Tuesday, August 08, 2006

OpenOffice 1, Microsoft Office 0

Today was not a good day, computer-wise. Thankfully, the problem was with my work computer and not my home computer, even though the two are very similar in setup.

First I noticed that Excel wasn't able to use the "Save As" dialog box. I was trying to save a CSV file as an XLS file, something I do regularly. But Excel would just hang when I tried it this morning. It would also not import text files.

It was nearly lunchtime, so I mentioned it to the IT guy. He gets in the driver's seat and I go off to lunch. But first I use another computer to do the Excel job I couldn't do on my system.

After lunch, I see that he's still at it. He says it's not just Excel, but all the Office apps are messed up. And Windows Explorer Tree View doesn't expand network branches, so it's not just Office. But he doesn't know what to do about it.

We've already tried to "Repair Office" and uninstall and reinstall.

So I decide to test his theory that it's more than Office. I tried the Save As in NotePad, Adobe Acrobat 6.0 and Visual Studio 6.0. They all work. So Office is messed up, I'm sure. I don't care about Explorer -- I don't use it anyway.

But then I notice that I can't send inter-office e-mail, whereas before I could. I can receive it, but not reply. And I can't download from my ISP's POP mail servers. So whatever fix the IT tried to apply, it probably broke the mail client. Oh well -- I can live without e-mail for a short while. After all, I am part "Luddite."

But I can't even *save* a Word document, and I need to use it. So I downloaded and installed OpenOffice and easily created my "Word" document with it.

I can get by with OpenOffice only for a short time, though. I do need to create new Excel documents that contain VBA code, something I doubt can be done with OpenOffice.

As I wonder what caused this, I can only guess that it was the new scanner driver and software that I installed on Friday afternoon. Maybe if I uninstall it I might get MS Office to work again. But I'm guessing the mail client is thoroughly hosed....


Tirsden Frozenrayn said...

Oooh I might have to check OpenOffice out. I have no working versions of MSOffice to my name anymore, but then I usually don't need anything better than Notepad and Wordpad. But a spell-checker would be handy sometimes. XD

Oh the links you gave to OpenOffice are messed up, a quick edit should show what's up with 'em.

Luddite Geek said...

Thanks for letting me know about the links. I'd forgotten the "http://" prefix.

I discovered that Calc, the OpenOffice spreadsheet app, actually does have a macro recorder / playback system. But the "Basic" language it writes is nothing like the VBA I'm used to. But it also supports Python and Javascript....

Thanks for all the other comments. I wonder if I can turn off word verification for friends. It must've been really annoying typing in all those weird-looking letters.