OpenOffice.org Tips and Tricks: Harmonizing With MS Office, Managing Large Complex Documents
Making OOo Documents MS Office-Friendly
September 22, 2008
We’ve covered many tips and tricks about working between
OpenOffice.org (OOo) and Microsoft (MS) Office, however now we’ll
address the formatting issues experienced when converting between the
two formats. We’ll give you a few ways to make your documents
convert better, so you can share your work with those who only use MS
Office. You’ll also discover the Navigator in this tutorial.
This window in OOo can help you jump from here to there in your
document and gives you a quick way to modify the structure. Lets get
Converting OOo Documents to Microsoft
When converting between the OOo and MS Office formats, you
shouldn’t see any majors problems with basic formatting and
features. Bolding, fonts, most custom styles and tabs, hyperlinks,
bulleted and numbered lists, tables, and columns, for example, should
stay intact through the conversion process. However, the conversion
of some items, such as headers, footers, and mail merges, are less
than desirable. Headers and footers disappear and mail merges lose
their database connections during the conversion.
If you’ve already converted documents to MS Office format
and are disappointed in the results, don’t throw in the towel
yet. There are a few things you can do within your OOo documents that
makes for a better conversion. Consider these tips before giving up
Think about exporting to PDF: If you are sending a
document to someone that’s OOo-less, but they just need to
read or print it, you can simply export to PDF and forget all the
formatting issues. Your documents should export to PDF with no
problems and look just as you designed them. Simply click File,
Export to PDF, and adjust the settings to your liking.
Change anchoring of objects: If objects such as
images, graphs, and frames are left with using the default anchor
setting, to paragraph, they can’t be moved in the resulting MS
Office document. You can however anchor these items as characters,
which will let you move them around within the document. Right-click
on the object, select Anchor – As Characters.
Edit objects before exporting: Before exporting to the
MS Office counterpart, you should finalize any text and formatting
of objects such as graphs, images, frames, and shapes. These items
will become static images in the MS Office format. Thus, you won’t
be able to edit any text in frames, change color of shapes, change
graph settings, and so on.
Use frames to make headers/footers: Though content in
the official headers and footers disappear when converting to MS
Office format, you can make your own. One way is to insert frames
over the same space of the header or footer and type in your desired
text and content. You won’t though have the convenience of the
real thing; you’ll need to copy and paste it on all the pages.
Keep OOo up-to-date: It’s not a secret that the
OOo to MS Office conversion utilities need improvement. Thus, you
might see better results in OOo updates in the near future or better
third-party converters that may arise. Keep your fingers crossed.