Formatting Monsters

If you use OpenOffice, I’m sure you’ve encountered formatting monsters when dealing with files saved in Microsoft Office‘s proprietary formats.  And more often than not, you become the monster as you wrestle with the formatting to try to return the document to its well-structured condition.  Then you press save and hope the other party sees a well-structured document when he/she opens it.  But what is often revealed is Frankenstein.  The body parts are still there, but the stitching and proportioning will make it appear you are still flunking Monster Making 101.

It’s not your fault.  Sometimes it’s the surgical tools that let you down.  On your end, you may have encountered OpenOffice mangling the format of a Microsoft Word document that you are collaborating on with a deviant friend that uses Microsoft Office.  You may have attempted to fill out an online job application form that some employer has demoniacally saved in Word.  You may be attending school and the evil instructor requires you to use a formatted template saved in Word.  The situation that has brought you to the operating room does not matter.  The fact that you are trying to suture limbs upon a torso with a knitting needle does.  It makes you look like a mad scientist… and sometimes it makes you look quite daft.

OpenOffice is the venerable free office suite of the open source world.  It does a great job when used with it’s own (and actually several other) document formats.  It’s compatible with Microsoft Office, but that does not mean you’ll see beauty upon opening a document created in Microsoft Office.  OpenOffice is quite good at creating monsters when working with Microsoft Office documents.  It’s the woes of reverse engineering office formats.  Sometimes it creates beauty and sometimes it creates monsters.  The beauty of OpenOffice is its platform independence.  It runs on Windows, OS X, and Linux.  This is all nice and good, but you want it to work… and work well.  You don’t want monsters interrupting your productivity.

Enter SoftMaker Office.  It does a much better job handling Microsoft Office’s proprietary monsters… I mean, file formats.  It is nimble and stable.  It runs on Windows and Linux, but unfortunately no OS X version is offered.  It is inexpensive… and right now SoftMaker is offering its Office 2008 product for free.  During the holiday season when you download SoftMaker Office 2008, SoftMaker will make a donation supporting aid and development projects around the world.  SoftMaker is even offering a free package of 80 fonts, too.  SoftMaker Office 2008 is free to use as long as you want.  Free tech support is offered.  Future upgrades are even offered at reduced prices, which if you check around its website, you’ll notice SoftMaker Office 2010 is out.  If you like SoftMaker Office 2008, you can upgrade to Office 2010 at the upgrade price, if you desire.

In the beauty of this holiday season, banish your monsters to Halloween while you enjoy the beauty of working with Microsoft Office formats without the monstrous Microsoft price, take warmth in the spirit of SoftMaker’s donation and go forth to excise other monsters in this world.

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