From Word to Writer

Learning how to use Writer after years of using Microsoft Word is easier than you think. Many 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.

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
A shift from MS Office to will not require significant changes in the way you work. If you are not comfortable with using OpenOffice straightaway, you can customize the Open 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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