During the following months I’m going to produce a large document (around 100 pages plus a lot of graphics), probably with both OpenOffice.org (private computer) and MS Office (the company’s computer). This is the first time I have to work parallel with these two office suits.

Now I wonder, if anyone has come across any file format problems concerning ODT and DOC? I prefer to use ODT because it’s non-Microsoft and I’ve heard that it performs better than DOC. Could any problems arise here, as I’ll have to use both Writer and Word? Signs, tables, images etc.? Does Word handle ODT at all?

With this document I’ll have non-tolerance when it comes to layout-bugs, as it’ll be my thesis work - something to remember for the following 70 years (approx.) of my life. :wink:

Any advice would be much appreciated.


As far as i remember, if you want to use the open office documents with Word you have to save them in word format (which open office allows you to do). I don’t think word works with odt, though i have ever used the 2007 version.


My only advice would be to stick with one or the other. With a document of thias degree of importance (pardon the pun), why risk introducing compatibility problems?

AFAIK, there is no ODT to DOC convertor available that won’t fiddle with your layout.

Ewen :slight_smile:

P.S. ODT is just a zipped XML-style document. This might help if you get a corrupted ODT document that you can’t open otherwise.

Thank you both for your advice, seems like I should go with DOC only, using both Word and Writer. Unless I’ll be blessed with OOo on the company, which I haven’t checked since I will start there in one week. My university has used MS Office, but now they actually have both suits installed. From what I’ve heard, many organizations switch to OOo because of the cost savings. Truly understandable, if I ran my own company I’d do it.


I know it is not free but have you tried 602PC Suite:


This uses the same formats as Word and is only $ 39.95. I think they have a free trial available.

As a bonus it also has a PDF writer I think.


Thanks for the tip, though I’m not currently in the best position of purchasing software, being a student. :slight_smile:


Use either Word exclusively, or Writer - for the entire project. Even though OO allows you to save in MS formats, there are sometimes minor formatting issues that occur. It’s not a big deal in normal circumstances, but it does occur, and you probably don’t want it to happen.

I have OO at home and MS at work; I have transferred files back and forth (primarily spreadsheets) and only ever saved in MS formats so that I could do just that. OO formats things a little differently, and I have seen a few times when what was done in MS was a little bit “off” in OO, and I had to reformat it there. The same does not seem to go the other way… What I’ve saved in OO works fine in MS, but once I’ve saved it in MS, it’s sometimes not quite right in OO.

Very minor stuff only. As I said, I have not noticed it occurring in documents, but if it happens with spreadsheets, it will probably happen there as well.

My $0.02


Good point. When thinking of it, why take any risk. Hopefully the company has OOo as well (going to find out on Monday the 3:rd). Else, I’ll have to get MS Word somehow. Don’t want to have it illegally. It’s reasonable to get it from my university, I actually downloaded Windows Vista a couple of days ago (yep - legally), so why not Office.

Most likely I won’t need spreadsheets (but it’s not out of the question).

Anyway, this thread got me thinking, which is good. I sometimes suffer from lack of thinking. :smiley:


Would it be conceivable to install OO on the company’s computer, to maintain consistency that way?

I have no idea. They will not allow me to plug in my personal computer on their network, due to security. Also, I may not use any USB stick to transfer files from their machine(s) to mine - have to use e-mail, so every file will be scanned.

I’ll report next week what happens. Independent of the outcome, it would be interesting to make some tests with DOC files in Word and Writer!


Yeah, they probably wouldn’t want you downloading and installing various applications. Can’t blame them for that…


Speaking of file format compatibility; Google Docs (& Spreadsheets) was terrible to import as ODT to Writer. After every last character on a row, there is a blank space. Sure, one never sees it, but it’s annoying. Even worse - the margins wasn’t symmetric, and I couldn’t even change them in Writer! Perhaps I was (is) incompetent, but they were really messed up and seemed to be locked. The only reliable solution was to copy the text and paste into a fresh Writer document. Google Docs, no thanks, currently. Which is sad actually, it could have been a good option in my case.


My limited experience has shown that some tables and definitely form-fields are problematic going from Word 2003 to OO Writer. The Docs were still just useable but no good for presentation.


Thanks for your input.


Might be worth trying AbiWord, it is free and supposedly can read and write Word Docs but I have no idea how good it is.



Could be something worth trying, but still, I don’t know yet whether I may install new software on the company’s computer. Anyway, I really like OOo, hopefully it can be allowed.



Hey, OOo can save in Microsoft Word 2003 XML. Perhaps it could be a proper format to use in both Word and Writer?


EDIT: I quickly found out that it’s too delimited in terms of formatting. No XML for me.