TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Developers at my company use Star Office 5.1 - not by choice, but
because they're on UNIX/Solaris systems and are required to read (and
write) Word documents. They dislike Star Office very much.
One reason is that they aren't PC users, so the Word-like interface is
very foreign to them. Star Office admirably recreates the True Office
Experience, with all its glitches and usability problems (and adds a few
of its own). But mostly, it's because they must collaborate on
documents with Microsoft Office users.
Compatibility with Word? It is to laugh. OK, they can view a document,
but it looks terrible - the fonts, indenting, spacing, bullets,
numbering, and more are messed up. (For example, a "normal" bullet in
Star Office turns into a smiley face in Word...) Anything they add
looks equally bad when it's viewed in Word. Worse, Star Office is a
wysi*NOT*wyg system - the printed document doesn't resemble what you see
on the screen.
Silly me, I tried to help; I spent a day trying to create a simple
format that would work - look more or less the same - in both Word and
Star Office. I gave up after 8 hours of frustration. (Note: I'm not a
Star Office expert; they just assumed that if I knew Word, I could use
Star Office, as it's "so compatible". An expert might be able to solve
many of these problems. But I was unable to find any useful information
in the online help or on the web.)
If both the Word users and Star Office users will be changing the same
Word document, my recommendation is this: Design a document template on
the "official" system - that is, if you will be printing with Word,
start the document in Word. Then tell the Star Office users NOT TO
CHANGE THE FORMATTING - fonts, bullets, indenting, whatever - and to
ignore how horrible everything looks (and prints).
Then again, if all people need to do is open Word and PowerPoint
attachments, Star Office fits the bill admirably. As long as exact
formatting isn't required.
Senior Technical Writer
anne -at- eintelligence-inc -dot- com
> Subject: Star Office
> From: Mark Dempsey <dempseys3 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
> Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 10:57:12 -0700 (PDT)
> X-Message-Number: 25
> I'm wondering whether anyone's been using Sun's Star
> Office (old or recent release), particularly as their
> word processor. Areas of concern:
> 1. Reliability with longer docs.
> 2. Use in collaborative work
> 3. Compatibility with others using Word..
> Your thoughts...?
> -- Regards,
> -- Mark Dempsey