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TechWriter to get Word 2k export

Published: 23rd Nov 2006, 22:15:01 | Permalink | Printable

Open format shunned by punters

Results chartTechWriter and EasiWriter are set to gain the ability to export Word 2000 documents after users voted on new features for the software packages. TechWriter developer Martin Wuerthner today announced the results of a survey carried out earlier this month, which showed 'surprising' overwhelming support for the Microsoft document format.

Martin told punters: "Many thanks to everyone who submitted their votes on the list of proposed new features. Voting has closed and we have a clear winner. The winner is Word 2000 export."

He added: "Both [TechWriter publisher] Mike Glover and I were rather surprised by what the winner turned out to be, but that just shows that it was quite a good idea to ask in the first place."

The Word 2k export feature romped home with 482 votes - trouncing a new style editor, which gained 354 votes. Other 'runner-up' features chosen by users include automatic references, support for mixing portrait and landscape pages in documents, and the ability to flow more than one paragraph around a picture. A structure view came in sixth place ahead of extended auto-numbering support and new headers and footers options.

Support for importing and exporting OpenDocument files trailed behind in 10th and 9th places.


TechWriter feature poll results

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Well, I'm happy with this. Would love to have more flexible headers and footers too, but hopefully this will happen as well - it's not too far down the list.

Kudos to Martin and Icon Tech for this excellent initiative. :)

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 23/11/06 10:31PM
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The ability to *export* (and import?) I feel is one of the most important features to have in any RISC OS word programme.

To me, this eliminates the need to 'waste' money on Windows to access Word to use in my daily school working environment. To be able to access and use Word files without having Windows is a big advantage and means to avoid using Windows. :-)



 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 24/11/06 6:54AM
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I agree, I used to have to use the PC card on the Risc PC at one time, just to be able to handle Word documents, a purchase of EasiWriter solved that anathema, and has been a big reason I can remain Windows free today.

I do hope the hope the lower placed features also get implemented before long, there is scope for a good series of upgrades to come, all depending on how much of Martin's valuable time he can dedicate to each of his many projects.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 24/11/06 9:46AM
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I'll have to admit to being slightly puzzled by this. We already have W2K /import/, what benefits would w2k /export/ give us that the current word export facility doesn't give us at the moment? This isn't a rhetorical question, I really don't know.

My problem is that without the ability to mix portrait and landscape in a single document, even the current import facilities will only import about a third of all my word documents properly.


 is a RISC OS UserDS1 on 24/11/06 12:10PM
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In rely to DS1. I beleive is is Word95/97 export that EasiWriter has.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 24/11/06 12:17PM
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Mixed portrait and landscape is 4 on the list, with a healthy amount of people who'd be prepared to pay for it. As this arguably comes under the banner of Word compatibility anyway, I think it's likely this will receive attention as well in due course, but of course that's up to Martin...

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 24/11/06 12:23PM
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sa110: With respect, that doesn't answer the question. AIUI we currently have 95/97 export, and w2000 import. What benefits will w200 export have over the current?


 is a RISC OS UserDS1 on 24/11/06 12:23PM
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DS1: All the information was on the TechWriter website if you could be bothered to read it at the time. Its still in googles cache for the time being [link] but incase it goes:-

"Word2000 format export (as opposed to Word95 format, which EW currently uses), removing various limitations of the current Word output (e.g., on total file size) and allowing JPEGs and PNGs to be exported natively instead of expanding them (NB: we already have Word2000 import and despite the name, this is the still the current Word format)"

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 24/11/06 12:37PM
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The ability to export documents to Word 2000 is certainly very important to keep communicating with the PC world at large.

However, I feel I must point out that the 'obvious' alternative need not necessarily be MS Office / Word on Windows, as has been suggested. The biggest alternative to MS Office itself is OpenOffice.org and is freely available for the big 3 systems (Windows, OS X and Linux). It provides reasonably good alternatives for all the applications contained in MS's Office suite, however compatibility is not perfect though pretty good overall. It also deserves mention that Microsoft has been developing MS Office for Apple's Mac system since the very beginning and offers, naturally, full compatibility with the Windows native version of Office.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 24/11/06 6:37PM
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I'm hoping that the new export facility will remove EW/TW's current behaviour of converting graphics to bulky bitmaps. This makes the sharing of documents for review with other Word users impractical as it effectively destroys the graphics (ie they are no longer available in their original/native form). But I may be expecting too much here.

As to the result being a surprise, I think it reflects the dominance of the format (and native application) among "other people" that we all have to deal with :-)

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 24/11/06 8:56PM
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Although MS Office files may be the dominant file types at the moment, ODF seems to be the future. All other office applications with relevant user-bases have now agreed on ODF and it is standardised by the ISO. So many really big governmental organisations (especially EU organisations) are switching to it, and they require external companies to use ODF when communicating with them. So to me this looks like RISC OS catching up to a now almost obsolete "standard" instead of getting ready for the future.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 24/11/06 9:21PM
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Many applications outside the RISC OS world can read Word format files. Microsoft will support that format for many years to come. Great to see this option getting plenty of support.

Great to see that a large number of votes were cast. Obviously the community appreciates the chance to provide input into the future development of this important application.

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 25/11/06 3:14AM
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JGZimmerle>You might well be right, but people base their computer software and hardware purchasing decissions in the "now" not in some distant utopian future. The reality is we've all (at some point) seen a Word document - I've never ever received an ODF one.

The alternative is we cede ground to Microsoft and leave punters in the position where to read documents they have to leave the RISC OS platform and use Windows. People here won't complain about lack of ODF support now (as they don't need it now) - they *will* complain if they can't open a word document.

I would agree and suggest that it is important that MS Word import/export *should not* be the sole means of interchange between EW/TW and other platforms, supporting MS Word *now* does not prevent the adoption of a more "open" format at a subsequent time.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/11/06 1:53PM
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Clearly I'm in a minority, but Word export is not something I voted for, since all my needs are met by the excellent pdf export functions. My only comment is that Word export does not advance the capabilities of the programme itself. I would much rather see TW with added functions such as watermarking, auto references etc.

 is a RISC OS UserEddie on 26/11/06 2:56PM
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You are right, we need MS Word import, but IIRC this is already there. We also have MS Word export for older MS Word formats (up to '97 IIRC). Since MS Office is also getting ODF import and export filters now, I don't see why we need MS Word 2000 export. Simply read in the Word2000 files and export them in ODF to send back to the MS Office user, who can load it into MS Word 2003.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 26/11/06 4:24PM
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Eddie: don't worry development priority isn't just going to be on the winner of the poll to the detriment of all else. Mike and Martin are very much committed to the features that extend the ability of the program and will be working on those too. For example Mike is re-writing the manual and would very much like the automatic contents and indexing feature before he's finished.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 27/11/06 9:09AM
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PDF support is wonderful, but I always get return e-mails saying "the document was great but because it's in Acrobat format I can't edit it!". I'm quite looking forward to the modern MS Word export.

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 27/11/06 10:03AM
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JGZimmerle: AFAIK, there is no ODF import/export for anything else than Word2007 available yet, and even that looks highly experimental. Microsoft have apparently promised to provide the ODF import/export free of charge for all Word versions, but they have promised stuff like that before and failed to deliver.

I remember many attempts of the past to get to a generic import/export format, and they all failed for various reasons. As far as I can see, for a minority platform like RISC OS, the scarce development resources should be put into something that is usable *now* and not something that might be usable in a year or two. Fact is that future Word versions will still be able to import/export Word2000 format, so it looks like a good idea to implement better support for native Word format. I am also fairly sure that the improvement from Word95/75 to Word2000 format is perhaps 50 times easier than implementing something rather complicated as ODF.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 27/11/06 10:46AM
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I am dissapointed by Word2k export winning the Icon Technology vote. I never use Word export as a matter of principle: One is encouraging the idea that MS Word is a standard to be accepted. Now, surely, we don't want to do that? I always use pdf export for non-RISC OS people. In fact we should encourage MS users not to send us MS Word documents, but to use a 'neutral' format like pdf. For example, increasingly, UK government and other public web sites in the UK offer their documents as PDF files. I want to help smash MS not support them. Cheers.

 is a RISC OS UserDaveLane on 27/11/06 12:22PM
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It looks like Word 2000 export didn't win as many Priority 1 votes as many of the other features, but managed to sneak ahead by winning Priority 2 and Priority 3 votes. Still, as long as the voters didn't just choose randomly for their P2 and P3 choices, most of them should get something they want.

Although placed well down the list in terms of total numbers of votes, the OpenDocument import and export choices actually received more P1 votes than Word 2000.

 is a RISC OS Userdavidb on 27/11/06 4:57PM
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True, and I guess those people who voted P1 for ODF need it a hell of a lot more (for example to be able to continue using RISC OS in the company-wide workflows using OpenOffice.org, KOffice, AbiWord, Scribus, textmaker, NeoOffice or IBM Workplace) than people need the very latest version of MS Word's DOC format. As Steffen pointed out, there are apparently no problems when importing old DOC-format files into newer MS Word versions, so the current DOC-export functionality should be sufficient. Whereas the P1-ODF voters missing ODF support might soon become the reason to abandon RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 27/11/06 6:23PM
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davidb and JGZimmerle: I think you both misunderstood the voting principle, so you got the wrong end of the stick. People could assign "1" (mildly interested), "2" (interested, would pay 10 Pounds) and "3" (hugely interested, would pay 20 Pounds).

Word2000 export was way ahead of everything else, no matter how you look at it. For instance, it has most "3" votes (the very valuable ones) plus also most "2" votes. No matter how you interpret the figures, Word2000 export is so hugely ahead of any other feature, that there is no doubt what users want.

Interest in ODF was very weak.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 30/11/06 11:23PM
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Yes, I was distracted by the pretty graph! It also doesn't help that, where I work, P1 tasks are the most important.

In many ways, it's a shame that ODF export (for example) wasn't demanded by users because it's a feature that will ultimately serve them better in the long run.

 is a RISC OS Userdavidb on 4/12/06 10:36AM
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