
  • Insert picture background for Impress slides
  • This was really hard to do, but now it's a simple context-menu item. Very slick. Plays well with master slides too.
  • Direct control over printing of hidden text
  • This is now an option on the File > Print dialog, so you can easily choose to print hidden text or not.
  • PDF/A export
  • This is the ISO-standard PDF format designed for long-term archiving of electronic documents.
  • Extensions are automatically checked for updates
  • Block selection
  • Select a rectangular block of text, e.g. a column, in Writer.
Calc features (copied from post below):
  • Rearrange columns by drag & drop.
  • I don't see how anyone will ever find it, but it's there now[1].
  • Text to columns
  • Data > Text to Columns will bring up the "Text import" dialog on the selected cells.
  • Formula entry can begin with a '+'
  • This will allow for formula input starting from the number pad.
  • Data entry: Enter key returns to starting column.
  • Use Tab to advance columns, then Enter will move down to the next row, but also to the starting column.
Wow. Some really important stuff coming along. There are lots of other (lower-profile) improvements as well, which you can read about in the release notes, and in the links Andrew posted above.

[1] Select a column, click on the highlighted cells (not the heading!) and drag. Dropping now will replace the column under the mouse cursor; pressing Alt when you drop will insert the column being moved. As I understand it, there are some further visual cues to be implemented.
Last edited by acknak on Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Added item for Chart scaling; Copied Calc features
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby AndrewZ » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:39 am

Acknak, thanks for the nice summary. It's an easier read than the release notes or the issue tracker. :)

The first public development snapshot in the 2.4.0 series is SRC680_m239. (I have not completely learned how to decipher these codes. I think SRC680_ indicates a development snapshot, and then O## indicates a release candidate or final release. )

They always use the same link for all development snapshot downloads:
http://download.openoffice.org/680/index.html

The m239 release notes contains a list of new features.
http://development.openoffice.org/relea ... pshot.html

The SRC680_m239 announcement
http://blogs.sun.com/GullFOSS/entry/new ... ce_org_2_4

Several entries in the release notes stand out to me
* QuickTime support: Too bad there still is no GStreamer support for Unix-type systems because the JMF is so limited and awkward to install.
* Updates for extensions: I see OpenOffice.org's extension system progressively becoming like Firefox's nice system. That's great and helps OOo compete against Microsoft Office's momentum as a platform.
* npower8: This improves Microsoft Visual Basic compatibility. Actually, I forgot 2.3.0 included the initial compatibility.
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby huw » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:17 am

Thank you for the translation!

Mmmm... backreferences.
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby acknak » Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:53 pm

I forgot a couple of others that appeared in previous snapshots (these are all Calc features):

  • Rearrange columns by drag & drop.
  • I don't see how anyone will ever find it, but it's there now[1].
  • Text to columns
  • Data > Text to Columns will bring up the "Text import" dialog on the selected cells.
  • Formula entry can begin with a '+'
  • This will allow for formula input starting from the number pad.
  • Data entry: Enter key returns to starting column.
  • Use Tab to advance columns, then Enter will move down to the next row, but also to the starting column.

There may be others that I've missed. There's a lot of good release documentation (thaks for the links Andrew!), but it's a real chore to make any sense out of it.

[1] Select a column, click on the highlighted cells (not the heading!) and drag. Dropping now will replace the column under the mouse cursor; pressing Alt when you drop will insert the column being moved. As I understand it, there are some further visual cues to be implemented.
Last edited by acknak on Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Add "Text to Columns"
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby Cambirder » Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:26 pm

Plus the one I've been waiting for eons.

Reversible X & Y axes in chart :mrgreen:
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby acknak » Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:27 pm

Ok, I missed that one. Should I add it in the list? I was trying to stick to the new features that pop up regularly, and I have to say that I haven't seen that one. But I'm not following charting so much, or programming. If anyone sees an important new feature that you think should be on the list, just ask--I'll add them in. My purpose was primarily to inform regular posters, so when the topic comes up again, they can let people know that the feature is coming very soon. If we list every new feature then we have the same information overload problem that the regular release notes have.

Anyway, just say you think it fits (and where), and I'll add it to the list.
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby Cambirder » Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:04 pm

I've seen the reversible axes question come up a few times in the past, and it was certainly a requirement on my last Open University science module, for plotting such things as temperature against ocean depth.

So I think on the whole a reasonable number of users would find it useful, so yes please add it to the list.
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby AndrewZ » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:24 pm

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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby acknak » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:38 am

Ok, Chart feature added to the main list. Thanks--those do sound like important enhancements.

And thanks for the link Andrew: nice articles!
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby AndrewZ » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:45 pm

acknak wrote:Block selection Select a rectangular block of text, e.g. a column, in Writer.


I wrote about this one too:
http://openofficeorgfoo.blogspot.com/20 ... ature.html

I didn't realize what a FAQ this was until after I wrote about it and I searched OOoForum.org .
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby AndrewZ » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:58 am

acknak wrote:Back references in Find & Replace[/*] E.g. to reformat dates from "12/13/07" to "2007-12-13", you can search for ([01][0-9])/([0-3][0-9])/(0[0-9]) and replace with 20$3-$1-$2


I wrote backreferences in detail with step-by-step directions and more examples. It's a very nice, powerful feature for converting text.
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Re: Some new features coming in OOo 2.4.0

Postby cornouws » Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:34 pm

Hi all,
In the OOo marketing project we are preparing information about the 2.4.0 release. That is: information for 'normal users' of the program. We thougth that some of you might want to help .... Therefore some explanation.

- We want to prepare something like there was for 2.3.0
(http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/New_Features_2.3) or even better.
- Because more people want to help, we have a wiki with some tips and such, to make that easier:
http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wik ... o_add_Info.
- Also explained there how to join :)

Hope to see you!
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