Word to OpenOffice - what to do with styles?

Subject: Word to OpenOffice - what to do with styles?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2007 15:36:41 -0500

Kevin McLauchlan reports: <<I've got a bunch of Word documents that I want to bring over to OpenOffice 2.x. I've heard that it works more smoothly if your Word and OOo styles have the same names.>>

Haven't tried this, but as a general rule, matching style names does work much faster. Certainly does in other programs (e.g., InDesign) because then you don't have to reapply the styles. Though you can generally do a global search and replace or use a built-in utility to match up style names.

<<Naturally the Word styles don't have suitable names (the docs were produced by a writer who was chopped during a merger), so them're the ones I want to change... When I go to Tools > Templates and Add- ins... in Word, and try to rename styles, it doesn't rename them. Instead, it keeps the old name and extends it with a comma, a space, and the new name.>>

There's a preference setting that governs this behavior, at least as of Word 2003. I don't have time to boot up the PC and check (working on my beloved Mac currently), but there's a checkbox for something like "style renaming" that you have to deselect to turn off this "feature". Word 2003 users should be able to provide precise details.

<<If I open the doc in OOo, does it pounce on the aliases and smoothly substitute its equivalently named styles?>>

Instead of renaming the styles, try this: create new styles, entirely from scratch (i.e., make sure the "Based on" field for the style is defined as "no style" when you create the new style). Use the same names as the styles used in your OO template. Next, for each style in the OO template, do a global search for the hideous old style name ("Heading 1 style name extended to a ridiculous length because I'm a creative writer not just a technical writer") and replace it with the elegant new style name ("H1"). Then try the import into OO.

<<I'd just go ahead and try, but when I tried to import the unmodified Word doc, OOo 2.1 hung. I thought it might have been just laboring with the awfulness of Word docs, so I let it crawl and went home. Next morning, it was still and unresponsive.>>

Sometimes it really isn't Word's fault... though that's often the way the smart money is betting. Worst comes to worst, try one of two solutions: First, try breaking the Word file into several sections (e.g., one file per chapter), then import them separately. Second, try copying and pasting text, one section at a time, into OOo, and reimport any graphics.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
Coming soon: _Effective onscreen editing_ (http://www.geoff-hart.com/ home/onscreen-book.htm)


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Word to OpenOffice - what to do with styles?: From: Kevin McLauchlan

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