PowerPoint 2007 fails to launch in 64-bit Linux Mint 18.1

As noted in the previous post, after installing Microsoft Office 2007 on a machine running Wine under 64-bit Linux Mint, Word and Excel ran fine, but PowerPoint failed to launch. Two further tweaks are necessary to get PowerPoint 2007 to run.

First, navigate to Menu – Wine – Configure Wine to launch the Wine configuration utility (winecfg). Select the “Libraries” tab and, in the box labelled “New override for library”, use the drop-down menu to select the entry for “riched20”. Press the “Add” button and “riched20 (native, builtin)” will be displayed in the box labelled “Existing overrides”. Press the “Edit” button and select the radio button labelled “Native (Windows)”. The existing override will now appear as “riched20 (native)”.

Attempting to launch PowerPoint from Menu – Other – Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 still fails. The second “tweak” is to launch PowerPoint through the Terminal command:

wine “$HOME/.wine/drive_c32/drive_c/Program Files/Microsoft Office/Office12/POWERPNT.EXE”

Note that the “drive_c32” portion of this command string refers to the 32-bit wineprefix that was established as described in the previous post (Installing Microsoft Office 2007 in 64-bit Linux Mint 18.1).

I find it more convenient to establish a program launcher for PowerPoint (and similar launchers for Word and Excel) simply by right-clicking on the desktop, and selecting “Create Launcher”. Enter “PowerPoint” as the “Name”, then click on “Browse” and navigate to “/home/toaster/.wine/drive_c32/drive_c/Program Files/Microsoft Office/Office12/POWERPNT.EXE”. Press “OK” and – bingo – a brand new desktop icon that launches PowerPoint.

But, wait! The icon is the default “spring” and, if we don’t change this, Word, Excel and PowerPoint will all use the same desktop icon. The trick is to locate an MS Office icon that we can substitute. I found a suitable source on Scott Savage’s Blog (thanks Scott). Packaged in a ZIP file, which can readily be downloaded, icons such as powerpoint.ico (a 48×48 pixel ico file) can be extracted for use.

However, ico files do not appear to be useful directly in Linux program launchers. One solution is to use Gimp to open the ico file and export it to a png file (e.g. powerpoint.png). Now, right-click on the PowerPoint desktop icon, left-click on the spring icon, navigate to the storage location for powerpoint.png, select this image, and press “Open”. The icon image will change to that for PowerPoint. Press “OK” and now you really do have a brand new PowerPoint icon with which to load the program.


How to Install MS Office 2007 on Linux using Wine

Download Office 2007 Icons

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Installing Microsoft Office 2007 in 64-bit Linux Mint 18.1

I found it simple to install Office 2007 in Linux Mint under Wine. However, when I ran Word, intending to open an existing file, I immediately received the error message “Word cannot open this document template (C:\users\…\1033\Building Blocks.dotx)”. Ignoring this error, and continuing to try to open my file resulted in things going from bad to worse, with multiple messages about unreadable content, file errors, and features needing repair. I found this odd because I had previously installed and used the same package under Linux on an older laptop computer. It turned out that it was the new computer that was the problem!

But first, a word about MS Office and Linux. Yes, I really do usually use the default LibreOffice suite of programs when using Linux. (In fact, I often use LibreOffice when I dual-boot into the Windows side of my system.) So, why would I want to install and use MS Office in Linux?

The fact is that LibreOffice and MS Office are not 100% compatible and, on occasion, I do have a need to work with “real” doc and xls files. It’s actually really easy just to boot into Windows when I intend to use Word or Excel. But, just suppose that I only want to use one of these programs briefly. Wouldn’t it make sense to be able to run the Windows program under Wine and not have to leave the Linux environment?

This whole situation came to a head recently when I wanted to access Word briefly – and quickly – only to find my Windows box “locked up” because Windows 10 was pushing a huge package of updates. This particular process literally prevented me from doing anything for quite some time. I couldn’t even load task manager to kill the running process!

So, my solution was to install an old copy of Office 2007 under Wine. But, as noted earlier, this wasn’t as simple as it seemed.

The problem transpired to be my installing Office 2007 on a relatively new, 64-bit computer. Office 2007 is a 32-bit application and, by default, Wine has trouble running this package on a 64-bit machine. As WineHQ’s FAQ listing states: “At present there are some significant bugs that prevent many 32 bit applications from working in a 64 bit wineprefix. To work around this, you can create a new 32 bit wineprefix using the WINEARCH environment variable.”

There are several web postings that indicate (more-or-less) how to do this. The two Terminal commands that worked for me in Linux Mint 18.1 are as follows:

(1) To create the new 32 bit wineprefix, WineHQ’s FAQ says to use the command:

WINEARCH=win32 WINEPREFIX=path_to_wineprefix winecfg

The parameter “path_to_wineprefix” may not be self evident. It is actually the path to the folder used as Wine’s (virtual) C: drive. It is very likely that this will be located in the hidden “.wine” folder in your home directory. It is also very likely that this folder will be named “drive_c”. In this case, the path to the default version of wineprefix will be /home/username/.wine/drive_c (where “username” will be your actual username.)

For my specific machine, the username is “toaster”, so my path to wineprefix is: /home/toaster/.wine/drive_c

Note that WineHQ tells us that we need to create a “new 32 bit wineprefix”. This means creating a separate folder for use by the 32-bit Office 2007. However, (a) we have to let Wine create this folder, and (b) it must be a new folder (i.e. with a name that doesn’t already exist. I opted to create a folder named drive_c32 and so used the command:

WINEARCH=win32 WINEPREFIX=/home/toaster/.wine/drive_c32 winecfg

(2) Now, I can install Office 2007. The following command tells Wine to use the newly created 32 bit wineprefix, and identifies the location of Setup.exe on a USBkey named SILICON16GB. (For the purposes of this installation I copied the files from the original Microsoft CD to a USB key since the target computer was not equipped with an optical drive.)

WINEPREFIX=/home/toaster/.wine/drive_c32 /media/toaster/SILICON16GB/office2007/Setup.exe

With Office 2007 now installed under Wine, navigating to Menu – Other on my system provides access to options to launch the constituent programs in the office suite. Word and Excel seem to work flawlessly. On the other hand, PowerPoint simply fails to launch. But, that’s a problem for another day.


How do I create a 32 bit wineprefix on a 64 bit system

creating a 32 bit wineprefix on 64bit system?

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Android Programming

Have you ever wondered how all those Android apps are produced? Would you like to be able to create one of your very own? If so, you need Android Studio, an integrated development environment (IDE) for Android programming, from Google.
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Big Brother and Window Control Placement

Several years ago I found out how to switch the window controls from the left side to the right side of an active window. Now, it appears that the developers of the Unity desktop Ubuntu Linux have eliminated this option.
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Running a bash script in a program launcher

I have always included a “read” command at the end of a bash script if I wanted to pause the script, and keep the terminal window open, after the pre-programmed command sequence terminated. Recently, instead of running a script by double-clicking inside the file manager, I tried to run it using a program launcher. I double-clicked on the desktop icon for the launcher, but nothing seemed to happen. The terminal window that would normally display the results of the script’s commands never opened. It turns out that one needs to take additional steps to see what is happening when using a program launcher.
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Linux at 25

Happy Birthday Linux! Today marks the 25th anniversary of the announcement of work on the Linux kernel. “I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu)…” – Linus Torvalds, 25-Aug-91.
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Stop application windows snapping to full screen

Do you have an issue with moving a window by dragging it across the screen and it suddenly snapping (automatically maximizing) to full screen? If so, you let the top of the window touch the top of the screen and enabled automatic “snapping”. Fortunately, in Linux Mint, it’s a really easy fix.
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