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OpenOffice Tips: Writer, Calc and Impress - page 3

No Writer's Block Here

  • July 26, 2004
  • By Drew Robb

In general, you won't find many compatibility issues between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice. But you should be aware of certain issues such as bullet points translating strangely, slight formatting glitches or unusual characters appearing differently. Here are a few suggestions and cautions to avoid such issues:

  • Do not use the native OpenOffice file format. If you do, and you need to share documents, most people will not be able to open them, since MS Office does not yet support OpenOffice files. Maybe one day it will, but until then, use the Save As function to save your documents in the MS Office equivalent. In Writer, for example, save documents as Word (doc) or Rich Text Format (rtf).
  • MS Word forms don't translate well into Writer � particularly when it comes to fonts. If you have a database full of forms and want to open them in OpenOffice, beware. Perform trial runs first and see how it works out.
  • Macros don't translate well, either since OpenOffice doesn't support internal macros. If you use macros frequently and can't live without them, consider sticking with MS Office.
  • Keep your format similar to Office. If you do, you will experience relatively few issues moving files from OpenOffice to MS Office. In Writer, for instance, use fonts that you know to be in MS Office. Otherwise you can expect paragraph length, page justification and general document formatting to change.

Drew Robb is a Los Angeles-based freelancer specializing in technology and engineering. Originally from Scotland, he graduated with a degree in geology from Glasgow's Strathclyde University. In recent years he has authored hundreds of articles as well as the book, Server Disk Management by CRC Press. This article orginally appeared on the JupiterWeb site SmallBusinessComputing.com<.a>.

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