Carl has made backup flash drives, but he can't read the Word Office files that are on them. Leo says that the files are .DOCX files created by Word and he'll need to open them with Word. Instead, what he's seeing is "word salad" which is Word format commands that tell the software what fonts to display, indents, margins, etc. So if his other app doesn't understand the format, he should try using Word's built-in backup solution, then restore it with the other copy of his app. There could be something that gets corrupted in the transfer by just dragging and dropping.
Moira has been running Office on the Mac, but when she tries to search her contacts, she gets results that are unreadable. Microsoft suggested she index the contacts database, which she did, but it didn't help. They made her create a new user on the Mac, and that did work. Leo says that indicates a bad profile. It's a good way to troubleshoot, actually. It could be a bad index, though. It could be other software impacting it, like a plugin or add-on. Leo says to get rid of the Microsoft support folder, then backup her contacts and data, and uninstall everything.
David is wondering whether he should get the iPad Pro when it comes out, or get the Microsoft Surface Pro. We don't really know anything about the iPad Pro quite yet. Leo's impressed by it, but it comes down to whether or not software will take advantage of it. Since David will be using it for business, office work, and multitasking, Leo recommends sticking with the Microsoft Surface Pro. The Surface Pro 3 is good, and the Surface Pro 4, which should be out soon, will be even better.
Leo says yes, Microsoft requires an account. He can pay monthly or yearly. It's $69 for a year, which is very cheap. He could buy Office and not have an account, but in the long run, Office 365 is a good deal.
Earl has an old iMac and can't transfer his files to his new iMac. He wants to move the program from the old to the new, but he doesn't have any disks. Leo says that Microsoft Word for the Web, which is free, or Google Docs, would work great. He doesn't need new software. He can just backup his data with a USB key and then bring it to the new Mac and use Office for the Web or docs.google.com to open it.
Bill's office recently got broken into and several computers were stolen. He's having a lot of issues opening the data he backed up in open source applications like Open Office. Leo says that Open Office has issues in OS X Mavericks. Libre Office 4.1 may work better for him. Should Bill roll back his Mac to Mountain Lion? Leo says that's a possibility. Leo suggests trying a brief month to month subscription to Microsoft Office 365. That may be the best route.
Valerie wants to know if she doesn't use Office 365/2013 next year, will she be able to open the documents? Leo says there are free, open source options like OpenOffice, which will open the docs Valerie uses with no trouble. In fact, Microsoft's own TOS says:
Derek has a Mac and needs to use Excel, but has been told the Mac version doesn't handle the advanced functions. Leo says that's not true. There's different key strokes, but it's the same functions. If he has Windows, he could run boot camp and use the Windows' version of Excel. That way he doesn't have to relearn the software. The chatroom reminds him that he'll have separate partitions for both operating systems. He can use VMWare, and run Windows inside of the Mac.