I'm currently working on importing the shapes' content of docx files in OpenOffice.org and I found some troubling differences between OOo and Word on this point.
- A shape Word can contain text, tables and other objects. A shape in OOo can only contain text; to have a table inside a shape you need to create a frame and then insert the table. The old doc import filter is importing all the rectangle shape containing text as frames as there is no difference between a textbox and a shape in .doc files. The problems comes for the other shapes: e.g. an ellipse contains a table in Word will be imported as an ellipse shape in writer without the table. Data are lost here! Would it be worse an effort to have shapes handled and laid out like frames?
- A shape in Word can be rotated, and when the background is filled with a picture, this one is also rotated with the shape (in fact this is an option). A shape can be rotated in Writer, but the picture can't be rotated. This leads to some ugly results when importing such .doc file. Why can't a Writer shape be rotated in the same way than draw shapes? Even for a user, it's fairly complicated to rotate a shape in Writer...
- In Writer, even the UNO API can set custom bitmaps as the background of shapes, but there is nothing in the UI to select a custom picture as the shape background. Isn't that strange?
Here are two screenshots showing a .doc file in Word and OpenOffice.org to better see the above differences.
Shapes in word
Shapes in OpenOffice.org