How useful is MS Word?

Recently I have gotten into a kick of using Open-Source software rather than mainstream bloatware. So I’ve been using Open-Office for about a year and a half and the only thing it doesn’t do is the grammar check stuff. At least stuff that I notice is absent.

I am starting to write more professionally. What benefits would I have to purchasing MS Word?

I’ve long thought of disconnecting from Word. I assume OpenOffice has similar functionality to Word – even in the more advanced features – so my main consideration is interactions with clients.

I frequently work with 2-300 page manuscripts, with imported and Word-created charts, tables, etc. I also need to track changes and have ongoing conversations among authors and technical staff inside Word’s comments (this can go on for several iterations). Finally, I need to have the entire document styled correctly for export (via QuarkConverter) to my design team.

Because my clients tend to use Word, any use of OpenOffice needs to be completely transparent. I have no problem taking the time to resave as a Word document, but all of the formatting, tracked changes, comments, etc. need to flow with absolutely no sign of corruption.

Has anyone tested or had problems?

I only have Open Office (Star Office) at work, at home I have both Word and SO.
I exchange book reviews and columns with my editor all the time, and there seems to be no problems with the SO track changes feature interacting with Word. They look different SO doesn’t put anything in the margins, but there is no compatibility problem.
My biggest issue is that the fonts we have at work (on Solaris) are slightly different from PC fonts, and sometimes the number of lines in a column is different. But that happens between Solaris and my PC also.

If you have embedded objects, like drawings, you may not be able to click into them to change them. I’m not sure if the Office 2007 importer is available yet.

I’m not sure of the macros are compatible yet. They didn’t use to be. I’ve done some heavy macro programming in spreadsheets in SO, but never in Writer.
For the most part, I’ve never had a problem doing anything from scratch in SO.

I find the style navigator in OOo Write to be far superior to that in Word '07. Other than that, I don’t think there’s a compelling technical reason to prefer one over the other.

I use MS Office for two other products: Visio and Project. I say this as a confirmed Linux zealot: they absolutely kick the butt out of their open source desktop equivalents.

When I first heard about OO my expectations were low because it was free but after using it I’m really impressed with it, free or not.

If it continually gets refined over time then I don’t see what’s stopping it from becoming the standard software for business applications.

Quick hijack:

Have you really found Project to be useful? I’ve been thinking about looking into it but have received a couple of negative reviews. What I heard is that it can be difficult to share some things if the recipient doesn’t have project as well?

I usually just end up exporting schedule and cost info to Excel for meetings and stuff - I’m the only one in my organization who actually uses Project.

It’s worth the few hundred bucks for the amount of time it saves me doing resource leveling, and the EVM costing features have helped me turn around the perception that my group is a black hole of money.

I use Open Office in “my” computers; most of the documents I need to open from work are from MSWord. The only times I have problems are when someone has really overdone himself with the logos and formats; I’ve never had a problem opening an OO-generated .doc in MSWord.

I use Open Office instead of MS Office. Writer itself is great, comparable Word. In fact there has never been a moment where I wish I had Word instead of Writer. The only issue I have is when my son does his school papers and doesn’t have time to print them here. He always complains it doesn’t look the same when he opens up the file and prints it with Word at his mom’s.

Hijack: I’m another OO user who prints on computers other than my own. Have you tried exporting them as PDFs? That’s what I normally do for documents that I need to print. You can’t edit them at the last minute, but it prints up perfectly for me when I do that.

I love Open Office. I use Writer and Calc (the spreadsheet program) frequently for teacher stuff and I haven’t had any real issues. The only thing that I don’t particularly like is inserting equations in Writer. I’ve done it with the most recent version of Word and it’s a breeze. It isn’t hard in Writer, but it feels clumsy.

I always figured it had something to do with his mom’s computer and version of Word being older or he not doing something right but that is a good suggestion. Thanks.

I used OO and I’ve also used Lotus Word Pro, WordPerfect and MS Word and the basic differences between them is really slight. It’s what you get used to.

But if you’re a “power secretary,” and do major writing WordPerfect seems to have an edge. But for 99.99% of us, we’ll never use those features that serious secretaries would use.

I have found with all the OO programs when you use formulas or any kind of specialized data set up, it doesn’t translate well. This is especially annoying in spreadsheets, 'cause 99% of it will translate well and you have to spend the rest of the time, looking for what’s wrong.