Open Office is amazing, and I use it all the
time, but it's not absolutely perfect (unless the newer ones are). These comments are focused on Word documents.
Though I have not updated in some time, my experience with Open Office is it is not always perfect. It does a great job opening MS documents and can save created or modified documents in MS formats, but again, it's not perfect. Fonts will change slightly (unless you do lots of font work in the configuration), pagination changes, bullets have had issues (though I think some are corrected).
I am almost an exclusive OpenOffice user, but if I submit something I created in OO for Word that needs to be virtually identical in every way, when viewed in MS, such that the person receiving it and opening it with MS gets exactly what I saw in OO, I have to verify my document with MS word (free read only mode after trial period ends) to verify it's identical appearance (it is always very close to what I want,
and usually good enough). I have learned how to run MS Word (trial and read only after trial) using Wine, though I've set it up some time ago and perhaps had to do some work linking in my XP fonts.
Perhaps things have improved in the past year or more. Since what I have now is working well, I have held on to it (OO 3.0.0). OO is great and I use it, but it's not perfect. Rarely, but sometimes, I have experienced OO documents saved in MS formats, to not be acceptable to automatic parsers such as those used in job search web sites, though they were always compatible with MS Word. I managed to get around that by updating and/or trying different save formats (95 , 97). One other person in this list verified off line the problem I was having.
I think the main issue is with font usage, so there must be "safe" fonts one can use to switch back and forth between OO and MS. I
also read something once about being able to store the font data in the document (though making it larger), so as to always have it there. I've never tried that if possible.
Documents exported to PDF from OO of course are wonderful, if the person receiving it does not need to edit and will accept a PDF.
> OpenOffice works very nicely with MS formats. In the Options, just change to
> save in MS 97/2000/XP by default. Also, uncheck the warn when not saving in
> Open Document, as this will cause the user undue consternation.
> OOo will not be compatible with Access, but that shouldn't be a problem.
> OOo 3.1 is more compatible with more MS formats than any MS product.
> Yesterday, I opened an MS Works word processing document, and an old Quattro
> Pro spreadsheet. MS Office can open neither.
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