How to Convert Microsoft Word Files to Open Office

Open Office Writer is the word processing application bundled with the Open Office productivity suite of software applications. The program is capable of reading a large number of popular industry formats to include Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, HTML, and text. The default mode of the application is to save new files in Open Office format, but is able to save content back into a number of these formats to include Word. A common task that arises for users of Open Office Writer is to convert Microsoft Word files to Open Office format.

What File Formats Does Open Office Writer Support?

Now determining what file formats that Open Office Writer fully supports can be a little tricky for the average consumer. If you are looking for a comprehensive listing of the file types that Writer can either read, or read and write, there is a pretty comprehensive listing posted by Dan Barvitsky on Just scroll down his list to see the listing of formats by the “Writer” application. One key thing to remember, is that although Writer can read a format, doesn’t mean that it supports writing back to the same format! I think Word Perfect is the best example of this. It doesn’t mean that you can’t get around saving back to the format; however, is beyond the scope of our tutorial.

Some popular file formats that you can open and save back to the same format in Open Office at the time of this writing are:  AportisDoc (Palm), HTML Document (product Writer), Microsoft Word 2003 XML, Microsoft Word 6.0, Microsoft Word 95, Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP, ODF Text Document  (this is actually Open Office’s native Writer format!), ODF Text Document Template, Pocket Word, product format Text Document., product format Text Document Template, Rich Text Format, StarWriter 3.0/4.0/5.0, StarWriter 3.0/4.0/5.0 Template, Text

Text Encoded, and Unified Office Format text. Now, if your desired format isn’t on the read/write list, don’t get too discouraged! You can still typically get back to most formats, but you may have to save as Word or Rich Text from OO Writer, and then import into your desired application. Also, although not highlighted as a read/write format, Writer does natively support saving documents to PDF from the “Save As” menu option! This was the option that originally made me an OO convert.

Steps to Convert Microsoft Word Files to Open Office

Step 1 – Launch or open the Open Office (OO) Writer program. To do so, you will need to double click the OO program icon located on your computer’s desktop first. Then, select the OO Writer icon from the main program menu.

Step 2 – Select the “File” menu option and then click the “Open” menu choice.

Step 3 – Use the subsequently displayed file chooser to select the Word document that you are going to convert from Microsoft Word format to Open Office. Highlight the document and then select the “Open” menu option. You will now see the file displayed in Open Office Writer.

Step 4– Choose the “File” and “Save As” menu options.

Open Office Writer Formats
Open Office Writer lets you save word documents in a number of file formats to include the native Open Office format.

Step 5 – Rename the file (if desired) and click the “Save” menu option. This action will then convert the Microsoft Word file to Open Office ODF Text format (.odt file).

Step 6 – To save the converted file in alternative formats such as Word 97, Word 95, text, or even .HTML, select the down arrow located to the right of the ODF Text format option. Then, choose the desired format and click the “Save” menu option.

Step 7 – Repeat these steps 1 through 5 to convert additional Word files in Open Office format.


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