The easiest way to open OpenOffice.org documents is to download OpenOffice.org. It's free, of course, and there are no problems with having OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office installed on the same computer. See if your company will allow you to having OpenOffice.org there just for reading others' files. Then you can create Microsoft Office versions of the files, if you need to, by choosing File > Save As in OpenOffice.org and choosing Word, Excel, or Powerpoint as appropriate.
The people with OpenOffice.org should be sending you PDFs or sending you Microsoft versions of their files. If you feel comfortable doing so, give them this information.
- To create PDFs, they need to just click the PDF icon at the top of the work area in OpenOffice.org, name the file, and then attach that PDF document to their email when they send the document to you.
- To create a Microsoft Office version of their OpenOffice.org file, they should choose File > Save As, and select Word, Powerpoint, or Excel as appropriate in the file type list. Then they should attach that MS document to their email when they send the document to you.
The people calling for open document standards are putting pressure on Microsoft, which will probably not be too receptive too soon. Just my thought on that.
Try asking to use OpenOffice.org as a reader, or ask the people sending you files to send PDFs or Microsoft Office versions.
This was first published in October 2005