Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Community Tip - Visit the PTCooler (the community lounge) to get to know your fellow community members and check out some of Dale's Friday Humor posts! X

Anyone using Open Office?


Anyone using Open Office?

I work with a pubs org that uses a variety of tools to author with. I've got several folks that insist on using Word, who will then cuss and complain when it breaks and they can't do something or it blows up on them. I'm wondering if anyone has used OpenOffice for a moderatly complex document and what your experience has been. Did they copy all of Words warts or does it really provide some of the long document functionality like multiple files and cross references? Have you tried bringing the XML from OpenOffice into Editor? Is the XML reasonable to work with? What I'm thinking is that I want to try and salvage this Word document by at the appropriate time taking it into Editor, or at least allow me to make repairs in Editor but allow them to work in Word. ..dan --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Danny Vint Specializing in Panoramic Images

I would not advocate using OpenOffice for long documents.

The XML produced by OpenOffice is not what you're expecting. The XML is
more like MIF in that it captures the formatting for the document, not
the structure.

There is some sort of plug in for DocBook, but I've never used it. I
wouldn't really trust it.

We have had some small documentation projects written in OpenOffice, but
we convert it to XML to use with Epic/Arbortext Editor as soon as we get
our hands on it.


but would you recommend it over Word? I don't want to use it, but I
have several people that insist on using Word. Primarily I'm
interested in seeing if it is more stable than Word when using it for
those medium size documents, That is documents longer than 10 simple
pages but less than 300. I have Arbortext, Frame and Interleaf
available but these folks always fallback on (choose) to use Word at
any chance they get.


You let them choose? 🙂

I absolutely detest Microsoft products, so I would probably use OO over Word.


A pubs org that uses a variety of tools to author with seems like a pubs org that is doomed to failure. If Word blows up for someone, how can that be Dan's problem?
Do you wear a Microsoft shirt to work every day or something, Dan?

It seems like management needs to take control of things.

I know this doesn't answer Dan's original question and our bitching about Microsoft seems childish, which it probably is.

It's easier to say than do when dealing with these kinds of organizations, but I still like Suzanne Napoleon's sig:

WYSIWYG is last century technology.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- Danny Vint Specializing in Panoramic Images

I would use OpenOffice over MS Word. We recently used OpenOffice and its
SDK to convert some MS Word files to XML. It was a one-way process.

Ray Anderson
Principal Software Engineer
Document Management System (DMS) Administrator
Software Division
L-3 Communications
Satellite Control Network Contract (SCNC)

I have also had pretty good luck in the past using OOo as a translation
engine to go from HTML or Word to Docbook. Naturally, the effectiveness
of that approach depends on the structure and consistency of the
original documents. I was lucky in that the source documents were
reasonably logical and consistent.

I haven't used OOo much for industrial size documents, so I can't
comment on that aspect of it.


Hi Dan,

Among the problems presented to a typical user of MS Word is that it
does actually get in the way of consistently authoring what should be
fairly straightforward documentation. Typically Authors can't detatch
themselves from the presentation of the text, i.e. if your like me
you'll never convince them to use less! If your authors are having
trouble with MS Word I can recommend two software programs.

I use OO personally at home. It is ok. You may not need all of the
suite, so...

I also use AbiWord which I heartily recommend as an even more
straightforward word processor for authoring very simple documents.
AbiWord is also free. You can get it for Linux or the Windows desktop
environment. If all you need is a simple wordprocessor AbiWord will get
the job done.


I've mixed two different things in my question. One I have some authors that Word is their preference even though we have better tools. So introducing a new tool is probably not going to work anyway. I then had the though maybe OO is similar enough that I wouldn't have to fight the "different tool" battle. Which then lead me to, is the stability on common features that give people a problem (me in particular as well as the users) any more stable or robust than the actual Word environment. I believe the issue is more comfort level than anything else as they do use Arbortext when forced. What happens is we start this simple project - 'oh I don't need all that support this is easier to do in Word'. then a month later when the project has grown, I'm over a 100 pages and they start using the linking features, now everything starts to fall apart. They cuss and fuss that it is now taking them so long because Word starts to crash on them and they are loosing time and occasionally content. the whole thing snowballs, they start working longer hours, deadline comes up, they are still struggling and just don't understand why ... This has happened at least twice in the last year, yet the same person will not use one of the other tools that are better suited for this purpose. there may be a bit of the marter complex here as well -" gee look at the super human effort I put in to complete the task." Anyway I was just curious. ..dan --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Danny Vint Specializing in Panoramic Images
Top Tags