I have to collaborate with someone who uses Word. I can open the document (which has comments) in Libre-Office, but I want a proper editing environment.
What can I do?

  • 1
    I am often in the same boat and never found a good solution. Either they make the edits and I tell them what my proposed revisions are, or visa versa. I use LaTeX, which no one in my profession uses. – lawlist Nov 25 '17 at 7:00
  • As much as I hate Word documents, the same problem shows up between users of DocBook and users of LaTeX. To make interoperability really working, you'd need a "round-trip" conversion which preserves every detail of everything (e.g. comments in the LaTeX document). – Stefan Nov 26 '17 at 2:33
  • This is probably even worse than what aplaice offers, but, unfortunately, I had to deal with a similar problem too. And, if the edits are really minimal, it is possible to edit the XML document directly (docx is just a ZIP archive containing a lot of garbage XMLs and eventually XLS or images). You can extract the archive, find the relevant document (typically, word/document.xml), and edit it by hand (the markup isn't too difficult to figure out), but it's an onerous task, if you need to do this often. – wvxvw Nov 26 '17 at 10:16

A sub-optimal answer (but I don't think there's currently anything better):

You could use pandoc to convert the docx document into a more emacs-friendly format (like markdown or org-mode), edit it in emacs and then convert back to docx. Apparently, pandoc does now have some support for docx comments. However, I have no idea how terribly mangled the formatting and the comments would be by the conversion there and back again.

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    This is a pretty good approach. I've tested, for example, starting with org-mode, but without hyperlinks, TODO lists and other features that obviously don't exist in Word. Then, pandoc it to docx, pandoc it back to a new org-mode and compare. The files are different but not particularly mangled. – Frank M May 5 at 17:21

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