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Are .doc / .docx converted to .odt when displayed ?

asked 2020-12-23 16:16:37 +0200

ArndtF gravatar image


I have received quite some .docx documents whose formatting get seriously messed up when displayed with LibreOffice Writer. Because of this, it's practically impossible to edit or read the document properly. The problem occurs with the following Writer versions I tested: i) (x64) on Windows 10 ii) on Linux

For MS Word, I used 2010 and MS Office 365, no problems there. For testing purposes, I saved the document as a .doc type in Excel as well, but I get the same problem when displaying it in Writer. The formatting in Excel is correct for both, .doc and .docx types. I attached the .doc and .docx files here for your reference further below.

The I saved the document in MS Excel as an .odt and what I realise is that this will result in the same messed up formatting. So if I open the .odt in MS Excel and Writer, I get the same wrong formatting. So my best guess is that maybe Writer does an on-the-fly conversion from .doc(x) to .odt format for display and that this formatting is not supported by .odt ? Or does this qualify as a bug or non-supported .doc(x) formatting feature ?

Apologies if my tests and descriptions are not good enough, as I am not really a Word power-user and have just received the docs from our kids' school. So I didn't create them and couldn't really point to what could cause the problem in terms of document elements.

Many thanks for any hint that points me in the right direction.

Best regards, Arndt

C:\fakepath\Document_docx.docx C:\fakepath\Document_doc.doc C:\fakepath\Document_odt.odt

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The formatting in Excel is correct for both, .doc and .docx types.

Excel uses .xls or .xlsx

Are .doc / .docx converted to .odt when displayed ?

Whenever a document is opened by LibreOffice it gets translated into the document model of LibreOffice, but you must not confuse ODF file format with the document model of LibreOffice as an application.

Opaque gravatar imageOpaque ( 2020-12-23 16:23:13 +0200 )edit

Understood, makes perfect sense. Thanks.

ArndtF gravatar imageArndtF ( 2020-12-23 17:08:48 +0200 )edit

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answered 2020-12-23 16:44:53 +0200

ajlittoz gravatar image

You're stumbling on a compatibility issue.

Your original documents contain a bad mixture of text (the main text flow), txo tables and several drawing objects containing text in their turn. This is the worst compatibility case.

This is even aggravated for me by the chosen font(s), MS PGothic, not available on my Linux box.

The problem here is in the document structure. M$ Word has severe limitations in its insertion features, lacking the notion of frames, compelling to use graphic objects usage instead. In LO Writer, "drawing objects" are not supposed to contain an elaborate text flow (in principle, only a label for the object).

To a lesser extent, the tables contain merged cells. This is correctly displayed but may cause difficulties in editing.

This is the kind of difficulties I experienced when working in a mixed LO-M$ environment. The only way to address it is to keep with very simple and elementary formatting. Any "advanced" (read non-text insertions like drawing objects) formatting is doomed to fail. This is caused by the differences in expressiveness between ODF and M$ formats. They indeed have a non-void intersection but are not at all replacements for each other.

There is nothing you can do unless you succeed in recommending the author(s) to stick to simple formatting. Unfortunately, this rules out rounded corner borders. If angle corners are acceptable, you can replace the rounded ones with a standard paragraph border or a table.

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Thanks ajlittoz for the prompt reply. You confirmed my thinking. And yes, the original document looked a bit weird even in it's 'natural' environment. Originally, it was in Japanese, which may explain the exotic font.

ArndtF gravatar imageArndtF ( 2020-12-23 17:07:55 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2020-12-23 16:16:37 +0200

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Last updated: Dec 23 '20