Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

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Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

Postby M3wP » Wed Dec 31, 2014 9:36 am

I am working on a relatively complicated project of reformatting a fairly large plain text document back into a "properly" formatted one. The original document was an old technical reference document which was scanned and converted to ASCII text via OCR and manual corrections some years ago. Since I make regular use of the document, I am reformatting it to make use of bookmarks/contents, indexes and styles etc as well as rebuilding the diagrams and tables.

I was hoping to use OpenOffice for the task since I find the proprietary nature of the Microsoft Office formats to be essentially evil and of no use to a preservation project.

Unfortunately, OpenOffice currently does not support font embedding which is also a significant issue so I switched to LibreOffice.

I have made a fair amount of use of OpenOffice in the past however, it has always been in a "controlled environment" and I have found it to be acceptable. For this project, I am having to make multiple passes though the document in order to "massage" it through various incremental changes. LibreOffice Writer is in no way up to the task.

I have had numerous crashes, even when trying to export to PDF.

The display is continuously glitched, images and text do not render correctly. Editing a footer will almost always end up with a screen full of footer divider markings from the different the page styles. I cannot get a table to use double line borders. It is beyond belief.

Trying to edit styles and many other routine operations will result in the view changing to some other page at random meaning I have to reposition the view continuously. This is really so incredibly annoying.

Draw object handling is bizarre with random losses of area gradient information and they aren't handled properly or in a "smart" way for export to PDF/A-1a. How difficult would it be to flatten an embedded object to an image before export, anyway? Images anchored to a page disappear every time there is a change in the page count. They either get relocated to some other random page and are no longer visible or get transferred into the footer and are no longer visible. I have to use the navigator to track them down then try to select them, cut them to the clipboard and paste them back where they should be. It would be a lot easier if the images in a page style area could be positioned to an arbitrary area, outside the margins.

The spell checker and grammar checker do not function in a way I find appropriate. "Recognize" is _not_ a word in my dictionary but no matter how many times I tell the program to use English (UK), it seems to only use English (US). The grammar checker is incapable of requiring two spaces after a sentence (one space or more than two is _incorrect_ but it can only be configured to accept one and any more as incorrect).

The overall performance is ridiculously sluggish.

I cannot stand struggling with these issues and fighting against the program to try to do what should be simple word processing tasks any longer and have given up on using it. I will be trying Adobe products and will have to convert the document to ODT format via Microsoft Word format which is ludicrous. I am incredibly disappointed.


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Re: Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

Postby RusselB » Wed Dec 31, 2014 10:10 am

I find it interesting that your first post is not a greeting or a request for assistance, but a series of comments regarding the incapabilities of OpenOffice and/or LibreOffice.
I, personally do not like LibreOffice and do not have it installed on my system, so I can't give any advice regarding that suite.
As to OpenOffice, I will go through some of your comments and make queries and/or suggestions.
Re: Spell/Grammar checker -> Did you install the UK version of OpenOffice or the US version and install the UK dictionaries?
If you didn't, then OpenOffice will use the US dictionaries by default.
Re: Multiple spaces -> Did you try unchecking the following options located in Tools -> AutoCorrect Options -> Options (tab)
1) Delete spaces and tabs at the beginning and end of paragraph
2) Delete spaces and tabs at end and start of line
Re: Multiple spaces -> Did you try checking the following option located in Tools -> AutoCorrect Options -> Options (tab)
1) Ignore double spaces
Re: Overall performance -> Did you consider changing the settings located at Tools -> Options -> OpenOffice -> Memory
Specifically the setting for Number of steps under Undo and Use for OpenOffice under Graphics cache?
That last setting may also help with your complaint regarding the display.
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Re: Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

Postby Hagar Delest » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:26 pm

In addition, see: [Troubleshooting] Spell check in OpenOffice.

For the anchoring of the pics, use the As character option, it's the most robust.

Page styles are rather easy to use once you've grasped what they do. Then headers/footers is very logical.
Styles are very powerful since they allow you to make changes on the whole document level.

For a technical document, I think that Writer is the best tool. Tweak the pics in a picture manager or picture editor to optimize them.

If you have problems, you can upload some pages showing what is wrong so that we have a look and tell you what can be fixed.
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Re: Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

Postby acknak » Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:02 pm

I've done some fairly complicated technical documents in OO Writer. It is far more touchy than it should be but it is (mostly) possible. There are some problems getting a robust index but other than that, it worked fairly well once you know the right path.

It would take too long to discuss all the issues you've raised but if you want some help with the document, I'd happy to take a look at it.
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Re: Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

Postby M3wP » Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:18 pm

Hmm.. I'm sorry to have been so terse. Usually I'm very chatty and write far too much but I had a very bad experience on another forum recently where I wasn't being "technical enough" (even though it was a strange problem and I had provided more than enough information for anyone who knew what I later had to found out for myself) as well as in the past with this whole "TLDNR" bs that seems to have cropped up, so I figured that people might generally prefer if I got to the point from the start.

I thought I should try OpenOffice again and ignore the fact that it doesn't embed fonts for the time being. Unfortunately, it wouldn't even render the text properly with the font/character styles I was using. I will have to use commercial products for the project and convert back (via ridiculous intermediary formats) to ODT.

I will provide screenshots and further information as I'm able to. I have been struggling with Writer for a few days and I am fed up with it and just want to get the documentation done. None of the responses so far have really been helpful either because I would not still not be able to do what I want to by following them.

I do apologise again, I have had a very dis-satisfactory experience working with this document and OpenOffice/LibreOffice.


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Re: Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

Postby Hagar Delest » Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:13 pm

You can upload your file (or a similar to what you want to do) on a 3rd party sharing website like mediafire and we could have a look at it (attachments here are limited to 128kB). I think that we should be able to tell if the layout you want to achieve is easy or not.
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Re: Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

Postby RoryOF » Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:07 pm

It would be helpful if you could upload some short files to demonstrate the problems you are having. Often, if text doesn't render fairly well, it is due to some deficiency in the font; because OO doesn't embed fonts, the name of the font(s) in use and a source for them would also be helpful.
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Re: Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

Postby jb-asdf » Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:49 pm

The current version is a complete disaster. You have to uninstall and reinstall it every time you start a new document if you want a spell checker.

For most people, all the bells and whistles are never used. 99% of your users just want a spell checker and the ability to save to RTF.

I used OO for years, but the disaster of the last version has forced me to buy Microsoft. I can't believe you didn't test such a fundamental feature before the release.
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Re: Too glitched, too broken, have had to give up

Postby RoryOF » Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:54 pm

jb-asdf wrote:The current version is a complete disaster. You have to uninstall and reinstall it every time you start a new document if you want a spell checker.

For most people, all the bells and whistles are never used. 99% of your users just want a spell checker and the ability to save to RTF.

I used OO for years, but the disaster of the last version has forced me to buy Microsoft. I can't believe you didn't test such a fundamental feature before the release.


This is happening on your computer, not on every computer. You need to carry out some diagnostics to find out just what is happening. The first thing to do is to start Windows in Safe mode and run OpenOffice. If OpenOffice runs stable in that mode the problem is caused by some other program or driver that runs in Windows full mode interfering with OpenOffice.

Of course if you do not wish to do this, please feel free to move to some other application.
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