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NeoOffice -- The Best Mac Office Suite Money Can't Buy

Microsoft Office has reigned for years as the dominant suite of applications for business and personal use, all for a $400-plus chunk of change. There have been some attempts at alternatives -- including, in 2001, OpenOffice, a free open-source alternative that captured the essence of Office for PC users -- but not so much for the friends of Steve Jobs.

While OpenOffice can run on Mac OS X, thanks to Apple's X Window System (also known as X11), X-based applications weren't able to keep the polish on the Apple: OpenOffice for the Macintosh lacks the look of the Aqua user interface, doesn't have command-key shortcuts, and has problems supporting Macintosh fonts.

Enter NeoOffice 2.1, a straight conversion of OpenOffice to the Apple platform and the best office suite money can't buy.

(Click image to enlarge.)

NeoOffice is a great substitute for Microsoft Office. In fact, in some ways, it improves on the original. Unlike Microsoft Office, where each application installs its own icon to the dock, NeoOffice presents itself as a single application, from which you can start any of the five modules, Writer (Word); Calc (Excel); Impress (PowerPoint); Base (Access); and a separate drawing tool, Draw.

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