Installing MS Office on Fedora 15 — try 2

This is my second attempt at writing this article.  Office hasn’t been playing nicely with Fedora, but I finally have it working!  This How-To is not as clean as I would like, but it works.

First, let’s explore the motivation for installing Microsoft Office on Linux.  I would venture to guess that most if not all Linux distributions have LibreOffice in their repositories.  That is a full-featured office package that will probably do most of what you want.  In my opinion, Microsoft Office is just a little bit better, but that comes with a huge price tag!  The value is definitely on LibreOffice’s side.  But, here are some reasons you may consider Office instead:

  • if you can get Office cheaper — many times you can get Office much cheaper through student licensing or corporate licensing
  • if you do a lot of work on Office documents in conjunction with other Microsoft users — LibreOffice can open, edit, and save MS Office documents, but when you go back and forth, you will probably have to constantly fix small formatting issues

My motivation comes from working with textbooks.  I was working with large Word documents, and since they were so large, reformatting images and screenshots were not feasible every time we passed them back and forth between LibreOffice and MS Office.  Plus, Office was bought for me so the cost was not an issue!
So, with no further adue, let me walk you through what I did to install it on my Fedora 15 OS:

Installing Wine

First, I installed wine using yumex.  I learned that it was important for me to select the i686 version as opposed to the 64-bit version.

Wine 32-bit in YumEx

For me, this installed Wine version 1.3.24:

wine --version   returns Wine Version 1.3.24

Installing Winetricks

Winetricks is a script that helps with installing Wine dependencies and such.  In this case, it proved very useful for running the installation for Office as a whole.

Unfortunately, no winetricks RPM exists in the repository, but the Wiki has some nice installation instructions.

First, I installed the cabextract dependency using yumex:
Installing Cab Extract with YumEx

Then, I used these commands to download winetricks. Note that this assumes you already have a bin directory in your home.

wget -O ~/bin/winetricks http://kegel.com/wine/winetricks
chmod u+x ~/bin/winetricks
winetricks

Clearing out the WinePrefix

I have tried several attempts where I could not get Office to work. So, I am going to wipe that all away in this step. Be careful, and make sure you have not already installed something under wine before taking these steps.  You don’t need to do this step if you haven’t yet tried to install office.

First, run winetricks:

winetricks

Next, “Select the default wineprefix”:
winetricks option: Select the default wineprefix

Next, “Delete ALL DATA AND APPLICATIONS INSIDE THIS WINEPREFIX”:
winetricks option: Delete ALL DATA AND APPLICATIONS INSIDE THIS WINEPREFIX

The program cautiously asks for confirmation — again, make sure you haven’t installed something else here that you want to keep!
Winetricks Confirmation

Now, your “.wine” directory is gone.
ls .wine says the directory does not exist

Installing Gecko

I am not sure this is necessary.  I was just having trouble and Wine kept complaining about Gecko.

I finally found some nice information about installing Gecko.  Tweaking leigh123linux’s commands, this is what I used:

curl http://winezeug.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/install-gecko.sh -o ~/bin/install-gecko.sh
chmod u+x ~/bin/install-gecko.sh
~/bin/install-gecko.sh

Installing Office

First, run winetricks:

winetricks

Since this is my first run, it configures a new .wine directory:
Configuring wine dialog

If you see this dialog throughout the process, just hit cancel. According to this post, it doesn’t work anyway.
Gecko Installer: Cancel

When Winetricks opens,  I selected “Install an app”.

Winetricks dialog: selecting to install an app

Then, I chose MS Office 2007 from the list:
Selecting office2007pro in the winetricks dialog

I got this message, but this is to be expected.  According to several blog posts, I read that Power Point won’t work without this riched20 tweak.
Working around wine bug 14980 -- Using native riched20

If you haven’t already inserted the CD, winetricks will prompt you at this point.
Please insert volume OFFICE12 (needed for package office2007pro)

After a few seconds, the installer started and requested the Product Key:
Office Installer, asking for Product Key

Next, it asked for me to agree to the agreement. Then, it was ready to install. I just clicked the big “Install Now” button.
Office Installer, Install Now

After a few minutes, it completed, and I just clicked close.
Office Installer -- completed

Once I clicked close, it opened Winetricks again. Notice that it shows a new Wineprefix for Office. I cancelled at this point, because there was nothing else to do.
Winetricks with new Office prefix

The First Run

I found the icons installed under the “Other” menu.
Gnome Shell Other Menu with Office Icons

First, it asks for User Name information:
Office User Name Dialog

Then, it goes through the configuration process that takes a while!
Office Installer Configuration

The activation wizard was next. I chose over the Internet:

Activation Wizard Dialog

It worked with no problem.
Office Activated Dialog

In the Welcome Wizard, I unchecked all the options:
Welcome Dialog, first page

I chose not to keep it up to date — I don’t think it works anyway:
Welcome Dialog, second page

Running from the Commandline

If you want to run the program from the command line, you can’t just type winword.exe. I dug through my Main Menu application, and here is the command that I found:

env WINEPREFIX="/home/skp/.local/share/wineprefixes/office2007pro" wine C:\\windows\\command\\start.exe /Unix /home/skp/.local/share/wineprefixes/office2007pro/dosdevices/c:/users/skp/Start\ Menu/Programs/Microsoft\ Office/Microsoft\ Office\ Word\ 2007.lnk

So, that is how it went for me. I wish it was a little cleaner, but at least I have it working!

4 thoughts on “Installing MS Office on Fedora 15 — try 2

  1. Thanks! This was super helpful, my only problem is that I cannot activate office over the internet. Have you seen this?
    How is the stability of office so far?

  2. @Mark, Office seems somewhat stable. I think it was a little more stable when I had it installed in Ubuntu, but this works.

    A while back, I was unable to activate Office over the Internet, and I just used the phone method. On this install, it activated via the Internet with no problem. I don’t think any of the online features work though such as clip art or help.

    I have had an issue where the Alt key get’s stuck. It seems to happen when I Alt+tab in and out of Word. When I come back in, and I click somewhere, it opens the Research pane. The scroll wheel quits working. Things just don’t seem to work right. But, if I hit the left Alt key twice, it clears it up.

    Another issue I have is that the bullets show up as clover leafs. When I save and give the document to someone else, I think they are fine, so I haven’t worried about it.

    As for icons, they just showed up for me. I think on Gnome Shell, I had to search for them to find them. On the classic Gnome, they should be either under “Other” or under Wine > Programs > Office or something like that. You can always create your own with the menu editor.

  3. wow, thanks. it works really well.
    there’s one little thing I want to add.
    when it says “Please Insert Volume OFFICE12”, you really have to name your DVD/CD as OFFICE12 (with UPPERCASE)

    so if you have an installer from microsoft (some uni students do) in .exe format or by default the name is Office12, or probably if you downloaded the pirated version. you really have to rename the DVD/CD as OFFICE12. use K3B. 🙂

    Im not sure if this will work with Ms.Office 2010 by renaming the Volume name only. LOL.

    once again, thank you very much.

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