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Re: Export Org mode files to (gag, barf) MS Office?

From: Brandon Taylor
Subject: Re: Export Org mode files to (gag, barf) MS Office?
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2021 19:25:16 -0500

Okay. Well, I've gone ahead and installed LibreOffice, which took care of the "missing 'soffice'" problem, but like a frustrating game of Whac-A-Mole, another problem popped up. Now I'm left high and dry as to what might have happened, because after adding the location of soffice.exe in my Windows PATH environment variable, I get the following output:

Executing soffice --headless --convert-to odt --outdir "c:/Users/donni/OneDrive/Documents/" "c:/Users/donni/OneDrive/Documents/belvoire.odt"
Export to c:/Users/donni/OneDrive/Documents/belvoire.odt failed

with absolutely no rhyme or reason as to what went wrong.

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On Jun 26 2021, at 5:30 pm, George Mauer <gmauer@gmail.com> wrote:
For anyone who has never tried it, I'll add that the open office formats are an absolute beast to export to. I can't say for sure about docx but I've done my time building a PowerPoint exporter (on top of Microsoft provided ooxml libraries even). It is complex enough that I'm not even sure such an exporter's maintenance is possible without a full time dedicated team

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On Sat, Jun 26, 2021, 17:17 Tim Cross <theophilusx@gmail.com> wrote:

Brandon Taylor <donnie126_2002@hotmail.com> writes:

> I know we’re not supposed to really even TALK about proprietary software in FOSS communities like this one, but I can’t help but wonder if someone
> might consider making (an) Emacs plugin(s) that allow(s) a user to export Org mode files to Microsoft Office file formats such as .docx, .xlsx and the
> like? Or is/are there already (a) plugin(s) in the MELPA that can do this?

I don't think you will ever see full proprietary support for MS Office
file formats. In addition to the philosophical issues, there are also
practical constraints. As these formats are closed proprietary formats
owned by MS, they can be changed at will and without notice by MS, which
creeates maintenance problems, plus there is the risk you may run foul
of MS copyright or patent restrictions and you have the added overhead
of having to work with a format which is not openly documented.

Probably the best you can hope for is support for open standards which
are also supported by MS Office. For example, ODT, CSV and maybe XML.
Unlike native MS formats, such open formats are likely to be even more
accessible (such as by other office like products) and last longer
because they are not based on some version of a proprietary format which
may arbitrarily change in the future. 

Tim Cross

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