Archive for October, 2007

Sharing Files between OpenOffice.org Writer and MS Word

October 5, 2007

You’ve made the switch to Open Office.org . You downloaded the software, installed it, and started using Open Office.org Writer. Then your boss sends you a report that you’re supposed to study, update and format. It’s in MS Word ( .doc ) format. Since OOo can open .doc files, there shouldn’t be any problem. (Writer can open, import , and save files in multiple formats.(.doc, .dot , .wpd, .xml, .wps, sdw, .sgl, .vor , .jtd, .jtt, .pdb, .hwp, .psw, .rtf, .txt, .csv, .htm and .html).

However, you notice that the text formatting and paragraph styes are very much different from the boss’ original document. The objects and images have gone missing. What do you do? First , don’t panic! Put the mouse down and read on. Second, be prepared. With a few mouse clicks , you can rid yourself of the troubles that come with sharing files with users of proprietary software . Here are some steps you can follow:

Step 1: Adjust the conversion settings within OpenOffice.org itself.
On the menu bar, select Tools > Options > Load/Save > Microsoft Office. Select all the options. When you open a Word document that contains an embedded object, this step ensures that OLE objects can be loaded , converted and saved from MS Office format to OOo formats and vice versa. This allows converted Microsoft Office OLE objects to be edited in Open Office.org. For example, when opening a Word document that contains an embedded equation editor object, selecting the [L] checkbox for MathType to OpenOffice.org Math/OpenOffice.org Math to MathType in the Tools > Options > Load/Save > Microsoft Office box automatically converts the MathType object into to an OpenOffice.org Math object.
This step improves the way OLE objects are handled. However, this only works if you are using OpenOffice.org in an operating system that supports OLE Objects, such as Windows . OLE objects that are saved on a Windows application but are not in MS Office format will not be editable in OpenOffice.org on a Linux machine. although the object will still be displayed correctly and can still be resized.

Step 2: Adjust the VBA Properties
On the menu bar, select Tools > Options > Load/Save >VBA Properties). Check all the options in this box. The option, “Load Basic code to edit ” loads and saves the Basic code from a Microsoft document as a special Open Office.org Basic module with the document. OpenOffice.org doesn’t run Visual Basic scripts. However, it saves them anyway so that they are still there when you send the document to MS Office users. When you open an MS Office file in OO format, the MS Basic Code is not saved unless the Save original Basic code again option is selected.

Step 3: Adjust the compatibility settings for the document.
Launch Open Office.org Writer. Then choose File>New> Text Document. Once the document is open, select Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org Writer > Compatibility. Check all the available options . These options make OpenOffice.org Writer work a little more like Microsoft Office Word.

Step 4: Set the default file format
OpenOffice.org saves files in the OpenDocument format by default . To change the default settings for the file format , go to Tools > Options > Load/Save > General. In the Standard File Format section of this page, choose a document type (for example, “Text document”) and a file format from the Always save as list.
If you save text files using the .rtf format , you are likely to experience loss of formatting and images when the file is opened by Microsoft Office. The best way to transfer a file created in Open Office.org Writer to a Microsoft Word user is to save it as Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP (.doc).

Step 5: Apply good practices for wordprocessing
Once the settings have been fixed, you can start importing files. Now the only problems that could possibly occur are concerned with the text itself. To avoid these problems, apply some good practices for wordprocessing.
• Use character and paragraph styles instead of direct formatting.
• Use paragraph formatting for space before and after instead of hard returns. This is specially important when using numbered or bulleted lists.
• Use paragraph text flow properties (for example, keep with next) rather than using
manual page breaks.
• Set specific tab stops or use a table instead of pressing the space key multiple times at the start of paragraphs.
• Use common font styles. However, you must be aware that even if font names in different applications may be similar, it may actually render different font styles. Thus, it is better to select common font styles rather than font names.

Exporting to PDF
One way to make files easily transferable to non-OpenOffice.org users is by exporting the file to Portable Document Format (PDF) and XHTML. Files using the PDF format are compressed and can be read across different platforms using Acrobat Reader . To export directly to PDF , click on the “export to PDF” button on the standard toolbar or select file > Export as PDF, which allows you to select some detailed options. To export as XHTML, use File > Export and for File format choose XHTML In the dropdown box.

There are some features in OOo that are not supported, or partly supported in Microsoft Office. When a file is converted into .doc format and MS Office opens the file, it simply drops these features .

From Word to Writer

October 5, 2007

Learning how to use OpenOffice.org Writer after years of using Microsoft Word is easier than you think. Many OpenOffice.org tools are similar to those of MS Word. These similarities are sufficient so that productivity does not suffer much during a transition. You can even customize the interface and preferences to make it look and feel a little more like that MS Word application you have used for years. Although the MS Office interface had been rehashed with MS Office 2007 , the basic tools, icons, menus and concepts are still similar to older versions of MS Office. Of course, each has features that are distinctly its own, too. This article identifies the similarities and differences between these two applications.

The View
Word 2003 has 5 views.
-Normal view is what is used to type and edit . Writer has no real equivalent to this view.
-Print Layout shows a print preview . This is equivalent to the Print Layout view in Writer.
-Web Layout shows how the document would look like when it is viewed on-line. Writer’s equivalent is a view option called Web Layout. To access this view, select View > Web Layout.
-The Reading Layout view formats the screen to make documents easier to read. In Writer, you can find the view that’s best for you by adjusting the Zoom percentage. Go to View > Zoom then select the percentage.
-The Outline view is used to display the document in outline form. To move an entire section, just move the heading in outline view. Writer has the Navigator, which also lets users move within documents.
-Writer also has an HTML source view that could be displayed only when editing an HTML document. To access this view, select View > HTML Source. Word displays more information about the field than Writer when the field codes could be turned on.

The Navigator
The closest equivalent of Word to Writer’s navigator is the Outline view. The navigator lets the user jump between sections in a document. It is particularly useful when you are writing lengthy documents such as textbooks or reports. To launch the Navigator, press F5 or click the Navigator icon on the Standard toolbar. At the top part of the Navigator’s list box, you will find Headings. If you click on Headings, the Navigator displays the outline of the document.
There is a drop-down list box at the bottom of the Navigator. This displays any of the Writer documents that are currently open. The contents can be dragged and dropped between documents. The selection that is dragged and dropped can be inserted as Hyperlink, Link, or Copy. This can be specified using the Drag mode at the top part of the Navigator box.

Entering numbers and formulas
Unlike Word, tables in Writer can do calculations like spreadsheets. You can insert formulas inside any table by simply entering the cell and pressing the equals sign (=) , then typing the formula. You can reference the cells in the same table or in another table . When the entries in referenced cells are changed, the calculated values are updated automatically.
In MS Word, choose Table >Formula. Enter the formula in the Formula field then select the number format from the menu. When you change the values of referenced cells in a formula, the results will not appear automatically. To update the calculations, you need to select the cell that contains the formula and press F9 , or press CTRL-A to update every table calculation.

Charts
When you copy a chart from a Calc spreadsheet and paste it into a Writer document , they are recognized as embedded objects. Thus, you can change the values of the chart from inside Writer. When you click on the embedded object, you can enter and edit values and formulas as you would in a spreadsheet. In Microsoft Office, copying and pasting a chart also embeds it. However, it would increase the file size of the Word document considerably. If the Excel workbook was 10 MB in size, then copying and pasting that Excel workbook into a Word document would increase the Word document by 10 MB.

Page layouts
Page layouts determine a page’s margins, headers, and footers. The concept of Page layouts differ between Writer and Word. In Word , setting the page layout means setting the layout for the entire document . After setting the page layout, you can divide the document into specific sections then specify each section’s layout.
In Writer, Page layout is a property of the page style. In the Styles and Formatting box, you can specify the page layout of a particular page style. For example, Page 1 can have a different page style from Page 2 , Page 3 and so on. You can change the page layout of each page by selecting which Page style you want it to adopt. The page style feature in Writer lets you define what the default page layout should be or what page style should follow another. For example, you can define the Page 1 page style so that it is followed by the Default page style.

Customizing Open Office.org
A shift from MS Office to OpenOffice.org will not require significant changes in the way you work. If you are not comfortable with using OpenOffice straightaway, you can customize the Open Office.org workspace to suit your needs.
To customize toolbars, select View> Tools>Customize> Toolbars. In the Customize window, select the icons that you want to include in the toolbar. Then press OK.
To customize the menu contents, select Tools>Customize>Menus. In the Save In drop-down list, choose whether to save this changed menu for Writer or for a selected document alone.
To customize the shortcut keys, select Tools > Customize > Keyboard tab. On the Keyboard tab of the Customize dialog , select the desired shortcut key in the top list box labeled Shortcut keys.

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