132. About Sharing OpenOffice.org Files with Other Applications
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Just jump right in!
133 Associate OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office Files
134 Upgrade OpenOffice.org to a New Version
OpenOffice.org plays well with others! Specifically, and most importantly, OpenOffice.org reads and writes Microsoft Office files with ease, but it can open files created in just about any similar program you can name . When saving your work in Writer, Calc, or Impress, the Save As dialog box always provides you with both OpenOffice.org-based file types as well as Microsoft Office file types. In addition, OpenOffice.org saves files in the StarOffice format.
To use a Base database throughout OpenOffice.org, or to use a Calc database in Base, you must register it first. You must also register databases created in other applications such as Microsoft Access or Excel before they can be used. See 140 Access an Existing Database .
OpenOffice.org saves in several formats, as indicated by this long list.
In reality, it is Microsoft Office that is not compatible with OpenOffice.org! Microsoft Office offers no way to save files in OpenOffice.org's native file format. To convert an Office file to OpenOffice.org format, you must first open the Microsoft Office file in OpenOffice.org, and then save the file in OpenOffice.org's native format.
Another powerful OpenOffice.org feature is its capability to export documents directly into Adobe's PDF format, which can then be viewed with Adobe Reader on all computer platforms. See 36 Save a Document as a PDF File for information on the PDF format.
Microsoft Word master document files are saved with the .doc extension as used for standard Word documents; they become master documents when subdocuments are inserted into them, in Word's Outline view. OpenOffice.org Writer's master document files are saved as .odm files rather than .odt files. So when importing a Microsoft Word master document file, don't look for an unusual filename extension.
When loading Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and presentations into OpenOffice.org's programs, you may run into conversion problems. For Microsoft Office documents, these features will not always convert in OpenOffice.org:
OpenOffice.org does not support Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which is Microsoft Office's native macro language. As a result, although OpenOffice.org can import any Microsoft Office document's native content , it cannot import its embedded functionality. However, OpenOffice.org does copy the text of Microsoft's VBA macros into the Standard library of the imported copy of the Microsoft file. Because the VBA text cannot be executed by OpenOffice.org's BASIC interpreter, though, the importer "remarks out" (adds Rem statements to) the instructions it cannot interpret, which constitute about 98% of all instructions. If you are familiar with OpenOffice.org BASIC, you can edit the syntax and native contexts of many of the imported instructions, changing them into their Sun-compatible equivalents. All that having been said, there are no Sun-compatible equivalents for VBA instructions that use Microsoft Office-specific functionality. So you'll probably have to re-record any Office macros after you import a corresponding document into OpenOffice.org.
OpenOffice.org does include import and export support for some Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) objects that one would expect to find within a Microsoft Office document, especially those which Office generates automatically. For example, for typesetting explicit and exact mathematical formulas within any document, Microsoft Office provides a tool called MathType; OpenOffice.org provides its own Math component (see 30 Use Mathematical Formulas in Documents for details on how to use it). In both cases, these objects are created using embedded components generated by separate programs. From the Options dialog box, you can set whether the contents of certain Microsoft-embedded objects are imported when an Office file is loaded, or whether the contents of their OpenOffice.org counterparts are saved when its documents are exported to Microsoft format. To bring up this dialog box, from any OpenOffice.org application, choose Tools, Options , then from the list at the left, expand Load/Save , and choose Microsoft Office .
Options for converting OLE object data to and from Microsoft Office format.