Office 2007 documents in OpenOffice.org (Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron)


Once Hardy Heron is set up, I need to start working. One of the most important thing is the ability to open and save Microsoft Office 2007 documents. I had no problems with that when I was in openSUSE 10.3 especially after updating to the latest OpenOffice OpenXML translator provided by Novell. In fact, that’s why I chose openSUSE at first. I really liked openSUSE but getting the wireless to work is a pain especially since openSUSE won’t suspend my notebook properly and thus the workround doesn’t work.

According to Novell, the OpenXML translator can only work with the Novell edition of OpenOffice. The Ubuntu edition of OpenOffice is based on the Novell edition and thus contains the codes that will work with the OpenXML translator. But you can’t just install the RPM because first, it’s RPM and that isn’t the Ubuntu way. Secondly, if you did what I did at first by trying to install the RPM, you’d see that it complains that OpenOffice is not installed. So, we need to do this manually. I referred mainly to a maketecheasier.com article and after adding a few steps, managed to make it work. Woot! Read on for the steps

  1. Download the OpenXML translator from Novell. Get version 1.1-7 here. Check if there’s a newer version here. Download only the relevant version for your system (i586 or x86_64). If you download both, check the command you put in step 3. Better to download into it’s own directory.
  2. Install the alien package so you can convert the RPM. To do so, open a terminal and enter sudo apt-get install alien.
  3. In the terminal, change to the directory where you downloaded the OpenXML translator and enter sudo alien –to-tgz –script odf-converter-*.rpm.
  4. In the terminal, enter tar zxf odf-converter-*.tgz.
  5. Then, while still in the same directory, enter sudo cp usr/lib/ooo-2.0/program/OdfConverter /usr/lib/openoffice/program/.
  6. After that, enter sudo cp usr/lib/ooo-2.0/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/TypeDetection/Filter/* /usr/lib/openoffice/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/TypeDetection/Filter/.
  7. Then, enter sudo cp usr/lib/ooo-2.0/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/TypeDetection/Types/* /usr/lib/openoffice/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/TypeDetection/Types/.
  8. Make a symbolic link to libtiff.so.4.2.1 by entering sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libtiff.so.4.2.1 /usr/lib/libtiff.so.3 as the OpenXML translator uses libtiff.so.3.
  9. Then, install libgif4 by entering sudo apt-get install libgif4. You can also use libungif4g but that one has problems with MPlayer and other things. So better to use libgif4 if you are in a default install of Hardy Heron.
  10. Close any OpenOffice.org windows that are open. Find the Microsoft Office 2007 file and double click in Nautilus.

If everything went to plan, the file will be opened and OpenOffice.org says that it’s waiting for an external application (look at the status bar). You should not get a window asking what is the file type. If you have that, then check that all OpenOffice.org windows are closed and try again the steps (don’t have to download again unless the file’s corrupt).

By the way, the translator may take a long time with a large or complex document. Be patient even if it seems like it’s hanging. Shouldn’t be hanging more than 10 minutes, though… Well, be as patient as you can and decide for yourself…

That’s it. You can also open the file from the File menu of OpenOffice.org. Enjoy!… or rather, start working!.

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[...] dangblog wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptOne of the most important thing is the ability to open and save Microsoft Office 2007 documents. I had no problems with that when I was in openSUSE 10.3 especially after updating to the latest OpenOffice OpenXML translator provided by … [...]

The complexity of these steps is why I packaged together odf-converter-integrator to make this process easy. The second reason was some Ubuntu people were using an ancient version of odf-converter (but your instructions have the latest).

Andrew, I used your odf-converter-integrator at first – the chocolate edition. It’s easy to install and I would recommend it.
However, double-click didn’t work for me. If I use the File menu to open, it works. So, I try alternate steps and document it here.
I suggest people to try the integrator from oooninja.com first. It’s easier and cleaner. If that didn’t work as you would expect, then try the steps above.

I made some changes. The original steps won’t be able to auto-detect Powerpoint and Excel 2007 files because I missed them out. Also, the symbolic link command was wrong. The updated steps should work properly now.