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>NeoOffice 2.2.3 patch 5 available

>NeoOffice 2.2.3 patch 5 has been released. Nothing exciting, just some bug fixes:

  1. Opening Office 2003 XML files produced a General I/O error
  2. Poor selection of Polish and Cyrillic replacement fonts
  3. Landscape documents could be cropped when printing

Download from the patch download page. For more information, see the NeoOffice 2.2.3 release notes.

NeoOffice is an that nicely integrates with Mac OS X, unlike the regular 2 for Mac OS X, which requires X11 to function.


>NeoOffice integration with Mac OS X improves


Even though a beta of 3, with a native Aqua version, has been made available, NeoOffice is still standing strong as a stable cousin that provides slick Mac OS X integration. Standing isn’t the right word, though, because it’s constantly improving.

Since 2.2.3 Patch 3, NeoOffice now improves on the Mac OS X integration by adding these features:

Previously, NeoOffice 2.2.3 Patch 2 added horizontal scrollwheel support.


>OpenOffice 3.0 beta available


The 3.0 beta is now available from One of the most compelling changes is Mac OS X support. Localized builds are also available, but not directly linked from that page. Instead, check out one of the mirrors.

Currently, most Mac users prefer NeoOffice over OpenOffice 3. OpenOffice 2 does not work under Aqua (only under X11) and NeoOffice has a history of stable OpenOffice-functionality for the Aqua/Mac OS X platform. This may change once OpenOffice 3 becomes (more) stable.


>CSV reading from Java

>If you need to process CSV files, for example as a result of an export from Excel or Calc, then try CsvReader, an LGPL Java-library. It works remarkably simple:

CsvReader reader = new CsvReader("input.csv");

// Read all headers (the first line)

// Read all remaining lines
while (reader.readRecord()) {
String productID = reader.get("ProductID");
// etc.


I’m using CsvReader 2.0, released in December 2006.

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Posted by on 19 July 2007 in calc, csv, csvreader, excel, export, import, java, oo,


>NeoOffice 2.1

>I’ve covered NeoOffice 2.0 before. Recently I switched to 2.1 on one of my machines. Due to some issues with 2.1, I decided to stick with 2.0 for a while.

Overall, NeoOffice 2.1 looks and feels more professional than 2.0. However, the integration with the Mac OS X operating system still leaves a lot of room for improvement, IMHO.

Here is a list of candidates for improvement (some of which were previously reported on 2.0 as well):

  • overall the look-‘n-feel is not very Mac OS X-like, although this has improved since 2.0, e.g. default buttons are not completely blue and the toolbars look different from standard applications;
  • after confirming the Print dialog (Cmd-P) another dialog is shown, asking for advanced settings; these advanced settings should be integrated in the standard print dialog;
  • there is a Printer Settings dialog, but it doesn’t do anything;
  • when a file is modified, the red close icon in the window title bar does not change to include a dot;
  • when using Exposé, the dialog windows are considered windows in their own right;
  • the list of recent documents is not in the NeoOffice program menu, but in the File menu; so it’s impossible to open a recently opened file without having any other file open;
  • it doesn’t use standard dialogs, such as the Font dialog;
  • it does not use the standard dictionary and hyphenation support offered by Mac OS X;
  • Cmd-RightArrow goes to the next word instead of the end of the line; Alt-RightArrow does not go to the next word – same for combinations with LeftArrow;
  • Save As is not under Shift-Cmd-S, as in other applications;
  • the File menu does not indicate that Close has the keyboard shortcut Cmd-W;
  • there is no Alt-Shift-Cmd-V keyboard shortcut to paste and adjust the style, like in other applications;
  • sometimes, when selecting text with the keyboard and scrolling, the display looks distorted (I’ve seen this on all earlier versions, on all platforms);
  • when changing the style on some existing text, the style setting Keep with next paragraph does not immediately take effect; work-around is to modify the style and press OK immediately;
  • sometimes pressing Shift-Enter inserts 2 newline-characters instead of one, this seems new since NeoOffice 2.1.

>Open-source iWork

>The Mac OS X application suite iWork consists of two programs: Pages and Keynote.

Pages is a simple word processing application that has good looks and is easy to work with, but comes nowhere near Writer or Microsoft Word in terms of features.

Keynote is great presentation software. In my opinion it beats both Impress and Microsoft Powerpoint, hands tied to the back. The shows you can create with it are really impressive and in fact make a good showcase for Mac OS X’s graphics capabilities.

However, Pages has quite a few bugs and lacks important features needed for writing larger documents (e.g. cross-references). There are improvements planned for iWork ’07, but I doubt it will bring Pages to the feature level I would require for day-to-day text processing.

Both products have limited export features, with various bugs, and lacking OpenDocument support, for example.

Considering the low price of iWork, it seems the application suite is more a showcase for Mac OS X features than a real competitor to Microsoft Office and

However, this may change, if Apple decides to open-source iWork. This may boost the development of iWork, allowing the community to fix bugs and add new features. Like MySQL, Apple could decide to ask money for support. Or they could even choose a license that is free for personal use and non-profit organisations but costs money for commercial organisations. There’s all sorts of options.

Apple has experience with the open-source community, since they adapted Konqueror to become WebKit, the engine for their Safari browser. But then again, perhaps this is the reason they won’t consider it…


>HP Business Inket 2800dtn woes (updated)

>I purchased an HP Business Inkjet 2800dtn, expecting to receive a high-quality, Mac-compatible colour printer. Although the printer looks good from the outside, I have quite some issues with it:

  • can’t get any A3 prints out using Adobe Acrobat 8.0 Professional; all output is clipped at A4-size;
  • when I select which tray to use in any Mac OS-standard print dialog, all output is mirrored and flipped upside-down (?!);
  • when printing A4 using Acrobat 8, there are margins of about 3 mm on both the left and the right side;
  • all output from NeoOffice (2.0 Aqua Beta 3 Patch 15) is printed in light-gray.

I tried using different drivers, but there only seems to be the Foomatic driver, which is included in Mac OS X 10.4, it’s on the HP installation CD and it’s the current printer driver according to… The HPIJS printer driver doesn’t work at all.

Update (April 10, 2007): The trick is to use the network interface only, not the USB interface. Then the Foomatic PostScript drivers work like a charm.

Update (July 2, 2007): The issue with Acrobat was my fault. I did not realize I have to set the paper size manually each time I start Acrobat, using Shift-Cmd-P.