Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Open Office v/s MSWord

I just bought a new computer, custom build, going from mac to PC. The new computer does not have Microsoft Office on it, and I’ll have to buy it if I want to continue using it.

But is it really worth buying?

Does anyone here use Open Office? Are there any disadvantages to using it compared to MSWord?

I save all my stories as RTF files just in case I was ever unable to access MSOffice, so I’m not worried about compatibility regarding what I’ve already written, but what about compatibility with, say, editors? Does Open Office have something similar to MSWord’s Track Changes, and what about its compatibility with Word? Can an editor using Word can see and edit Track Changes made in Open Office, and vice versa?

What about ebook formatting? Will it work just fine for that?

I’ve never used anything besides MSWord, and I question whether it’s worth buying. What do you think?

I had Open Office eat one of my novellas in about 1999, and never gave it another chance. To be fair, it’s very likely all better now. But after what it did back then-- fill the doc with errors and then save them over my backup-- I’ll personally never trust it again. For what it’s worth, easily the best writing program I’ve found to date is Apple’s ‘Pages’ coupled with an iCloud account. Though I know that doesn’t help you much at this point.

Good luck!

Majority of editors use MS Word, and at FurPlanet we’ve run into issues with at least one author who wrote their novel in Open Office and didn’t see any of the editor’s comments because the editor was using Word.

I know it can be a bit of an ask for people just starting out to make the investment, but it’s worth it and something I advise strongly.

For myself, i can’t use MS Word (because it doesn’t run at all well on Linux), but i have found that when it comes to editing time, it seems that Google Docs works quite well when it comes to handling comments and the like… Obviously my experience is rather limited, but still :slight_smile: For writing purposes, just use whatever whatever works for you, and then submit in the preferred format when you get to that. Comments and the like will then need to be handled in, well, something that can actually handle them.

@Rabbit Yes, eighteen years of new work does tend to have a fair bit of effect on the ability of a piece of software :wink:

I didn’t get on with OpenOffice - I found it clunky and difficult (this was on a Mac a few years ago). Someone recommended LibreOffice instead, and I do prefer it. There are occasional outbreaks of formatting weirdness when I’m converting to/from Word, especially with comments and Track Changes. Fine for writing, be a bit cautious when you have edits going back and forth between you and someone using Word, is my finding.

(You know what they say: fast, good, cheap, pick two.)

1999 was indeed a primitive time for computer programmers :smiley:

I tried pages, and I hated it. Pages always wanted to save my documents in its own format, which isn’t compatible with Word, so I was always fighting with the program to save in a universal format.

I figured that would be the answer, but I was hoping :slight_smile:

I guess I have to accept Word is the standard. Was hoping to save 150 bucks. (Like hell I want to subscribe; I just want to buy the program.)

I use LibreOffice, which is totally free, and it’s been working fine. Like Huskyteer said though, this can happen to people:

so that’s something to keep in mind. But for me, when I opened my novel manuscript in LibreOffice, I was able to view all the comments and track changes made on it by someone else with Microsoft Word, and to edit and resolve those comments and changes. So I know they’ve been compatible for me at least, if not for everyone. You can save your text documents written in LibreOffice in Word formats (.doc/.docx formats) and other file formats easily, and if you’re careful about making sure your formatting when you save in Word files still matches standard manuscript format, it should be fine! I like the LibreOffice software; it saved me from subscribing to Microsoft Office and seems to contain all the features I would have needed from that package.

I just compose in Pages, then convert it to Word only when I have to. Once you’ve done that, it stays in Word. Never had a compatibility issue yet.

I’ve used both programs before. Currently I’m using word on a tablet. Doing all my work via touch screen is slower. So if you have a tablet word is free but… Some features are blocked behind a pathway but most of those have workarounds.

I downloaded it and i will test that with my mac version of Word. Hadn’t heard of Libreoffice before, but I’ll see how well it works.

I tested LibreOffice against my copy of Word on my old computer. I was able to see and accept changes and view comments between both documents, even saving as rtf.

The only thing strange that happened is LibreOffice errors out if I try to open some of my documents. I’m not sure why those and not others, but if I open those in Wordpad and then paste them into a document I create with Libre, it opens fine thereafter, all formatting preserved as far as I can tell.

This could be a winner. Thanks for the suggestion, and Huskyteer, too.

I use LibreOffice (OpenOffice is around but not used as much, LO is the way to go) and haven’t had a problem. I’m also using Windows 10. I do use Linux from time to time.

If i really, really need to use Word I wait until the library is open and then I and use it.

I used LO with my Thurston Howl story and didn’t have a problem.

I still have Word on my old comp. I’ll use it if need be, but so far LO is doing everything right… except for orphan and widow control. They’re turned off by default, which I don’t understand, but at least I noticed it early.