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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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:12 pm

mrrad wrote: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.


That would be a huge waste of development time. There's no way that MLS will ever have all the flexibility in calculations and charting that a full-featured spreadsheet has. I can think of dozens of things I'd rather have the MLS developers work on.

I've used many different software applications in my lifetime, so I'm certainly not afraid of learning something new. But I have to say that OpenOffice/LibreOffice feels enough different to me from the MS Office suite that I am significantly less efficient when I use it. I use MS Office extensively at home and at work. We've seen ways to get the Charity license for MS Office for $59. Does it really makes sense to make all the clerks, executive secretaries, and stake presidency learn a different application to save 59 bucks? Surely they all have better things to do than to take the time to learn a new application, and to constantly be inefficient at that, since they don't use it all that often.

I think it's wonderful that some stakes choose to use LibreOffice for free. I think it's wonderful that some stakes choose to use MS Office. I think it's the stake president's call (actually, I know that), so although it's fine to discuss this to gain insights into how other units operate, we should all be content with whatever our priesthood leaders decide.
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Gary_Miller
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Postby Gary_Miller » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:12 pm

I wanted a report where I could take the totals from each sub category under its parent organization to show a total for each organization. None of the budget reports in MLS would give me what I wanted do I built a spread sheet with individual worksheets for each organization linked back to a worksheet similar to the Budget Allowance Summary Report (BASR). All I have to do is transfer the expenses from the BASR, The data's all link to the parent organizations worksheets and I get a worksheet that shows totals of each sub category and with an overall parent organizational total. It has a one page overview of all the Parent organizations totals only that total for the overall totals to date that I give to the Bishop so he can see the budget activity at a glance on one page.

I also have another spreed sheet where I calculate each quarterly allotment just like its set up on the allotment statement. That way I can project the next quarter allotment right after the quarterly report is finished and adjust my estimates accordingly. Its really pretty accurate and is usually only off by 20 to 30 dollars, it seems my primary total usually is of one or two kids from what the HQ comes up with. It also gives me a total of how much of the allowance the stake is holding back for stake use, boy was that an eye opener.

I use Microsoft Office instead of open office due to that what I most comfortable working with. I haven't yet tried to move it to open office as I'm not sure the links will work.

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Postby jonesrk » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:20 am

Gary_Miller wrote:I wanted a report where I could take the totals from each sub category under its parent organization to show a total for each organization. None of the budget reports in MLS would give me what I wanted do I built a spread sheet with individual worksheets for each organization linked back to a worksheet similar to the Budget Allowance Summary Report (BASR). All I have to do is transfer the expenses from the BASR, The data's all link to the parent organizations worksheets and I get a worksheet that shows totals of each sub category and with an overall parent organizational total. It has a one page overview of all the Parent organizations totals only that total for the overall totals to date that I give to the Bishop so he can see the budget activity at a glance on one page.

If you use the Auxiliary Budget Summary and just check the categories that you want for a parent organization, then when you print it, it lists one line for each category you selected and gives a grand total of just those categories. That is what I would do and give to each auxiliary president.
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Gary_Miller
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Postby Gary_Miller » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:51 am

Thanks Ryan I'll check that out and see if it gives me what I want. Anything to save me time.

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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:23 am

aebrown wrote:That would be a huge waste of development time. There's no way that MLS will ever have all the flexibility in calculations and charting that a full-featured spreadsheet has. I can think of dozens of things I'd rather have the MLS developers work on.


Agreed. But we've just seen an example where Gary Miller was spending a lot of extra effort to create a report which, maybe, can be done much more efficiently without even leaving MLS.

What I'm really trying to understand is this: Is it common for Bishops and Stake Presidents to ask for reports or other documents which are very difficult to produce using the software provided by the church? If the answer is yes, then it seems that the church should step up and fix this, either adding certain functions to MLS or gladly providing Microsoft Office. Or, are these special documents demanded by the Stake and Ward leadership simply a lot of busywork which adds a lot of burden to the clerks without really providing much benefit? That is something I care greatly about... the burdens we place on our volunteer staff which, perhaps, are not necessary. Meanwhile, I think the people who develop MLS are paid staff.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:19 am

mrrad wrote:What I'm really trying to understand is this: Is it common for Bishops and Stake Presidents to ask for reports or other documents which are very difficult to produce using the software provided by the church?


In my experience, yes. Here are some examples that my stake president has asked for:

  • A spreadsheet that shows the budget allocations, expenses, and balances for each ward in the stake. This data exists in the Consolidated Financial Statement, but it's on separate pages and so it's very difficult using only the CFS to compare how the wards are doing.
  • A spreadsheet that shows fast offering income and expenses by ward, with associated graphs. These graphs help him compare at a glance how the wards are collecting and using fast offering funds. Again, the CFS provides this data, but it's on separate sheets for each ward. You would have to flip through many pages to see this for all the wards, and even at that, the graphs each have different scales, so it's impractical to compare them. Once I have the data entered each month, I can show the various tables and graphs to the stake president.
  • A mailing to all the missionaries serving from our stake. This requires keeping the address list spreadsheet current (mostly mission offices, but even those change as offices move or missions are split or merged, and of course missionaries are called and released all the time). We then do a mail merge into a document using the address list as a data source.
There are others, but this gives you some examples.

mrrad wrote:If the answer is yes, then it seems that the church should step up and fix this, either adding certain functions to MLS or gladly providing Microsoft Office.


I could imagine the Church providing a report for my first example without too much difficulty, but the other two would be very challenging.

I doubt that any of my examples would be very difficult for an experienced user of LibreOffice, but I tried one of them in OpenOffice a couple of years ago and got very frustrated that many of the steps were different from MS Office that I was used to. I didn't have time to waste, so I just did it in MS Office, which I am experienced with.

Since it is impractical to add many of the needed functions to MLS, an office suite is a great tool for accomplishing much of this work. It could be LibreOffice or MS Office, depending on the stake president's judgment of cost versus time for the particular tasks and people involved.

mrrad wrote:Or, are these special documents demanded by the Stake and Ward leadership simply a lot of busywork which adds a lot of burden to the clerks without really providing much benefit?


At least for the three examples I gave, these are very important documents requested ("demanded" is such a harsh word, and it doesn't fit the way my stake president operates) by my stake president. They are used every month and further the work of the ministry.

mrrad wrote:That is something I care greatly about... the burdens we place on our volunteer staff which, perhaps, are not necessary. Meanwhile, I think the people who develop MLS are paid staff.


I care about the burdens placed on both categories of people. The MLS developers are a limited resource, and I prefer that they work on things that will help meet the goals of that product, which includes providing information to Church systems for the benefit of both local and general leaders. And as a person with a calling that depends on those systems, I of course appreciate anything that lessens my burden. But I don't particularly care whether I get a particular task done in MLS or some other tool -- I'll choose the tool that is most effective for the task at hand.
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Gary_Miller
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Postby Gary_Miller » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:55 am

JonesRK wrote:If you use the Auxiliary Budget Summary and just check the categories that you want for a parent organization, then when you print it, it lists one line for each category you selected and gives a grand total of just those categories. That is what I would do and give to each auxiliary president.


Yep that gives the same information plus some. The plus some is the problem, Previous Activity, Income, Transfers, and % Spent columns. While they are not a show stopper it just clutters the page up by giving the auxiliary leader information they don't really care about. Also the name of the auxiliary while its in the data is not in the title, makes it hard to quickly find out what auxiliary it is. I was giving this report out but changed to reduce the clutter and make give a more user friendly report for leaders.

One other item my report does that I can't duplicate in MLS is a one page overview of the budget, for the bishop, showing organizational totals with out sub-categories.

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Postby jla59 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:36 pm

jdlessley wrote:So to say LibreOffice will import anything from any component of MS Office is inaccurate.


LibreOffice might not import everything but it sure saved a friend of mine working on a college report for his engineering class. The file he was working stopped opening in Word and Word said it was corrupted. We tried every bit of advice on the internet and from Microsoft's Help for fixing the corrupted file. Then I finally said try opening it in LibreOffice. LibreOffice opened the file without one error or complaint; he then saved it back out to MS Word format and voila, no longer corrupted.

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marianomarini
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Postby marianomarini » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:48 pm

Once for all. Why introduce from the window what the Curch has cast out througth the door?
When I was baptised there was no Pc on church. All was done by pencil and calculator.
Then I became a programmer and use to use Pc. Church doesn't by it because I was acquanted with it.
I donate an old Pc and made a software to manage unit finances. This stop when church provide MLS pc.
No one cent was spend to reduce my serving time.
I think that who want use MSoffice can by it personally, without involving church funds!
La vita è una lezione interminabile di umiltà (Anonimo).
Life is a endless lesson of humility (Anonimous).

ulupoi
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Re:

Postby ulupoi » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:00 am

mrrad wrote: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.


But it's no trouble for the bishop/stake president/other leader, just for the poor clerk. This is what happens when the labor of others is considered to be free. Sometimes, leaders have clerks spend hours creating new reports in order to save themselves a minute or two, at most, flipping through standard reports. It's a D&C 121 sort of thing. We would do well to remember that we all work for the Lord. The clerk does not work for the bishop/stake president; the clerk works for the Lord. The clerk's (or anyone else's) work is his/her sacrifice to God, and as such, it is sacred and should not be wasted or misappropriated. To do so is to behave like the sons of Eli in 1 Samuel 2.


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