Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Tue 5th Aug 2008 20:22 UTC, submitted by rlem6983
Features, Office OpenOffice.org 2.4.0 is a free, open source alternative to Microsoft's Office application suite. It is fantastic if you need basic office applications such as a word processor or spreadsheet at no cost. However, large organisations and power users may be disappointed by its lack of features and support. Read the full review here.
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Consistency accross word processors
by Liquidator on Tue 5th Aug 2008 21:19 UTC
Liquidator
Member since:
2007-03-04

I tried OpenOffice.org and used it for some time until I had repeated disappointments of document layout inconsistencie. I would write quotes and documents for customers and suppliers, who usually don't accept PDF, in the .doc or .rtf file formats, in OpenOffice.org, and when they opened the file in MS Word, the text and organization of tables were different, and unprofessional. So, now I am using a rather old version of MS Office (2003) and I'm fine. I'll keep looking at the progress of OpenOffice.org, hopefully 3.0 will have better consistency. One minor problem also is the rather unaesthetic GUI, with old-fashioned icons, compared to commercial office suites. Last, but not least, the need to install a plugin to have tabs in OpenOffice.org is sad, it should come standard, like in web browsers. Granted that there is not even a plugin for tabs in other office suites.

Reply Score: 2

jhoo Member since:
2006-03-24

I would write quotes and documents for customers and suppliers, who usually don't accept PDF...

You clients wouldn't accept PDF? Sure there might be some formatting issues between MS-Office and OpenOffice.org, but who has ever heard of an organisation which doesn't install a PDF reader as standard on all their desktops?

PDF is pretty much the most widespread document format on the web (if you don't count HTML). Methinks I smell a troll.

Reply Parent Score: 3

panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

Nature (or was it Science? always confuse the both) only accepts MS Word documents!!!

Reply Parent Score: 1

Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

Strange but true...A fair amount of our customers would only say they couldn't open the attachment. They didn't say they don't have PDF, but they say the computer asks what application to use to open the attachment (I concluded they don't have Acrobat Reader). I have visited customers whose computer are *really* old with CRT monitors and Windows 98. This is no invention.

Reply Parent Score: 2

systyrant Member since:
2007-01-18

PDF is a standard (PDF/A). While I won't fault a company for not wishing to use Acrobat Reader I will fault them for not at least installing some kind of PDF reader. It's not like theres nothing out there.

My personal opinion is that unless a document needs to be modified by the recipient it should be sent in a PDF form. Simplifies the process quite nicely in most cases I think.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Peter Besenbruch Member since:
2006-03-13

I tried OpenOffice.org and used it for some time until I had repeated disappointments of document layout inconsistencie. I would write quotes and documents for customers and suppliers, who usually don't accept PDF, in the .doc or .rtf file formats, in OpenOffice.org, and when they opened the file in MS Word, the text and organization of tables were different, and unprofessional.

I must be the only person in the known universe that hasn't used Word. I switched to OpenOffice directly from Word Perfect back in 2003. Word Perfect 10 was a far more sophisticated word processor than OpenOffice pre version 1 was in those days.

In addition, it took a while to find any kind of file conversion utility. Until I did, I had to load a file in Word Perfect, save it (rather imperfectly) in Word format, and import it into OpenOffice.

I'll keep looking at the progress of OpenOffice.org, hopefully 3.0 will have better consistency.

I'm sure OpenOffice 3 will sport a number of improvements. Until then, one trick I use when saving to DOC, is to exit the program after saving, restart it, and load the DOC file. If it looks like the original ODT file, the recipients will likely find that it looks fine, too.

One minor problem also is the rather unaesthetic GUI, with old-fashioned icons, compared to commercial office suites.

Not a problem here. OpenOffice uses the same icons as the rest of my desktop environment (KDE). It also uses KDE's file dialogs.

Last, but not least, the need to install a plugin to have tabs in OpenOffice.org is sad, it should come standard, like in web browsers. Granted that there is not even a plugin for tabs in other office suites.

Can you provide a link to the plug-in? It sounds interesting.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

Ah, but I'm not a fan of KDE/Gnome... The tab extension is called tabbrowse.oxt

Reply Parent Score: 1

pixel8r Member since:
2007-08-11

I tried OpenOffice.org and used it for some time until I had repeated disappointments of document layout inconsistencie. I would write quotes and documents for customers and suppliers, who usually don't accept PDF, in the .doc or .rtf file formats, in OpenOffice.org, and when they opened the file in MS Word, the text and organization of tables were different, and unprofessional. So, now I am using a rather old version of MS Office (2003) and I'm fine.


Last time I checked, MS Office (any version) has never been able to save in ODF (or any other openoffice format) at all, so OpenOffice should score points for being "close" too 100% compatible.

I think you are side-stepping the issue - is it really because you cant save in MS Word format? or is it because your customers and suppliers only allow MS Word format?

Who's at fault here, you for not using MS Office or them for not using OpenOffice? The only argument of which one to use is based on MS Office being the most popular. It doesn't matter which is better, people should be allowed to choose.

Until there is a standard document format (hopefully soon - ODF), people will need to use the same software as the recipients of their documents.

I'll keep looking at the progress of OpenOffice.org, hopefully 3.0 will have better consistency. One minor problem also is the rather unaesthetic GUI, with old-fashioned icons, compared to commercial office suites.


OpenOffice is themeable isn't it? But I agree under some desktops it looks better than others. I prefer to use it under GNOME. On my system (OpenSUSE 11), OpenOffice looks and seems to run better under GNOME than under KDE. No idea why there is such a difference.

Reply Parent Score: 1

ggeldenhuys Member since:
2006-11-13

I would write quotes and documents for customers and suppliers, who usually don't accept PDF, in the .doc or .rtf file formats,


You send quotes in a writeable document format to your clients!!! Uh. Also who in their right minds don't have a PDF viewer installed - it's like the de facto standard document format. PDF is praised for it's ability to look consistent on any platform or OS version.

Plus, just because the text or layout might be off a little when you save a document as Word format from OpenOffice is not a bad thing. MS Office can't even save as a OpenOffice format at all, or even read it for that matter!

10 points to OpenOffice for even trying to support other proprietary formats!

I have used OpenOffice for years in our company. I open advanced Excel spreadsheets with macros and Word documents without problems. OpenOffice fulfils all my needs. Plus support on the web is great! If I don't know how to do something, a quick Google search always resolves the problem.

Reply Parent Score: 0

Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

You're lucky. Not all my customers and business partners can read PDF or ODT. Some can only read DOC and RTF. There are even customers that you either have to hand in the docs or send by fax / regular mail. Not all business partners have top-notch computers, there are cases where the company is so family-oriented and old that they don't have a single computer. This is the truth.

Reply Parent Score: 2

zombie process Member since:
2005-07-08

Not as uncommon as you'd hope. Worse, half of the quotes we get from vendors seem to be in .xls format with *heavy* usage of macros. Even ILECs send us stuff in .xls or .doc format. The lack of clue in this world, even this technical world, is constantly astounding.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

I have had exactly the same experiences. I shall be watching OOo too. Customers aren't interested in the MS is evil argument or that OSS is cheaper. They want to be able read and see a professional documents that are compatible with the office suite they use. Until everyone everywhere uses an open format that can be read and displayed by all Office suites, MS office will be the one used by businesses and non-geeks.

Reply Parent Score: 2