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OpenOffice.org Tips and Tricks Part I - page 3

A Little Different and Very Good

  • July 28, 2008
  • By Eric Geier
Another major feature that is not available in OpenOffice.org by default is a grammar checker. You'll find a spell checker is automatically installed and enabled, however it does not check grammar; duplicate words, punctuation, fragments, capitalization, and so on. A grammar checker is pretty useful if you plan to do much writing at all -- saves me from submitting a lot of grammatically-incorrect articles.

The LanguageTool extension comes to the rescue. Just download and install it like the other add-ons. Then you'll see the LT button (see Figure 2) on the OpenOffice.org toolbar. A quick click of the button will let you know if the document is error-free or it will pop-up a dialog box similar to the spelling and grammar checker of Word.

Splitting the Window in Word/Writer

When you're working on a document with more than a page or two in Microsoft Word, the split window feature can be incredibly useful -- I use it just about every day. You just have to click Window -- Split on the main toolbar and you'll see double; two windows of the same document. Now you can adjust the windows to see and edit two different parts of your document without having to scroll back and forth.

If try to do this in OpenOffice.org Writer, you'll see that the Window menu on the toolbar doesn't have a Split option, but there is a way to replicate this feature. When you have your document open, click Window -- New Window to open a duplicate window of the document. Similar to Word, when you edit the document on one window, the changes are also visible on the other windows.

How does that replicate Word's split window feature, you might ask. Well you don't have to keep switching between the windows. You can manually resize the windows to fit both on the screen at once or if you're running Windows you can tell Windows to arrange them for you:

  1. Click one of the window title buttons on the taskbar to open the window.
  2. Hold the Control (Ctrl) key and click the other window title button on the taskbar.
  3. Right-click on either of the title buttons and select how you want to arrange the selected windows; stacked or side by side.
Figure 3 shows how to do this and what it looks like when you stack the windows.

Now you can remove the toolbars of at least one of the windows to make more room for displaying the actual document. Simply click the small down arrow on the right end of the toolbars and click Close. This process of splitting windows in Writer isn't quite as quick as in Word, but it works.

Stay tuned -- more parts will sprinkle in, giving you more tips and tricks to using OpenOffice.org.

Eric Geier is the Founder and President of Sky-Nets, Ltd., a Wi-Fi Hotspot Network. He is also the author of many networking and computing books, including Home Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (Wiley 2008) and 100 Things You Need to Know about Microsoft Windows Vista (Que 2007).

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