odf-converter 1.1 released - OpenOffice.org Ninja

odf-converter 1.1 released

Posted by Andrew Z at Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Permalink

Novell released version 1.1 of the OpenOffice.org OpenXML Translator. The big difference is that 1.0 could only convert .docx while 1.1 also convert .pptx and .xlsx into their OpenDocument equivalents (.odt, .odp, and .ods, respectively).


The odf-converter only integrates into Novell and Ubuntu editions of OpenOffice.org. The odf-converter may work with the Go-Oo edition, but I am not sure. It does not work with the upstream version (the version from the OpenOffice.org web site that most people use) or with the Fedora version, so don't even try.

Anyone can still use it as a command line tool on any systems. Here are instructions for Windows and Linux.

Alternate downloads from Go-Oo

The Go-Oo has two little-known download location that often have newer versions. I assume these are development snapshots, so they may be unreliable. These are the sites:

As of today, the latest versions there are the same as the Novell:

Downloads from OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-ins for Office

The above odf-converter code is the same code as OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-ins for Office which is a plugin for Microsoft Office to read and to write ODF files. Yes, it's developed with the help of Microsoft. You can get command line tools form both sites, but the difference, according to Tor Lillqvist, is that

Novell builds odf-converter using Mono, and distributes it as a so-called bundled executable (platform-specific executable that includes the Mono runtime, i.e. not a platform-independent managed .NET executable) for Linux and Windows.

The future of odf-converter

Once OpenOffice.org 3 comes out and the native xmlfilter module is ready, odf-converter will be obsolete, says OpenOffice.org hacker Hubert Figuiere. "OdfConverter is an interim solution. We are confident that the OOX importer is already better or that it will be pretty soon."

Of course, odf-converter will still be useful for batch conversions and in Microsoft Office.

Related articles

There are many ways to open OpenXML documents. I'll post more details soon. Subscribe so you don't miss them. :)


Anonymous said...

This is very interesting news. I just tried to install the converter in my Ubuntu OOo, and it actually seems to work!

How come it works with the OOo version and not with the upstream version? What is the difference between the version?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant: "how come is works with the Ubuntu version and not the upstream version?"

Andrew Z said...

The Ubuntu and Novell/SUSE editions of OOo have some extra code to allow the use of an out-of-process (in other words, external) converter. The OdfConverter is really a command line program with a thin interface to OpenOffice.org. That could explain why it seems so slow to me.

The OdfConverter is Novell's temporary solution until OOo 3.0 is released. It would have been nice if upstream included the code, but, "Oh, well." I am glad upstream work is focusing on the long-term OpenXML solution called "xmlfilter."


slipsticking said...

I am using OpenSUSE 10.3, which (as this post suggests) comes with the odf-converter natively installed in OpenOffice. Additionally, I teach college English and require students to electronically submit their term papers. I then convert them to PDFs and upload them to the university's Blackboard server where students download them for class workshops. All that to say....

Unfortunately, the integrity of the .docx files does not always seem to be exact. On at least two student papers, translation into ODF was inaccurate. On one paper the page numbers at the top (an MLA formatting requirement) appeared on the bottom instead; on another paper, the last several paragraphs lost their font style and double-spaced formatting. Viewing the same files on a Windows XP machine running MS Office 2003 with the MS Office pack converter translated them correctly.

I have Googled high and low, but no one else seems to report this problem with Novell's odf-converter.

If you would like the original .docx student papers for conversion testing, mail me: mrrena -- at -- gmail.

Andrew Z said...

slipsticking: Based on the release date of OpenSUSE 10.3, you may have an old version of odf-converter (now at 1.1.7), which has come a long way lately. If you reproduce the problem in the latest version, report it to http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/

Adam said...

When I try to run the RPM, it says: "Missing Dependency: OpenOffice_org >= 2.0 is needed by package odf-converter"

I have OO2.3 installed and have used yum to ensure that all packages are up to date. Any solutions?

Andrew Z said...

Adam: odf-converter requires SUSE/OpenSUSE/Novell's special edition of OpenOffice.org, so everyone else should use odf-converter-integrator

Anonymous said...

Debian etch only has libtiff4. So, I had to do the following to get it to work:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libtiff.so.4 /usr/lib/libtiff.so.3

Andrew Z said...

Anonymous Debian user: The odf-converter-intergrator builds include a newer version of odf-converter (with better conversion) built without dependencies on libtiff or libgif.