File format question (from DOC/XLS)

Hi, good morning:

Used to be Windows/MS Office user, tried to start using Linux few times, never succeeded due to some apps does not work under Ubuntu (at least I don’t know how to make them to work), now I think I’m ready to transition to Linux. I have a lot of files in DOC & XLS format and would like to transfer to a format used by LO. Can someone please tell me what’s the best method for me to transfer those files in DOC & XLS format to a format in LO. At this time I’m open to format, but would like to use a format that will be readable in Office, if needed.

It seems to me that the best method should be go to Word/Excel, then save the file in the desired format, then open it under Ubuntu and fix small things not converted properly, but not sure if this is the best way. I’ve tried to open DOC/XLS files under LO in Ubuntu, but there are some format issue.

Thanks all for your comment/suggestion.

Hello michaelbr, don’t think so complicated. Open your DOC & XLS files straight forward with LO and save them as odt & ods. Conversion completed the best way it could be done. There is no in-between format, that will work properly with Writer / Word & Calc / Excel parallel. If needed in future open e. g. a Writer file and choose save as docx for someone who will open it with Word. You yourself should use LO (odt / ods) only then with your files. Prepare to not change continuously from odt to docx to odt to docx (same with ods vs xlsx). This would be your best chance to corrupt the files due to different concepts of the document structure from LO vs MSO.

I’ve tried to open DOC/XLS files under LO in Ubuntu, but there are some format issue.

Yes, that’s what you should expect to do when you mention

and fix small things not converted properly.

Once fixed, re-save to docx or xlsx would mess up your fixes again.

How much files are you talking about? 10, 100, thousands? Rather simple documents or more complex ones? If only few I’d suggest to perform that manually. Of course you define your threshold of ‘few’. Otherwise you should look for a macro or a tool.

My approach was to save all existing doc / xls to an archive and convert all the files step by step to a corresponding same new directory structure containing only LO format files. I’ll keep the doc / xls archive for backup purpose only.

From my experience it’s no good idea to open and save files in format docx or xlsx with LO and then continue work with Word and Excel. I avoid that strictly and treat such files as ‘read only’ with LO. That works ok so far. If you have the requirement to work with docx and xlsx in future I’d frankly recommend to stay with Word / Excel.

Finally: Godspeed!

Thanks so much for your prompt reply and suggestion, I have around 40 in each (DOC & XLS). I’ll do it manually as suggested, this way I can do it on my own timing. Thanks again for your suggestion.

Once fixed, re-save to docx or xlsx would mess up your fixes again.

As far as I can see, the files in question are not DOCX / XLSX, but DOC / XLS. In such a case, fixes have more chances to survive format conversions (in my experience). Nonetheless, work in the native format only.

I was lucky, I didn’t convert to DOCX/XLSX format when that came out, after I saw what MS did with Windows OS, I decided to stay with old format to make things not too complicate.

I have had similar problems, I would highly suggest making a backup of all MS files, into a folder so if things go wrong, you still have all your data to go back to. In LO I saved all mine as a MS file, was much simpler, safer, transition. Many of my Excel formulas did not show up, at all, in LO.

Please note that it’s not wise to start with batch-conversion of all of your existing files, regardless if you are going to work with them now or much later, or maybe just keep an archive.

Personally I’d advise only convert files when necessary - when you start working with a specific file; that would e.g. let other files stay in the original format, and enjoy a possibly better import when you decide to start working with them a year later - because of new advances in LibreOffice external format support at that time.

I agree with @mikekaganski 's point to maybe not batch-convert immediately for the benefit of advanced convert code with later LO versions. Thx for this addition. Also I’d like to point out again the need for a backup of the original files so that one can come back to the original unconverted or by LO rewritten files in the doc / xls format.

@gabix , right, source files from @michaelbr are doc / xls. Hints on better compatibility for conversion back and forth can be found on this askbot. But I have also considered, that once converted to odt / ods and fixed it could be better to choose docx / xlsx as target save format because this could keep potentially more of the structure, styles and features from LO. I admit that this is a guess. From my experience format features can already be lost when downgrading from docx / xlsx to doc / xls even with native Word / Excel.

As rules of thumb: convert as less as possible | convert direct to target format | don’t use alien formats.

Just performed a little test, took two docx files (Word 2010) I had problems with after opening and saving them from LO earlier ( on Win 10). Indeed saving to doc does a slightly better job. So @gabix , thx also for your addition. Finally, doc / docx, xls / xlsx - I think it’ll depend … one has to try and check the results.