Open Office Writer: a disappointment?
Thread poster: xxxLia Fail
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 4, 2006

I have just downloaded Open Office (Oo) Writer and used it for the first time, and to be honest, it seems to have been a bit of a disaster.


The problems became visible when I saved my text as a Word doc ( as I felt there could be problems if I sent in a text to a client in the Oo format).


The colours (highlighting) I had used in Oo couldn't be removed in Word

The header and footer wasn't visible in Oo, so I only discovered I had created a header when I opened Word

And a few other problems...in teh end I copied and pasted bit by bit into a new Word doc.....recreated the text basically.

Apart from that, I couldn't figure out how to INSERT text in a text box in Oo Writer. And when in Writer I couldn't for the life of me remove extra cells in a table, in Word not a bother.

So Writer really seems not to be a VIABLE alternative to Word in the sense that if a Writer doc cannot be saved as a Word doc without problems, then it's not going to be acceptable as an industry standard.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some comments Apr 4, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:
The colours (highlighting) I had used in Oo couldn't be removed in Word.


Wouldn't this be a problem with MS Word, then? What have you tried in Word? How do you usually remove highlighting in Word? Have you tried highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+space, for example?

The header and footer wasn't visible in Oo, so I only discovered I had created a header when I opened Word.


The header is visible in OOo in Print Layout mode (go View -> Print Layout). MS Word also has certain quirks about things which are visible in certain modes but invisible in other modes. My favourite unfavourite in MS Word is that certain text boxes are invisible when Drawings is disabled, even if those text boxes contain no images.

Apart from that, I couldn't figure out how to INSERT text in a text box in Oo Writer.


I assume you're referring to what OOo calls "frames". Well, when the frame is selected, there is an anchor icon and the frame has eight green squares which can be dragged to resize it. To edit such a frame, simply click anywhere else in the OOo document so that the frame is not selected, then click inside the frame, and you'll have a cursor inside it. To edit the frame propeties again, click on the frame's margin.

And when in Writer I couldn't for the life of me remove extra cells in a table, in Word not a bother.


Do you mean that in MS Word you can right-click a cell, select "Delete" and then MS Word offers to move the cell beneath it up to take its place? You're right, I can't seem to figure out how to do that in OOo.

One longish way to do it, would be to select the cells that you want to move up, right-click and select "cut", then select the new position of those cells, right-click and select "paste".

So Writer really seems not to be a VIABLE alternative to Word in the sense that if a Writer doc cannot be saved as a Word doc without problems, then it's not going to be acceptable as an industry standard.


You are confusing two things here. Firstly, OOo do certain things differently, and some things it can't do at all (the same goes for MS Word). This does not necessarily affect the document formatting itself. Eg you can't seem to delete a cell as easily as in MS Word, but you can still edit the table so that it ends up looking like it would have looked like in MS Word. But I admit that even for document formatting, the compatibility isn't 100%. Still, keep in mind that you're approaching OOo as an ex-MS Word user who expects things to happen in a similar way as you're used to.


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Michaela Müller
Germany
Local time: 04:47
English to German
+ ...
Comment Apr 4, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:

And when in Writer I couldn't for the life of me remove extra cells in a table, in Word not a bother.



Hi Lia,

I know removing cells in MS Word is no problem at all - that's about the only thing you can do to a cell by right-clicking on it.

What I need much more often is inserting new cells - so could you please tell me how to insert new table lines in MS Word? That's what I was trying to do last night - to no avail (except for doing it the archaic way by copying and pasting).

In OOo Writer I just right-click a cell and can insert a new line very comfortably - or delete it the same way by just right-clicking.
That's what I call user-friendly.

Best regards,

Michaela


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:47
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Add lines to a table in Word Apr 5, 2006

I am not sure I understand your question 100% but just in case it might be of help, here you have some instructions for inserting rows in a table:

Place the cursor at the point of insertion within the existing table.
Select Table from the menu options
Select Insert
Select Row above or below.

Do the same to insert columns, left or right of the insertion point.

You may also add those buttons: Insert row, Delete row, Insert column, Delete column, etc., to your Word taskbar and then it will be a matter of just clicking on the appropriate button.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You can also use cool keyboard shortcuts in OOo Apr 5, 2006

Michaela Müller wrote:
In OOo Writer I just right-click a cell and can insert a new line very comfortably - or delete it the same way by just right-clicking. That's what I call user-friendly.


Or if you work with tables often, try these shortcuts (taken from the OOo help file):

* To insert a new row in a table, place the cursor in a table cell, press Alt+Ins, and then press the up or down arrow key.
* To insert a new column, place the cursor in a table cell, press Alt+Ins, and then press the left or right arrow key.
* To split a table cell instead of adding a column, press Alt+Ins, and then hold down Ctrl while you press the left or right arrow key.
* To delete a row, place the cursor in a table cell, press Alt+Del, and then press the up or down arrow key.
* To delete a column, place the cursor in a table cell, press Alt+Del, and then press the left or the right arrow key.
* To merge a table into an adjacent cell, place the cursor in the cell, press Alt+Del, hold down Ctrl, and then press the left or the right arrow key.


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:47
English to Polish
+ ...
OO and MS Office Apr 5, 2006

I took OO for a test drive some time ago - the last version before 2.0.

It had problems of varying severity with conversion of formats in complicated Word documents.

In the end I came to the conclusion that OO is an excellent tool for people who mostly create their own documents from scratch or who deal only with uncomplicated documents created in MSO.

As translators, we mostle receive MSO documents from clients. These documents can, at times, be very complicated in terms of formatting.

I decided that I cannot risk wasting time in putting a MSO document together after it fell apart in OO.

Cheers,
Pawel Skalinski


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Samuel + Pawel:-) Thanks Apr 5, 2006

Samuel

Thanks for all your very considered answers, and yes, you are absolutely right, that I have certain expectations as a previous MSO user. I will work thru your solutions and see if they work:-)

Pawel

You have, however, hit the nail on the head...yes, Open Office / Writer is fine for creating docs from scratch, but for us translators who work largely with Word files, OO is not practical, becuase we run the risk - when converting from Writer to Word - of producing a doc that will not be to the satisfaction of clients who sent us Word docs.

Thanks to all other too:-)

[Edited at 2006-04-05 10:50]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Be careful to assume MSO - MSO compatibility Apr 5, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:
...OO is not practical, becuase we run the risk - when converting from Writer to Word - of producing a doc that will not be to the satisfaction of clients who sent us Word docs.


Just to add that it is a mistake to assume that one person's installation of MSO will be compatible with another person's MSO.

I recently sent an MS Word document to a translator in Japan, who used an official non-pirated version of MSO on his computer, but when he returned it to me after simply opening it and saving it again, the fonts were all different. We both used MSO, but he used a Japanese version of MS Windows and MSO and I used the American version, and that alone caused highly visible changes in the document.

You can't be 100% sure that the document you see on your screen will look the same on the client's screen, even in MSO. So, for documents with a lowish level of compexity, OOo needn't be automatically rejected as an option for MS Word documents.

This is just my opinion. It depends on the complexity of the document.


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