Compatibility with Office
."> A number of new features in StarOffice 8 relate to better compatibility with Microsoft Office-formatted documents. StarOffice can now open password-protected Word and Excel documents. In previous versions, StarOffices Writer and Calc applications wouldnt open these documents at all, a pretty big collaboration roadblock. However, Word 2003s document protection feature--which can prevent certain changes within a document, such as style changes in specified blocks of text--doesnt work in StarOffice 8. In our tests, Writer simply ignored the restrictions, as do earlier versions of Word.StarOffices Writer now matches Words support for nested tables--in earlier StarOffice versions, Writer wouldnt render tables situated within other tables at all.While StarOffice 8 generally does a good job of creating and consuming Office-formatted documents, we encountered small inconsistencies during our testing that required tweaks to preserve the appearance of the documents we imported. For instance, in one of the Word documents with which we tested, some of the numbers in a numbered list of elements rendered with mismatched fonts when we opened it in StarOffices Writer. This may not seem like a big deal, but this sort of inconsistency can be maddening to track down and eliminate for collaborators using a mixture of StarOffice and Microsoft Office programs. StarOffice users who need to ensure that their documents render appropriately for those who dont use StarOffice or OpenOffice.org can take advantage of the suites PDF export feature, which has been improved in StarOffice 8 to preserve document hyperlinks, tables of contents and notes in the PDFs it creates. Next Page: Database update.