Sunday, January 10, 2010

Installing OpenOffice

Many of my customers use OpenOffice (OO) instead of Microsoft’s Office software. The simple reason for that is that OO is free.
For everybody who wants to attempt to install or update OO themselves here a couple of related tips. You may want to print this post before you start on this endeavor; you find a link “Print This Post” at the end of the post.
OO is a very sizeable download of currently over 135MB. The organization behind OO is a non-profit with limited resources; their computers have limited capabilities, thus they have to throttle the download speed for all their visitors. I recommend to download from, a specialized download web site that offers much more speed. Download OO from here.
1. Caution: The top part of the download page on Filehippo looks like this:
Please note that currently the entry is for Release Candidate 1, it is a Beta version meant for testing by geeks only. You want the latest stable version; I have marked it green. Click on that and above you will read “Download This Version” and THIS is where you click to start the download.
When the download starts take note of the file name and know where the download will be stored!
This location is different on different versions of Windows and can be set differently within Firefox.
As usual in Windows what you download is not the program you actually want; rather it is an Installer (or Setup) program that when run will install the actual program on your computer.
When the download has finished find the downloaded installer (I hope you did take a note of the file name) and run the installer. The installation process will first create a folder containing all the files required for installation; this folder has a lengthy name and usually ends up on the desktop. For the time being leave it alone! The installer will ask you a bunch of typical questions.
2. Caution: When asked do a Custom install; the Complete option would install much more than you need to replace MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Custom will let you choose which module gets installed. Here is what it looks like when I do a Custom install of OO:
To select or deselect a feature you click on the little down arrow by the feature to get to the actual selection. Most of my customers will neither need Draw nor Base nor Math.
This Custom Setup window offers more choices under Optional Components. Set them like this (the part scrolled off this little screen is okay as suggested):
These settings assume that your installation of Java is up to date.
That’s it for the physical installation but there is more; thank you for following me this far.
You should have a new icon on your desktop that looks like this:
ScreenShot021 We have to do a few one-time settings before we can use OpenOffice. Double click the OO icon to get too OO’s start window.
Upon the first start you will be ask for your name; give it your full name, this will not be transferred anywhere; do NOT register, this would only lead to more emails.
When the “Welcome to Open Office” window is open click Tools, Options, open Load/Save and highlight General.
For Text documents select “Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP”, 
for “Spreadsheet” select “Microsoft Excel 97/2000/XP” and
for “Presentation”  select “Microsoft PowerPoint 97/2000/XP”.
Then highlight Microsoft Office and put check marks in all six boxes:
Click OK and close the Welcome window.
That’s it for the initial settings. Thank you for following me through this.
OpenOffice should be working now. If it does then the very last thing to do is to delete the installation folder. 
If you use these instructions PLEASE let me know any comments or suggestions you may have in this context. Just write a comment here in the blog; please DO NOT give your full name or clear text email in the comment; this is a public forum, there is no privacy here. I will reply in another comment. Added 2010-01-11: Somebody did just that. Again, this is a public forum.
As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.
Click here for a categorized Table Of Contents.


Eike Heinze said...

Somebody I know posted this comment WITH THEIR FULL NAME and phone number in the post! As I wrote in the OO post: "There is no privacy here". I have deleted this dumb post, sorry, K.K. Have you not learned anything from being on Facebook and/or My Space?
Because the question raised is of general interest here the text of the comment:
Anonymous said...

I selected "Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP" for Text documents, "Microsoft Excel 97/2000/XP" for spreadsheet, and so forth. However, when I did so, it said "Not using ODF 1.2 may cause information to be lost" underneath "Document Type." Should I be worried about this?

I will reply in another comment.

Eike Heinze said...

No, I believe you do NOT need to be concerned.
The programmers of OpenOffice leave the door open for future "enhancements" where OO may be able to do some things MS Office may not be able to do identically.
I see this as "covering ones back".