OpenOffice Impress Review

Screenshot of OpenOffice Impress in Windows XP
OpenOffice Impress. © The Apache Software Foundation

OpenOffice Impress is the free presentation software that's included in OpenOffice, which is an office suite that also includes a word processor, spreadsheet program, and database software.

There are tons of great presentation making features in OpenOffice Impress and it supports all the common file formats that other presentation programs use.

Download OpenOffice Impress

Pros

  • Automatic spell check as you type
  • Intuitive interface
  • Tons of basic and advanced features
  • Allows extensions and templates
  • Doesn't require installation (portable)

Note: If the portable option is chosen, you're required to download the entire OpenOffice suite without the ability to selectively install Impress.

Cons

  • Mundane program interface
  • Large setup file - download may be slow
  • The whole office suite must be downloaded just to use Impress
  • Not the most user-friendly program
  • Other office tools try to install alongside Impress

Description

  • OpenOffice Impress works with Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • If you accept the defaults when installing Impress, you can also get other free office tools like OpenOffice Writer, Calc, and Base
  • A wizard can guide you through setting up a presentation from scratch
  • Popular file formats are supported like PPTX and PPS
  • A presentation can be previewed in a web browser
  • Slides can be hidden so you can keep them without displaying them during a presentation
  • Keyboard shortcuts can me modified for several commands
  • Several templates can be chosen from
  • A menu on the bottom of OpenOffice Impress allows for easy access to things like shapes and other import options
  • You can export a presentation in a number of formats like an image file, password protected PDF, or SWF
  • The case of words can be changed in batch, such as making the first letter of every word capitalized and changing all letters to lowercase or uppercase
  • The number of allowed undo steps can be modified to up to 100 steps
  • Slide Sorter makes is really easy to rearrange several slides
  • A number of slide transitions are available like Shape Plus, Uncover Left, and Wipe Down
  • Tons of toolbars can be shown or hidden and even detached from the main program
  • Common formatting options are allowed like changing font type, size, color, and alignment
  • Tables and charts can be used in OpenOffice Impress
  • Video and sound files can be imported onto a slide
  • Notes can be added to slides
  • Loads of animations can be chosen from like ones for an entrance, emphasis, exit, motion path, and other types
  • Advanced tools are available like Color Replacer to replace up to four source colors at once with a custom tolerance level and XML Filter Settings
  • A header and footer can be applied to slides, notes, and handouts to include the current date and time, custom text, or slide page number
  • OpenOffice Impress supports macros
  • Over 10 layouts can be chosen for organizing content on slides
  • Advanced style formatting is allowed for background objects, titles, subtitles, and more, such as changing the transparency, graphics, font, bullets, tabs, font effects, numbering type and many more options
  • A massive gallery of images holds things like arrows, bullets, computer images, finance pictures, rulers, and many other types of importable graphics
  • A side menu is available for easy access to text properties, animations, styles, and the gallery
  • Several advanced options can be modified such as the amount of memory OpenOfffice Impress can use for graphics, whether hardware acceleration should be used, macro security settings, how often to save AutoRecovery information, and custom websites for Internet searches

My Thoughts on OpenOffice Impress

There are so many features in OpenOffice Impress that I think it's a great program to use for making presentations.

I especially like that you can use it in a portable form from something like a flash drive. Though I don't like that you're required to download the whole office suite just to use the Impress portion.

This means you're downloading and storing files that take up around 500 MB of storage even if you only want to use the presentation software.

I also like that OpenOffice Impress can open such a large number of popular file formats. Some of the more common ones include those found in Microsoft PowerPoint like POTM, POTX, and PPTM.

The interface isn't too hard to navigate through but I find Kingsoft Presentation to be much easier, and it even includes many of the same tools and features.

Note: The link below is for the Windows download. See the All Builds page for the Mac and Linux versions, and winPenPack for the portable one.

Download OpenOffice Impress