8.1. Feature 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 professional-looking documents.
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
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 extensive information.
8.1.1. 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: http://libwpd.sourceforge.net/.
The use of styles is one of the most powerful aspects of
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
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 Text
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
Save the file as a template by choosing
Enter a name for your new template and click the
To use a template:
Go to =>
A window will open with three template folders. Your
template will most likely be in the folder marked
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:
8.1.4. Special Tools of OpenOffice.org
- Spell Check
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 provided.
- 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 and Documentation
has excellent documentation, including tutorials, FAQs, and
setup guides. Try the following helpful links:
has information especially helpful to those users who are
accustomed to Microsoft Office.
has a list of the various documentation projects being
maintained. This is where you will find FAQs, tutorials, and
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