Converting documents between different office software suites can sometimes be a frustrating experience. Formatting often gets lost or altered, especially when converting files from OpenOffice’s open standard ODT format to Microsoft Word’s older proprietary .doc format. However, with a bit of preparation and the right software installed, you can convert ODT files to Word while maintaining near-perfect formatting fidelity.
This tutorial will cover several methods for converting ODT documents to Word .doc format. We’ll also discuss best practices for avoiding issues and preserving as much original formatting as possible during conversion.
Why Convert ODT to Word .Doc Format
There are a few key reasons you may need to convert ODT files to the Word .doc format:
- File sharing – To allow Word users to edit documents created in OpenOffice. The .doc format has broader compatibility with other software that may not support ODT.
- Publisher requirements – Many publishers and conferences require submissions in .doc format rather than ODT.
- Client needs – If you are preparing documents for clients or colleagues that use Microsoft Word.
Converting to .doc allows wider sharing of documents you create in OpenOffice or LibreOffice. The methods covered in this tutorial focus on maintaining original formatting and content as much as possible during the conversion process.
Simple Method – Open ODT Files Directly in Word
The simplest approach is to open the ODT file directly using Microsoft Word. Here is the process:
- Step 1) – Open Microsoft Word on your computer.
- Step 2) – Click “File” and choose “Open”.
- Step 3) – Browse to the location of your ODT file and open it.
Word 2007 and newer versions contain built-in support for opening ODT files. However, some formatting loss is still likely as Word attempts to match the styling and layout:
- Text formatting like bold and italics is usually preserved.
- More complex elements like tables, headers, footers, comments, and citations may be altered or lost.
- Fonts and precise layout details often change.
Once opened in Word, you can then save a copy in the standard .doc format if needed. Just click “File” > “Save As” and choose .doc instead of .docx.
The benefit of this method is simplicity. But for publishing, sharing final documents, or extensive formatting, more specialized ODT conversion tools are recommended.
Recommended Method – Use LibreOffice for Conversion
For best results in accurately converting ODT files to Word .doc format, we recommend installing the free, open source LibreOffice suite.
LibreOffice contains enhanced filters and translation capabilities specifically for opening ODT documents in its Word-compatible application, Writer. It also does a significantly better job at preserving formatting when exporting ODT files to .doc format.
Here is the process for converting with LibreOffice:
Step 1 – Install LibreOffice
If not already installed on your computer, download LibreOffice for free from its official website. It works on Windows, MacOS, and Linux machines.
Be sure to get the latest stable release for access to the latest compatibility updates.
LibreOffice website screenshot
Step 2 – Open ODT File in LibreOffice Writer
Once LibreOffice is installed, open the Writer application. Writer is the equivalent to Microsoft Word in the LibreOffice suite.
In Writer, click “File” > “Open” and browse to the location of your ODT file. Click it to open the document in Writer.
Step 3 – Review Formatting
Carefully review the document formatting and layout in Writer. Check that:
- Fonts rendered properly
- Text formatting like bold and italics carried over
- Tables, images, headers/footers display correctly
- Page layout matches original ODT document
If any elements did not translate correctly to Writer, you can edit them now to match the original ODT formatting.
Step 4 – Export ODT as Word .Doc
Once the ODT file formatting looks accurate in Writer, export a copy to Word .doc format:
- Click “File” > “Save As”
- Choose file location and enter a file name
- From the “Save as type” dropdown, select “Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP”
- Click “Save” to export document in .doc format
The exported Word .doc copy should now match formatting of the original ODT file very closely.
You can verify by opening it in Word and checking layout elements carried over correctly. Having LibreOffice Writer as intermediary conversion step significantly improves the final Word .doc output.
Alternative Method – Use Online Converter Tool
Another option for batch converting multiple ODT files to Word .doc format is using a free online document converter tool:
Screenshot of online UniConverter tool
Online converters allow uploading one or multiple ODT files and converting them to Word .doc format without needing to install any software locally.
Uploading ODT documents and downloading the converted Word files usually only takes a few minutes. Most online tools also maintain original formatting well during conversion.
If you need to convert many ODT documents frequently, an online converter can save time compared to manual individual conversions.
Some popular ODT to Word converter tools include:
Be aware that uploading files to a third-party site has privacy and security implications to consider regarding your documents.
Best Practices for ODT to Word .Doc Conversion
Follow these guidelines when converting ODT files to Word for best results:
- Convert to .docx not .doc when possible – Use the latest .docx Word format instead of older .doc format if the recipient application allows it. The .docx format supports newer features which improves formatting accuracy.
- Always keep original ODT files – Even minor changes to content or styling can accumulate when converting back and forth repeatedly. Keep master ODT copies to avoid degradation.
- Review formatting carefully – Check all document elements translated properly after conversion – fonts, sizing, headers/footers, images, captions, etc. Edit in Word or LibreOffice Writer if needed.
- Expect some style changes – Small styling differences or font substitutions are common. Don’t expect a 100% pixel-perfect conversion for publishing, but text content should fully transfer.
Converting documents from OpenOffice’s ODT format to Microsoft Word .doc format is straightforward. For occasional sharing, simply opening the ODT file directly in Word may suffice. But for robust formatting fidelity, use LibreOffice Writer or an online converter tool.
Remember to always keep original ODT copies of important documents. Follow the best practices outlined to ensure ODT elements like images, tables and advanced styling transfer properly when exporting ODT files to the Word .doc format.
With some minor post-conversion review, you can successfully convert ODT documents to share with Word users while maintaining formatting accuracy. The LibreOffice suite provides the most control over conversion settings for publishing-quality results.