Ten ways to help users migrate from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice | mumble in the jungle

Ten ways to help users migrate from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice

libreofficehero-copyThere will come a day when you decide to go through that Microsoft is not necessarily the easy way. That day, you will seek alternative solutions for your business so that the activities continue. Among these solutions, there is the LibreOffice suite.

Although LibreOffice provides everything you need, there is an obstacle you have to overcome: the migration from Microsoft Office. Any technology specialist will tell you users fear and hate change. Nobody wants to have to change the way software and learn something new. This downtime could be costly (not only in terms of efficiency of employees, but also financial result). How then to facilitate migration? Here are ten tips that can help you. This perhaps find one or two that will motivate you to initiate this migration.

1. Install LibreOffice in parallel with Microsoft Office
Since there is no cost associated with the purchase of LibreOffice, you can download and install at any time. Why not go about it in advance? The migration will be much simpler if you offer employees a long transition period to get used to new tools (while maintaining valid license Microsoft Office in reserve). They will also have the opportunity to see how the two suites are similar and different, side by side. There is no better as a learning tool.

2. Save files in formats compatible with Microsoft
You will find that one of the biggest challenges is that Microsoft Office is not friendly to foreign formats files. Office is suitable for office and little more. Even if your entire office migrates to LibreOffice, your employees will probably send documents to other people using Microsoft Office. It therefore makes sense to teach them to save files in a format compatible with Microsoft Office. LibreOffice allows you to record in many formats, such as .doc, .docx and .rtf.

3. Submit the question and answer sessions
Your end users will have questions. Do not expect them to answer these questions themselves. Instead, before the actual migration, organize sessions of questions and answers so as to remove these questions. Providing this support together with the LibreOffice installation Microsoft Office sides will help remove any apprehensions related to migration.

4. Point users to literature LibreOffice
Documentation for LibreOffice is not lacking. One of the first resources to which users must turn is the official documentation. The only document to grip worth the Office licenses. You can even print PDF and delivery to users before the migration begins. Once they have tamed the Quick Start guide, direct them to the help page for the community, where they can find specific help and advanced.

5. Present the Extension Manager users
The Manager of LibreOffice extensions extends the software feature set. On the official page of Extensions, users will find many additional tools to add to LibreOffice. There are extensions for each of LibreOffice tools including alternative dialog box Find & Replace and multiformat recording. These extensions optimize the power and usability of LibreOffice.

6. Remind users that they have used a menu-based interface for years
Before the Microsoft Office ribbon interface, what did people? The same menu-driven interface found in most software including LibreOffice. When the ribbon interface appeared, users have protested strongly. But they get used to it. They will have less time to readjust to the more standard menu interface. Remind them that point and the transition will be easier.

7. Show users how to customize the toolbars
We tend to neglect the software toolbars. It would be a serious mistake to do the same with LibreOffice. Users can be much more effective by customizing the toolbars to suit their needs. All they have to do is click to View | Toolbars | Customize and adapt these toolbars to help them rather than the reverse.

8. Migrate all necessary models of Microsoft Office to LibreOffice
If you have advanced users who work with models in everyday life, you will want to get these models in LibreOffice. Believe it or not, but it’s simple: you just have to save the Microsoft Office template in a central location to open in LibreOffice, then click on File | Templates | Save as Template. After that, users can click on File | New | Templates and select the template they need in the My Templates section.

9. Create a kit that shows the differences between the two suites
One of the fastest ways for users to be fully operational is to create a comparison kit / distinction illustrates the differences between Microsoft Office and LibreOffice. Be sure to make this comparison / distinction with your installed version of Microsoft Office, or you may create confusion.

10. Give much time users
Do not expect that this transition to happen overnight. Give everyone plenty of time to get used to the new environment. For some it will be a major migration, especially for those who use daily office suite. But with the help of a side by side installation, extensive documentation and question and answer sessions, these end users should be operational and comfortable with the new software in a few weeks. Providing sufficient time before the migration, you are guaranteed to encounter fewer problems later on.

Other advice?
Migration to LibreOffice does not have to be a nightmare. In fact, if managed with care and attention, the process can be much more fluid than you can imagine.

Have you migrated to an open source solution? If so, how did you handle the task and how is it held?