Impress(ed)? Not exactly…..

January 31, 2011

Having just upgraded computers, I decided to see how far I could last before shelling out for Microsoft Office. I don’t use anywhere near the full power of Office – so I thought I’d make OpenOffice my main if not only software. So far all has been going well – until I started to try a little more serious use of Impress.

And that, dear reader, is where I started to seriously hanker for PowerPoint because of a little thing that is driving me mad.

It’s a presentation that has a number of pictures in it, and I thought it would be easy to automate it and have a short piece of music behind it. Go and add it in on the first slide transition, modify the timings a little, job’s a good’un. and it works really well.

Until I try to copy the presentation to the Laptop that is, where it doesn’t play the music because Impress has decided to leave the requisite file in its gallery on the main computer.

OK, let’s go and do it again and tell it to embed the music. Except that there doesn’t seem to be a way to tell it to do that short of messing around by adding it in as an object to the first slide and generally faffing around with it.

As a result I now have to consider any presentation that I make with Impress as not easily portable if it contains media. Given that I tend to prepare on the main (tower) and then use one of a selection of three different laptops running different OSs this is not a trivial problem to me.

The only solution I have found so far is – ironically – to export the file to Powerpoint format, move it across to the Laptop, then re-import it to Impress.

My experience of OpenOffice has generally been pretty good – I’ve used it on and off for several years, and for most things I don’t miss Microsoft Office in the slightest. But this sort of issue – trivial as it may seem – is exactly where Microsoft seems to get it right: when you save a file, it generally puts everything you need in there to make it portable. It just works. Impress, unfortunately, just doesn’t.

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