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My mother has some serious issues using Windows (viruses, spywares, and so on) and I seriously think about setting up Ubuntu as a replacement. (That would ease my "job" as well)

The only concern I have is, is there anything to edit .docx (or .xlsx, .pptx, ...) documents on Linux ? Last time I tried OpenOffice (was 3 years ago), it was only able to open "old" MS Office documents (.doc, .xls, ...).

Thank you very much for your answers !

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6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Google added native Office file support to Google Docs, without the need of converting anything. Works from mobile devices too. (Not sure if the latter rolled out already, or just coming very soon.) Anyway. Easier, better, faster than installing and using LibreOffice.

OpenOffice opens it perfectly. Yeah the one which comes with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (any version above 3.0). You can install it without a worry. (Or try it with a live disc, don't install it, check the documents).

If OpenOffice fails, you can try SoftMaker. Its a very nice alternative, and its very cheap (although, its not free, but it worth the price). There is a trial version available, install it, check the docs (for me it works flawless, much faster than OpenOffice). (Best and only alternative to OpenOffice I guess.) (And no I'm not a man at them, not working for them. I just tried / checked all the alternatives on Linux and this seemed to be the best amongst them. You can also use it on Windows and Windows CE. No mac though.)

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I tested, works like a charm ! Thanks ! –  ereOn May 15 '10 at 10:26
"perfectly" seems very subjective to me. –  BiAiB Jun 30 at 14:59
@BiAiB: Yeah, most answers outdate on SU and other stackexchange sites. This answer was like 4 years old. –  Shiki Jul 2 at 9:14

You may also want to consider Google Docs. They recently released a new word processor, which is miles better than the old one, and it's easy for her to share documents with you (or others). Storing your docs on the web also helps avoid such other tech support calls, such as "The coffee spilled into the big box when I was using the cup-holder tray" and "help: what's a filesystem and where's my directory?".

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+1 Love the cup-holder tray comment! –  tttppp Jan 16 '12 at 8:46

OpenOffice is now able to handle DOCX.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenOffice.org for details.

If the converter does not work well enough, you may want to take a look at an alternative converter at http://www.oooninja.com/2008/12/better-office-docx-converter.html.

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AbiWord is part of gnome-office. It is a lighter-weight (less resource intensive) alternative to OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

TEA Text Editor is another alternative. It is even lighter-weight but, as a text editor, it strips all formatting from the original document (which is a desirable feature in many cases).

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A more lightweight option would be this Perl script: docx2txt.pl.

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This is to convert .docx to text documents. –  suspectus Aug 7 '13 at 4:26

Note that although OpenOffice can open some docx files, you may lose a considerable amount of the docx formatting. I have yet to find a satisfactory solution to this.

The closest thing to a solution I have found when the formatting is "difficult" is to edit the document on Microsoft Office online through a webbrowser. It's not comfortable, but it does work.

Having said that, when I opened my difficult docx file online using Word Online, it couldn't read the formatting properly either - but it's worth a try!

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