Microsoft Office

Does Office come with Windows?

Microsoft Office

Episode 1558

John from Los Angeles, CA

John wants to know if Microsoft Office comes with Windows. Leo says it doesn't, but there's an open source option called Libre Office, which is free, and will do most of what MS Office does, including reading all Office document files. Buying Office is very expensive, but he can do a monthly subscription rate, which is about $100 a year for Office Home. It's the most affordable solution.

How can batch print PDFs automatically?

Microsoft Access

Episode 1472

Frank from Fontana, CA

Frank wants to timestamp PDF blueprints that he prints up, and he wants to be able to print them in order by group number and file name. He's created a database in excel to do this and then created a batch file. Leo says this is how programmers are born, by creating scripts and macros to streamline the workflow. Leo also says that a database program would be easier and can be done automatically. It would also allow him to create the PDF from the database and when he makes changes, the PDFs will be updated automatically.

How strong is the encryption on Microsoft Office documents?

Microsoft Office

Episode 1456

Mike from Riverside, CA

Mike is wondering how good the encryption is in Microsoft Word and Excel documents. Leo says it's actually pretty good and that it's adequate, but not uncrackable. Leo says it's hard to crack stuff on the web when a service can slow the attacker down. But if someone can get a document that's locked and own it, there's nothing to stop them from trying a million passwords a second, and brute-force that document. Having said that, Microsoft has started using strong encryption on documents. The weak link will be the password.

Why doesn't Word read my backup data files?

Microsoft Word

Episode 1449

Carl from Upland, CA

Carl has made backup flash drives, but he can't read the Word Office files that are on them. Leo says that the files are .DOCX files created by Word and he'll need to open them with Word. Instead, what he's seeing is "word salad" which is Word format commands that tell the software what fonts to display, indents, margins, etc. So if his other app doesn't understand the format, he should try using Word's built-in backup solution, then restore it with the other copy of his app. There could be something that gets corrupted in the transfer by just dragging and dropping.

Is Libre Office as good as Microsoft Office?

Episode 1290

Paul from La Jolla, CA

Paul wants to know about Libre Office. Leo says that Libre is open source software and it's free. It has many of the same features as Microsoft Office. It's just as good, but is not as polished as Microsoft. Leo's a fan of it.

If Paul would rather have Microsoft Office, he should check out Microsoft Office Web. It's a stripped down version of Office that he can use online and it's free.