Small but encouraging discoveries today. I imported a large and very complex Powerpoint poster into OpenOffice, and, while it didn’t render perfectly, it was pretty darn close. I then discovered that OpenOffice was in some respects rather better than Powerpoint, because it has a concept of ‘styles’, much as in a word-processor. When you’ve formatted one text box as yellow text on a blue background with a red border, you can create a style from that and apply it to any other boxes. Modify the style, and all of the boxes change. Obvious stuff, really, but nice none the less, and not available in Powerpoint.
I explored a bit more and found another cute feature. When you create styles you normally make them dependent on other styles. A ‘block quote’ style, for example, is typically based on a normal paragraph but with larger left and right margins. In OpenOffice, you can view the list of styles as a hierarchical tree, so you can see exactly which ones are dependent on which other ones. Lovely.
The final discovery was that I could export my slide as SVG – a completely non-proprietary and open standard for scalable graphics – which I could then view using, for example, a browser with the Adobe SVG viewer plugin.
This is all exciting stuff.