OpenOffice Tips: Writer, Calc and Impress
No Writer's Block Here
July 26, 2004
Making the switch from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice can save you a lot of money on licensing fees, and it isn't difficult--most people get used to the changes quickly. But if you've been using MS Office for the best part of a decade and learned a few of its tricks along the way, you may find yourself baffled about how to do certain tasks in OpenOffice. Here are a few tips on using Writer, Calc and Impress.
Writer, the word processing program in OpenOffice, is similar to MS Word in most respects. Take a look at all the icons at the top of the page. You'll the same familiar faces � print, save, open document, new, undo, fonts, type size and so on. But Writer includes a few additions, too, with the best being Easy PDF Conversion. It's a snap to convert a document into a PDF that the recipient can open with Acrobat Reader.
Writer handles a few tasks differently, though, like the examples listed below. Here's how to deal with them:
- Word count: Go to File and click on Properties and Statistics, you'll see the word count.
- Highlighting: Change a highlighting color or un-highlight something by right clicking on the Highlight icon. Hold the pressure down for a moment, and a selection of colors appears.
- Fonts: OpenOffice gives you a decent selection, without getting extravagant like MS Office. OpenOffice offers the key ones such as Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, Courier New, Garamond and Tahoma.
- Finding features: OpenOffice lists most features in the same place as MS Office, but not all. For example: You'll find templates in the File menu, tables in the Insert menu and collaboration features in the Edit menu.
- Numbering/font corruption: Anyone who's ever used Word is familiar with hassles with numbering and fonts. For instance, you cut and paste text into a document and then as you edit the document, the fonts change, the text goes bold and so on. OpenOffice reduces this confusion significantly, and also cuts down on trouble related to automatic numbering sequences.
- Grammar: don't bother looking for a grammar checker. OpenOffice doesn't have one.
- Paste: One problem with Writer is that when you paste text from the Web into a document, it automatically puts it in a separate box. There's probably a workaround for it, but we haven't found it yet.