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Author Topic: Software foibles  (Read 123 times)
Hawkmoon
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« on: October 20, 2020, 10:33:44 AM »

So much for interoperability.

I'm doing some work in Powerpoint, taking an existing slide show and adapting a copy to make a Powerpoint for a different class that can re-use several of the same slides. The file I started out with was in the old (.ppt) file format, from Powerpoint 2003 and older. Somewhere along the way I saved my working copy in the newer .pptx (Powerpoint 2007 and newer) format, partially because it uses less disk space but mostly because I was getting messages about unsupported features. So I now have a fairly well-developed slide show in the new Powerpoint format.

Out of curiosity, I tried opening it up in "Presentations," which is the Powerpoint analog program in the SoftMaker FreeOffice suite from our friends in Germany. It opened okay. I found a couple of slides in which the line spacing in the main panel was a bit off, and I adjusted those. I didn't touch the header box on any of the slides. Then I saved it, closed it, and opened it again in Powerpoint 2016.

Oh, my!

What a mess. It completely bollixed the header boxes on EVERY slide. I've just spent over an hour repairing the damage.

At the moment I'm off to the supermarket. When I get back I'll open it again in FreeOffice, but this time I'll save it back as a copy, not overwrite the original. And now I'm curious to see what may happen if I open and save it in Libre Office. Should be interesting ...

Sheesh. SoftMaker advertises their suite as providing "flawless" compatibility with Microsoft Office. What I've been learning is that their word processor module isn't too bad on compatibility with Word, but their spreadsheet is less compatible with Excel. This is my first look at Powerpoint compatibility, and the result was less than satisfactory.
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2020, 10:41:48 AM »

Flawless compatibility, in my experience, simply means that it doesn't erase all of your files, set your computer on fire, and drain your bank account.

Anything less than that is fair game.
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Ben
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2020, 10:51:18 AM »

Flawless compatibility, in my experience, simply means that it doesn't erase all of your files, set your computer on fire, and drain your bank account.

Anything less than that is fair game.

Yup. Can't expect it from a free program. When I was going through my full time Linux at home phase when I was working, I attempted to use Open Office when teleworking. It was actually 98% compatible, which ended up being more annoying than being very incompatible, because I would end up taking too much time to proofread to look for the random, hard to catch errors that would pop up.

In the end, if you're using MS Office at work for standardization, do everything work related on MS Office. Easier for you, keeps coworkers from hating you. Same if you're self-employed working for clients. If they're using MS Office, use it when working for them if it's stuff that needs to be compatible.
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Phantom Warrior
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2020, 03:52:58 PM »

I attempted to use Open Office when teleworking. It was actually 98% compatible, which ended up being more annoying than being very incompatible, because I would end up taking too much time to proofread to look for the random, hard to catch errors that would pop up.

Nailed it.  Everything works "fine" but the little formatting errors creep in and you don't notice them until it matters.  Like when you are submitting it to your legal writing instructor...
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Hawkmoon
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2020, 04:07:54 PM »

Yup. Can't expect it from a free program. When I was going through my full time Linux at home phase when I was working, I attempted to use Open Office when teleworking. It was actually 98% compatible, which ended up being more annoying than being very incompatible, because I would end up taking too much time to proofread to look for the random, hard to catch errors that would pop up.


I've given up hope for Libre Office (which is a fork of Open Office, which apparently isn't being actively maintained any more). But SoftMaker Free Office is a slightly crippled demo version of the commercial SoftMaker Office suite, and they make a big deal out of [alleged] compatibility. Their word processor does pretty well, but the Presentations (PowerPoint analog) -- OOF! Just terrible.

And I did open the [repaired] PowerPoint file in Libre Office. It screwed it up even worse than SoftMaker did.

If I had more time to waste, it might be interesting to go the other way -- generate a presentation in Free Office, save it in PowerPoint format, and see how it runs in PowerPoint. I'll get right on that ... as soon as I wrap up 17,389 other projects I haven't gotten to yet.
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