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Keywords: Office suite,, open source

Title: All in One

Author: Greg Perry

Publisher: SAMS

ISBN: 0672326183

Media: Book and CD

Level: Introductory

Verdict: A well-illustrated introduction for the non-technical reader

Among the supporting factors for the dominance of Microsoft Office is the easy availability of high quality supporting documentation - third-party books, courses and websites - aimed at end-users. Similarly so for documentation aimed at developers - the material from Microsoft is supported by dozens of books and online material on VBA and Office integration. It's good therefore that we are starting to see the first signs that OpenOffice is beginning to generate the same sort of support infrastructure.

' All in One', by Greg Perry, aims to be a one-stop shop for users new to the premier open source office suite. The book comes with an installation CD so that new users can install (on Windows, Linux or OS X) and get going immediately.

The book is pitched firmly at the newbie and it aims to introduce each of the four main components of OOo - Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw. No prior experience of OOo or MS Office is assumed, so the book starts with the absolute basics. A task-oriented structure is used throughout, with step by step instructions and plenty of screen-shots included to make things as clear as possible.

Because the book is so firmly pitched at the introductory level many experienced users may get frustrated that the book moves so slowly. But if the aim is to get new users, (particularly those who are not especially tech-savvy), started quickly then the book succeeds. Unfortunately this does mean that some of the more advanced features, such as macros and programming, barely get a mention.

In addition to the core text, there's a useful index, a glossary of useful terms and a contents at a glance spread which lists all of the tasks tackled in the text. This additional information makes it easy to home in on key tasks, adding to the usefulness of the book.

To conclude, this is a good resource for the new users wanting to get up to speed fast. It's not a book for power users or programmers however.

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Contents © TechBookReport 2004. Published 27 September 2004