A Cynical Observation: Convert .odt file to .doc (and how to do it.)

If you Google “convert .odt to .doc” you’ll find quite an interesting list.

There are several websites that claim to do this conversion for free. What, one wonders, is their motivation; and what, one marvels, is the security of this document sending back and forth. How long do they keep it? Privacy?

I had a need to convert a handful of .odt files. My daughter’s computer had been set up with Open Office for almost six full years. She had written a few small, but important to her, documents. (I am allergic to Open Office since it made it hell on wheels for me to execute XL by clicking on a .xls file. I had several inputs from Microsoft on this, and tried a lot of things before it finally got cleaned up).

Her computer had been set up to ‘hide file extensions for known file types’ so I did not twig that I wasn’t looking at a handful of word documents. So I deleted Open Office and installed an old license of Microsoft Office. (A very old version, but good enough.) Now I needed to convert the documents.

Not trusting the free online converters, I looked to this website for help. However, when I ran the downloaded install program, ZoneAlarm warned me that it was trying to alter the registry such that it would always run on startup. When I told ZA no, the program complained. After a few retries, I told the program install to get on with it, and it did: it claimed it completely un-installed all its stuff.

I’m morally certain I’ve downloaded good stuff from CNET before. I am surprised that they would put the apparent equivalent of spyware on my daughter’s computer.

I have a new-ish Acer desktop and on it I have a more recent version of Office. I wondered if that version of Word could inhale an .odt file and save-as it as a .doc file.

It can.

On an ancient XP computer, an ancient version of Word can in fact open the resulting .doc file. Problem solved.

Now for the cynical part, and then the dumb questions.

Do the google search “convert .odt to .doc” yourself. You’ll find many websites that will convert your document, but I think you lose all control of content. Some documents aren’t just shopping lists, they are personal and perhaps secret. Certainly private.

How come there are software packages to do this that insist on having some of their code started every time you power up? That’s Dumb Question #1.

How come nobody says, if you know someone with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010, that version of Word can do the conversion? That’s Dumb Question #2.

Any answers? Post them here.

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