cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (handgun)
[personal profile] cloudscudding
I am so frustrated by word processors today. I do not want/cannot really afford to spend $300 to get a copy of Microsoft Word. But there are a few formatting standards that I have to be able to maintain to submit stories out. OpenOffice fails at maintaining formatting when saving to RTF, as I accidentally and very unhappily discovered recently. Note to self: always open back up that file you just saved to see what it looks like, m'kay? OpenOffice only saves double-spacing in the first paragraph, not the rest of the document. It will also bold or italicize an entire paragraph if there's a small section of that paragraph that should be bolded or italicized. AbiWord, another free word processor, can open OpenOffice docs and save them in RTF, preserving the line spacing and emphasis. Woo-hoo! But it can't preserve headers. However, if you delete out the headers before you open it in AbiWord and then add the headers in, everything's fine. But, if you then open up the RTF version in OpenOffice or Word, it puts the headers in on the first page too.

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!

However, the RTF version saved in AbiWord still looks much, much better than the one saved in OpenOffice. So that's what I'll stick with.

And I've been sending out submissions that look like that. ::wails in despair::

Date: 2009-05-09 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bitwise.livejournal.com
I just put a copy of MS Office 2007 on craigslist for $60.

Date: 2009-05-09 08:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudscudding.livejournal.com
Hm. Question, since I'm not sure how licensing/installing/updating works--is it possible to use that to install on more than one machine? That's the other thing--I need whatever it is to run on both laptop and desktop, since I switch between them frequently.

Date: 2009-05-09 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bitwise.livejournal.com
Good question. I don't know the answer off the top of my head.

Date: 2009-05-09 11:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] utilitygeek.livejournal.com
I've never had any problems installing/activating/updating Office on multiple machines. If the license works like older ones (I'm not sure -- I don't keep up) then it's even legal to put on one desktop and one laptop as long as they are both yours and you don't use both simultaneously.

Also, Word Standalone 2007 is $90 new on Amazon (if bitwise's copy is no longer available).

Date: 2009-05-10 03:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudscudding.livejournal.com
Awesome, thanks.

Date: 2009-05-10 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudscudding.livejournal.com
I would really be very happy if you'd let me buy it from you.

Date: 2009-05-11 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudscudding.livejournal.com
Great! When do you want to arrange the handoff?

Date: 2009-05-09 08:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] braddr.livejournal.com
As much as it costs and sucks.. consider it a required tool of the trade. It's a valid business expense, so you can write it off on your taxes. You can hold off using it until towards the end of your process and only use it for finalization and formatting.

A possible alternative.. pdf? Do publishers allow submissions in that format?

Date: 2009-05-09 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudscudding.livejournal.com
No, publishers really, really don't. They want it in the format they want it in, and only that format, unfortunately.

Date: 2009-05-09 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xcorvis.livejournal.com
Can't OpenOffice save in doc format? That could work slightly better.

A word of advice - the more you open a document with different programs, the more likely it is that one of them is going to choke on something that the other one did, especially if you're changing formats a lot. If you need to send out in RTF, save the document as RTF before you start writing and just work in it that way.

If you want to test the formatting of stuff, email it to me and I'll take some screenshots in Office 2007 and send it back.

Date: 2009-05-09 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nemoren.livejournal.com
Yes it can save in .doc, and the formatting maintains just fine. I am not understanding this problem.

Date: 2009-05-09 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudscudding.livejournal.com
Editors frequently accept rtf format only.

Date: 2009-05-09 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudscudding.livejournal.com
It can save in that format, but most editors only accept in .rtf. Some accept in doc, but most want the simplest type.

I usually keep the format in opendoc until right before I send it.

Thanks for the offer, but I can do that on Phil's work-purposes-only laptop, though it's a pain.

Date: 2009-05-10 12:43 am (UTC)
ext_24729: illustration of a sitting robed figure in profile (Default)
From: [identity profile] seabream.livejournal.com
Argh. That's rough. Sorry to hear that.

Some comment threads to wade through while you think about your choices of word processors, if you're in a hurry, just read the comments with RTF in them, though you might want to go back later when you've got more time:

-even though the initial question has to do with Linux systems, there's useful information with respect to text formatting

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2009/01/i_get_mail.html#comments

-especially useful with respect to RTF. Implications from, among others, Graydon, being that you might be better off with an annotated version of plaintext for editing which you run through a script to format into RTF for submission

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2009/01/dark_ages_start_here.html#comments

Something on OO 3 on Sharon Shinn's website
http://rolanni.livejournal.com/376216.html

Do you have the same issues with OO 2.4?

edited for memory error re second last.
Edited Date: 2009-05-10 12:46 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-05-10 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudscudding.livejournal.com
I did not have the crashiness in OO 2.4. Not sure about the formatting issues--I only just realized they were a problem.

Date: 2009-05-10 03:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marydell.livejournal.com
The home edition of Office 2007 is $150, which is not hay, but is better than $300. They have a sale going thru...um, today for $99. It says "for personal and student use only" on the top of the window but it doesn't do anything to the docs to keep you from using it professionally. Also, the license allows you to install it on 3 systems.

The new "ribbon" interface for word & excel is the most horrible thing ever, unfortunately.

Date: 2009-05-10 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudscudding.livejournal.com
Looks like I can get an unused copy from a friend for $60. Given that I'm still spending money, that's a win anyway.

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