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Advice needed with Integration with complex MS Word docs

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PollieXmas
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Advice needed with Integration with complex MS Word docs

Hi All,

This is the first project where I had to contribute on complex Word documents.

The project team has a mix of Office 2007 and Office 2003 and then me Wink So we have standardized on .doc (2000/XP). I'm not sure if there is a 2003 .doc format as well...

The documents includes styles, TOC, cross references. They also employ "same as previous" to keep the headers and footers in sync across the different sections.

I tried both 2.4.1 and 3.0 Beta 2 but cannot seem to edit the document without necessitating final editing in Word. It does not matter if I save the document in .odt format while I'm editing it. I also tried doing the entire document in OO/.odt and then only saving the final version for printing/distribution in Word.

For example, on opening (the .doc) page headers and footers are missing after the initial header/footer. I presume this is an "Same as previous" issue.

Then I also had some issues with applying styles, bulleting and numbering and having that intact when opening the .doc with Word.

My question is if this can be a portable issue? (I'm assuming, not.)

Then is this normal/expected when trying to integrate with Word?

Is there perhaps a better common format that still support styles, etc.?

Any advice would be appreciated as I would hate to have to install Office on my machine and of course losing the Open Source argument with my MS collaegues who can't of course understand that MS is part of the problem...

Thanks
Paul

LOGAN-Portable
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Well, it's this trick

Well, it's this trick Microsoft uses to create a lock-in to their products. As long as some people will use the latest and greatest new Word or Office people will help keeping this lock-in alive, as a .doc is a .doc for the less tech savvy users. And some people will save just the default doc format even if you request them to export the doc in another (version) format. And the lock-in goes deeper, by removed support for some Word formats from Notepad in XP compared to older versions of windows.

Because the word .doc format is undocumented it might take a while before Open Office will support them due to the extra work. And while Office nowadays supports it's own 'open format' this format can still embed undocumented bits possibly making it as problematic as the word document itself.

While there's nothing wrong with a product like Office it might become a problem in the future where some have older versions that cannot read the latest and greatest .doc incarnation. This way all people involved have to decide to use a specific version of word to export, or the rest of the people all have to upgrade to be able to open a document that they received.

This is not the reason you lose the Open Source argument to your MS colleagues because this should be one of the strongest arguments for an open format. But they might not understand what would be wrong with it as the application does all they need and more. "Just get Office vXXX" is often the counter argument and indeed this will solve all the problems of incompatibility.

The biggest problem however is archiving for the future, there's no guarantee that Office will support older versions forever. If it's important that documents are readable for the future an open format is preferable as that has a high chance of being compatible with applications of the future.

Lucky enough Open Office will try to support the current versions of Word as soon as they can and current versions of Word should be readable with the up and coming version of OOo.But that's only till Microsoft will release another incarnation of Word and then it all starts over again.

So there are a few solutions: Or everyone upgrades to the highest version (and calculate the costs for that), or people should be exporting in some format everybody can open, or all should switch to OOo. Ofcourse switching to OOo would be the biggest hurdle as you have to learn the differences between Word and OOo. Everybody upgrading their Office or Word seems more accepted nowadays, however they never keep the costs of upgrading in mind. And making sure everybody exports in a compatible format seems to be problematic for some and you surely end up with documents people 'forgot' to export in the correct format.

Bottom line, it's a very smart thing of Microsoft to lock their users into their applications because the way of the least resistance is the way of the most money earned by them.

PollieXmas
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What I understand...

Hi Logan-Portable

Thanks for the comprehensive explanation. Like you said, the general public (MS Users) normally follows the path of least resistance (i.e. pay to upgrade and thus forcing everyone else to do so too). They then tend to only partly migrate their intellectual property (docs) to the newly supported formats, thus running the risk of "loosing" some of it as they do not follow a formal process of migrating all their work.

Anyway, what I also read into your response is that there currently still is no suitable solution to a fully transparent multi-office (software) environment and might still not exist even with the introduction of Office 2007. This statement might only be true where MS Word is concerned, i.e. it might be possible for examples where Star Office, Open Office and possibly other Office Suites are being used interchangeably.

Regards
Paul

LOGAN-Portable
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I'm sure Microsoft Office

I'm sure Microsoft Office will support older Doc formats, but what about 10 years from now, will they still do?

And Office was rumored to support the Open Office org file format.

ZachHudock
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MS Office doesn't natively

MS Office doesn't natively support ODF, but there is a plugin available. I cant seem to find the link this morning, but I know i've read plenty about it in the past

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705

PollieXmas
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Are you referring to
ZachHudock
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those work :)

those work Smile

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wk
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you might look at this

https://portableapps.com/node/11149#comment-64115
seems that up to word 2000 format documents are exchangeable and at least since word 2003/XP there are a lot of formatting issues
So, if you don´t want to go back to an old standard or change to odt or pdf, I don´t see a chance for avoiding an office installation at work?

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PollieXmas
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Thanks

Hi wk,

Thanks for linking the two posts together, I could not find it when I searched.

I'll continue posting there.

Regards
Paul

Mickeyj4j
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yea well

this happened with powerpoint ages ago. after openofice came out. microsoft finally decided to encrypt powerpoint and came out with the free powerpoint viewer so people can view powerpoint docs only.

it does suck that now they are starting to do this for there latest version of word etc. you may be able to set office 2008 to save in the older version by default????? but i use openoffice so not actually sure.

but i suppose that as office is so expensive, and people are turning to openoffice and other free/opensorce products out there they need to do something to warrent people actually buying there product. that makes good business sense.

but it does suck for all of us.

i say down with Microsoft go opensorce any day.

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