Why use MS Office instead of LibreOffice?

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
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gregwanderson
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Why use MS Office instead of LibreOffice?

Postby gregwanderson » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:32 pm

I just can't understand the hunger for Microsoft Office instead of LibreOffice. I can see how you'd run into problems if you had a document with really complicated formatting and what-have-you... but are you creating and using such documents for ward business? I mean, if you're writing letters and Sunday bulletins and maybe the occasional spreadsheet created by a clerk in the ward... what is it that makes LibreOffice so inadequate to the task?

I know people complain that when they're used to using Microsoft Office then things are hard to find in LibreOffice but the same can be said if you're used to using Office 2003 and you suddenly have to use 2007 or 2010.

craiggsmith
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Postby craiggsmith » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:03 pm

Our stake clerk does some pretty complicated spreadsheets.
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davesudweeks
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Postby davesudweeks » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:05 pm

mrrad wrote:I just can't understand the hunger for Microsoft Office instead of LibreOffice.


For some of us, it is not a "hunger" for Microsoft Office, it is a desire to minimize the time spent at the church dealing with unfamiliar software. As one who has experience trying to keep up with different brands of the same kind of software, it can be very time consuming to remember how to do a taks differently on Sunday then how you do it the rest of the week. When I was clerk, I usually took exported reports home on a thumb drive to process on my home computer in Excel because it was 3-4 times faster than trying to figure out how to do the same things in Open Office. I then would put everything back on the Thumb Drive to transfer it all back to the church when finished.

And, yes, sometimes my Bishopric wanted special reports formatted a specific way that demanded a fairly involved process to "fix" the data that came out of MLS into a document that met their needs.

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Postby techgy » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:37 pm

I'm sure that all of us can come up valid reasons as to why it would be nice to have MS Office on our MLS computers in the clerk's offices.
However, with the number of stakes/wards in the Church and the subsequent expense that the Church would have to spend out of our sacred tithing funds to pay for this software, I can well understand (and support) the fact that the brethren would much rather have us save the funds and use what's available for free. Granted there may be some sacrifice in performance and familiarity. I can deal with it.
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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:14 pm

I just figured that, given that OpenOffice (or LibreOffice now) is the church's prefered office software and it's been this way for a few years and it will probably stay this way for several more and this software is likely to already be on every clerk computer...

...then maybe those who intend to remain in leadership positions that use the church's computers and they aren't familiar with the church's prefered software should spend an hour or two becoming familiar with it. If there is special formatting in an often-used document or spreadsheet it shouldn't take that long to figure out how to do it with LibreOffice. I mean, the software is free. Install it on your home computer and have a play with it already.

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Postby jdlessley » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:13 pm

[Moderator Note: This thread was split from theMicrosoft Office License for MLS computersthread since the topic of this thread is different from that thread.]https://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?6589-Microsoft-Office-License-for-MLS-computers
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:15 pm

LibreOffice will take .xls spreadsheets from Excel, as well as import anything from Word or other components of Microsoft Office.

Over at FamilySearch Wiki, I heard that one version of OpenOffice had a function that would even allow you to do wiki markup and take the resulting markup and export it to any wiki that ran the MediaWiki software, and that feature was never in Microsoft Office. That feature disappeared just before the OpenOffice team migrated to LibreOffice, although I have heard somwhere else here that OpenOffice is still being updated even though I have heard things to the contrary.

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Postby jdlessley » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:29 pm

JamesAnderson wrote:LibreOffice will take .xls spreadsheets from Excel, as well as import anything from Word or other components of Microsoft Office.
I have not been able to get any of my MS Access databases recognized or even imported to LibreOffice Base. There is also a limitation as to the ability of LibreOffice Writer and Calc to import from MS Office 2010 or even 2007 and 2003. If the files are basic word processing or basic spreadsheets with no advanced features there is no problem. So to say LibreOffice will import anything from any component of MS Office is inaccurate.
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

davesudweeks
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Postby davesudweeks » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:45 am

mrrad wrote:I just figured that, given that OpenOffice (or LibreOffice now) is the church's prefered office software and it's been this way for a few years and it will probably stay this way for several more and this software is likely to already be on every clerk computer...

...then maybe those who intend to remain in leadership positions that use the church's computers and they aren't familiar with the church's prefered software should spend an hour or two becoming familiar with it. If there is special formatting in an often-used document or spreadsheet it shouldn't take that long to figure out how to do it with LibreOffice. I mean, the software is free. Install it on your home computer and have a play with it already.


That is what I used to do (except I don't believe that one can become versed in the nuances of the software in only 2 hours of "play-time" at it). I accepted the fact that MSOffice is too expensive for the church to select, however I have a personal copy of MSOffice on my home PC. So, I would do all the "heavy lifting" work in Excel because I am MUCH faster at it (and Open office would NOT support some of the functions I needed), and then either save the result as a .pdf to print at the church (for those reports that were too complex for Open Office to figure out) or export to Open Office to move back to the Clerk Computer. Open Office and Libre Office are good applications for basic functions. If you ever have a Bishop who insists on a report that will take hours to manipulate manually and only a few minutes to do the same work with specialized Excel functions, you will understand what I'm talking about.

I only offer this as an option that can work well. I just caution all reading that the data should not be left on your home PC - clean it all off after you are finished.

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Postby gregwanderson » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:52 pm

I'm not trying to be a nag about this but... what kinds of complicated documents is your Bishop demanding? This seems a little strange to me. Perhaps the MLS team should be working on some new function that we could all be enjoying rather than forcing you (or some other, unfortunate clerk) to spend a great deal of time creating special documents for the Bishop.

I'm reminded of a story that a finance clerk once told about how his Bishop wanted the budget broken down to scrutinize how much money each auxiliary was spending on every little detail... like paper for the Young Men, paper for the Primary, paper for the Elders, etc.. Then cookies for the Young Men, cookies for the Primary, etc.. I just couldn't understand why some poor clerk was required to do that much busywork nor what problem the Bishop was trying to solve (or avoid?) with that level of detail. It would require a clerk to either go outside of MLS to create custom spreadsheets or to create tons of different budget categories in MLS. Neither seemed to me like it would be worth the trouble.


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