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Nisus .doc files not working on iPhone 
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Joined: 2007-07-27 19:13:11
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Well, I discovered something a bit strange today.

It seems that Nisus Express documents saved in Word format do not render on the iphone. I tried three files, all failures. Files from Neooffice and pages in word format worked fine however.

Perhaps this will get fixed. Anyone know if this is a problem in Nisus Writer as well?


2007-07-27 19:16:18
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The problem should persist with NWP. The reason for this is that Word documents saved in any of the Nisus programs are not strictly speaking Word files; they are RTF files with a .doc extension. This causes problems with some applications, and based on what you have just written, the iPhone's Word viewer seems to be one of them. Documents saved in Pages and NeoOffice are "true" Word documents and can thus be read by the iPhone. I'm afraid that unless Nisus start using a different export mechanism, your only option will be to roundtrip to either Pages or NeoOffice. Could the iPhone possibly read RTF files (RTF is the default file format for Nisus documents)? If that was the case, your problems would be solved, as most, if not all, modern word processors can read that format.


2007-07-28 01:01:05
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The iPhone has a very curious little hole there - only doc support, no rtf or txt support at all. As for Nisus, I figured it was something like that given how their file formats tend to work when moving them between documents (especially styles), and that's really disappointing.

But, ah well... I like Nisus alright, and like it most until I must use it with other programs, the style issues have lead me more to Neooffice lately. I doubt I'll upgrade, especially considering this.

I really prefer Microsoft Word, but am not overly fond of the current Mac version of it. Word 2007 in Windows, however, is a delight to use.


2007-07-28 03:04:42
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You can view some formats on your iPhone in Safari by using Filemark Maker, a freeware droplet which you can download from:
http://tinyurl.com/2dcut4
It supports doc, .xls, .rtf, .txt, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .pdf, and .html


2007-07-28 03:59:21
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gideon wrote:
Word 2007 in Windows, however, is a delight to use.


Did I mention exactly how much I hate Word 2007 for Windows? No GUI customization, no way to make that overlarge ribbon go away or move to the side of the screen so you end up only having a small sliver of window to actually WRITE on most new widescreen notebooks. Everything is in a new place, so if you have used Word since v.6 (as I unfortunately have), you suddenly don't know where anything is. It, unlike Word 2003 (which was speedier than any OS X version), has inherited the typing lag from its Mac counterparts. Yuck.

I wish there were some way that Nisus could use OpenOffice's translation abilities. I'm sure there is a reason they do what they do, but it seems that there is an open source solution that does a really good job in both reading and writing Word documents and it is a pity that it is not used by other programs.

S.

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2007-07-28 07:38:39
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scottwhitlock wrote:
[...] no way to make that overlarge ribbon go away [...]


Hi Scott,

are you aware of the fact that you can double-click any ribbon tab to reduce the ribbon to the tab bar only? This is quite useful, you get more screen space as a result, and the ribbon only shows up when you click on one of the tabs; it goes away as soon as you've made your selection.


2007-07-28 09:14:54
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Each to their own, I guess. I had to write up some insanely large, complicated design documents (300+ pages, lots of images and such) and Word 2007 was incredibly useful and quick to use. Once I got used to it, I'd never want to use anything else for those sorts of documents. Styles, indexing, tables of contents, etc... all work wonderfully in Word 2007 (and I was using a beta most the time).

But I'm not the sort who wants/needs a huge writing area. I want 'print view' at normal size and I'm happy. My screens too wide to make good use of full screen view.

But last year I used Nisus pretty much exclusively and was happy with it. But once I turned in some papers for publication, the whole "styles" issue bit me in the butt.

I don't like NeoOffice much at all... or pages, for that matter. But I'm running out of options here.


2007-07-28 11:51:42
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Joined: 2003-11-21 19:25:28
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Location: Sydney, Australia
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You can easily convert RTF files to true binary Word format files using the OS X 10.4 command line:

textutil -convert fmt filename

fmt: txt, html, rtf, rtfd, doc, wordml, or webarchive
filename: the file you wish to convert

Do a "man textutil" for all the options.

I don't have an iPhone but I assume once you've converted your NWX .rtf files into real .doc files using textutil they'll display on an iPhone okay.


2007-07-28 15:24:02
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If there's a built-in OS utility for this, why doesn't Nisus just use it automatically when saving DOC files? This just doesn't make sense to me! DOC compatibility (unfortunately) is critical. On this point - why does NWE do such a poor job of importing DOC document headers? I don't normally create complex documents, but I do use headers on many documents for the address block. This just doesn't come in at all when you import a DOC file - why is this? Pages' support for DOC files is much better than NWE, even though it falls down for me in other ways.


2007-09-16 04:10:13
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ncollingridge wrote:
If there's a built-in OS utility for this, why doesn't Nisus just use it automatically when saving DOC files? This just doesn't make sense to me! DOC compatibility (unfortunately) is critical.


1. Because outputting rtf files with .doc extensions is perfectly legal and works fine with genuine Mircrosoft Word, it's only some third-party supposedly "Word compatible" apps like the iPhone and DocsToGo on Palm OS that don't handle it. It saves Nisus having to buy or develop their own Word native file translator/exporter and have to cope with the inevitable bugs and incompatibilities that would cause. The vast majority of .doc documents are handled by MS Word and work just fine using this technique, if you have a requirement to send .doc documents to a third-party app that doesn't handle rtf then you can use the Tiger utility.

2. Because the utility didn't exist prior to 10.4 and NWX is still supported on 10.3.9.

ncollingridge wrote:
On this point - why does NWE do such a poor job of importing DOC document headers? I don't normally create complex documents, but I do use headers on many documents for the address block. This just doesn't come in at all when you import a DOC file - why is this? Pages' support for DOC files is much better than NWE, even though it falls down for me in other ways.


I don't know, I've not had a problem with most Word files and not document headers. Open a support case with Nisus and send them one of these problematical Word documents, they're always trying to improve the translation from Word to Nisus.

Pages is supported by a much larger company, Apple, than NWX. They could afford to reverse engineer all Microsoft's proprietary file formats, and all their various wrinkles, for iWork and they also have many patent licensing schemes with M$ that probably help too. No one else has that sort of pull which is presumably why none of the 3rd party Word/Excel/PowerPoint file translators seem to work as well as Apple's.

Maybe now that MS are moving to .docx format, and ODF is an international standard, inter-application compatibility will improve. I sure hope so (yes, I'm also waiting for Nisus to say when/if they are going to support .docx and/or ODF).


2007-09-17 15:39:35
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It's all very well making excuses for NWX's poor level of compatibility with DOC files, but surely the idea behind any product is that it should fulfil the customers' requirements of it? DOC compatibility is extremely important to many people, and certainly to me. I really don't want to use Word at all for many reasons, not least of which is the lack of Intel-native performance. But poor DOC compatibility is the main thing holding me back from moving away to a product like Nisus Writer.

If it were really possible to use NW in conjunction with DOC files then I would move over LIKE A SHOT! But I can't - I have a vast library of letters originally written in Word and not being able to open them cleanly simply prevents me moving to NW. Given how fundamental this problem is, and the fact that I am sure many many people have this same problem, shouldn't Nisus sort it out? It doesn't matter to me what new features they add to NW, if it can't cleanly read and write DOC files I am never going to use it, much as I would like to.

I take the point about lack of 10.3.9 support for the system level DOC utility, but shouldn't NW make use of it on systems which are running 10.4? There's no technical reason that the feature couldn't become available if the system version is 10.4 or greater, falling back to a less-capable translation on earlier system versions.


2007-09-18 06:08:44
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ncollingridge wrote:
It's all very well making excuses for NWX's poor level of compatibility with DOC files, but surely the idea behind any product is that it should fulfil the customers' requirements of it?


I don't think anyone is making excuses. If you want true compatibility with your DOC files, how about buying Microsoft Office 2007 (for Windows). Even Office 2004 doesn't have TRUE compatibility.

Nisus uses AbiWord's translator for Word files. When it saves back into Word, it saves an RTF file and gives it a .doc extension, which is perfectly allowable by Word, since .doc is a binaried form of RTF. If you want those files to "read" better, go back into Word and save them all as RTF, then Nisus will open them in a much better way with better preservation of everything (that is supported by NWP) because it doesn't have to translate from binary file. Alternatively, download OpenOffice or NeoOffice, open the .doc file, and then save as .rtf. Then they'll be ready for Nisus.

However, if it really is so much of a problem that Nisus doesn't work for you, try NeoOffice. The interface and user experience is horrible, but that doesn't seem to matter too much to you, because it's all about compatibility, which NeoOffice does a very good job at. Alternatively, there is Pages, but if you have to work with Bookends or Endnote, good luck there.

Scott

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2007-09-18 09:43:33
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@scottwhitlock:

I don't really know where you're coming from in your reply. Sure there are plenty of workarounds, and yes, I COULD buy a PC (or Parallels or VMWare) and use Office 2007, but that isn't really the point, is it? What we're talking about here is whether or not I (and countless others) can use the product that this forum is set up to discuss, which is Nisus Writer. And your cheap shot about UI not being important, compatibility being everything, is either very disingenuous or you're not very clever. I didn't say that compatibility was the ONLY criterion I was employing, but that it was a very important factor.

Your suggestions of doing things like resaving all files from Word as RTF, or using OpenOffice or NeoOffice as some kind of relay are surely not serious. Unless maybe you have all the time in the world to mess around with things like that and somehow think that everyone else does as well.

No, the point I'm making is that I would like to be able to use NW in place of Word, but being able to exchange DOC files easily, seamlessly, and transparently is an important factor and without it the NW solution is compromised to a degree that rules it out.

The thing that frustrates me is that with a bit of focus on this issue the problem could be removed. There ARE better translators out there which could be used by Nisus, and it WOULD be easy, for example, to provide a preference to save all files automatically with a .DOC extension instead of .RTF, including making use of the system utility to turn files into binary .DOCs if the system version supports it.

Then I and many others could switch to NW with no problems at all. This would surely boost the viability of NW in a Microsoft-dominant (sad, but true) world. This would be a GOOD THING.


2007-09-18 09:58:59
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Stop being so defensive. No one is attacking you; we're trying to offer solution to help you. Every program has its strengths and weaknesses. And you can't really expect to create a file in one program and have it be completely readable in another, especially with a closed format like Word. Instead of knocking on Nisus, aim your criticism at the real root of the problem, Microsoft.

I stand by my last statement. If you need true compatibility, buy Microsoft Word and stop bitching here.

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2007-09-18 10:01:11
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I don't think I'm in the slightest bit being defensive. It's more that I don't agree with the reply you made to my post and I'm saying so. I don't know how you construe that as being defensive.

For some reason I don't think you're seeing the constructive side of my comments - nothing is perfect, even Nisus Writer, and I am trying to identify an aspect of the product which could be enhanced to improve its prospects in the marketplace.

My requirements for better Word compatibility are not at all uncommon and to pretend that they are, and that there are entirely satisfactory workarounds, is either complacent or blinkered.

I know that Word uses a proprietary format, but there are solutions out there for reading and writing files with better fidelity than Nisus Writer currently provides. I have also made suggestions for ways in which files could be handled which would make NW work better as a replacement for Word. Like it or not, that's exactly what many people want, and there is a specific opportunity to take advantage of the non-Intel native status of Word right now and for the next few months - I think it would be great if Nisus would make these small changes to take advantage of this.

You ask me not to "knock on Nisus". Surely one of the purposes of a forum like this is to be able to identify ways in which the product could be improved, as I think I have done. In this context to ask that people not criticise the product is not very constructive. In fact I think it could be construed by some people as rather defensive...


2007-09-18 23:29:24
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