odf in office (the other way round)

OpenOffice.Image via Wikipedia


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From the pages of this blog I have written about how to open a docx (office 2007) file in openoffice. This happens frequently with a client, a customer, a colleague who just updated (or was forced to update) to the newest version of Microsoft’s Office suite. And many readers have commented that often they received (as have I) docx files as attachments and don’t know what to do with them.

(Begin diversion)
I recently received such a file, an invitation to join a social club. I returned it with a polite note asking to receive it in doc, pdf or txt.
(End diversion)

But, what happens if someone (you, perhaps) started sending odf files to all those MS Office users? How, could the recipient(s) of such a file work with it, open it, edit it and then save it back as odf?

There are many possibilities, all free (isn’t it funny that you can work in an expensive, proprietary world with free software?):

  1. The SUN ODF plugin for Office. This is a SUN product which allows users of Office (versions 2000, XP, 2003, 2007 SP1) to read, edit and save an odf file.
  2. The Open XML/Odf Converter for Office. This is a sourceforge project with similar capabilities to the previous plugin. A command-line translator is also available for batch processing jobs.
  3. Microsoft Corp. According to this press release, the upcoming SP2 for Office 2007 will offer the ability to work with many additional formats including odf.
  4. OpenOffice.org. Educate the person who received the file that there is a free alternative to the MS Office way that does what MS Office and more…

If you know of additional methods of working or educating people who receive odf file in an Office environment, please let me know. What has your experience been in this area?

I.
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xlsx & openoffice

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In an earlier posting, I wrote about a filter to open docx files in open office. Unfortunately, this is half the story in this world of digital, paperless office. What happens in the case of Excel 2007 files?

Now, these files have an extension of xlsx. Note the slight difference from the typical xls extension of previous versions of Excel. This may sound like a small deal, but it is not if you don’t have Office 2007. Mind you, office xp, 2k do not open naturally these files. More, Office 2007 saves files in xlsx (and docx), so easily the mistake can be made and presto, you have a file only you can open and read and share with yourself. Great move for productive minds!

I looked in the usual places for solutions.  There are a few online services, like zamzar and  docx2doc, which will convert your files from and to the new formats (if you want to share your files with someone else).   A  search for some perl scripts and modules gave quite a few answers  NOT for the lighthearted, though.

The method I tried and worked for me was to use the Excel 2003 viewer with the addition of the 2007 FileFormat Converter. Even this method is kludgy. You have to:

  1. install the converter,
  2. double click on the file (cannot open the file directly from within the viewer),
  3. watch it being transformed),
  4. select the sheet (or parts of it),
  5. do the copy-paste trick to the earlier version of Excel or OpenOffice,
  6. Optionally, curse and swear at the madness of Office 2007.

The funny part is that xlsx is supposedly an open format, an xml variation.  So, if you rename the file from filename.xlsx to filename.zip and unzip it, you will get a bunch of files and directories with encodings and content.  Then you can open the xml file that is at the heart of the xlsx spreadsheet and see its content.

Enjoy!

I.

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odf & docx in OpenOffice

Microsoft Office Word 2007

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Unless you have been cast away in some remote island or hiding under some rock or in some cave (btw, of all three choices, the first one does not seem that bad 🙂 in my opinion), the battle between open document format promoted by several open source supporters and the ooxml format promoted by MS has been raging. Most recently, ooxml was not accepted as a national standard and then as an international standard.

In plain words, what it means, is that if you use Word 2007 and save it as docx (not doc format) you may end up with lots of documents nobody can access (unless they part with a sizable amount of money to buy Office 2007). Anyone knows that OpenOffice saves and opens office documents (doc, xls, ppt). What about docx documents?

UPDATE #2: Also check out this updated post from this blog.

UPDATE: The following link is dead and gets you the error page at Novel. Instead, follow this new link and the instructions provided in the destination page. Enjoy!!!

OLD stuff 🙂
The answer is a converter available at this address compliments of the good guys at Novell. If you follow the link you can download either a solution for windows platforms or an rpm archive for linux platforms. From there (the rpm platform) some work is necessary if your setup does not use rpms. In most cases, the command “alien” will take the rpm and translate it into a deb archive or a tar.gz archive (your choice).

I prefer the tar.gz approach and then completed the following:
1) translate rpm to tar.gz
2) unpack tar.gz archive
3) copy the /usr/lib/ooo-2.0 directory (and its subdirectories) to where openoffice is located in my box.
4) restart openoffice
5) Find under the Open or Save menu choices for docx files

NB. It works for both x86 and 64bit boxes.

Enjoy!

I.

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