Converting Docs

“It was the hottest part of the day, coffee was low, and the Internet connection was flakey.”

Recently I started back to school after taking some semesters off due to a new adorable addition to the family. As much as I love learning and taking online courses, I really dislike the way a lot of colleges force me to use their software as means of completing and submitting my assignments. I can’t blame them, unifying the software stack and having reliable support is key for them and their professors. Unfortunatly I use Office 365 for many of my classes, mainly because it works-ish, provided free by my college, and several professors want documents submitted in the docx format. My usual work flow for comlpeting assignments goes as follows: download assignment from Blackboard, upload assignments to Office 365 (to complete the work), redownload the document to my computer, then reupload the document to Blackboard for submission.

Yup, that’s how I was doing it. On top of that my Internet connection was blah one day, causing Office365 to load slowly and possibly fail when saving the documents. The experience just wasn’t great. I remembered hearing something about, wait for it, Pandoc. I figured what the hay, I’ll give it a try. My previous experience with working with doc, docx, and a few others using Open-Source was honestly, shakey. Libreoffice seems to be a popular program and claims to be able to edit doc and docx but my experience was terrible. It seems to butcher my documents, creating more work for me. Bah humbug! So, from that experience I just stayed away from such software and work flows and utilized the correct program to complete my tasks. But, boy was I wrong! I had been using the wrong programs!

Introducing Pandoc.

I did a quick apt-get install pandoc on my debian lappytops and a quick duckduckgo search for how to use pandoc, and from that moment I was floored. This amazing peice of oh-so-goodness software really changed my work flow and helped me to be less reliant on the Internet. My new workflow is much simpler, and doesn’t rely on Office365 and a stable Internet connection; on the brightside I can even using my terminal for my document editing needs! Now I simply: download assignment from Blackboard (docx format), convert document to markdown, convert document back to docx, lastly reupload the document to Blackboard for submission. Yeah, winning!

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I really am amazed how well pandoc works, and how ignorant I was of converting documents. I mean businesses and State and Federal agencies have to be able to work in many file formats, so I should have realized this was completly possible but, that I was using the wrong programs in the begining. Oh well, you learn something new every day and I am really happy to have learned this lesson!

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