Why We Need Co-Create Office?

OpenOffice is a very good and famous office suite. But it is only widely used by professional people, not common end-user. Why?

In Beijing, when we try to deploy OpenOffice in enterprise or government, many people do encounter a lot of problems, the most common problem are document file format and usability.

Document File Format

OpenOffice use OpenDocument as native file format. OpenDocument has been chosen as the standard of OASIS, but it is not the market standard. In fact, the market standard for most people is MS Office's file format(doc, xls and ppt).

Although OpenOffice can change the native file format to MS Office file format, (select Tools>Options>Load/Save/General, in Default file format region), it is very buggy:

  • Not Reliable
    Many information may lost if the document contain some OpenOffice specific features but save in MS Office file format, and it is impossible for user to know which feature will lost when they writing their document.
  • Information lost or change
    When save in MS Office file format, and reopen in OpenOffice, some information may lost or change, cause the document format is not the same as the expectation of customer before the document is saved.
  • Layout change
    When make a document in MS Office, and open it in OpenOffice, or vice versa, the layout may change, making the document looks informal, unclean or even in a mass.
  • Unsupported MS Office features
    Some MS Office features is not supported by OpenOffice, so when open some documents made by MS Office, some information may lost, and some functions can't be completed.


OpenOffice 2.0 has much more better interoperability with MS Office than OpenOffice 1.1, but it still need a lot of training to make common end-user can use it.

  • UI
    The menu and toolbar is not in good arrangement, people may difficult to find some function, and some often used UI elements is not beside hand.
  • User Habit
    Some user habit is pooly designed, for example, the Header/Footer is very ugly and difficult to use.
    We know some user habit may have patent problems in some countries, but not all. Under the legal permission, why we don't to make office suite more easy to use and reduce the training cost.
  • Look and Feel
    The overall look and feel of OpenOffice still need improvement to make it in a clean and professional manner.

These problems may cause the decrease of working efficiency, for example, file format problem may cause the customer encounter difficulty when exchange documents, and usability problem may cause the customer take a lot of training cost.

Co-Create Office is designed to make improvement on OpenOffice, and make it suitable for enterprise and government usage. The most outstanding features are dual native file format support and much improved usability. And the full feature list is here.

Although we haven't totally completed our design target, the Co-Create is much practical and easy to use than before.

Our improvement maybe different with the thought of OpenOffice.org, for example, to achieve dual file format support, we cut down some functions of OpenOffice. Co-Create Office is more like a redesign of OpenOffice for different target, not just an addon of OpenOffice.

The source code is released in LGPL license, and we will try to submit patches to OpenOffice if they can accept. Because Co-Create Office is based on OpenOffice, so we will upgrade along with OpenOffice. The current version of Co-Create Office is based on OpenOffice 2.0 beta, and we will soon release a new version base on OpenOffice 2.0.