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jtsc
April 30th, 2009, 08:21 PM
Hey everybody. I've been using Open Office for months now (I guess technically I've been trying to use it on and off for three years, but using it exclusively since I switched to Ubuntu) and I've concluded that the whole Open Office suite is awful, awful, awful. So, if you could answer one of the following questions, I would be obliged.

1. Is there another open source office suite (at minimum, word processor) I should try before going back to MS Office?
2. Are there some extensions to Open Office that I'm missing which would transform it from "makes me want to rip out my hair" to "totally awesome", that I should try out before I give up?
3. Any experience on which versions of MSOffice work best under Wine?

Thanks so much!

philinux
April 30th, 2009, 08:24 PM
It would help if you specify your difficulties.

kanikilu
April 30th, 2009, 08:26 PM
1. Is there another open source office suite (at minimum, word processor) I should try before going back to MS Office?
Abiword/GnomeOffice, KOffice, ...? Not sure if there's much else...


2. Are there some extensions to Open Office that I'm missing which would transform it from "makes me want to rip out my hair" to "totally awesome", that I should try out before I give up? There are plenty of useful extensions, but how would we know if any would help if you don't explain what it is about OO.o that frustrates you :confused:


3. Any experience on which versions of MSOffice work best under Wine? I haven't tried for myself, but according to the AppDB, apparently anything above Office XP (2002) is not so great:

http://appdb.winehq.org/appview.php?appId=31

LowSky
April 30th, 2009, 08:42 PM
1. Is there another open source office suite (at minimum, word processor) I should try before going back to MS Office?
2. Are there some extensions to Open Office that I'm missing which would transform it from "makes me want to rip out my hair" to "totally awesome", that I should try out before I give up?
3. Any experience on which versions of MSOffice work best under Wine?

Thanks so much!


1. Abiword, IBM Lotus Symphony (free), Lotus Notes (payment recuired)

2. need to knwo what you hair ripping expeience s cause by to actually give you some ideas

3. nope sorry, I use windows products on windows... Wine isn't for me. I dual boot when needed. Open Office is fine for most of my tasks.

kanikilu
April 30th, 2009, 08:47 PM
3. nope sorry, I use windows products on windows... Wine isn't for me. I dual boot when needed. Open Office is fine for most of my tasks. Agreed. I know plenty of people use apps under wine with little to no problems, but my experience with wine over the years has been generally negative.

At home, I dual boot whenever I want to play a game (not very often these days) or use iTunes (again, not often now with eMusic and Amazon MP3).

At work I can go a step further and not even dual-boot by using a Windows XP VM in VirtualBox for Office 2007, AD administration, and a few apps that despite being seemingly simple, do not play well with wine.

cb951303
April 30th, 2009, 09:03 PM
Hey everybody. I've been using Open Office for months now (I guess technically I've been trying to use it on and off for three years, but using it exclusively since I switched to Ubuntu) and I've concluded that the whole Open Office suite is awful, awful, awful. So, if you could answer one of the following questions, I would be obliged.


I agree with you 100%!

You can try IBM lotus symphony. Also koffice 2.0 is near a stable release which I think will be the best open source office suite in time.

ajgreeny
April 30th, 2009, 09:22 PM
But the OP still has not told us what exactly the problem with OOo is, ie what he can not do in it that he could do in MS Office. I have been using it ever since I came to Ubuntu 5.04 without any real difficulties or problems, and I used it in Windows XP before that for a short while when it first started. I think users must simply forget how they did things in MS Office and try not to do the same things in the same way in OOo and then moan when it does not work as they believe it should.

So , come on, stop saying it is awful, awful, awful, and tell us why, what you want to do with it. Then you might get more useful assistance from the forum, because if you think k-office or abiword and gnumeric will replace MS Office better than OOo, I think you will probably be even more disappointed. I can't say anything about Lotus Symphony, other than to say I used Lotus Smartsuite 97 for years without any problems, other than the inability to open newer versions of word doc files, and the inability of anyone to open any of my files; you couldn't even set it to save as .doc by default as you can OOo.

stchman
April 30th, 2009, 09:25 PM
Hey everybody. I've been using Open Office for months now (I guess technically I've been trying to use it on and off for three years, but using it exclusively since I switched to Ubuntu) and I've concluded that the whole Open Office suite is awful, awful, awful. So, if you could answer one of the following questions, I would be obliged.

1. Is there another open source office suite (at minimum, word processor) I should try before going back to MS Office?
2. Are there some extensions to Open Office that I'm missing which would transform it from "makes me want to rip out my hair" to "totally awesome", that I should try out before I give up?
3. Any experience on which versions of MSOffice work best under Wine?

Thanks so much!

I find Openoffice 3 to be very comparable to M$ Office.

M$ Office is probably the best software thing M$ has ever done. Excel, Word, and Powerpoint are excellent programs.

On the converse, Writer is Word's equal. Impress is just as good as Powerpoint. Excel on the other hand is better than Calc although Calc is a very competent program.

HavocXphere
April 30th, 2009, 10:09 PM
HOpen Office suite is awful, awful, awful.
tbh, I think no amount of extensions is going to change the fact that you perceive it to be sub-standard.:-k

I also suspect that MS Office under WINE will be worse.:(

markharding557
April 30th, 2009, 10:11 PM
only older versions of ms office work well on wine.
op needs to wean himself off his ms addiction

jtsc
April 30th, 2009, 10:15 PM
Hi everyone - thanks for such speedy responses!

The recommendations for koffice and lotus symphony (and against running word with wine) were helpful, thank you. I'm going to try both of those.

You're absolutely right that I was vague, which was probably a bad idea, but I didn't want to inflict a wall of text on anyone. I should say, though, that when I asked for extension suggestions, I wasn't asking for suggestions for how to fix my problems. Rather, I thought it was possible that there were amazing extensions with functionality which I wasn't missing because I didn't know it existed, which would make it worth using open office, warts and all. (Sort of like how FF with NoScript is 10x as fast as any other browser, but how would you know that if you had never used NoScript?) So, my problems:

I've used the OO excel clone a bit, and really did not like it (nor did I like the implementation of tables in OO writer, which I found very clunky in a project I did a year or so ago), but I can't recall what I didn't like.

The biggest recurring headache is footnotes. I have to use a lot of footnotes, and for whatever reason I find Writer's footnotes much hard to use than Word's... combination of not having a key combination for them, not having obvious ways to change the settings, and not always having them synched to each each other... there were other problems as well, which I have mentally repressed.

The second biggest issue is the unsightly justification of letters... I've added pretty, non-open source fonts, I've looked at the settings, but OO just cannot keep letters next to one another. It makes it hard to concentrate on revising my own work, and it makes it look unprofessional when it's ready to give to others.

I miss an automatic grammar-check, which is not a big deal, but the whimsical OO dictionary is a real problem. There are tons of words it doesn't like, and lots of non-words it suggests, which is unfortunate. It doesn't autocorrect common mispellings and mistypings, which is fine, but it frequently doesn't even offer the correct spelling as an option.

Frequently things like list auto-formatting, paragraph formatting, etc. that I want to work is some consistent way, I just can't grasp.

Page numbering is frequently problem. I can't remember why, since it's a headache once per document, but there's something about it that I have trouble with.

Saving OO .odt's as .doc/.rtf or exporting to .pdf frequently results in unexpected, strange deviations. I understand that .odt and .doc are different formats, but I would hope that once it's a pdf I would get a wysiwyg correspondence between my OO file and my pdf.

Text breaks a lot, have to scroll up and down again. Not a big deal, but salt in the wound.

Just in general, whenever I'm trying to do something and I'm not quite sure how, it takes me 3 or 4 times as long in Writer than it would have in Word. At first I assumed it was lack of familiarity, but by now I'm convinced the design is just not as useful to me. And I'm convinced it's slower.

So basically at this point OO Writer is as good as a text editor for simply typing and storing words, but for producing documents that I send to people which look nice and so on it's a huge drag. But I'll try koffice and lotus... and, if anyone has suggestions for extensions that are uniquely useful for OO, let me know. Thanks again to everyone who answered!

jtsc
April 30th, 2009, 10:18 PM
only older versions of ms office work well on wine.
op needs to wean himself off his ms addiction

Yes, my addiction to quickly producing and editing long, readable docs. First I'm going to quit caffeine, then I'll start work on this! :)

cb951303
April 30th, 2009, 10:37 PM
and don't forget that it's slow like hell when the documents get big.
I have dual core machine with 4 GB ram, but when I edit 30+ page documents with lot of formulas in it, it's IMPOSSIBLE to scroll the pages and add new formulas because it becomes painfully slow, and no it's not a problem with my system it's just how OO is. I tried in windows, different machines different OO versions, always the same thing.

another awful thing about OO is the formula editor. I want to smack the person who designed it. you can't even align formulas properly without ugly hacks. IMHO they should get rid off the formula editor completely and add a tex formatter or something (only for math formulas)...

there is also NWT. it may be the ugliest GUI toolkit that I have ever seen, and just like its brother XUL it's written to look good only in Windows.

pheww, I got it off my chest :)

abhiroopb
April 30th, 2009, 10:49 PM
Hi everyone - thanks for such speedy responses!

The recommendations for koffice and lotus symphony (and against running word with wine) were helpful, thank you. I'm going to try both of those.

You're absolutely right that I was vague, which was probably a bad idea, but I didn't want to inflict a wall of text on anyone. I should say, though, that when I asked for extension suggestions, I wasn't asking for suggestions for how to fix my problems. Rather, I thought it was possible that there were amazing extensions with functionality which I wasn't missing because I didn't know it existed, which would make it worth using open office, warts and all. (Sort of like how FF with NoScript is 10x as fast as any other browser, but how would you know that if you had never used NoScript?) So, my problems:

I've used the OO excel clone a bit, and really did not like it (nor did I like the implementation of tables in OO writer, which I found very clunky in a project I did a year or so ago), but I can't recall what I didn't like.

The biggest recurring headache is footnotes. I have to use a lot of footnotes, and for whatever reason I find Writer's footnotes much hard to use than Word's... combination of not having a key combination for them, not having obvious ways to change the settings, and not always having them synched to each each other... there were other problems as well, which I have mentally repressed.

The second biggest issue is the unsightly justification of letters... I've added pretty, non-open source fonts, I've looked at the settings, but OO just cannot keep letters next to one another. It makes it hard to concentrate on revising my own work, and it makes it look unprofessional when it's ready to give to others.

I miss an automatic grammar-check, which is not a big deal, but the whimsical OO dictionary is a real problem. There are tons of words it doesn't like, and lots of non-words it suggests, which is unfortunate. It doesn't autocorrect common mispellings and mistypings, which is fine, but it frequently doesn't even offer the correct spelling as an option.

Frequently things like list auto-formatting, paragraph formatting, etc. that I want to work is some consistent way, I just can't grasp.

Page numbering is frequently problem. I can't remember why, since it's a headache once per document, but there's something about it that I have trouble with.

Saving OO .odt's as .doc/.rtf or exporting to .pdf frequently results in unexpected, strange deviations. I understand that .odt and .doc are different formats, but I would hope that once it's a pdf I would get a wysiwyg correspondence between my OO file and my pdf.

Text breaks a lot, have to scroll up and down again. Not a big deal, but salt in the wound.

Just in general, whenever I'm trying to do something and I'm not quite sure how, it takes me 3 or 4 times as long in Writer than it would have in Word. At first I assumed it was lack of familiarity, but by now I'm convinced the design is just not as useful to me. And I'm convinced it's slower.

So basically at this point OO Writer is as good as a text editor for simply typing and storing words, but for producing documents that I send to people which look nice and so on it's a huge drag. But I'll try koffice and lotus... and, if anyone has suggestions for extensions that are uniquely useful for OO, let me know. Thanks again to everyone who answered!

Footnotes
Easiest thing to solve...Go to Tools>Customise>Keyboard (Tab). Under "Functions", look in the "Category" column and click on "Insert", look for "Insert Footnote directly" in the "Function" column and then assign the appropriate short-cut key from the "Shortcut keys" tables on the table. What do you mean by "not always having them synced to each other". All I need with regard to footnotes (and I use them extensively) is just to add them, or remove them!

Confused about the "justification of letters", if fonts is an issue add the medibuntu package (do a google search, lots of information about medibuntu), and install msttcorefonts, for MS fonts. I really don't understand what you mean byt his, as I've never had a problem with keeping letters next to each other. Perhaps there is something wrong with your settings? If so, delete the .openoffice (hidden, press CTRL+H to unhide) in the /home/<user> folder.

Yea grammar and spelling is really annoying. Totally agree in this regard. But on the flip-side I personally prefer proof-reading my docs rather than using the computer as even MS Office gets it wrong a LOT of the times. There are dictionaries and stuff you can download, have a look at the openoffice website. I haven't needed to add anything extra but its worth havinga look.

Page numbering and bullet pointing is a BIG headache, I have pointed this out in another thread of mine. Seems to work for some and doesn't work for others.

I'm surprised you're experiencing errors with PDFs, never found this to be the case. But yes saving as doc does yield errors, but then it does state that when you try to save it as a doc.

I also feel that MS Office does a better job than OpenOffice. I don't need the extensive tools that Excel offers, or the fancy ribbon design. But it seems that open office just lacks a LOT of the polish of ms office.

jtsc
May 1st, 2009, 06:05 AM
Yes, good point, CB! I didn't mention that starting up, especially, is rather slow. Not to sound spoiled, but sometimes I've tried to open a document three times before the "loading" splash has even started...

Thanks for the suggestion for footnotes, abhiroop. I'm going to try that and see if my blood-pressure drops when using OO... the "synching" that I mentioned was that they don't have many (any?) alternate options for how footnotes and endnotes are numbered, so you have to do it by hand, which creates a nightmare if you delete or move footnotes.

As for the justification of letters, I don't know how else to explain this... does no one else have this problem? In old-fashioned, cheap books you got the problem that the type was poorly set and there would be letters too close together or too far apart (you can also get this on layout programs like InDesign if you play with the kerning), and I see that even with my precious medibuntu fonts.

dmizer
May 1st, 2009, 06:32 AM
I've been looking for a solution to font problems in PDF documents as well. Since I saw your question, I decided to do some serious hunting and found this: https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/openoffice.org/+question/21964

I highly suggest visiting the OpenOffice site. There is a TON of helpful information to common problems you mention.

TheNosh
May 1st, 2009, 07:40 AM
there's star office, but personally i flip-flop between lotus symphony and open office, lotus feels polished and like it will probably be more usefull to me once i get used to the layout. but when i need somethig done quick i use open office cause it's more familiar

stwschool
May 1st, 2009, 08:01 AM
MS Office 2007 works just fine under Crossover 7 for me. That said, OpenOffice is fine and I tend to use that more, just keeping MS Office for those little glitches that pop up once in a while.

SunnyRabbiera
May 1st, 2009, 08:07 AM
FYI, Open Office is not a clone of MS office, its not meant to be.
As for spreadsheets you might want to try gnumeric,

sdbrogan
May 1st, 2009, 08:35 AM
If you really want professional-looking documents with great typography you might consider writing in LaTeX - but if that's too much of a jump perhaps try Lyx (which uses LaTeX but with an interface rather like MS Word / OO Writer) :

http://www.lyx.org/WhatIsLyX

MockY
May 1st, 2009, 09:00 AM
First piece of spam I've seen in this forum. Interesting.

SunnyRabbiera
May 1st, 2009, 09:15 AM
You will see a lot of people come and suggest something like lyx, latex, VIM, Vi...
The super hardcore users.

bryncoles
May 1st, 2009, 09:47 AM
If you really want professional-looking documents with great typography you might consider writing in LaTeX - but if that's too much of a jump perhaps try Lyx (which uses LaTeX but with an interface rather like MS Word / OO Writer) :

http://www.lyx.org/WhatIsLyX

lyx is alright, but it is like using acrippled version of LaTeX really! though i appreciate the sentiment and i started out with lyx too, when i decided to change my word-processor.

a better bet IMHO though is texmaker (also in the repos), which is cross-platform and just seems more functional than lyx to me.

http://www.xm1math.net/texmaker/

also: do a google search for 'a not so short introduction to LaTeX. theres a few free pdf guides and this is a good one to start with.



and don't forget that it's slow like hell when the documents get big...

...

another awful thing about OO is the formula editor. I want to smack the person who designed it. you can't even align formulas properly without ugly hacks. IMHO they should get rid off the formula editor completely and add a tex formatter or something (only for math formulas)...


see now, you should be using LaTeX. its made for editing very long documents, and inserting random, complex formulas! and its free! check out lyx or (my preference) texmaker!



You will see a lot of people come and suggest something like lyx, latex, VIM, Vi...
The super hardcore users.

QFT!

nelsoncsho
May 1st, 2009, 09:54 AM
Don't know how to install a cd by wine, just know how to use wine by downloading MS software on web. The main problem of Openoffice is after you set the margins and space well and open the file by MS Word, the lines and spaces messed. It will be a big problem if you are making your resume.

sdbrogan
May 1st, 2009, 10:02 AM
Sure, LaTeX isn't for every task/user, & it isn't worth taking the time to learn it unless you're going to be writing a lot; but it's worth a mention as an alternative to a word processor on the offchance that someone hasn't heard of it & that it would suit him. LyX on the other hand isn't just for the super hardcore users - I don't think you can compare it to vi.