Until today I’ve always been frustrated by the fact that LibreOffice wouldn’t properly save my schoolwork in Microsoft format as my school requires. But now once again technology has rescued me from having to spend a bunch of money on a stupid Microsoft computer and that expensive proprietary office suite of theirs. I’ve found a way to perfectly, flawlessly preserve my schoolwork created in LibreOffice in Microsoft’s .doc format as well as pdf format. Even that complicated stuff like the headers, page numbers, and properly-formatted reference pages required by MLA and APA remain perfectly intact using this method!
Oh, those of you who are militant FOSS purists aren’t going to like this solution, though. It requires those non-free Microsoft Core Fonts, for one thing. In Ubuntu and derivatives like the one I use, however, installing those non-free bits is as easy as opening Synaptic Package Manager and installing the appropriate restricted-extras package (ubuntu-restricted-extras, xubuntu-restricted-extras, etc) from the Ubuntu repositories. That’s the first step. Get those Microsoft Core fonts. If you use a non-Microsoft font, then when your professor opens it on his or her Windows computer, Microsoft Office will choose a font to display it in – and there goes your formatting! Sorry, FOSS purists.
The second step is to choose Times New Roman font (or whatever font your professor insists on) and compose your paper entirely in that font. Do not set up LibreOffice to auto-save in .doc or .docx format, and do not save it except as a regular .odt file until it is completely finished, proofread, and edited to perfection. Make the entire thing in .odt format, NOT Microsoft format until it is absolutely totally permanently and forever finished being created and edited to completion.
NOW, after it’s all done, you save it in .doc format, not in .docx format! Doc is older and much less prone to goofs than that fancy new .docx format is. If you have it auto-save in .doc format during the creation of your document, every instance of saving adds a layer of stuff that is prone to error. The trick is to save the conversion to the very laaaaaaaast thing you do, other than uploading it to your Microsoft-bound professor in his or her proprietary prison.
The paper I did today, 8 pages long in APA format (y’know, with that stupid running head and page number fields and stuff), didn’t even give me that stupid warning I used to always get when saving in any format other than .odt! I e-mailed it to myself in .doc format and retrieved it on a borrowed Windows machine to see how it looked when opened in Microsoft Word, and YESSSSS! Perfect in every detail. It’s never happened before, that I didn’t have to edit my schoolwork in Word on a borrowed Windows computer.
Well, I hope this helps some other starving college student from “the wrong side of the Digital Divide” who just can’t go spend an entire parental paycheck on a stupid Microsoft Windows box that’ll be obsolete in a couple of years. Keep your old hand-me-down computer, load it with LXLE or Xubuntu, and use good ol’ awesome LibreOffice Writer without worry!