Q

Sharing documents between OpenOffice.org and other programs

What are the limitations of OpenOffice.org documents, in terms of sharing? What's the best way to share OpenOffice docs with users on MS Word? Also, can I use OpenOffice.org with any graphics program? I've had some problems when importing OO.o-based text to Adobe Illustrator, for example. OpenOffice.org is very interoperable with MS Office but any two programs will have their differences, of course. Where possible, keep documents as...

simple as possible. Do a little testing and find out what types of bullets can cause problems, for instance, and avoid them. They're font problems so they vary from one machine to another; non-linked graphical bullets actually transfer better between Word and OpenOffice.org. Another good approach is to follow good formatting practices in both programs by using styles rather than just applying bold, font size and specific fonts to the default style. In OpenOffice.org, choose Format > Stylist, and use the two icons at the far right to create styles and update them when they need to be changed. Also, avoid combining text boxes with graphics in either program.

These are examples of things that commonly need tweaking after transferring between programs. However, the best way to approach the issue is to take representative documents, transfer them between programs, see what -- if anything -- causes problems, and find a different way to format the content.

Regarding getting OpenOffice.org text into Illustrator: I assume this is putting Draw files, exported to EPS or similar, into an Illustrator file? I've been successful doing this. I export to EPS or SVG, then open the file in Illustrator, and the text comes through well. The problem might have to do with the EPS settings, if you're exporting to EPS from Draw.

I've also been able to simply copy and paste from Writer into Illustrator (version 10.1) and then been able to not only select the text in Illustrator but to edit the text as well.

I think OpenOffice.org Draw is an excellent tool for anyone working with graphics. It's easy to learn, has many vector drawing and text manipulation capabilities, and has a good core set of raster tools, as well. It exports to so many formats that it's likely to work well with nearly any other drawing program. The StarOffice filters add more Save As and Export formats. However, there are so many features in Draw that some other programs might not be necessary, or as necessary.

Hope this helps,
Solveig

This was first published in July 2003

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