Hi all, In this article I’ll tell you about openoffice.org writter. It offers many great set of advanced features that can help you to create anything from a simple letter to a complex book size document / layout / journal etc. We need to offten dig deep in to any powerful application in order to get the most out of it. This article / document / tips will help you to quickly master Writer’s many useful features.
Removing a word from a user dictionary
To remove a word from a user-defined dictionary, follow these steps:
- Choose Tools → Options → Language Settings → Writing Aids.
- In the User-defined dictionaries window, select soffice and press the Edit button.
- Select the word you want to remove and click Delete.
- Press Close → OK when done.
Adding a watermark to a document.
Sometimes you need to add a watermark to your document (for example, CONFIDENTIAL, URGENT, or COPY). Here is how to do this:
- Choose Insert → Frame to insert a frame into the document.
- Enter the desired text and change its color, if necessary.
- Click on the frame to select it.
- Right-click on the frame and choose Wrap → In Background.
Using this technique you can also use picture as a watermark: in step 1, choose Insert → Picture → From File.
Creating conditional content using sections
Writer allows you to show or hide a sections depending on a specified condition. This is a very powerful feature that can be used for a variety of purposes. Let’s say you work on a manual which is aimed at both beginners and advanced users. Obviously, the advanced users don’t need the content for beginners, and you might want to omit it when printing the manual. To do this, mark paragraphs for beginners as sections and then define a condition that hides the sections if some condition is met. For this example, the sections are hidden if the title contains the string advanced users (for example, OpenOffice.org Writer for advanced users).
First, create a variable that will be used in the condition. The variable will be part of the title, and it will take two values: beginners (as in OpenOffice.org Writer for beginners) and advanced users (as in OpenOffice.org Writer for advanced users). Enter the first part of the title, leaving the cursor at the end of it. Choose Insert → Fields → Other, and click on the Variables tab. Select Type → Set Variable and Format → Text. Enter a name in the Name field (for example, Level), give it the value beginners, and press the Insert button. This inserts the word beginners at the end of the title.
Select a paragraph you want to hide and choose Insert → Section. Tick the Hide check box and enter Level EQ “advanced users” in the With Condition field. Repeat these steps with other paragraphs. To hide the created section, double-click on the word beginners and change the value of the Level variable to advanced users in the Edit Fields → Variables. Click OK, and the specified sections disappear. Change the value of the Level variable back to beginners to show the sections.
Keeping captions on one line
By default, every caption fits the width of the image, which works well in most cases.
However, if the caption is longer that the image, then the result doesn’t look particularly good. In this case, you might want to keep the caption on one line.
- Add a caption to your image in the normal manner.
- Click somewhere on the page, then click on the picture.
- Choose Format → Picture → Type.
- Untick the Relative check boxes and press the Original Size button.
- You can then click on the frame below the image (so that you select the frame and not the image itself) and stretch it.
Typing shortcuts with AutoCorrect
The AutoCorrect feature in OpenOffice.org serves many purposes. A common usage is to automatically correct spelling errors. But AutoCorrect is not only a good tool for correcting mistakes, it can also save you a lot of typing. For example, instead of typing deoxyribonucleic acid every single time, you can create a replacement rule that saves you the trouble of typing such a long word.
- Choose AutoCorrect from the Tools menu.
- From the Replacements and exceptions for language drop-down list (at the top of the dialog), choose the desired language. (To apply the rule globally, choose All.)
- Select the Replace tab.
- Create the rule and click on the New button to add it to the existing list. Note that the New button is disabled until a new rule is entered.
- Press OK and test the rule.
Using Rubies for in-line notes
The Ruby feature allows you to add explanatory text to complex Asian characters. But you can use it to add in-line comments to your documents, including explanations of technical terms or word definitions. The Ruby feature requires that Asian language support is enabled. Choose Tools → Options → Language Settings → Language and tick the Enabled for Asian languages check box.
To add Ruby text, select a word or a text segment and choose Format → Asian phonetic guide. Type the text you want into the Ruby field and click OK. By default, Ruby text formatted using the Rubies character style which you can modify to your liking.
Creating a new default template
If you want every new document to have user-defined settings, you must create a new template and set it as default.
- Create a new document, add or modify styles, and change other settings as you desire.
- From the File menu, choose Templates → Save.
- Give the template a name.
- Select a category in the Categories list (for example, My Templates).
- Click OK to save the template.
- Choose File → Templates → Organize.
- In the Category list, double-click on the My Templates folder.
- Right-click on the template you want to use and choose Set as Default Template from the menu.
- Click the Close button.
Creating a style by example
The quickest way to create a new style is to use an already formatted text segment as an example.
- Start by formatting some text.
- If the style list is not open, press F11 or use Format → Stylist.
- In the Stylist, choose the type of style that you want to create (for example, click the Paragraph button if you want to create a paragraph style).
- Select the formatted text segment and drag it onto the Stylist (alternatively, click on the New Style from Selection button).
- In the Create Style dialog box, type a name for the new style.
- Click OK.
Copying styles between documents
Suppose you have a style in a file that you want to use in your current document. You can copy the style in the following way:
1. Open both documents and choose File → Templates → Organize.
2. At the bottom of the Template Manager dialog box, choose Documents from both drop-down lists.
3. In the left window, double-click on the document that contains the style you want.
4. Double-click on the Styles item. This displays the list of styles available in the document.
5. Select the style you want to copy and drag it onto the target document in the right window while holding down the Ctrl key.
6. When you see a horizontal line under the file, release the mouse button.
7. Press the Close button when done.
Loading existing styles
OpenOffice.org offers an easy way to copy styles from one document to another.
1. Open a document and long-click on the last button on the right in the Stylist.
2. Choose Load Styles from the pop-up menu.
3. Click on the From File button and locate the file with the styles you want to copy.
4. Tick the Overwrite check box if you want to replace the style definitions for styles with the same names.
5. Press the Open button, and the styles appear in the Stylist.
Adding a chart to a document
Charts are not limited to Calc spreadsheets. If you have a Writer document that contains tables with rows of data, you can visualize them using charts. Start by selecting the data in the desired table. Choose Insert → Object → Chart. This launches the Chart Wizard which guides you through the process of creating a chart.
Adding a chart to a document with no data
Using a simple trick, you can add a chart to a Writer document with no tables and data in it.
1. Choose Insert → Object → Chart.
2. When the Chart Wizard opens, click the Create button. This inserts a default chart.
3. Double-click on the chart, so that you can see the thick gray border around it.
4. Right-click on the chart and choose Chart Data from the context menu.
5. Using the Chart Data dialog window, you can edit the data add/remove columns and rows, change labels, etc.
Want to spice up lists in your document with custom graphics instead of default bullets?
1. Choose Format → Bullets and Numbering.
2. In the dialog window, click on the Options tab.
3. Choose 1 from the Level list and select Graphics from the Numbering drop-down list.
4.If you want to use the bullets available in the Gallery, choose Gallery from the Graphics menu; otherwise select From File.
5. Locate the graphics you want to use.
6. Click OK when done.
7. Repeat the described steps for other levels.
Using landscape and portrait pages in the same document
Here is the problem: you have a document where all pages are in Portrait mode, but you need to insert a page in Landscape mode. To do this, you must create a page style with landscape page orientation:
1. In the Stylist, click on the Page Style button, right-click in the window, and choose New.
2. In the Page Style dialog box, click on the Page tab.
3. Under Orientation, choose the Landscape option.
4. Specify other settings and press OK.
To insert a landscape-oriented page:
1. Choose Insert → Manual Break.
2. Choose the Page break option.
3. Select the newly created landscape page style from the Style drop-down menu.
To get back to the portrait mode repeat the procedure, but in step 3 select the portrait page style.
Linking text frames
Although Writer is not a DTP application, it contains tools that allow you to create complex layouts. For example, using the Link Frames feature you can insert frames in the document and then link them together.
1. Start with creating a frame (Insert → Frame) and typing some text in it. Alternatively, you can frame an existing text fragment.
2. Create an empty frame and click on the edge of the first frame.
3. Click the Link Frames button on the Object toolbar.
4. Click on the edge of the second frame.
When the first frame is full, the text flows into the second frame. To unlink frames, select a frame and press the Unlink frame button on the Object toolbar.
Advanced Find & Replace options
The Find & Replace tool offers a few advanced options to make your search more precise. You can use the Attributes button to select the text attributes that you want to search. For example, if you tick the Font color check box, the search will find all occurrences of text where the default font color was changed. Using the Format button you can specify the text format criteria for your search. This option can be used, for example, if you want to find all occurrences of the word OpenOffice.org in a particular font, typeface, size, or any other text format characteristics. Similarity search allows you to perform fuzzy searches. For example, searching for the word office with the Similarity Search turned on returns both office and official.
Setting page number offset
Here is the problem: you have a document containing a blank or title page, and you want to start page numbering with the next page. Here is how this can be done:
1. Click in the first paragraph of your first page.
2. Choose Format → Paragraph → Text Flow.
3. Under Breaks, check Enable. Make sure that Type is set to Page and Position is set to Before.
4. Tick the With Page Style check box and choose Default (or whatever page style you want).
5. Enter the page number you want in the Page number field.
Note that 0 in the Page number field doesn’t denote a page number, but simply means that the current page number won’t be changed.
Adding captions with chapter number
If you have a lot of pictures in your document, you can configure captions to include the chapter number. To do this, you have to make sure that the chapter heading is set to be numbered. Choose Tools → Outline Numbering, select 1 in the Level list, and make sure that the Number drop-down list is set to 1,2,3, … (or whatever numbering you want). To add a caption to a picture:
1. Select the picture.
2. Right-click on it and choose Caption.
3. Press the Options button.
4. Select 1 from the Level drop-down list and set a separator in the Separator field.
5. Click OK → OK.
You can also configure Writer to add a caption automatically when you insert a picture:
1. Choose Tools → Options → OpenOffice.org Writer → AutoCaption.
2. Tick the OpenOffice.org Writer Picture check box.
3. Set other options.
4. Click OK to save the settings and close the window.
Using running headers and footers
Running headers and footers can contain useful information about a document. For example, you can make the footer show the name of the current chapter. Here is how to add a running footer:
1. Choose Tools → Outline Numbering.
2. Set up the paragraph style you want to use for the running footer as Level 1.
3. Click in the footer where you want to insert the chapter name and press Ctrl+F2 (or choose Insert → Fields → Other).
4. In the Document tab, choose Chapter from the Type list.
5. In the Format list, select Chapter name and click Insert.
Locking text segments
In certain situations, you might want to prevent other users from editing parts of a Writer document.
1. Select the text segment that you want to protect.
2. From the Insert menu, choose Section.
3. Tick the Protect check box.
4. Click the Insert button.
If you tick the With password check box and define a password, users can edit the text segment only if they enter the correct password.
Using a grid in text documents
You can use the grid feature not only in Draw, but also in Writer. This can be useful when you want to position or align several objects in a document with a complex layout. To enable the grid, go to Options → OpenOffice.org Writer → Grid and tick the Visible grid check box. To make the grid lines to act like magnets, tick the Snap to grid check box.
Creating a hyperlinked table of contents
Writer allows you to create a table of contents (TOC) with hyperlinks to the referenced sections.
1. Assuming that you already have a TOC, right-click on it and choose Edit Index/Table.
2. In the Insert Index/Table window, click on the Entries tab and select 1 in the Level list.
3. If you want to hyperlink the entire entry (as opposed to only page number or title), place the cursor in the first empty field right before the F# button.
4. Click on the Hyperlink button. This inserts the LS (Link Start) button.
5. Place the cursor in the last empty field right after the # button and click on Hyperlink again. This inserts the LE (Link End) button.
6. In the Preview pane, you can see that the Level 1 headers become formatted as a hyperlink. If you have other levels in your TOC and you want to hyperlink them as well, click on the All button.
7. Press OK when you are done.
Since Writer applies the Hyperlink character style to the TOC entries, you may encounter a situation where you want your TOC to have its own character style. Right-click on the TOC and choose Edit Index/Table. Click on the Entries tab, click on the LS button, select the desired style from the Character Style drop-down list, press All, and then OK.
Using AutoFormat for consistent table layout
If you have a Writer document with a few tables, you might want them to have a consistent appearance. To do this, you can use the AutoFormat feature. Create a table and place the cursor anywhere in it. Choose AutoFormat from the Table menu and select the desired layout. Of course, you are not limited to the available layouts – you can easily add your own in the following way:
1. Create a table and format it, including borders, background colors, fonts, and data.
2. Place the cursor anywhere in the table and choose Table → AutoFormat.
3. Click the Add button and give the new layout a name.
4. Press OK.
Dealing with long URLs
Writer doesn’t have the ability to hyphenate long hyperlinks, and if you have a fully justified text with a few long URLs, you may have a hard time making it look good. You can, of course, create HTML-styled hyperlinks, but they only work in the electronic version of the document. There is no quick fix for this problem, but with a bit of tweaking you can find a workable solution. Actually, there are several ways of dealing with long hyperlinks. One of them is to use footnotes, which allow you to move all URLs out of the main text. Adding a footnote in Writer is easy: place the cursor where you want the reference number to appear and choose Insert → Footnote. You can then define whether you want to create a footnote (the note at the bottom of the current page) or an endnote (the note at the end of the document). Now you can add the link and its description. This is a simple method that allows you to add other important information besides the link itself.
Another solution is to keep the hyperlinks in the text using the TinyURL service (www.tinyurl.com). TinyURL allows you to convert a long URL into a short link that looks like this tinyurl.com/68b33. The advantages of using this service are obvious, but there is a drawback: if the service for some reason goes down, your links become unusable. The following solution prevents this from happening and offers a more convenient way of dealing with long hyperlinks in Writer documents. Normally, you’d then open your Writer document and paste the link into it. But in this way, you don’t have any record of the original URL. A better solution is to click on the Hyperlink button, set Hyperlink type to Web, enter the original URL into the Target field, and paste the short link into the Text field. In this way, you have the short link in the text that points to the original URL.
You can take this solution a step further: using a simple Base database you can manage all your URLs and respective short links from one location. Start by creating a Calc spreadsheet. In the first row, enter columns’ names such as Notes,TinyURL, and URL. Add at least one row with data and save the spreadsheet in dBase format (.dbf). Launch Base and create a new database. In the Database Wizard, select the Connect to an existing database option and select dBASE from the drop-down list. Select the path to the folder containing the .dbf file and select the Yes, register the database for me option. From now on, you can access your database directly from within Writer by pressing the F4 key. You can also add, edit, and remove records, but, more importantly, you can insert a short link from the database by dragging it onto the currently opened document.
Using AutoCorrect to insert frequently used special characters
Using the Insert Special character feature, you can easily insert symbols and other signs. That’s fine if you need to insert a symbol every now and then, but what if you have to insert a particular character in almost every sentence? One way to solve this problem is to use the AutoCorrect feature. Let’s say you need to insert the µ character; choose Tools → AutoCorrect, click on the Replace tab, and create a new rule that converts the specified string to µ, for example, #m. Once the rule is added, you can simply type #m, and Writer converts it into µ.
Inserting data from a data source into a Writer document
Let’s say you have a list of quotations in a spreadsheet file, and you want to access it from within Writer so you can easily insert a quotation into your document. First of all, create a new Base database that uses the spreadsheet as its data source: Choose File → New → Database, select the Connect to an existing database option, select Spreadsheet from the drop-down list. Make sure the Yes, register the database for me option is selected and press Finish.
1. Open the Writer document and place the cursor where you want to insert a quotation.
2. Press F4 to open the Data Source window.
3. Choose the table (sheet) that contains quotations.
4. Select the quotation record (row) you want to insert and press the Data to Text button.
Inserting dummy text into a document
Need to fill your document with dummy text? Type dt in the document and press F3.
Changing the default dummy text in Writer
The dummy text in Writer is just a regular text snippet stored in AutoText, so you can edit it the same way as you would edit any AutoText entry. To modify the existing dummy text:
1. Press Ctrl+F3 to open the AutoText dialog window.
2. Expand the Standard list and scroll down to Dummy Text.
3. Click the AutoText button and choose Edit. The dummy text opens in Writer and you can edit it to your liking.
4. Save the changes by pressing Ctrl+S.
Next time you type dt and press F3, you’ll have your modified text.