msoffice and openoffice

By d_wathi ·

Our users are non tehsavvy they are basically into sales, marketing and accounts. MSWORD and MS Excel are major requirement. One of the top management have asked to list the points in what way users will get affected if we remove ms office and install the open office for everyone, can anybody please list out please.


This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -

A few considerations...

by gechurch In reply to msoffice and openoffice

This has been discussed plenty of times elsewhere. See

Some of the bigger points through (in my opinion):
* If you have existing documentation you will need to update it.
* If users have experience with Microsoft Office they will have to learn the differences.
* OpenOffice saves in different formats (you can change its defaults to save in the Microsoft formats though).
* You may notice differences in layout. Ie. Open a document in Word and it might fit neatly on one page, whereas perhaps in OpenOffice it might push some content to the second page.
* VBA support is not the same
* OpenOffice doesn't include an Outloko equivalent
* Central management. In a domain environment it is common to create custom transform files to install Office in a certain way, install updates silently, you can configure settings through GPO etc. You can't do a lot of this with OpenOffice.

I used OpenOffice for a few years about 4 years ago (and I was used to Microsoft Office before this). I didn't think it was worth it. I found it hopelessly slow to open documents from a network drive (it was literally quicker to copy to the desktop then open it from there). Clipart was pretty awful. I ran into compatibility issues. Not heaps, but it wasted a lot of time when I did (I remember having an issue with a header that just wouldn't sit right. I spent over an hour mucking around on what should have been a 5 second job). I found it was slow to open the program compared to MS Office.

Some of the above may have been specific to our environment and some things may be fixed now. That was just my experience. So is it worth it? It depends. If you have a small environment that you don't manage centrally, if you don't own existing Office licenses, and your users have just basic needs (bold, italic, center, change font etc) then OpenOffice may well be fine. Just be sure to set it to save in .doc/.xls/.ppt format in case they email files outside of the office.

As another option, have you considered second-hand licenses of Office. I personally would rate Office 2003 as easily better than OpenOffice. Second-hand licenses for it are probably pretty cheap now (see and There had been questions about the legality of buying second-hand licenses, but a court case this year upheld that reselling it is legal.

Collapse -

I recommend you use the Libre Office fork and not Open Office as LO is

by Deadly Ernest In reply to msoffice and openoffice

faster and is managed by the majority of the people who originally wrote Open Office. They split from the OO project after Oracle announced intentions to take OO down a path they didn't like.

I write many stories, got a few dozen available through electronic publishers now, and have a highly formatted document layout I use so I can see how the story looks in the final printed book format. I use Libre Office and work on my Zorin OS Linux system at home, while I use a Win 7 system at another location where I do volunteer work twice a week - when there's no one to help I open up a story and start working on it. There is total compatibility between the two versions of LO and the documents look exactly the same. being very familiar with the older versions of MSO I found it very simple to switch over when I did. I also like the one button saving as a print ready PDF file.

Both OO and LO are very much like MS Office 97 and 2003, but not like MSO 2007 as both OO and LO use menus and not ribbons. People familiar with the older version of MSO will switch over and feel right at home in seconds. Those who know only the ribbon style MSO 2007 and 2010 will need a little time to learn the differences. Also OO and LO will work on any version of Windows and not have to be upgraded with the next major change of Windows, they also work on any variant of Unix and Linux, with full compatibility between the Windows and Unix / Linux versions - I swap between a Win 7 and Linux system all the time.

The default document types in both OO and LO are the open document standards with .odt for documents. Both are capable of opening and reading all the MSO formats and in saving to them as well. There is no need to update documents at all, in fact this is less of an issue with OO and LO than with MSO as any documents created in a version of MSO older than a couple of versions HAVE to be updated into the latest version of MSO for them to be able to be used properly by MSO - it's this failing that caused me to drop MSO back in 2003.

In all three packages you need to set up you page size, style and format to suit what you want. However, MSO uses a non standard proprietary format set and will often display formatting from other products differently to what you expect, this also applies to documents saved in older versions of MSO as well. So if you're exchanging documents between OO / LO and MSO with people making many changes on them under both packages, you may see some differences in the format and spread on the page. This is especially so if one has proprietary fonts it uses that the other doesn't have. These issues also affect differences in MSO packages if they're too far apart in version number.

MSO uses VBA to create Macros, while OO / LO do not, so any Macros would have to be recreated in the OO / LO package.

OO and LO can have a version created on one system and then just copied or distributed to other systems.

If you see the MSO Outlook as an issue, you may wish to look at getting Outlook by itself, which can be done, or drop it totally for something like Thunderbird which works on both Windows and Linux.

OO / LO represent significant savings in license fees as they're free.

The only place where MSO is better than the OO / LO package is in the database as the Access database is better than the one in OO / LO, but I think if you really need a database then you should get a proper database anyway, instead of Access.

OO / LO are much cheaper and much more versatile than MSO in that they will work on different versions of Windows and Linux while still providing full document compatibility.

OO / LO are menu driven and more like MSO 97 / 2003 than the ribbon driven MSO 2007 /2010.

Collapse -

Older Templates

by johnmalaney In reply to msoffice and openoffice

I moved my wife's netbook onto open office a couple of years ago and installed it on my windows PC's alongside MS office so I could provide support for her.
I have had few problems mainly with complex document templates created in older versions of Word and Excel.
In general fixes to template issues have been a nightmare. If you are going to make the switch I would cost in the time to re-develop any critical document templates in Open Office.
In a sales and marketing environment the template issues I expereinced could be a major issue impact on both the usability of the document (ability to input text to fields and boxes etc. and the visual presentation of the text. In general fixes to template issues have been a nightmare. If you are going to make the switch I would cost in the time to re-develop any critical document templates in Open Office.

Collapse -

Reponse To Answer

by bart001fr In reply to Older Templates

Why redevelop when you can easily save it with the document? Or have the originator send you his template?

Collapse -

Reponse To Answer

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Older Templates

If you do have a number of templates it's a good opportunity to review them all and decide if they're still needed and if they need any updating. To move the templates I had from my Word 97 to Open Office when I switched I simply saved an existing document as a .doc then opened it in OO as a document, saved that as a template in OO and then cleaned out the text I didn't need. When I switched from OO to LO the templates just moved on over without a hitch.

Depending upon how complex the templates are, after you move them, as suggested above, you may have to fine tune some of the format settings due to the different ways MSO records formats. I know if I moved my current book template between the two I'd have to make an adjustment to the margins as OO / LO has inner and outer margins for mirrored pages while MSO has a margin and a gutter to do the same thing.

Collapse -

Test OpenOffice First

by a.portman In reply to msoffice and openoffice

Chances are Marketing will be fine with a week of training. Accounts will be where the issues will lie. Some macros do not translate from MS Office to LibreOffice.

As pointed out, Libre/Open Office does not have an email client or integration. If you need this, you are stuck. Same for SharePoint.

One thing as you test your conversion, setup LibreOffice to save in MSOffice formats by default. Also, Marketing should get in the habit of printing to PDF (its built in) and sharing the PDF to limit compatibility issues with others.

Collapse -


by gcrook In reply to msoffice and openoffice

If the users are sending many documents to outside customers, or potential customers, even when they save in the MS Office format there may be formatting issues on the readers' side - do some checking to fully understand how the software and the output documents are used.

Collapse -

Reponse To Answer

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Compatability

Correct, and check what the recipients prefer to receive and can receive. I know a few businesses that use OO or LO and still sent out in .doc as that's what they were told 'everyone' used. They got a pleasant shock when they found out over half their clients used OO / LO and they really preferred the Open Document formats. Also MSO 2007 and 2010 are supposed to be able to effortlessly open and save open document format files now so you only need to send .doc to those using older versions of MSO anyway.

Related Discussions

Related Forums