OpenOffice is great software that gives you almost everything that Microsoft Office has to offer, but at a much more affordable price – completely free!
Unfortunately, OpenOffice lacks many of the more advanced features found in Microsoft Office. Things like grammar and spelling checker, clipart or templates are not included in the basic installation. However, you can install useful extensions that add all these features.
Below are 9 of the most useful OpenOffice extensions that you can install right now.
Install OpenOffice Plugins
Before you can use any of the extensions listed in this article, you need to know how to install the new extensions into a base OpenOffice installation.
With any OpenOffice application open, use the following procedure to add a new extension.
- Click Tools, then click Extension Manager.
- Click the Add button.
- Find the extension file and click Open.
- Walk through the wizard to install and enable the extension.
Be aware that Java must be installed on your system to add new extensions. You can connect OpenOffice to Java by doing the following:
- Click Tools, then click Options.
- From the menu, choose Java.
- Make sure that you are using Java Runtime Enabled.
- Click Add and navigate to the Java folder in the Program Files (x86) directory
If you do not have a Java directory, you may need to install Java on your computer.
1. A mechanical image
This simple image editor not only lets you import images into documents, but also lets you edit images in a variety of ways.
Some of the features included in Image Mechanic include:
- Resize or rotate images.
- Add effects such as adjusting contrast and brightness.
- Adjust the color balance of an image
- Apply simple image filters.
- Create a quick bar chart.
- Add text to the image.
The extension does not have the advanced image editing features you would expect from a standalone image editor. But it has enough features to quickly and easily edit images before adding the image to your document.
2. LanguageTool grammar and spelling
If you’ve used Microsoft Word, you know that the grammar and spelling checker has improved significantly over the years. OpenOffice, on the other hand, lagged behind.
The LanguageTool extension provides advanced grammar and spell checking capabilities when using OpenOffice.
You can check or double-check the text for spelling and grammar at any time, as well as enable active checking at any time by clicking on / off in LanguageTool
3. Professional template package
Once this OpenOffice extension is installed, you can find it by clicking File> New> Templates and Documents.
The Professional Template Pack gives you access to a large library of templates that you can use for anything from presentations and business documents to budgets and even posters.
There are over 120 high quality professional templates available. Using these templates will save you a lot of time rather than starting from scratch.
These templates are available for OpenOffice Writer, but some are also available for OpenOffice Calc and Impress.
After installing this extension, you will find templates in the menu “File” – “New” – “Templates and Documents”.
Download Professional Template Pack
4. Oxygen Office Extra exhibition
If you love using graphics in your documents or presentations, OxygenOffice is a must-have extension.
By installing the OxygenOffice extension, you will discover a huge gallery of images and pictures that you can use in any of your documents. The extension also comes with an impressive variety of templates that you can use to save a lot of time when creating presentations, resumes, professional letters, and even to-do lists or budgets.
The extension is actually a merger of two large Office projects – it brings some of the best OxygenOffice elements to your OpenOffice installation.
5. Writer tools
If you’re a writer, the Writer Tools extension is something you can’t do without. It includes pretty much every tool you could ever ask for as a writer or editor.
Some of the most impressive tools in this extension are:
- Search Tool: Find a highlighted word using online dictionaries or Wikipedia.
- Start / Start Timer: Start or stop recording timer to track your email sessions.
- Text Markup: Use this markup tool for quick editing.
- Google Translate: Do you work a lot with different languages? This extension integrates Google Translate into Writer.
- Tasks: Track your work written inside your writing tool, not elsewhere.
- FTP or Amazon S3 Backup: Save your work in the cloud, not on your computer where you might lose it.
Having good writing tools on hand can save you time and effort when creating literary art.
Download Writing Tools
6. Import PDF
OpenOffice does not offer the best PDF utilities by default. However, with PDF Import for Apache OpenOffice, OpenOffice is enhanced with many important PDF features.
This allows OpenOffice to create combined PDF and ODF files with the PDF extension. This allows the file to be opened in any PDF viewer or editor, but it can also be opened in OpenOffice without losing formatting.
You can create this PDF by clicking File and Export as PDF.
You will see a PDF Options window where you can configure all the characteristics of the exported PDF file.
7. Easy storage OpenOffice MultiCloud File Manager
If you’re worried about losing files due to hard drive or computer failure, expanding your Storage Made Easy cloud storage is critical.
You will need to register for a StorageMadeEasy.com cloud service account (not free), but once you do, it becomes the gateway to save your OpenOffice files to just about any cloud storage account you can imagine. You can save these files to the cloud from Writer, Impress, Draw, Calc, Base, and Math.
Storage Made Easy supports multiple cloud storage services including:
- Amazon S3
- Email over IMAP or POP3
- FTP to any FTP server
- Google Drive
- Office 365
- Much more
Storing your OpenOffice files in the cloud is the easiest way to make sure you never lose your work. The Storage Made Easy extension is the easiest way to do this.
8. Read the text
This is probably the coolest OpenOffice extension of them all. Read Aloud is an extension that allows you to highlight any text in a Writer document and read it aloud.
By default, the extension will use Windows built-in synthesized voice, but you can also use any external voice application you may have installed.
To use the extension, simply select the text you want to read, then click Tools, Add-ons, and then Read Selection. You can also copy the text and choose Read Clipboard instead.
Reading text aloud is a great way to spot grammatical problems that you might not notice with normal text editing.
Download reading text
9. Basic Comment Assistant
Microsoft Word offers a very useful ability to add comments throughout the document by highlighting lines and inserting a comment.
You can get the same functionality in OpenOffice by installing the Basic Comment Helper extension.
After installation, you can select any text, click “Insert” and then “Comment”. Enter your comment in the yellow margins.
This is a great extension for editors or anyone who needs to provide feedback in the margin of the document’s author.
Download Basic Commenting Assistant
Using OpenOffice Extensions
OpenOffice is a great alternative if you don’t want to pay for the Office Suite. It includes all the products you need to create spreadsheets, documents, presentations, and more.
While the default app may be missing some of the more advanced features you’ll find in paid Office products, as you can see, there is always an extension available that will give you what you need.