One of the issues you face when you switch your organization to OpenOffice.org is: how do the users work with MS Office users?
If Angie down at the courthouse needs a document that your clerk Rob created, how does Rob send Angie what she needs? Especially if Rob isn't very experienced with file formats, attaching documents to emails, and so on?
You do this.
1. Set up everyone's computers to save by default in MS Office format. Then they don't need to even worry about sending Angie the file in the right format.
2. You set up everyone's default email program.
3. You train everyone to send out documents using one of the options under File > Send. You might even create a new toolbar with those options more clearly expressed.
1. Setting Your Default Email Program
I've mentioned it before, but have forgotten about it since blogging ;> so it bears mentioning again. When you choose File > Send > Document as Email or File > Send > Document as PDF Attachment, the default email program starts. How do you specify it? It's usually not right, for one thing, since Yahoo starts by default on my desktop and (oorgh) Outlook starts on my laptop.
The online help for OpenOffice says to look for the External Programs setting. However, there is no such thing. You set your default program by setting it in your operating system. For me, it's under Internet options in my control panel.
2. Set Up Everyone to Save in MS Office Format
If you work with people who aren't familiar with saving files in different formats, or if you just think it would be easier for you, set up everyone's computers like this.
Tools > Options > Load/Save > General.
In the area toward the bottom, select Text Document, then in the corresponding dropdown list, select the Microsoft Word format. Click the image to see a larger version.
Repeat for each file format in the Document Type list, then click OK to close the window and save changes.
3. Use the File > Send Features As Much As You Can
I love these features. They make working with non-OpenOffice users so much easier. Plus there's a new one this release in 2.0.3 -- too bad they didn't put it on the menu. ;> However it's easy to do yourself. Click the image to see a larger version of the menu options as they are by default.
Document as Email starts your default email program, and attaches a copy of the current document to that email. All the user needs to do is address the email and enter content like "Angie, here's the document you wanted." If you're set up to save in MS formats, then the doc of course is in the appropriate MS format.
Email as PDF does the same thing, but makes a PDF version of the current document, and attaches that to the email. This is great if Angie down at the courthouse doesn't need to edit the document, or if you realllllly don't want her to.
There are two other new ones, Email as Microsoft Word and Email as OpenDocument Text. See the related blog for how to add those to the menu, or to a menu that you create yourself. You can also of course rename those options to make them clearer for users.
There you go -- those are three steps that will make interacting with MS Office users much simpler. Less training, fewer complications, and less confusion about where various files went.