Wasting Church Money on MS Office

Churches are wasting money on Microsoft Office when other excellent FREE alternatives are available that would be more than sufficient for most people. See the bottom of this post for suggestions.

Microsoft Office .docx or Open Format .odt? Many churches will feel bullied into buying MS Office when they start receiving emailed documents in the new .docx format (MS Office used to save in .doc format). Of course this is exactly what Microsoft want.

Don’t waste your money.

Microsoft Office has its limitations as it is unable to save in Open Format, the standard international archive and interchange format.

Microsoft Office users are finding that they now have an additional problem with the .docx format, they are sending documents then receiving replies requesting a re-send in a better format.

OpenOffice (free), Star Office and Abiword (free) can all open and save in the Microsoft Word format but of Microsoft Office users who are sent documents open format?

Two tips for MS Office users:

1) Best option (if it is too late to take it back to the shop and get your money back) is to download the plug-in for MS Office. This plug-in for Microsoft Office will enable Word to open documents saved in .odt format. You can then and save in either .doc or .odt.

It is possible to set Word to use the odt format by default. Click on the Tools menu and select Options. Click on the Save tab and select odt in the Default format section. Odt files take up less memory than .doc or .docx files.

2) Second option is to set your MS Office to save in the .doc format. Click on the Tools menu and select Options. Click on the Save tab and select doc in the Default format section.OpenOffice logo

I don’t understand why so many people buy Microsoft Office when the excellent free alternative, OpenOffice is so good and more than most people would ever need. Even thought it is free it can save in pdf format too. OpenOffice will work on Windows, Mac and Linux machines. There is even a version of OpenOffice repackaged as NeoOffice which is for Macs which has horizontal scrollwheel support.

If you want a word processor less bloated than either Microsoft Office or OpenOffice then Abiword is great. Not a complete integrated office suite like both of the above but a good stand-alone word processor able to work on old machines with limited memory.

For very old machines that you just want to use as a simple word processor, you might find Jarte worth a look. I know a student who did all his university course work on Jarte.

And I haven’t even mentioned Linux!

2 thoughts on “Wasting Church Money on MS Office

  1. When I’m asked to prepare a document from scratch I often send the document in OpenOffice Write or Calc. I invariably get an e-mail from the client saying “please can you send this in Word” or “Excel”. 🙁

  2. Incidentally, I’m about to embark upon the translation containing more than 50,000 words. The client sent me the document in .doc format. The file weighed 618 KB. When I tried to import it into the program I use to translate in, the program wouldn’t import it (it got half way through, then jammed). I tried saving the original document in rtf: the file now weighed 1.5 MB, and again failed to import. I then saved the document as .odt: the file size went down to 148 KB (yes, about a quarter of the original file size!), and imported without any problem. To complete the comparison, I thought I’d give it a try with the docx (Word 2007) format: the file size was 243 kB, and it did import, but took about half an hour, compared with about one minute for the OpenOffice file. Also, the odt file gave a much cleaner import (it’s hard to explain what I mean by this without explaining the ins and outs of the program I use, but basically it means it’s much easier to work with).

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