overview of OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org is a powerful office
suite that includes word processing, spreadsheets, and slides. It
has all of the functionality of the best-known office suites, and
uses some powerful additional tools to help you easily create
One of the benefits of using an open source office suite is the
vibrant community of OpenOffice.org
users who share their templates, tutorials, and other information
on the web. Extensive documentation for the OpenOffice.org suite is available online, both at
their website and on various user sites.
This chapter takes a quick look at features that apply to the
suite as a whole, and then goes more in-depth to each of the
applications within the suite. For more information, you can always
take a look at the help menus in OpenOffice.org, which include handbooks and
Compatibility with other formats
OpenOffice.org is compatible with
most common document formats, including:
MS Office, from 6.0 through the present version
RTF (Rich Text Format)
HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)
PDF (Portable Document Format)
Currently, OpenOffice.org is not
compatible with a few formats, including:
In the case of WordPerfect, a filter
can be installed that will allow you to work with WordPerfect documents. It is called WriterPerfect and is available at SourceForge:
The use of styles is one of the most powerful aspects of
OpenOffice. A style is a set of formating instructions that are
used throughout a document.
Many users format their documents manually, highlighting each
block of text individually and selecting formatting options each
time a change is made. This practice is reasonable for short
documents, but is time-consuming and inconsistent for longer
When consistency in appearance is important, formatting with
styles is more efficient. Creating a style that fits your specific
needs requires an initial investment of time — but once the
style has been created, it saves effort in two ways. First, a style
can be applied to any document created in OpenOffice.org, immediately creating identical
documents. Second, making a single change in the style creates
changes across the entire document.
Use the Stylist to apply styles to text. It can be reached by
clicking on the yellow diamond icon on your toolbar, by going to
=> , or by pressing [F11] . To apply a style, highlight a block of
text, then double-click on the appropriate style in the Stylist, such as Heading1 or
To change a style throughout a document:
Highlight a representative block of text, such as a Heading1 block of text.
Make formatting changes — color, font, etc.
With the text still highlighted, press the Update Style button on the Stylist.
All text that has the same style applied will now have the
formatting that you just applied.
For more information, refer to the documentation available at
the OpenOffice.org web site: http://documentation.openoffice.org/manuals/oooauthors/IntroStyles.sxw.
A template is essentially a blank form that a user fills with
content. A common example of a template is letterhead, which has
the sender's postal information at the top and a blank body for the
letter text. In OpenOffice.org,
templates can contain text, images, and formatting.If you find
yourself frequently re-creating a relatively simple document,
creating a template can save you time.
To create a template:
Create a normal file containing the text and formatting you
would like to use for your template using one of the OpenOffice.org applications.
Save the file as a template by choosing => =>
Enter a name for your new template and click the OK button.
To use a template:
Go to => =>
A window will open with three template folders. Your template
will most likely be in the folder marked Default.
Open the folder and select the template you wish to use.
Edit the file and add whatever content you choose.
Save normally. You will create a new file instead of
over-writing your template.
For more information, refer to OpenOffice.org's documents at: http://documentation.openoffice.org/HOW_TO/word_processing/HowTo_Work_with_Templates.sxw.
8.1.4. Special Tools
- Spell Check
OpenOffice.org Writer includes an
extensive, customizable dictionary for spell-checking. Also
included is the ability to AutoSpellcheck -
check spelling as you type. With AutoSpellcheck, a potentially misspelled word
will be underlined in red. If you right-click on the word, the best
matches for that word are provided. Select the correct word from
the list. To spell check an entire document, go to =>
=> . To turn off the auto spell
checker, go to => => and remove the checkmark there by
clicking on it once. To turn it back on, click on it again.
OpenOffice.org also includes a
thesaurus. Click on the word to replace or double-click it to
highlight the word. Go to =>
. You will see a list of
synonyms in the right pane. Scroll through the list of synonyms.
When you find the one you are looking for, either double-click on
it or click once to select and then click the OK button to insert it into your text. If the list
of words does not include the word you want, you can select a word
from the list by clicking once and then clicking the Search button. A new list of related words will be
- AutoCorrect / AutoFormat
The AutoCorrect / AutoFormat feature
is one that automatically corrects common typing mistakes and
applies formatting to certain types of text. Users can determine to
what extent this feature assists them by going to => . This opens a dialog with tabs that allow you to
customize this feature's behavior. The Options tab allows users to select whether certain
standard substitutions are made. The Word
Completion tab allows users to turn this feature on and off,
and to specify additional options. If at any time you make changes
to AutoCorrect / AutoFormat and don't
feel it has been applied to your text, highlight the area of text
and select => => .
8.1.5. More Help
OpenOffice.org has excellent documentation, including
tutorials, FAQs, and setup guides. Try the following helpful
has information especially helpful to those users who are
accustomed to Microsoft Office.
http://documentation.openoffice.org/ has a list of the
various documentation projects being maintained. This is where you
will find FAQs, tutorials, and more.
Be sure to check out the extensive
menu. Go to => , and choose the Find tab. This allows you to search through the help
files for a keyword or phrase. Selecting the Contents tab allows you to search for your topic by
browsing through subjects.
Search for a keyword or phrase plus "OpenOffice.org" with your
favorite search engine.