Open Office 2.0 is Looking Good

  Pesala 21:36 24 Aug 05

Still in Beta, but looking great. I asked a few questions on the OO forum: click here and soon got some help.

I haven't used it much, but it has been very impressive so far.

1. I managed to customize the keyboard to type the special characters I need by recording macros and assigning them to keystrokes.

2. I wrote another macro to convert my old files to Unicode. Just a simple search and replace. It wasn't nearly as hard as I had feared.

3. From the forum I found out how to add running headers that automatically update from headings.

The interface is now much more comfortable and familiar than it was in OO 1.0. Try out the new beta if you haven't done so already. I read a thread that says version 2.0 will be out soon, so they want to get the documentation finished: click here

  LastChip 22:24 24 Aug 05

Is this the final link in the chain to make this a serious competitor to MS Office I wonder?

  Diodorus Siculus 07:58 25 Aug 05

I've installed it on a few machines for various people and for the basics it is perfect - anyone who wants to save a few (hundred) pounds should think about it.

  Pesala 12:52 25 Aug 05

I modified some of the keyboard shortcuts to do what I want.

1. Control Down Arrow/Control Up Arrow, instead of the default move paragraph down/up, now just moves the cursor not the whole paragraph (far too dangerous!)

2. I added an icon for Select All, because I use control A to type a, which is used frequently in Pali.

3. I recorded macros for quick access to zoom levels and assigned them to keystrokes: Control 0 = page width, control 1 = 100%, control 2 = 200%, control 3 = full page, control 4 = 400%.

4. I turned on the large icons option. This is useful when learning a new program. When you get to know what is what, and where it is, smaller icons are OK.

Open Office has a Web Layout mode as well as the usual Print Layout mode. This is like using the story editor in Page Plus or Page Maker. It makes use of the entire window width for text, and there are no page breaks. The web layout mode is ideal for proof-reading and text editing.

  Pesala 17:38 28 Aug 05

Have you ever tried to add running headers that reflect the contents on each right-hand page? Open Office can do this with fields. Enter the chapter field in the header, and it will update automatically from the preceding Header 1 paragraph style.

Or you can create a few fields of your own, and use those. To update the field everywhere you have used it, edit the file properties. Title, Subject, Author, number of pages, etc., are all useful fields to use.

Difficult to do, even in a DTP program like PageMaker or Page Plus, is to format an A6 booklet on A4. Open Office supports linked text frames, so it is possible to link stories in any order for newsletters, newspapers, and booklets. I made A6 booklet templates for 16 page click here and 24 page booklets click here

This could be made a lot easier with better page imposition, but at least it can be done. It wasn't much easier in PageMaker or PagePlus. I still had to manually lay out the frames, and snap them to guidelines. In Open Office, positioning and sizing the frames is done by entering measurements into dialog boxes.

  Superstylin 01:39 09 Sep 05

hi, simple question...will open office recognise documents made in microsoft office?

  LastChip 06:22 09 Sep 05

You may get one or two very slight differences, but in general, you get a perfect rendition.

You can also save documents in a "Word" format, for use on other computers.

  Superstylin 11:37 09 Sep 05

i think i'll start the download then! received a new laptop without an office app, and want to view and edit my word docs from the networked we go!

  Pesala 13:35 09 Sep 05

I recommend downloading the Beta version. It is a lot nicer to use than the older (though stable) version. One should never rely on beta software for mission critical work, but so far it seems very reliable and must be getting close to the final release. If it does crash, document recovery recovers from an automatic backup.

The new interface is a lot more user friendly, and there are some neat extras like PDF output with hyperlinks.

  Pesala 22:41 15 Sep 05

I never heard of this before, but in Page Maker and Page Plus I used to do the same thing.

When you format a book with different paragraph styles, lines of text on facing pages become misaligned due to the different font sizes and paragraph spacing, unless you calculate the font sizes and paragraph spacing carefully to fit the text to a vertical grid.

In Open Office, all you need to do is set "Register True" for the page style, and choose the paragraph style to use for alignment (e.g. Text Body). Open Office then aligns the text to a vertical grid automatically. This is the kind of powerful DTP feature that I would expect to find only in expensive DTP packages like Quark Express or InDesign.

I wonder what other delights remain to be discovered?

  Forum Editor 22:56 15 Sep 05

and I must say I agree with you Pesala, it has potential.

I'm going to run it for a while longer before I make a final judgment, but so far so good.

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