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Converting an Excel xls spreadsheet to MS Works Spreadsheet

by MarkFlax Forum moderator / June 23, 2007 8:11 AM PDT

Can this be done?

I don't have MS Works, only MS Office with Excel. I used to have OpenOffice but I uninstalled it. I could re-install it if need be.

I've been developing a spreadsheet for a colleague for his financial accounts on the basis that he has MS Office including Excel installed on his laptop. I asked him specifically, and very carefully, and he assured me he has.

Now, after months of work, he brought his laptop to me and I transferred the xls file to it and tried to open it only to get the "Which program do you want to use" message. It turns out he has MS Works and not MS Office.

He had to leave and take his laptop with him so I couldn't investigate further.

My work is just so much random bits of data if he can't use this. Can this xls file be converted to Works Spreadsheet format? When I look at Excel's save options, I see WKS, but I have a feeling that is Lotus format? Is that right?

I Googled Converting Excel spreadsheets to MS Works Spreadsheet but all I could see was converting MS Works files to Excel readable files. Did I miss anything?

Also back to OpenOffice, it doesn't seem to support Works, but I could get him to download OO and use that, but I fear it means more trials and tribulations. This Excel spreadsheet has a number of VBA macros. I haven't tested this yet on OpenOffice. Is it worth me trying?

Any help would be appreciated, before I kill him! Happy


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The problem I see here is MS Works and macros.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 23, 2007 8:55 AM PDT

I didn't have any luck transferring macros to MS Works so I suspect "this will never work like this."

OO is likely to be the cheap exit but you could be blunt and just say "this works with Office."


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Yep, that figures
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / June 23, 2007 9:08 PM PDT

Before I download and install OpenOffice again will the same problem happen?

The Excel spreadsheet uses numerous macros to navigate and calculate and I had to teach myself a lot of VBA coding. Will OpenOffice handle them or am I wasting my time going that route?

If OpenOffice will not, then these seem to be my options;

1] Tell my colleague to purchase Microsoft Office. He won't.

2] Start again with OpenOffice, and learn how it handles VBA. I assume it does, and I assume it is similar to Excel?

I don't relish either.


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Re: Excel and Open Office
by Kees Bakker / June 23, 2007 11:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Yep, that figures


Open Office Calc does have a macro language, that resembles VBA, but details (like objects, methods and properties) are different as far as I know. So while you'll be learning it rather fast, it will take some time to sort it out, especially considering there are less examples to be found on the web, and I assume the inbuilt help won't be as good as the one from Microsoft.

Let's see this from your colleagues point of view. After giving you some bottles of good whisky (or whatever you prefer) to thank you for this wonderful program, he seems to have 3 options:
1. Buy MS Office.
2. Hire someone versed in Open Office language to do the conversion (that's, say, 40 hours at 50 pounds = 2000 English pounds).
3. Learn programming himself.
After all, he ordered a program written in MS Office, didn't he? And you made it.

This is a good example, by the way, of why the interactive, iterative, small-steps prototyping approach to system development is preferable to the good old 'waterfall' method. If you had let him play with and comment on a new partial version ('increment') each week this awful misunderstanding would have shown up much earlier.

Best of luck in this situation.


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Yep, you're right.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / June 24, 2007 12:11 AM PDT

Thanks Kees, I think, Happy

You're right I should have let him test it on his machine. But he was around my place often, (doing some external building work), and I showed him regularly the progress and we discussed options and methods, things needing changes, etc, so I fell in to that trap.

I might try OpenOffice. If I can strip out all the macros on a copy of the current excel file, and import that copy into OpenOffice, I have all the flow charts for the VBA, so I would have the basic spreadsheets already done.

Really I can only blame myself. I could see that he has no knowledge of computers at all. EG when he finally brought his laptop around he kept saying he wanted the "thingy" changed. Eventually I worked it out that he wanted his home page changed in his browser. Everything was a "thingy"!

Buying Office is risky. No doubt he would buy Office 2007 instead of the Office XP I use, and since I've never used Office 2007 I can see difficulties ahead. However he could get Office XP off Amazon-UK for only

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