PowerPoint vs. Impress
eVAL testers said they use the PowerPoint presentation app less than any other Office application. However, a move to either PowerPoint 2003 or OpenOffice.org's Impress would require significant training because PowerPoint 2003 is the Office application that's changed the most since its 97/2000 incarnations and Impress is the OpenOffice.org application that differs most from Office in its design. Shaffer said of Impress: "Its icons and commands are not very similar to PowerPoint."
| Case file |
Company FN Manufacturing
Location Columbia, S.C.
Issue FN Manufacturing wants to upgrade its users from Microsoft's
Office 97 and 2000; although the company likes the features of Microsoft's
Office 2003, the suite's licensing costs and potential training
costs are barriers to entry; the company is also considering an
Solution Test OpenOffice.org's namesake suite and Microsofts
Office 2003 to determine the learning curve (and cost) for each
and assess whether the open-source office suite has the ability
to replace Microsoft's Office within the organization
Tools The OpenOffice.org project's OpenOffice.org 1.1.1; Microsoft's
Office 2003; IBM's ThinkPad T41
What's next Form a group that will assess the results from eWEEK's
office application suite eValuation; budget and plan for a new office
suite within the 2005 IT budget
Source: eWEEK reporting
FN Manufacturing produces its fair share of complex presentations, and it was with one such presentation that we experienced several compatibility problems between PowerPoint and Impress.
The FN Manufacturing presentation we were testing made heavy use of embedded Word and Excel objects, a result of the heavy collaboration among the groups that produced the document (a common scenario in many organizations). The upshot was that the small formatting snafus testers encountered in Writer and Calc tended to collect in the test presentation. FN Manufacturing would definitely have to rework this presentation-and likely others it has already produced-if it moved to OpenOffice.org.
What's more, Impress and PowerPoint handled transition animations differently, and certain Impress capabilities, such as three-dimensional text in presentations, did not carry across to PowerPoint.
However, Philippe Nemery, an IT manager at FNs parent company in Belgium, said he's used Impress for some time now and has come to prefer the way that the application is organized.
Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.