OpenOffice.org (OOo) is a free office and business productivity suite that is a good alternative to costly Microsoft Office suite. Not only is OpenOffice.org is free to download, use and distribute, it’s also an open-source project, multiplatform, multilingual and compatible with all other major office suites, including Microsoft Office 2003, XP, 2000 and 97, with support for Office 2007 slated in upcoming release of OpenOffice. The problem is the other way round is not true, as Microsoft Office does not support OpenOffice.org file formats by default.
OpenOffice.org support most Microsoft Office file formats, and can open and import Microsoft Office files such as Word documents, Excel workbooks and PowerPoint presentations. But Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint do not support and cannot open OpenOffice file formats by default, thus making sharing of documents and files across platform difficult, especially if you want to send a file to a Microsoft Office user, or you have a mix of Microsoft Office users in your organization. So, for sharing or viewing and editing of documents with Microsoft Office programs, the files must be saved in a Microsoft Office format or in .rtf.
By default, OpenOffice.org will save in native file formats and extensions, i.e. Writer documents in .sxw (document) or .stw (template), Calc spreadsheets in .sxc (document) or .stc (template) and Impress presentations in .sxi (document) or .sti (template). So if you always want to save the files in Microsoft Office compatible formats such as Word .doc or .dot, Excel .xls or PowerPoint .ppt, you can configure OpenOffice.org to set or change the default file format for the document file type so that it will always save in Microsoft Office format, without the need to select the file format every time when saving a file.
To change or set default file saving or “save as” format for new files in OpenOffice.org:
Launch any OpenOffice.org application such as OpenOffice Writer.
Click on Tools and then Options.
Expand the Load/Save section in the left pane by clicking the + (plus sign).
Click on General under the Load/Save section.
In the area labeled as “Default file format” near the bottom of the dialog window, select the type of document you want, for example, Text Document for Writer files, in the Document Type drop-down list.
To the right dropdown list labeled as “Always save as”, change or select the format as “Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP”.
Repeat the above 2 steps for other documents such as spreadsheets or presentations that you want to save in Microsoft Office file format, and select the appropriate default save as format for them.
Click OK to save the settings.
From now on, whenever you want to save a document, the default format will be .doc, .xls or .ppt and other Microsoft Office file formats and extensions.
You can also make the change to default format for saving files in OpenOffice.org by modifying setup-calc.xcu, setup-writer.xcu and setup-impress.xcu files located in C:\Program Files\OpenOffice.org 2.0\share\registry\modules\org\openoffice\Setup folder. This method or workaround is useful when you want to set the default save format for multiple users and computers, where you can create a simple batch file or Unix script to copy the modified .xcu files to the Open Office installation directory and replace the existing one.
For OOo Writer:
Edit the following lines to the following value in setup-writer.xcu (this same default filter line appears twice in this file):
MS Word 97
For OO Calc:
Edit the following line to looks like below in setup-calc.xcu:
MS Excel 97
For OOo Impress:
Edit the following line to the following value in setup-impress.xcu:
MS PowerPoint 97
Note: In Unix or Linux, the files may start with the capital S.