Re: Could be "Why Open Office kicks MS Word's butt"

Subject: Re: Could be "Why Open Office kicks MS Word's butt"
From: Jean Hollis Weber <jean -at- taming-openoffice-org -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2006 21:21:58 +1000

Collin T wrote,

So, as I am using Open Office 2.0 (for it's PDF abilities), I have
come to admire it's many supiriorities over MS Word 2003.
*Creating Templates
*Numbered and Bulleted lists
*Native exporting to PDF
*Relatively clean HTML saves
*Several other features...try it.

Of course, I have seen some limitations too. And I have wondered
about the "Track Changes" abilities of Open Office (if it has any, and
if they're compatible with Word.)

I use (OOo) 2.0.1 almost exclusively these days
(on WinXP Pro).

Yes, OOo has a track changes feature, and it is compatible with
Word's, but I don't have Word 2003 so I have not tested what the
limits may be.

But the BIG question is formatting. I haven't gotten into any heavy
formatting with Open Office, and I certainly haven't tried to transfer
any of said heavy formatting to Word. My fear is that it would just
die painfully on the table.

If you do your formatting cleanly (and design your styles
carefully), it will transfer cleanly to MSWord and back again.
There are some limitations, having to do with a few fields (the
biggest problem I've run into is the lack of a Styleref field in
OOo), and some other items I forget because I don't use them, but
in most cases you can probably find workarounds.

OOo1.1 had some "issues" regarding formatting, primarily in
tables, not converting well between OOo and MSO, but as far as I
know these have been fixed in v2.0.1.

And of course, there is the "Bucking the Industry Standard" stance.
Could it be done? Could a lone Tech Writer shrug the chains of Word
and forge ahead...wielding Open Office as his weapon of choice?

Anyone doing this?


I don't work for other people much any more, so I can't say yes
or no to that question. I'm confident that it's quite possible to
do what you suggest, but of course it would depend on how your
work fits into the overall workflow.

Regards, Jean
Jean Hollis Weber

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