RUN FOR YOUR FILES! : Migrating from MS Office to Open Office.org

Run for your files! It’s time to move on. Microsoft’s proprietary file format had been losing out to the OpenDocument format. It seems a bright “vista” is not in Microsoft’s long term future. Their grand scheme for world domination that involves achieving sole control of file formats is slowly becoming futile. In fact, I would predict that if Microsoft does not embrace open standards soon, their precious MS Office suite will soon join the ranks of washed-up has-beens WordStar, VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, dBase, and other former office leaders. Anything’s possible.

Personally, I think MS Office will die a slow and painful death unless Microsoft reconsiders and accepts that their ship has got a tiny little crack called proprietary file format that’s bound to be fatal one day. Losing the market for office productivity suites would cripple this software giant, since MS Office contributes 40% of their revenue. If MS Office fails, inevitably, Windows will follow. That ship would be very hard to save. There’s a valuable loot on that ship…the Microsoft proprietary file format. Thus, the urgency for the rest of us to get off that sinking ship and take our files with us while we still can.

The OpenDocument format is slowly winning the war. Governments such as the State of Massachusetts and the European Union voiced their preference for open document formats. And people all over the world are all ears. Why this success with the government sector?
Open Document format guarantees the file longevity that governments need. Documents should be readable after several decades or centuries and accessible to citizens , without regard for the kind of software they use now or will use then. MS Office documents become unreadable once new versions of MS Office are released. And that’s about every 3-5 years!
Open Document format is more trustworthy because the source code is open. Would you rather eat mom’s freshly baked pie that was made right in front of your eyes or buy one from the grocery , baked at God knows where?
OpenDocument format is backed by standards groups, ISO and OASIS and not controlled by any company with some form of interest.

Get off that sinking ship! Migrate to open source software like Open Office.org and do it soon! These are the list of things that are involved in the initial migration:

Sharing files with MS Office users
OpenOffice.org can open Microsoft Office files . However, Microsoft Office is not yet capable of opening OpenDocument formats . Thus, if you are sharing a document saved in an OpenOffice.org format with an MS Office user, you have to save it in a Microsoft Office format. To save to Microsoft format:
Choose File-Save As from the OpenOffice.org menu bar then scroll down the file type box to choose the file format.
Note that OpenOffice.org can not open or convert Microsoft Access files (.mdb) files directly but it can access the data in the tables using DAO and ODBC.

Bulk conversion
You can convert large numbers of documents straightaway using the Document Converter. However, you should consider this option thoroughly. Two things you need plenty of are time and disk space. OOo files generally take up less space than Microsoft Office files, so in the end, you still get some extra disk space after conversion. However, conversion takes quite a while. It’s best to be cautious by keeping backup copies of MS Office documents until you are certain that all files were successfully converted.
For Bulk conversion:
Click File > Wizards > Document Converter.

Choosing the default file format
OpenOffice.org saves files in the OpenDocument format by default . However, the default can be changed even to an MS Office format.
To change the default file format:
Select Tools > Options > Load/Save > General

Object Linking and Embedding (OLE)
To change the settings for Microsoft Office OLE objects, use Tools > Options > Load/Save> Microsoft Office. Check all the options so that embedded objects would be converted and thus be editable in both MS Office an OpenOffice.org suites. However, Windows application based OLE objects will not be editable in OpenOffice.org on a Linux machine but can still be displayed and resized.

Linked files
Cells that were copied and pasted from Excel into Word are recognized by OpenOffice.org Writer as a normal table. Thus, links are lost.

WordArt and Fontwork
Microsoft Office’s WordArt objects could look slightly different when imported into OpenOffice.org as Fontwork. Fontwork automatically becomes WordArt objects when the document is saved in a Microsoft Office format .

Macros
OpenOffice.org cannot run Microsoft Office macros. To set whether OpenOffice.org keeps attached macros (so that they are still available for use in Microsoft Office) for Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, use Tools > Options > Load/Save > VBA Properties.
Note that Microsoft Office files that are infected with a macro virus can be safely opened in OpenOffice.org.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: