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Discovering the New Features of OpenOffice.org 3.0 - page 2

Better Start Center, Native OS X, MS OOXML

  • December 15, 2008
  • By Eric Geier

Cropping images in Draw and Impress works better

OOo used to only offer the cropping of images via a dialog box, by inputting measurements for how much to cut off from the top, bottom, left, and right. However, version 3.0 offers a less crude way of cropping in Draw and Impress. Like other office or photo applications, now you can "visually crop". As shown in Figure 2, after you click the Crop Picture icon from the toolbar, use the cursors on the edges of the image to crop it. It feels just like if you were to resize an image, but instead of shrinking, it cuts off portions of� the image. After you exit the cropping state, the picture edges will function for resizing purposes. If you find you bit off more than you can chew, just click the Crop Picture toolbar icon again to uncrop or adjust the cropping.

If you are a fan of the Crop dialog box, don't worry, its still available. To bring it up, right-click an image and choose Crop Picture. As with pervious versions of OOo, the dialog box (see Figure 3) sports a thumbnail of the image with cropping marks to help you see how it will look.

 

 

Improved notes and multi-page viewing in Writer

One of the biggest changes you'll notice in Writer 3.0 is how notes are handled. Inserting and viewing notes in Writer documents with previous versions of OOo was a bit crude. When you hit Insert > Note, you had to type the note into a dialog box, and then to save the author's initials with the insertion date and time, you had to hit a button. Plus it was a bit tricky to get a note to display by hovering over it. However, as you can see in Figure 4, the open source developers have now adopted a similar approach to notes as used by Microsoft.

If you have the urge to notate, move the cursor to the spot and click Insert > Note or hit Ctrl+Alt+N. Then pour your heart out into the note box on the right of the document. The author's name and the time of the insertion is recorded automatically. It's now that simple. If you find you need to make changes to the notations, simply click in the note box.

Writer now also sports new zooming settings and functionality. Instead of having to click View > Zoom and changing the zoom factor on a dialog box, you can now change it right from the Status bar on the bottom of Writer 3.0. You can use the slider to adjust the zoom percentage and the icons on the left to select the layout type, which is a new zooming attribute with the following types:

  • Single page is what you're used to from pervious versions of Writer, where the pages are displayed in a single vertical line, never side by side.
  • Automatic is where the amount of pages placed side-by-side are based upon the zoom factor; the more zoomed out, the more pages will appear on the screen.
  • Columns is where the pages are placed side-by-side based upon the amount of columns you specify. The default is 2 columns with book mode on, as you can see in Figure 5. This default layout type provides a better picture of what the document looks and feels like a book format, with the first page acting as the front cover or title page and the left/right content pages paired next to each other.

The zooming settings can still be set from the dialog box, by clicking View > Zoom or double-clicking the zoom percentage number in status bar. This is actually the only spot where you can change the amount of columns for the column layout type and turn the book mode on or off.

 

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