Does Crossover Office actually work?
May 7, 2010 6:39 AM   Subscribe

Have you used CrossOver Linux (the Codeweavers version of Wine)? Does it work well with MS Office 2007? I've installed regular Wine and MS Word on my (Fedora 12) computer, and it works like crap. I was curious if the commercial version worked any better. Thanks.

I realize that I can use Abi Word or Open Office, and I do. But very occasionally I need to work with Word documents, and it would be nice not to have to switch computers to do it.
posted by bluefly to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Doesn't open office also open and save word docs?
posted by Brian B. at 6:55 AM on May 7, 2010

Doesn't open office also open and save word docs?

It does, but not all of the elements of the Word documents show up as they're supposed to. For example equations made with Word often look garbled in OO. Like I said, I only occasionally need to actually use Word for reasons like this. I realize I can just switch computers, I was just curious if Crossover Office worked.
posted by bluefly at 6:59 AM on May 7, 2010

On a modern CPU that supports virtualization and with enough memory overall, virtual machines work really well. You could use KVM to run an instance of Windows, and when you're not running it, you can mount the disk image as a filesystem to have direct access to the files. (Sorry, no experience with CrossOver.)
posted by Zed at 7:22 AM on May 7, 2010

I'm using the commercial CrossOver Apps on Mac with Office 2007. It works OK. Not fantastic, but good enough for the few times I need to use it quickly.

Like Zed said, if you really want it to run flawlessly you probably need to run a whole VM.
posted by meta_eli at 8:06 AM on May 7, 2010

I haven't used the latest version of CrossOver, and not for Word. I did use an older version for MS Project and found lots of weird little bugs that essentially made it unusable. CrossOver maintains a compatibility database but I am not sure how much I would trust it.

Parallels and a Windows license cost more, but offer much more trouble free operation, and provide at least as much of an integrated experience as CrossOver was intended to. Like Zed said, KVM / Windows will also work (cheaper), though I think will be less integrated with your overall OS X experience.
posted by rocketpup at 8:07 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Never used CrossOver, so I would either suggest virtualization or playing around with wine to try and fix your problems. I have been using Office 2003 under wine in Kubuntu for a while now and it has not given me any trouble, but I don't use any complicated features or features intended to tie into windows components. It might be that Word 2007 is not as compatible with wine. Can you list some of the problems you have encountered?
posted by token-ring at 8:27 AM on May 7, 2010

Can you list some of the problems you have encountered?

Whenever I open a Word document, Word says errors have occurred and it needs to restart. The documents usually contain a picture, but sometimes not. Not anything more complicated then that.

It's interesting that Office 2003 works. I'm going to try and get a copy of that and install it to see if it's better. If that fails, I'll see if the virtual machine will be worth my trouble. I have a Mac in my office, so I can always use the native Office 2008 on that, it's just inefficient sometimes.
posted by bluefly at 10:41 AM on May 7, 2010

For what it's worth, I know Crossover several revisions ago had excellent support for Word 2003. I used it often.

I'm pretty sure you can download an 'evaluation copy' of Crossover and check it out, and last I checked Office could be 'evaluated', as well. Install 2007 in a bottle w/o activating it and check it out for a month. Should be more than enough time to see if it'll meet your needs.
posted by word_virus at 10:48 AM on May 7, 2010

Just FYI: I was able to open a .doc document under wine and view a picture in it with Word 2003, and install the Word 2007 compatibility pack to my Word 2003 and open and view a .docx file. Not at all guaranteeing it will work for you, just letting you know it is at least possible. MeFi mail me or post here if you have other features you want me to try out, I am interested in testing out what will and wont work for me so I wont run into a problem later when I need a feature.
posted by token-ring at 2:54 PM on May 7, 2010

Hey – I mentioned in the other thread that I've seen Office 2007 work well on Ubuntu/Wine. I haven't run anything Red Hattish in over a decade, so this may be a Fedora issue, but: my best guess at this point is that maybe you ought to try Wine itself. CodeWeavers seems like a neat project, but my impression is that it's mostly there to fund Wine, and in many ways at this point it's unnecessary; besides, my biggest concern is that I can't really tell what version of Wine that CrossOver is running under the hood. You want the latest one you can get, obviously; when I saw Office 2007 run, it was via 1.1.42, which is the version of Wine that I run myself. In the last few versions, Wine has gotten a lot better at automating the tasks involved in running Windows software.

It looks like the latest verison of Wine available for Fedora 12 is 1.1.38. It might be worth giving that a try.

However, I begin to think that everybody here is right – you should probably go with a virtual machine here. I say that because it sounds like you're going to want to do a few more complex things in Office, things that the Wine/CrossOver version probably won't do for you. For example, you mention the equation editor, which apparently never works in Wine or CrossOver. (I'm pretty sure this is because the Equation Editor uses a lot of OLE objects, and OLE objects are pretty much the edge of Wine's capabilities as far as emulating Windows goes.) So maybe consider that option.

Hope some of this helps.
posted by koeselitz at 9:46 PM on May 10, 2010

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