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Compatibility with MS Office 2003

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:24 pm
by WhyNotSmile
I've been using OpenOffice for years now, but my sister has recently started a course and is using my laptop for her IT assignments. They have been told that they have to use MS Office 2003 on the computers in class, so whatever she uses at home will have to work with that. I uninstalled MS Office ages ago, so I'm not that familiar with it any more, and I need advice on compatibility. I know that it will basically be compatible, but it's more that there might be features in OO which Office2003 doesn't support - she doesn't want to do her assignment and then go into class and find that things are all over the place.

My sister is not particularly technical, but she can save her work in .doc format and that kind of thing. She'll mostly be using Word and Powerpoint. The Word stuff is probably ok, because she'll not be doing much more than standard typing, inserting a few images etc. The Powerpoint stuff is more of a concern, because she'll be wanting to use things like transitions and so on (it's a primary school teaching course, so they like things to move and dance!).

Can anyone give any advice on whether using the most recent OO Impress and saving in MS format is likely to cause issues? I know that it will basically work, and I guess she'll need to stick to the more basic transitions and that, but has anyone else got any experience of this that they can share? Any features to avoid using?

The other option is for her to get hold of MS Office 2003 and install that, but I don't have much room left for more software on this computer! She could get Office 2007, but I'm guessing it'll have the same backwards-compatibility issues anyway.

Any help is very much appreciated!


Re: Compatibility with MS Office 2003

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:29 pm
by TheGurkha
She should be fine. I use Writer and Impress all the time and interchange with 2003 users frequently. Some of the Writer docs get fairly complicated in terms of layout and styles etc, but the Impress stuff is usually run of the mill - simple transitions and so forth. I've never had issues, although I've heard on this forum of issues with complicated or large Word doc tables being imported into Writer.

Generally it is always safer to work in the native OOo formats (.odt and .ods etc) and then use Save As to save a copy in .doc or .xls format if you need to distribute it in MS Office formats. But always then go back to the native OOo version to continue working. If the people you are sending to do not need to edit the files then it is best to send them a PDF as then no matter what office suite they use it will be possible for them to read and print the files.

One thing you could do is download and install the free Word and PowerPoint viewers, and then 'test' your sister's files using those before they are submitted.

Re: Compatibility with MS Office 2003

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:39 pm
by WhyNotSmile
Oh, thanks very much - I didn't know about the viewers, that would be useful!

I don't think she can do PDF - part of the point of these assignments seems to be to show how you did the thing, so they need to be able to edit them once they get to class. But I'll warn her not to do things that are too complicated in Word, and she can keep the Powerpoints simple as well.

Thanks for your help!

Re: Compatibility with MS Office 2003

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:40 pm
by TheGurkha

Re: Compatibility with MS Office 2003

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:45 am
by human
OOo Writer is very compatible with M$ Word 2003. The main thing that's not supported is macros.