MacInTouch Reader Reports

Office 2004: Experiences

Feb. 5, 2010
Feb. 6, 2010
Feb. 8, 2010
Jun. 21, 2010
Jul. 6, 2010
Aug. 17, 2010
Aug. 18, 2010
Aug. 19, 2010
Aug. 20, 2010
Oct. 19, 2010
Oct. 20, 2010
Oct. 22, 2010
Oct. 23, 2010
Oct. 25, 2010
Oct. 26, 2010
Oct. 27, 2010
Mar. 16, 2012
Jan. 29, 2013
Jan. 30, 2013
Jan. 31, 2013
Feb. 1, 2013
Feb. 2, 2013
Feb. 4, 2013
Feb. 5, 2010

item.109051

Colleen Thompson

I've got a user having a Microsoft Office problem that appears to be fairly common: in Excel (it is reported by others to happen in Word also), typing is suddenly not recognized. She has to click to TextEdit (or some other program), type anything there, then click back to Excel for the keyboard to be recognized again. This is on an Intel mini running Leopard and Office 2004, with, I believe, the latest updates.

Does anyone know of a solution? Rather extensive googling revealed this has been an apparently unsolved problem since 2007, with Apple and Microsoft blaming each other. It's not the keyboard.

Feb. 6, 2010

item.109089

MacInTouch Reader

Something similar happened to me recently in Excel 2004, but it turned out it was typing the text, just as white text on a white background. Deleting the plist preference file in my user folder (after quitting Excel) seemed to fix it (delete "/Users/username/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.Excel.plist"). It did return once, and I repeated the procedure, but hasn't since recurred. It's possible some of the other Excel or Microsoft preferences are corrupt in your case.

item.109092

Ken Cohen

I had this problem as well, eventually switched to Office 2008 and the problem disappeared.

This is just a wild guess. Word 2004 used to crash regularly due to a corrupt font cache - the inability to recognize keyboard input somehow sounds like a related issue. You could try a cache cleaner (the excellent freeware application Onyx does this, make sure you specify that it clean Office caches). Or try removing all of the Office preference files. Or try reinstalling Office including all updates.

item.109098

Peter Christofferson

Three of us at work have the same problem. Also happens in Entourage. When it happens in Excel, I have found that double-clicking in the cell I want to edit will re-activate the keys and I can type again. Not much of a solution, but it saves me having to jump to another program, or the Finder, and back again.

This has been a known problem for years. Why it has never been properly addressed, I do not understand. If the rest of our company wasn't on Office for Windows (with no upgrade on the horizon), I would gleefully dump Office for Mac.

item.109116

Randall Voth

Colleen - Just a total shot in the dark, but could Excel and Word be losing focus to some popup dialog, maybe even a corrupted, hidden dialog of some kind? I find Windows programs do this sort of thing, changing focus behind your back. Maybe turning off the little paper clip guy and warnings and popup messages would help. And try deleting every bit of the program everywhere and reinstalling, in case it is a corrupted dialog.

(I've never had this problem, but I haven't used Office much on the Mac, only Windows).

item.109118

Carl Brenner

It happens with Entourage also. I've never figured out a fix, unfortunately - other than quickly clicking into another app and then back. FWIW, I've found that I don't have to type into the second app - just click into it and back. Still ... annoying!

item.109122

MacInTouch Reader

I've had the problem with most text apps on a MacBook 17"(2007) and use other Spreadsheet programs such as NeoOffice if I have to create a spreadsheet, but I have never experienced anything like you're writing about.

I have found that when beginning to type a sentence the first letter doesn't usually get entered, but after that everything seems to work ok.

Feb. 8, 2010

item.109145

MacInTouch Reader

The problem in Excel, where typing is suddenly not recognized, also happens in other programs. Our company uses an ERP database developed in 4D, with 20 users. Any of the computer that have Leopard and an Intel processor are having this problem. It does not happen on the older computers with Leopard and a G4 processor. This sounds like Apples problem not Microsoft or 4D. There have also been reports of this happening in Filemaker but I have not been able to confirm this personally.

The work around has been to click to TextEdit (or some other program), type anything there, then click back to Excel or 4D for the keyboard to be recognized again.

Has anyone found a permanent fix?

item.109154

Gregory Tetrault

Colleen Thompson said:

"... in Excel (it is reported by others to happen in Word also), typing is suddenly not recognized. She has to click to TextEdit (or some other program), type anything there, then click back to Excel for the keyboard to be recognized again."

I have the same problem with Entourage 2004 on a Mac Pro running OS X 10.5.8. Typed characters are not accepted until I switch to another application, switch back to Entourage's main window, and then bring the e-mail window to the front. The problem is infrequent and unpredictable. The problem did not occur with the earliest versions of OS X 10.5, so I assume there is an unknown minor incompatibility between Office 2004 and 10.5.6/7/8. It's a very minor annoyance, so I haven't done any serious troubleshooting.

item.109181

Mark White

I have the same problem with Word 2004 (version 11.5.3) not recognizing any keyboard input. I never stumbled on the switching applications trick, but did discover that saving the document will allow typing to resume.

I kind of figured it was a Microsoft feature, rather than a bug - an automatic reminder to save your documents! </sarcasm>

Jun. 21, 2010

item.116560

MacInTouch Reader

I tried starting Word on my Mac (OSX4.11) Sunday 19 June 2010 and it refused to start (it started the day before without any problems). Instead I got a Microsoft popup window which stated

"Microsoft Word has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience."

The popup window had a checkbox which would allow me to "Recover my work and restart Microsoft Word" so I checked that off. Unfortunately, when Word tried to start again, I ran into the same problem.

I sent the error report on to Microsoft.

I tried starting Excel to see if that would work and I ran into the same problem.

I uninstalled Office with the Remove Office utility, removed the aliases from the dock, and then re-installed Office from my installation disk (fully licensed). I then installed all of the updates via the Update feature in the installation wizard.

After doing all of that, I still get the same darn popup window telling me that Word/Excel couldn't start.

I'm at a loss.

Do I have a virus/malware/etc on my machine that I'm not aware of? Anybody experiencing this besides me? Any suggestions? Thank you.

Jul. 6, 2010

item.117403

MacInTouch Reader

Same experience here [with keyboard not being recognized]. Didn't happen for years, then started. Becomes more frequent the longer I'm using a program (for me, it's Word) in a single session.

Usually minimizing and re-opening the window resolves it. Sometimes I have to save/close/reopen to resolve it.

It's annoying when working against a deadline. Will probably (finally) upgrade to 2008, partly to resolve this issue.

Aug. 17, 2010

item.119558

MacInTouch Reader

If you're using a wireless mouse and/or keyboard, try changing batteries; the signal may be weak and is not being picked up properly. JAL

Aug. 18, 2010

item.119601

Colleen Thompson

Where Office 2004 apps in Leopard quit responding to keyboard input:

To answer the MacInTouch Reader who said

"If you're using a wireless mouse and/or keyboard, try changing batteries; the signal may be weak and is not being picked up properly."

That's not it, as in our case it's a wired kb/mouse. There are lots of people having this problem. In our case we finally solved it (after a fashion) by upgrading to Office 2008.

Aug. 19, 2010

item.119645

Bradley Dichter

As Office 2004 is PowerPC code, Leopard and Snow Leopard have to use Rosetta to run it. Rosetta can get overloaded and the Mac would need to be restarted to clear it. Snow Leopard in particular has a problem with Office 2004.

item.119653

David Friedman

In response to the loss of keyboard input i've discovered that...

If I'm using a 3rd party keyboard *and*

If I use the cmd+arrow keys to navigate my spaces desktops then

I do lose keyboard entry to the machine, using office or other software.

Solution is to log out (using the mouse) and log back in.

Why this happens is a mystery.

item.119655

William Lear

[Re: Office 2004 not responding to keyboard input]:

I would add that a quick workaround is to switch to another program, then switch back. That has always restored the Office app to accepting keystrokes. Must be a feature, not a bug, heh.

item.119654

Malcolm Cooke

Unfortunately Office 2008 does the same put-a-table-on-a-page, put-a-cursor-in-the--last-box, press-Return-to-add-another-row crash it does it every time on every machine, different configurations ,and different OS X versions. If you go to the menu to do Add Row with the mouse, it will generally do so without a crash. This bug has existed for years and never been addressed.

If you have been working on a document and forget to save before doing keyboard add crash work is lost.

Really bad especially if you do work with lots of tables.

Aug. 20, 2010

item.119731

John Baltutis

Bradley Dichter wrote:

"As Office 2004 is PowerPC code, Leopard and Snow Leopard have to use Rosetta to run it. Rosetta can get overloaded and the Mac would need to be restarted to clear it. Snow Leopard in particular has a problem with Office 2004."

I had no issues with Office '04 on either a 24" iiMac, 2.8 GHz, Intel Core 2 Extreme, 4 GB RAM or 27" iMac i7 w/12 GB RAM while running Snow Leopard for over two years (beta-tester), so I have no idea what this perceived problem is all about.

Oct. 19, 2010

item.123007

MacInTouch Reader

The Microsoft Office 2004 updates are still worthless - they cannot fix a defective product concept.

On my MacBook running 10.5.8, Excel 2004 normally will not let files/changes be saved into nested, nested folders that are essential for organizing my work documents. I have to save to the desktop and then manually drag them to where they belong.

I tried and dumped Office 2008 when it came out since it would not permit saving Word files and crashed when I tried to do so losing all changes.

I'm certainly not buying Office 2011.

I exchange files with coworkers in different countries and usually I use NeoOffice with a Save As to Word. No one has seen anything other than what they expect when they open my "Word" files.

For docx files, I either open in NeoOffice or Pages with no problems.

I fail to see why anyone is still supporting Microsoft Office when alternatives exist.

Oct. 20, 2010

item.123055

Matt McCaffrey

MacInTouch Reader says:

"On my MacBook running 10.5.8, Excel 2004 normally will not let files/changes be saved into nested, nested folders that are essential for organizing my work documents. I have to save to the desktop and then manually drag them to where they belong. I tried and dumped Office 2008 when it came out since it would not permit saving Word files and crashed when I tried to do so losing all changes."

I've run Office 2004 on Macs ranging from a Blue Dalmatian iMac to my early 2008 MBPro, and on all the species of "cat" that Apple has issued for Mac OS X. I also have Office 2008 running on one iMac, first under Leopard and currently Snow Leopard.

Office 2004 has more than its share of issues. But the issue that MacInTouch Reader describes stands alone. I must say I'm a little surprised that he has lived with what surely qualifies as one of the more kludgier workarounds going.

Might I suggest: Open Excel 2004's preferences (COMD-, or Excel -> Preferences... ). In the list to the left, choose the "General" preferences pane. Halfway down the pane choose the "Select..." button next to the "Default file location" field. (On my machine that appears to be blank by default.) In the resulting dialog navigate to the top folder of the nest of folders where you are storing files. (If, for example, you have a folder called "Clients" which contains a set of "Client" folders, navigate to the "Clients" folder.)

It will take you less time to do it than to read that paragraph.

If you still have the problem where Excel won't save except on your desktop after doing this, then you have to look at:

1. Your file organization - are you routinely saving documents outside of the overarching "Documents" folder, or trying to save documents outside of your Mac OS X User account area?

2. File permissions - are they somehow not allowing Excel to write except on your Desktop (which is by definition in your User account)?

Hope this helps!

item.123059

Skot Nelson

Re:

I fail to see why anyone is still supporting Microsoft Office when alternatives exist.

We've discussed this before. Yes, alternatives exist. Yes most people would be incredibly well served by these alternatives and should choose them instead. Open Office is a more than adequate and 100% free alternative for parents writing notes to their childrens' teachers.

Word is still the most powerful word processor out there though, and there are many people who use advanced features that the alternatives have not implemented fully. Until that happens, or until the .docx format is no longer dominant, Word remains the best option for many people.

item.123077

M Young

I can certainly complain about Microsoft office as vehemently as anyone, but the anonymous MacInTouch poster's complaints about saving errors in Word and Excel sounds like he has a major problem with his setup. I have used Office 2004 and 2008 extensively on Leopard and Snow Leopard on multiple computers and never experienced anything like they describe. Maybe a clean install would help.
I look forward to seeing what 2011 brings.

Oct. 22, 2010

item.123156

MacInTouch Reader

First, my thanks to Matt McCaffrey for his suggestion on Excel General preferences settings: it does work now for saving into a new "Excel files" in my user Documents folder. However, the basic issue here, and ongoing sore point, is that Microsoft forces users to set up preferences or do convoluted things that are not needed or required in most other non-Office applications.

My file organization makes sense for my work since it is a logical technical topic-related setup. Some apps that I use weekly that simply let me select where to save in the dialog box - without fuss - include QuarkXPress 7, NeoOffice, TextEdit, all browsers, Graphic Converter, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, Bean, Adobe Acrobat Pro 9, various video apps, Filemaker Pro 9, etc.

Yes, I do work on and save in-process files on 16GB flash drives (in case of power disturbances) and then transfer them to my internal HDD at the end of the day. I doubt that file permissions are a factor since *only* Excel and some Word files have a problem unlike files from any other apps. I regularly use Disk Utility, Cocktail, DiskWarrior and Drive Genius to keep my Macs in good order. If problems *only* occur with two specific Microsoft office applications, it's likely due to Microsoft's bloated useless features obsession rather than my Mac's structures.

As to Skot Nelson's comments, yes, Word is a powerful word processor but it is bloated with many "features" that few ever use, or use correctly. My problem is seeing documents made with Word where the writer/author is trying to do desktop publishing. That makes little sense. For any document that requires an elegant professional look, I either use QuarkXPress or an older version of InDesign that were made for the purpose. Word can never attain the professional look of a Quark or InDesign document.

Skot also suggested that open source Office suites are only suitable "100% free alternative for parents writing notes to their childrens' teachers." Not exactly.

I do exchange professional technical papers and presentations in Word/Excel/Powerpoint with scientists and engineers in several countries every month. I volunteer considerable time for organizing in-depth international technical electronics manufacturing conferences and the Word/Excel/Powerpoint users never have a problem with my files generated in NeoOffice. Pure Word files, however, often have problems.

Finally, M Young's suggestion of a clean install had been tried twice by me with Office 2004 (and with Office 2008 before I abandoned it) since reinstalls often sense for curing odd problems. However, deleting/removing Office 2004, reinstalling and going through the tedious updates, I just did not want to do that again. As is sometimes true with OS X updates, reinstalling often helps.

Yet, with the *only* problems with saving files for any apps being Word/Excel documents, I do not think it is a coincidence. Look at the other Microsoft Office 2004/2008 problems repeated over and over in MacInTouch and elsewhere.

Microsoft is the problem. They just want everyone to do things their way.

Oct. 23, 2010

item.123221

Geoff Strickler

MacInTouch reader wrote:

"Yes, I do work on and save in-process files on 16GB flash drives (in case of power disturbances) and then transfer them to my internal HDD at the end of the day. I doubt that file permissions are a factor since *only* Excel and some Word files have a problem unlike files from any other apps."

I suspect the issue is that the flash drive is formatted as a FAT32 volume rather than a Mac OS HFS+ volume. In theory, file systems are irrelevant to applications, but in practice, they're not always. It may be that Office is attempting to use a file system feature that isn't supported on FAT16/32 volumes. If you only use that USB drive on Macs, you can reformat it as HFS+ and see if that resolves the issue.

That would not be the only file system issue known for Office 2004, it doesn't support Mac OS X navigation services, so opening a file from the Finder that isn't in the current directory (e.g. you've clicked the navigation triangle to expand a folder and open a file from there) does not work correctly. I'm sure there are others.

Oct. 25, 2010

item.123375

Andrew Schultz

While this won't help solve the issue of Word and Excel not saving into a heavily-nested folder structure, it at least shows it's a known phenomenon:

bug report: document path-length limit in excel 2004

Oct. 26, 2010

item.123389

David Charlap

Geoff Strickler wrote:

"I suspect the issue is that the flash drive is formatted as a FAT32 volume rather than a Mac OS HFS+ volume. In theory, file systems are irrelevant to applications, but in practice, they're not always."

This can be especially important if you use that volume with Windows systems as well as Macs.

Macs store HFS metadata on non-HFS volumes using "dot-underscore files". These have the same name as the associated file, with "._" prefixed to the name. (This is done because UNIX and Mac systems hide files with names beginning with dots, unless you explicitly take some action to see them.)

If you copy a file from a Mac's HFS volume to a FAT volume, a dot-underscore file will be created to contain the HFS metadata (extended permissions, application associations, the resource fork, etc.)

If you then edit the file on Windows, the Windows version of Excel will not (obviously) update the dot-underscore file, because it doesn't know about this metadata.

It is possible that the resulting mismatch might cause problems when you try to re-open the file on a Mac.

As a quick test, if the OP is doing this, he can try deleting the dot-underscore file while the volume is mounted on the Windows PC. Doing this shouldn't affect the contents of the file, although the metadata will (obviously) be lost.

item.123397

David Charlap

Andrew Schultz wrote:

"While this won't help solve the issue of Word and Excel not saving into a heavily-nested folder structure, it at least shows it's a known phenomenon (link to an article describing a 220-character path-name limit in MS Office 2004)."

Ugh! There really is no excuse for this on a Mac app.

Yes, operating systems may impose path-length limits for their APIs, when passing a path to the kernel, but Mac apps have never had to use those kinds of APIs.

Every file on a Mac file system can be referenced by two numbers - a volume ID and a file ID. APIs to access files by these IDs (instead of by pathname) have existed since the very first Mac OS release. Although some APIs have been deleted over the years, they have been replaced by other APIs. The functionality has never gone away.

Apps that use these IDs instead of names have no problem with files that move to different directories (but not to different volumes). They don't care what the name is, how long any path or path-component's name is, and they don't care how deep within a folder stack you want to place the file.

The use of these IDs isn't even being phased out. Mac OS 10.6 has actually added new APIs (like a URL syntax for referencing files by ID.)

The fact that Microsoft has chosen to ignore the robust file system APIs that Apple has provided for 25 years does not mean Apple has a problem. It is simply another example (among a great many) of how Microsoft really doesn't "get" Macs, never has, and likely never will.

Oct. 27, 2010

item.123456

Gregory Weston

David Charlap comments:

Ugh! There really is no excuse for this on a Mac app.

Yes, operating systems may impose path-length limits for their APIs, when passing a path to the kernel, but Mac apps have never had to use those kinds of APIs.

Every file on a Mac file system can be referenced by two numbers - a volume ID and a file ID. APIs to access files by these IDs (instead of by pathname) have existed since the very first Mac OS release. Although some APIs have been deleted over the years, they have been replaced by other APIs. The functionality has never gone away.

While I agree with David's sentiment, there are two nits:

The file ID "only" came into being with System 7 and didn't reliably exist for any given file until years later.

Unfortunately, Apple themselves have not set a very good example along these lines in recent years, using full path names in many pieces of software instead of aliases or volume and file IDs or other robust mechanisms. This is, I think, changing as of 10.6 with a new mechanism that's more robust and flexible than aliases were. But it'll take a while and, as a practical matter, some leadership from Apple to see it really leveraged.

item.123458

MacInTouch Reader

Geoff Strickler wrote:

I suspect the issue is that the flash drive is formatted as a FAT32 volume rather than a Mac OS HFS+ volume. In theory, file systems are irrelevant to applications, but in practice, they're not always.

My flash drive volumes normally are GUID HFS+ except for a few that I carry on business trips. These FAT 16 or 32 versions do not contain any files that I read or update for Windows users - I just let them open and copy what they want. I also use FTP sites for making large files available to Windows users.

For my current working GUID flash drives, I use the Finder copy for updating files on the HDDs. Since flash drives keep dropping in price, I use older ones to store backups of critical weekly and monthly files/folders.

Although flash memory has a finite lifetime, I suspect that my flash backups are reasonably secure and I still make DVD or CD backups too along with daily SuperDuper! cloning.

item.123502

Robert Rosenberg

There have been comments on the 220-character limit on paths. Can the use of an alias to point at the directory where you want to store the file bypass this restriction? IOW: I create an alias for the directory and store it in the root directory and then use it in lieu of the long path. IOW: ~/alias/file not ~/directory1/directory2/.../last_directory/file.

Mar. 16, 2012

item.154197

MacInTouch Reader

The Entourage icon disappeared from my dock. I cannot access my email. When search for Entourage in Applications (and other places) this window appears:

Microsoft Entourage cannot load the Microsoft Office shared libraries.
The files may have been moved from their original locations.
Try the following:
* Move Entourage back to the Microsoft Office folder (or to where it was originally installed.
* Reinstall Entourage to make sure that all thefiles are installed correctly.

I don't understand and/or don't know how to do any of the above. Please advise.

Jan. 29, 2013

item.169362

Charles Jonah

All of a sudden the xml converter to read docx files for Word 2004 stopped working. I removed and replaced the xml-converter app and it did not fix the problem. Other suggestions? (I saw several reports on the problem by googling but no real solutions).

item.169390

Joe Toth

Charles Jonah wrote:

"All of a sudden the xml converter to read docx files for Word 2004 stopped working."

The same thing happened to my daughter and me last week. She had the latest version of the converter that could not convert a Word "docx" file. She sent the document to me, but I couldn't convert it. I assumed a corrupt installation (we used the same installer) and downloaded a clean copy from Microsoft. That also failed. I used Office 2011 to convert the document (that was simple enough to have been created in Office 2004).

I suspect that either something is wrong with the latest converter or (more likely) that an upgrade to Microsoft Office affects how documents are saved and causes the converter to fail.

Jan. 30, 2013

item.169410

Benoît Evans

Perhaps the time has come to upgrade from 2004 to Office 2011.

Amazon has the full Office 2011 suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) available for immediate download. The home and student version is $100 and the home and business version (which includes Outlook) is $168. Otherwise, the two versions are identical.

item.169420

William Richards

Download the free OpenOffice. It will open all the MS xml documents. You can then save them in an Office 2004 format.

item.169451

Graham Needham

Official support for Office 2004 (and thus the XML converter) stopped on 10/01/2012 - over 1 year ago).

This means no more security updates, no more bug fixes and no more compatibility updates. If Microsoft has made a change to the docx format since that date, then it is entirely possible the XML converter will now fail on that document. Upgrade to Office 2008 (or 2011 if you have an Intel Mac), which are both still currently supported.

item.169433

Joop Arends

Both Charles Jonah and Joe Toth mentioned a failure of the XML Converter to read .docx files in Word 2004. I just ran a quick test under Mac OS X 10.5.8 (PPC iMac) and 10.6.8 (Intel MacBook Pro) and had no problems with a variety of (mostly small) .docx files I scrounged together with Spotlight. The version of Word 2004 I used was 11.6.6; the stand-alone version of XML-Converter was 1.2.1, both AFAIK the latest available. This would suggest that there is no sudden or widespread issue with these versions.

That leaves the source of the files. Apart from the possibility that at least some of the problem files might have been corrupted, I wonder if there could be a subset or a particular source of .docx files that causes problems when converted in Word 2004.

Fortunately, there are readily available alternatives to XML Converter, the easiest of which may be 'textutil' in Terminal (see here):

textutil -convert doc myFile.docx
[i.e. convert myfile.docx into ".doc" format as myfile.doc]

If this shouldn't work, it might help confirm a file to be corrupted.

item.169417

Zorensen Leverthal

To those having trouble with Microsoft's .docx converter: in my experience, OpenOffice works more reliably than Microsoft's own software for tasks like this.

item.169419

P. Maisonpierre

Just to note that there wasn't a problem when I just tried opening a .docx file with Word 2004 (in OS 10.6.8) using the Open XML Converter v 1.2.1. So I'm not sure what to suggest (sorry) -- but thought it was worth noting.

Jan. 31, 2013

item.169458

MacInTouch Reader

In my experience, rule number one of dealing with Microsoft Office files is do not expect consistent compatibility between versions. Period. I recently was going through some of my old archived files and converting them to .docx. Many of the files were old Word 1.x-5.x documents and Word 97-2004 documents. Most opened fine in Word 2008 (the version I'm currently using), but they all had to be opened by choosing File->Open rather than double clicking. A few of the Word 1.x-5.x files, however, refused to open.

I tried TextEdit and several of the OpenOffice variants (NeoOffice and LibreOffice I believe.) I finally ended up digging up my old Office X CD and reinstalling that (I'm still running OS X 10.6.8). Word X was able to open the old files, and resave them as a more modern version.

Over the years of using many many versions of Word on both Mac and Windows (again, going back to at least Word 5 Mac), the only absolute file compatibility exists between identical versions of Word. Then, in decreasing order of compatibility: (1) Subsequent versions of Word on the same platform, (2) Concurrent versions of Word between platforms, (3) Subsequent versions of Word between platforms. Beyond that, all bets are off.

The moral? Keep important data accessible. Ideally via an open format, and barring that by making sure it is always saved (correctly, and verified) to a format you can currently access.

item.169487

Louis Hecht

I believe that OpenOffice requires Java VM... so just be sure that if, in fact, it does, you understand the consequences of using Java VM.

item.169488

Louis Hecht

Just a note on upgrading from Office 2004 to Office 2008: Office 2008 reaches EOL on April 13, 2013.

item.169491

MacInTouch Reader

Benoit Evans wrote that

"The home and student version is $100 and the home and business version (which includes Outlook) is $168. Otherwise, the two versions are identical."

That's not entirely true. The business version also includes SharePoint services support, which can be important for people who want to use some of the collaborative document editing features that are available through SharePoint or through Microsoft's cloud services. The Home and Student version does not include SharePoint services. Additionally, the Home and Business edition includes a full year of premium support, while the Home and Student edition also only comes with 90 days.

There also are huge differences in the license terms between the Home and Student version and the Home and Business edition. I realize that many people don't care about such things, but Microsoft's lawyers care, and using the wrong license can cause serious issues for organizations. For example, the Home and Student version is only permitted for home uses and for student purposes. It explicitly is *not* licensed for use in any other activity. It goes far beyond forbidding commercial use: even work for non-profit organizations (aside from work performed as part of being a student) is prohibited with the Home and Student edition. I presume that the Mac version of Office doesn't do this, but on Windows versions of Office, the Home and Student edition adds the words "non-commercial" to the title bar of any open document. Perhaps not a big deal, but I have seen this cause embarrassment for people using the Home and Student edition in business settings.

item.169494

MacInTouch Reader

Graham Needham mentioned that

"Official support for Office 2004 (and thus the XML converter) stopped on 10/01/2012 - over 1 year ago."

He added the recommendation to upgrade to Office 2008 or 2011, both of which are currently supported by Microsoft. I'll go a little farther and suggest that people who are using 2004 an Intel Mac should skip 2008 entirely and go to 2011, even if the user interface of 2011 is more of a jolt to 2004 users than is the 2008 interface. It appears that official Microsoft support for most editions of Office 2008 stops in a couple of months (April 2013), though there is some ambiguity on Microsoft's support page regarding whether or not Office 2008 Service Pack 2 will be supported beyond April. (The entry for 2008 SP2 is "not applicable," rather than a particular date.)

item.169499

Brad Price

FWIW: I've had no issues opening all manner of older and newer MS Word documents (.doc and .docx) with Apple's Pages. The current release retains excellent fidelity.

I maintain a copy of Office 2011 on my Macs, but use it only occasionally these days, primarily when exchanging documents with Windows users who cannot use anything else.

item.169506

John Baltutis

Benoit Evans wrote:

"Amazon has the full Office 2011 suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) available for immediate download. The home and student version is $100."

Get the family pack on disc (three installs) for $109. Also, if registered before 30 Apr. 13, you get Office 365 Home Premium and a one (1) year non-commercial subscription for free: (details)

Feb. 1, 2013

item.169518

Stephen Hart

Brad Price wrote:

"FWIW: I've had no issues opening all manner of older and newer MS Word documents (.doc and .docx) with Apple's Pages. The current release retains excellent fidelity."

Doesn't work with really old Word documents, say from version 4 or 5.

item.169524

Colleen Thompson

Charles Jonah said

All of a sudden the xml converter to read docx files for Word 2004 stopped working. I removed and replaced the xml-converter app and it did not fix the problem.

OpenXML Converter versions past about 1.19 have had problems with some documents for some clients, in my experience. For that reason, when updating someone's Office 2004 (which nobody seems to do on their own) I have been in the habit of avoiding the later converter updates.

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Charles Jonah

I was the original poster. The difficult file opened fine on my Macbook (but not with my MacBook Pro (i7). I had passed up the 2008 as it seemed crippled to me, the VBS stuff wasn't there and I have been known to use it.

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David Krafchick

I want to add my 2 cents here. I am still using Office 2004. I have made sure that Auto-Update is turned on. A few times each year, including last year, I have been alerted to, and installed, updates. With these updates I have had no trouble opening documents or converting .docx documents.

So, before anyone abandons ship, why not check for updates? If anyone has not, they may be surprised to find that Office 2004 is still supported and updated.

Feb. 2, 2013

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Fred Moore

OpenOffice.org, and it's variants NeoOffice and LibreOffice, only use Java for the database module and a few wizards as stated here:

Base (the database component) relies completely on Java technologies to run, but other programs (like Writer, Calc and Impress) only need Java for special functionality. If you do not need to use Base and do not want to use any of the Wizards, then you do not need to have Java installed and configured for running Apache OpenOffice (and older versions of OpenOffice.org).

Also, some people are under the misconception that NeoO uses more Java (for its Mac-like interface) than the other OOo variants. This Java dependancy was removed in June 2012. See this MacInTouch post by Smokey Ardisson and its links.

Feb. 4, 2013

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John Muccigrosso

I recently tried to create a nice pdf version of my 1998 dissertation, which was done in Word 5.1a (good memories). I blogged about it here, but the short version is that not only do newer versions of Word not reproduce the layout exactly, even 5.1a running under SheepSaver doesn't!


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