Formatting issues with PowerPoint files

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Formatting issues with PowerPoint files

Postby pdohara » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:48 pm

I assume this is a just the way it is situation, but I thought I would ask.

I am evaluating moving my Church to OpenOffice from MS Office 2003. We are far enough out of date that we need to do something, so I thought I would spend some time looking at the "free" alternative. Generally, Impress meets our needs. One large issue is that PowerPoint files typically do not look good when opened in Impress. Obviously for our files this is a one time nuisance. We would need to spend the time on our songs and scripture backgrounds once to "convert" them to Impress. My issue is that we have guest Pastors speak from time to time. When they bring PowerPoint files I would prefer to continue using Impress rather than have the Volunteer running the presentation use say the PowerPoint viewer.
Are there settings to make the formatting more compatible some how, or as I brought up above is this just a way that it is issue?

BTW, this is not meant as a Dig against Impress. This is just one of the issues I need to resolve in order to move to Open Office.

Thanks for your time on this.
Pat O
Woodridge Community Church
http://woodridge.cc
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Re: Formatting issues with PowerPoint files

Postby acknak » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:32 pm

Having thought about this a lot for my church as well, I've come to the opposite conclusion. The compatibility problems are big enough that it just isn't worth the trouble to switch away from MS Office. That, and the fact that Powerpoint has several critical features that Impress does not have, or has not had until very recently.

I think the "right" choice is going to vary a lot depending on factors specific to each organization.

We are far enough out of date that we need to do something...

I am curious, what makes you say this? We're still using Office 2000, and feel no particular pressure to upgrade. Of course, with Office 2007 out and getting more prevalent, the pressure will increase.
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Re: Formatting issues with PowerPoint files

Postby pdohara » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:28 am

acknak wrote:Having thought about this a lot for my church as well, I've come to the opposite conclusion. The compatibility problems are big enough that it just isn't worth the trouble to switch away from MS Office.

You seem to have misunderstood my post. This is a showstopper. If I cannot find a way to easily take and display a native PowerPoint file with Impress without having to reformat it, then we will stay on PowerPoint.

acknak wrote: That, and the fact that Powerpoint has several critical features that Impress does not have, or has not had until very recently.

I am intrigued by this statement. Is it really missing features, or is it ease of use?

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Re: Formatting issues with PowerPoint files

Postby acknak » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:07 am

You seem to have misunderstood my post. This is a showstopper.

So we're in vehement agreement ;-)

Is it really missing features, or is it ease of use?

For us, in order of priority, it was/is: missing features, incompatibility with Powerpoint, and ease of use.

Some of the missing features, such as dual monitor support, have been added since we looked at Impress. Others, such as limited support for master slides, poor-quality graphics, poor-quality animations and transitions, and poor support for audio and video, have not. Importing Powerpoint files is routinely "close but not close enough", and we often have to deal with visiting speakers who bring Powerpoint files. Our folks who prepare the presentations spent 15 minutes with Impress and gave it thumbs down: it was a big step backward to no advantage.

I know there are people who are using Impress for their worship services, so it certainly can work, it just wasn't a comfortable switch for us. We had already invested in MS Office (and got a big discount at that), so the price was not an issue. If we had to look at paying full price for MSO2k7, it might be a different story--although even then, the cost is spread out over at least five years, so price still wouldn't be a huge issue.

I should probably point out that Powerpoint isn't really the best solution for this either. The better solution (I think) is one of the multimedia presentation software packages (MediaShout is the only one I can think of right off). There, the price was a problem, and it was also missing a particular feature that we needed: support for non-standard screen format. So Powerpoint isn't the first choice either.
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Re: Formatting issues with PowerPoint files

Postby pdohara » Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:50 pm

Yes visiting Preachers/Presenters showing up minutes prior to starting with a PowerPoint file really makes Impress impractical. We are less bothered by the graphics and transitions as we use graphics from a different source (we have bought some of those clip art for presentation packages that we use almost exclusively), and we rarely use any transition except for fade. We have also looked at some other presentation tools such as SundayPlus. We actually bought a copy (prior to my becoming involved). It also does not support PowerPoint (it will launch the PowerPoint viewer for you :-). I continue to look at some other the others, but with little joy.
Regarding feeling a need to get off our current version of PowerPoint 2003. I have seen some issues with other software we have such as Servant Keeper and this older office suite. I am also concerned that 2003 is coming to its end of life. Obviously we rarely call Microsoft for help, and they even more rarely help :-), still it is good to know that the support exists if we need it.
Yes, Microsoft does discount office pretty heavily for Nonprofits, but it's still not free. Also I am reticent to ever go to 2007 because of the learning curve. I have played with it and we are not just talking about finding the new menu locations for commands. It works substantially differently from any other Windows application. I have been told that it is the direction everything is going to go. Still having worked in IT long enough to remember being told that you cannot go wrong buying IBM, I have seen other revolutions come and go. I'll wait and see.

Thanks, if nothing else it is good to know others are wrestling with these same issue.

Pat O
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Re: Formatting issues with PowerPoint files

Postby baysharx » Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:11 pm

Hey--another church guy here. I can relate to what you guys are saying. I just discovered "Impress" and found it, well, unimpressive. The transitions are too slow and clunky to be of any use at all. Nice to know some other people using worship software have the same opinion--thought maybe I was doing something wrong.
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Re: Formatting issues with PowerPoint files

Postby sperry » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:11 pm

I am experiencing significant compatibility issue moving from PowerPoint to Impress. Files load in fine, and look okay in 'edit' mode but the graphics (originally created in Visio and pasted into PowerPoint as enhanced metafiles) do not display correctly when in 'presentation' mode.

For example open arrow heads are drawn as triangles with the 'shaft' of the arrow running through the triangle - like the pen hasn't been lifted off the paper between the 'open' end of the arrow head.

Similar problems with other lines - the ends of the line are joined together in 'presentation' mode but not in 'edit' mode. At the moment this is a real show-stopper and a massive problem as I need to often show PowerPoint presentations using a client's machine running Linux and OpenOffice.
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Re: Formatting issues with PowerPoint files

Postby acknak » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:53 pm

The best I can tell you is to report whatever incompatibilities you find; that's the only way they'll get fixed. See [Tutorial] Reporting bugs. Make sure you focus on one specific thing per report, and include a sample Impress file that shows the problem when exported to .ppt. Yes, it's a lot of work; that's one way non-programmers can contribute to OpenOffice.

Personally, I try to spend as little time as possible worrying about compatibility with MS Office. I just don't want to spend time solving compatibility problems, especially when the MS file formats are a non-standard black box, and constantly changing.

My practical(?) suggestions for moving presentations around: http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=4171#p19083

I'm not saying this is the law or anything, it's just my personal approach to the problem. There is no "solution" that I'm aware of. Flash might be one solution, someday, if Adobe opens it up as they did for PDF.
Last edited by acknak on Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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