Optimize Microsoft Office documents

Have slow load­ing Word doc­u­ments, or pass­word pro­tected Excel spread­sheets for which you have for­got­ten a pass­word? Who'd have thunk of this solu­tion to your MS Office woes..

Have a bunch of clumsy Word doc­u­ments that become huge and it takes the good old MS Word min­utes to open it? Here's a tip.

Open the file in OpenOf­fice (at ver­sion 2.2 at the time of this writ­ing), save it as Word .doc, reopen in Word itself, and voila — the file opens with­out much pain. This is espe­cially use­ful with doc­u­ments writ­ten in lan­guages other than Eng­lish, and if you have pic­tures in them.

Same with Excel. Have password-protected cells? Open the spread­sheet with in OpenOf­fice Calc, just uncheck 'pro­tec­tion', re-save as an Excel file, and you're good to go. Really helps when the orig­i­nal spread­sheet designer has left the com­pany and some­thing needs changed.

For those who say OpenOf­fice isn't "truly com­pat­i­ble with MS Office", well, MS Office isn't fully com­pat­i­ble with MS Office. Tried Office 2007 yet? The inter­face revamp was sup­posed to be a major break­through, but it's just pesky. Here's a quote from OpenOf­fice 2.2 release notes.

"Over­all, ver­sion 2.2 should appear bet­ter to users thanks to its sup­port for kern­ing, a tech­nique that improves the appear­ance of text writ­ten in pro­por­tional fonts; kern­ing is now enabled by default. OpenOffice's PDF (Portable Doc­u­ment For­mat) export func­tion has also been enhanced with the addi­tion of the optional cre­ation of book­marks fea­ture, and with sup­port for user-definable export of form fields. A quick look at the release notes also reveals that many minor bugs have been repaired in this new ver­sion. Most of these appear to relate to the Calc spread­sheet and Base data­base programs."

While OO isn't exactly the most effi­cient (mem­ory hog alert) it is a fan­tas­tic option for start-ups and peo­ple who're unwill­ing to fork for an over­priced office suite when office tools are going online (think Google Docs, think­free, and such).