This is the next set in our series of articles on KDE. Previously, we discussed KDE as a whole, with an overview of the KDE products. Then we took a look at Konqueror, the magical Web browser, file manager, and application launcher, all rolled into one. Now it's time for an up-close and personal tour of KOffice, the KDE office suite. Before we go further, I should mention that all of the screen-captures and menu choices mentioned in this article may vary a little with your own distributions. I am the North American director of training for MandrakeSoft Inc., of Altadena, Calif. Therefore, I'm a little biased to the Mandrake distribution. However, since KDE is KDE, everything other than the menu structure will be identical.
Introduction to KOffice:KOffice evolved as a part of the KDE 2.0 rebuild, because there wasn't a decent, complete office product for Linux. You had a few choices: StarOffice, which a lot of users feel is bloated (you open one application and you get them all); AbiWord, which is a good start of a word processor; or you had a few commercial products, such as Applix and WordPerfect. Users wanted more, and in order for Linux to catch on in the commercial and corporate worlds, the users needed a office suite to replace Microsoft's office products. So along came KOffice. At this time KOffice is in a very steep and fast-paced development curve. KDE 2.0 was released a few weeks ago, and KDE 2.0.1 is already frozen, and will be available by the time you read this. KDE 2.1 is already in the HEAD branch of the development CVS (code base). KDE 2.1 will include some massive improvements both in the speed of the application and in import/export filters for compatibility. Since the recent open source release of StarOffice, KDE now has the chance to build on some of the StarOffice's filtering and other functional code. Along with these other improvements, we add another application to the KOffice suite of products: Kivio, a vectored drawing program that joins the suite of applications. Another bonus to KOffice is the ability to embed screens and data from one office application to another. As you are creating your financial statement, newsletter, or whatever you desire, you have the ability to embed pictures, charts, presentations, drawings, or even e-mail messages. All the KDE applications talk to each other. You also have the ability to talk to and manage KOffice applications from the command line. There are scripts in the KDesk package that allow you to time and automate the running of presentations, the data exchange on KSpread, and much more. Using these scripts, you can create anything that you desire; you are limited only by your imagination. So without further ado, let's start our discussions with the simplest part of KOffice, the KOffice shell.
KOffice Shell:You can find the KOffice shell by clicking on the KMenu, then Office, and then KOffice Workspace. When you do, you will get a screen that looks something like the one below.
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