Things that Prevent Me from Totally Abandoning Windows

There are a very small number of things (programs, features, etc) that make me keep Windows on my machine. I am not at all afraid of doing problem-solving or CLI stuff, but these issues are just, well, annoying.
Biggest One: Formatting in LibreOffice.
I do proofreading for graduate papers. Features like tables, footnotes and labelling graphs just don’t translate well.
Here is an example. This was a table on a Web page. First, in Word!

Now, in LibreOffice:

If the document comes from someone else (such as a PhD candidate), I have no choice but to edit it in Word.



That is where dual boot helps. Linux cannot do certain things which Windows can afford due to the popularity of its platform.


If it is one simple application like Word that you need, I would start with a VirtualBox to be safe. While having this as a safe backup I would try out the Wine implementations of these programs. Luckily, you are not the only one who feels that way, so many programs like Word, etc. are ported working very well on Linux in Wine. The only downside is that you usually need to use an older version compared to what the newest product is right now. I am sure that Word 2007 e.g. should be super stable right now on Linux. Maybe even 2013, I don’t know but 2007 definitely.


If you look back at older versions of word 5 for dos the windows version 1, 2, 6 etc and move them to open in word 365 the formatting changes. Also if you change printers then the layout margins alter … on going problem with all word processing documents
Plus if you have word 6 it will not open word 365 documents so you always get into the buy new version of microsoft product expensive even at student rates
I imagine the important part is content not presentation even at phd level
If you move to google docs the situation gets worse not better?.. come back lotus amipro anyday …
Most of my clients now move to libre office or open office on windows as its free where money is important …
Not answering your question but just putting a different perspective on it


Damn right.

You can save the document as a MS Word document by selecting save as and it will come up on the list as to what save it as from the down arrow - There is a list there - you can save to all formats as well. If I remember correctly the save for a word template is .doct and an ordinary document is just .doc This is just for word up to 2007 - I’ve not used later versions . I have not used Open Office, but I think that also saves things as MS Office applications.

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All your comments convince me, as I suspected from the outset, that dual booting is the only solution.


This sounds OK, but I have found that some fine points of formatting get lost in WINE, such as bold italics losing the bold. The biggest issue is I won’t know of these until the author finds it, after submission and all that.

Sorry, but this is not even remotely true if the PhD is a science document. Format and content are not binary distinctions, but essentially carrying the same load. One mislabeled graph point can completely distort a conclusion. We are not talking about a literary analysis PhD. And, as you may surmise, this has already happened to me. In fact, it happened once between versions of Word (I had 2007, the doc was written in 2013).


2 things I would suggest:
-Try WPS. I recently switched to it instead of Libre and I’m finding it a little easier to use if you’re used to Word and/or Google docs.
-Install MS fonts.

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my distro used to come with wps standard and i liked it. i don’t know how it compares to microsoft, but it might be worth a look.

Why not use the online browser-based MS Office suite? You don’t need to install anything and given that it has been created by MS, the compatibility should be (almost) perfect.

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So far, this looks like a great solution! I tested it out on the table above, and the two (MSWord and WPS) are indistinguishable!

Simply because I need it for proofreading, including comments, track changes, etc.

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Apologies. I should have checked to see if all those features were present in the browser version but sadly as you pointed out, they are not. I hope WPS works out for you.

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You can of course use Microsoft Word online, (Microsoft 365 or whatever it’s called?) without having to use Windows at all. I have that option in Peppermint OS 9 with Ice apps, which open apps as if they are installed natively, but instead in a private browser. You simply login using your Microsoft account. I did not read the above comments so ignore this.

WPS office works fine for me also. So it may be your solution. Good Luck.

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Here are your options if you want better compatibility with MS Office docs:

  • Save the document as MS Word in LibreOffice. Use MS Fonts as well.
  • Use WPS Office or FreeOffice
  • Use Microsoft 365 (online version of MS Office)
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I agree with your point about issues with LibreOffice, and really, the other MS-Office-Work-Alikes. I, too, have had issues with Excel compatibility with the SoftMaker version called ‘PlanMaker’ because it can read and update ‘xlsx’ files but the resulting file cannot be read in Excel. My theory is that I am using some more ‘exotic’ features of Excel that PlanMaker can read but once it writes out the updated version, Excel can’t handle it. I’ve also had issues with printing from TextMaker - it doesn’t format/support printing envelopes on my laser printer whereas LibreOffice’s Word-like program does.

Try installing your version of MS Office on Linux via PlayonLinux to be able to use it natively but in Linux. I run Excel (native MS version but old -2007) under Wine and installed it via PlayOnLinux. It works great! I have also used MS Word & PowerPoint under PlayOnLinux with great success!

Best of luck!

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I too have experienced some ugliness in opening documents with heavy formatting in docx or xslx format from MS Office when opened in Libre/Open Office… and vice versa…
Me? I don’t really need MS so much… I find that Google-Sheets does just as good a job as Excel / Libre Calc (except for maybe mailmerge functions - I think they’re there somewhere but wouldn’t have a clue).
10 years ago - I was doing pretty much 100% Solaris work, and the Sun people used “Star Office” (which became Open then Libre Office) - I had to install Star / Open office to read documents they sent me (on Windows XP) and it installed a Java JRE that BROKE all the other Java apps I needed (e.g. Enterprise Backup management tool!).

So anyway - cut forward to now? I don’t “need” Windows - but for two things in my job :
Cherwell Service Desk (what a horror of an application!)
and Skype for Business (we don’t have physical handsets on our desks here - it’s all Skype 4 Business and Jabra headsets).
The latest / greatest version of O365 Outlook Web Access has 10x more functionality than the Microsoft binary installed Windows apps!

If it was me? I’d much rather use VirtualBox than the hassle of dual-booting… some 5-6 years ago - the only Windows app I still “held onto” (i.e. at home) was CorelDraw - and I used to run it in VirtualBox… I’ve since got my head around InkScape, and the only thing I miss from CorelDraw is multi-page vector drawing documents…


Libre Office 6.2 has been released and they claim better MS office compatibility. Here the scoop. LibreOffice 6.2

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thanks @kc1di the version I have installed is Version: which come with Mint 19.1 so no doubt we’ll get in through as an update soon

I’m an academic reviewing and writing papers too. I have more and more become a hard-core LaTeX advocate in doing this; I know some disciplines pretty much insist on LaTeX (math, physics), whereas mine (geography) is usually word-processor based. My own experience with Word, LibreOffice, WPS, and SoftMaker Office is that there are varying levels of consistency with formatting, typesetting, graph treatment, etc., no matter what suite you use, because they’re all trying to copy Word, which keeps changing its proprietary format to hinder other packages. So it seems to me that Word compatibility is an intractable problem.

I’ve got Word 2010 running on my Ubuntu machines, without a virtual machine, using Play on Linux - that’s for when I really must use Word. Otherwise, SoftMaker Office’s presentation software is my go-to (I love LibreOffice, but Impress isn’t very good at all).

But for anything lengthy or serious, I’m all about LaTeX, and have been ever since my dissertation. I don’t require my students to use it, but I certainly try to get them to. Managing things like page references or placement of figures and captions is pure tedium in any word processor, but LaTeX handles that beautifully. Well, well worth the learning curve. And then you’re OS agnostic :slight_smile: