Easy option to save OOo docs as .doc by default?

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Easy option to save OOo docs as .doc by default?

Postby contents on Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:49 am

The biggest concern that my friends and colleagues have about linux is whether they can read and create Word documents. While reading .doc files is no problem with OpenOffice, there is still one configuration change that is required to get OOo to save documents as .doc. Though it's easy to do, it's something long-time Windows (and maybe even Mac) users might not know they need to do unless they had some familiarity with the idea of different document formats beforehand. Without this change, some people could come in for an unpleasant surprise when they find that they can't use their OOo documents on most Windows computers.

Through a strange set of circumstances, I recently ended up doing a windows install for someone yesterday. This particular install came without MS Office but instead had a trial version of Corel Word Perfect preinstalled. The first time WP opened up, it brought up a dialog box asking whether or not the user would like to automatically choose to save documents in the .doc format so there would be full compatibility with MS Office.

If Mint could set up some kind of option like this, I think that would be a great help for new users, particularly those who are not very familiar with computers.
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Postby LostOverThere on Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:49 pm

I second this motion. Even simple stuff like for me, by mistake, I'll be working on something at the library (It Uses Fedora) and I'll need to leave suddenly, so I quickly save it and mail it to my friend forgetting that I saved it in OOo's format.
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Postby scorp123 on Sat Aug 25, 2007 3:12 pm

LostOverThere wrote: I quickly save it and mail it to my friend forgetting that I saved it in OOo's format.
Which is no problem at all as OOo is an open format, the software is available for free and runs on many platforms. I just fail to see why we should support the big evildoers from Microsoft by making their proprietary non-standard format a "de facto" standard on this distro. If you do that you can just as well stay on Windows, then you don't need the freedoms that Linux can give you if still you allow Microsoft to enslave you with their proprietary formats. No insults intended here, this is just my personal opinion.

Besides: It is very easy to create Adobe PDF documents with OpenOffice; And PDF's have a nice feature: They are absolutely displayed 100% correctly on each platform and on each screen. And PDF readers are available for a wide range of OS's and platforms. So even if your contacts probably can't read OOo format documents and are unwilling to install OOo for their OS: Chances are they do have a PDF reader somewhere somehow, regardless what their OS is. So sending your stuff as PDF files is a safer bet than sending odd Microsoft formats. :wink:
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Postby contents on Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:09 pm

I'm not saying that .doc should be "the" standard--I'm just suggesting that there could be a notification box that could come up once people install giving an easy choice whether they'd like the standard to be .doc or .odt. I noticed that Corel Wordperfect had such a notification on the last windows install I did. Wordperfect doesn't want to support .doc as the standard, but they realize that that's what most people require, so they decided to make full no-fuss interoperability one of their promotional points.

Interoperability with most MS office is one of the biggest if not the biggest concern of most of the people I want to convert to linux, because they work in environments where not only reading but also creating word documents is a daily necessity. They expect that when they write and then send out a document, people are going to be able to open it and read it. But that's not going to happen for them if they don't know about the need to switch from .odt to .doc format. They are either going to have to make sure to remember to save each document they need to share with windows users as .doc, or save as .pdf (when that is acceptible), or they are going to need to go into Tools-->Options-->Load/Save-->General and then find the box on the lower right, and then scroll down and switch it from OpenDocument Text to Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP. There is no mention or instruction about this, though, so many if not most people aren't going to figure this out on their own right from the start, because they've never had to deal with this before.

These people for the most part don't understand anything about open and closed formats. It would be of little solace to them to know that everyone else they work with could easily open their .odt documents if ony they downloaded openoffice or abiword or kword, because that's not going to happen in the near term at least. They want full interoperability with no fuss right now.

If you want to be a free software purist, then that's great and I fully support you. There are several distros that adhere to a "no compromise" philosophy: blag, gnewsense, ututo. Mint, however, seems to be based on another idea--it includes flash, the not-yet-completely-free java, non-free codecs, etc., all for the purpose of interoperability. That's good, too, and I think that's one of the reasons (in addition to the very excellent apps that Clem creates himself) why mint is so popular.

I am just suggesting a choice or even just a notification box that would make things easier for people who don't know anything but MS software (who, unfortunately, make up the vast majority of computer users). So the solution I'm suggesting is just a notification or option box that would come up at the first run. This wouldn't necessarily help in the case LostOverThere describes.

[Regarding the fellow I did the windows installation for the other day--we got rid of Wordperfect and installed OpenOffice. I left without switching the default save format, however, and I've been trying to explain it to him over the phone. This guy knows nothing about computers, and I'm having an awful time trying to get him to make this simple change. If he doesn't make the change, though, he's going to run into trouble when people can't open the files he sends out, and he's going to lay the blame on openoffice (and me, for putting it on his computer)].
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Postby LostOverThere on Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:14 pm

No offence taken scorp123.

I agree with contents, maybe, the first time you use OOo it asks you what file format you want to save as default.
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Postby starkey on Sat Aug 25, 2007 10:20 pm

With all respect, but I don't get the question. I think it's so easy to do the "switch" to save in .doc format.

Greetings.
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Postby newW2 on Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:51 am

I agree I don't get this. I transfer docs to myself and other and don't worry about the document type. For example, I haven't had any problem opening the docs from M$ word in Linux with Open Office or in M$ word from Open Office docs mad on my Linux Mint OS. M$ forces you to open the OOo doc as an .rtf doc first, but hey word users are generally used to (or at least should be) opening / converting documents from open formats into the non-standard windows formats.

I strongly agree with scorp123's point of view ... essentially M$ wants to be different, so they should bare the brunt of the effort to work with others, or they will not be used. Additionally, that is just natural selection at work. An inferior OS will eventually not be selected. :lol:
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Postby contents on Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:20 am

I don't want to beat a dead horse, and if people don't want a feature like this then they don't want it, but...

starkey: yes, it is easy to switch to .doc format in OOo IF you know that you even have to do that, AND you know how to do it! People not very good with computers might not be able to figure it out by themselves before they are inconvenienced by it. "Tools-->Options-->Load/Save-->General and then find the box on the lower right, and then scroll down and switch it from OpenDocument Text to Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP" might be trivial for you or me, but it's not for many people that I work with. My friends, family and co-workers need someone to either do this for them or tell them that they need it done and then show them how to do it. A guy I just did this for said to me, "Oh, computers are so complicated!" These are not stupid, incompetent people--they have just never operated out of an MS environment before, and it might not have ever occurred to them that such a thing might be necessary, and if they do know they need to do it, it might take them a while to figure out how. Don't look down on them--this is the vast majority of computer users.

newW2: I just tried to open a linux-made .odt document on windows using Word, and I couldn't get it to open. Double clicking it brought up the window that says it doesn't know the format, and that it could look on the web or give a list of applications. Choosing Word on the list still doesn't open the program correctly. I used OOo 2.0 rather than 2.2, so maybe that's what caused the problem, but my experience was not as easy as yours. I haven't found any messages on the web that says that .odt documents will open as .rtf in Word, but I have found some messages saying that you can't open .odt docs in Word. I also see that Sun made a plug-in for Word to allow it to open .odt documents. So it seems to me that many people have not had such an easy experience with this as you.

I am not a pusher of M$ crap--I want EVERYONE to stop using M$ software---TODAY! I live in China, and it's INSANE that almost EVERYONE here uses M$ stuff. They need to STOP IT! NOW! But, that's not going to happen immediately. Most people in the near future are probably going to take some time before switching to linux or other alternatives, and people who switch earlier are going to need to work with M$ until everyone switches. Again, that's no big deal for me or probably anyone else reading this board, but it is a problem for people who are not computer savvy. Mint does all sorts of things for people who are not computer savvy. Like: installing flash, installing mp3 support, installing codecs, automounting ntfs partitions with read-write support, etc. All of these things are dependent on or linked to things proprietary, closed-source, not necessary, and they are things that people could install by themselves if they want. But in this as yet imperfect world, some people want these things right away with no fuss, and mint provides them with no fuss to the user. It's precisely for this reason that I think that Mint is at present the version of linux best suited for easy adoption here (barring the problem of Chinese support not being included on the CD--that's why I'm interested in making a version with Chinese support).

The OpenOffice first run option I am proposing is not meant to be a permanent solution to lock OOo users into an M$ format. It is meant to be a temporary solution to help non-computer-savvy people in M$-dominant environments to switch to linux with a minumum of trouble.

Again, if people don't want it, then they don't want it. This idea is just coming out of my experience of having to do this for people who I convert. If people don't want an OOo dialog box that's fine. Maybe a mention in the tomboy note that starts on after installation.
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Postby newW2 on Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:30 am

contents: interesting I tried to open the odt in home/student version of word and not like I stated. In professional office version open with allowed open with rtf. Or at least that is what i recall must try this at work.

There is however another option if it is allowed in China, and that is that Google has added Star Office by Sun, and it is a free download. StarOffice will save in word format.
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Postby WinXpNewb on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:09 am

If you want to be a free software purist, then that's great and I fully support you. There are several distros that adhere to a "no compromise" philosophy: blag, gnewsense, ututo. Mint, however, seems to be based on another idea--it includes flash, the not-yet-completely-free java, non-free codecs, etc., all for the purpose of interoperability. That's good, too, and I think that's one of the reasons (in addition to the very excellent apps that Clem creates himself) why mint is so popular.


I think this sums up quite well why Mint should do this.

I'm actually more concerned about spreadsheets. I think .docs are close to mainstream recognition and most everyone gets an idea that something is not going to open in MS Word if it's not in .doc but spreadsheet formats are still an unknown thing. At least for me, it still is. I tend to hesitate everytime I see a .xls file even when associated to open in Excel.

For the purist, I think a good compromise could be a link in the setup that opens up an explanation why to use open formats and the pros and cons behind it.
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Postby alexander on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:31 am

Code: Select all
Tools ---> options ---> load save ---> always save as

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