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February 22, 2008

Howto: Switching Office Suites from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice.

Filed under: OpenOffice — Tags: , , — tuxicity @ 9:43 am

How to set up OpenOffice.org, to work how you want it with templates and clip art, configurations, shortcuts, and more

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March 10, 2007

Publishing Writer documents on the Web

Filed under: OpenOffice — tuxicity @ 4:13 pm

Although OpenOffice.org has an HTML/XHTML export feature, it is not up to the snuff when it comes to turning Writer documents into clean HTML files. Instead, this feature turns even the simplest Writer documents into HTML gobbledygook, and while it attempts to preserve the original formatting, the results are often far from perfect. Moreover, publishing static HTML pages is so ’90s: today, blogs and wikis rule the Web. So what options do you have if you want to convert your Writer documents into tidy HTML pages or wiki-formatted text files? Quite a few, actually.

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February 8, 2007

And Now There are Two: Sun Announces its ODF Plug-in

Filed under: IBM, OpenOffice — tuxicity @ 7:04 am

 

Sun announced today that it would make a “preview” version of its Office to ODF plugin in “mid February,” with the full version to follow “later this spring.” Plugins will be available for use with both Sun’s StarOffice as well as the open source OpenOffice.org office suite. The announcement comes five days after Microsoft announced the immediate availability of its Office to ODF plugin at SourceForge.

ConsortiumInfo.org :: More..

January 22, 2007

Customizing general OpenOffice.org settings

Filed under: OpenOffice — tuxicity @ 12:17 pm

Customizing general OpenOffice.org settings | Linux Journal :

OpenOffice.org includes dozens of options for how it behaves. Available from Tools > Options, they are divided into general settings for the entire office suite and settings particular to each application. General settings are available under the general headings of OpenOffice.org, Load/Save, and Language Settings.Frankly, the logic with which options are arranged in tabs under these headings is a little elusive. For that reason, when looking to customize OOo, you should not just look at any tab whose name seems related to your purpose, but scan all of them for additional features. This necessity becomes obvious when you consider four common use-cases: setting automated features, reducing memory requirements, setting security options, and enabling assistive options — although none of these by any means exhausts the array of options that OpenOffice.org makes available.

Setting automated features

Users are divided about OpenOffice.org’s automatic features. Some, especially inexperienced users, rely on them heavily. Others can’t wait to turn them off. Many of the automated features, such as AutoCorrect, are controlled from within the applications, but you can control a few of them from the general office suite settings.

One of the most contentious automated features is the automatic spell checking. It is controlled from Language Settings > Writing Aids > Options > Check spelling as you type. While you are at the list of options, you can also set other characteristics of spell checking, such as whether words that include numbers are checked (probably not, if you work anywhere in the computer industry), or whether all paragraphs are checked regardless of language (probably not, since for most people, checking in one language at a time makes concentration easier).

Load/Save > General also has some automation, in the Save pane. In this pane, you can set whether the document properties window opens each time you save, whether a backup copy is saved, and whether — and how often – AutoRecovery information is saved. One that I always prefer to turn off is the warning when you save in a non-native format, such as MS Office, but others with less experience may prefer to turn that option on.

However, by far the most controversial automated feature is the Help Agent, which is controlled from OpenOffice.org > General. The Help Agent, as you may know, is the indicator that opens in the bottom right corner whenever you perform an action for which help is available. In OOo, the Help Agent is toned down considerably from the infamously obnoxious Clippy of MS Office that performs the same function, and some beginners may find it useful. However, there are lots of actions that have entries in OOo Help, so many people soon tire of even OOo’s subdued version.

Reducing memory requirements

OpenOffice.org has a reputation for slow performance. QuickStarters that load part of the office suite into memory when your desktop opens and the last couple of releases have improved the situation considerably, but OOo really requires at least 1 gigabyte of RAM to perform well. However, on less-well equipped machines, you may want to reduce the memory requirements and boost performance slightly by turning off options that enhance but are non-essential.

A useful place to start is with the automated features mentioned above. Once you have turned them off, your next stop should be OpenOffice.org > Memory. This tab contains the settings for the number of Undo steps that OOo uses, as well as the number of objects cached, the memory allotted to each, and the time that objects remain in the cache. By turning all these settings down, you should be able to improve performance considerably, especially if you are working with large, graphics-heavy documents.

In addition, on the memory tab, you can choose whether to enable the QuickStarter for your desktop. Enabling it will make OpenOffice.org load faster, but if reducing memory requirements is your main consideration, you may want to endure the slower load time in favor of zippier performance overall.

Another place where you can reduce memory overhead is OpenOffice.org > View. Icons in the menu, font previews and font history — the placing of recently used fonts at the top of the list — are all convenient, but each adds to the memory requirements. You can also turn off font anti-aliasing by setting it to 0.

You can further augment your memory savings by carefully selecting your work methods, such as linking to graphics when you insert them, instead of embedding them. Linking graphics sometimes makes for slower scrolling through a document, but keeps the file size small. In the same spirit, if you are writing documents of over 15 pages, use the master document feature to divide it into smaller sub-documents, so that you are working with smaller files, then only combine the sub-documents when you are ready to print.

Admittedly, none of these configuration choices or work methods is likely to alter OOo’s performance drastically on low-end machines. However, the cumulative effect just might make OOo bearable when it otherwise wouldn’t be.

Setting security features

OpenOffice.org > Security includes settings for warnings and actions when saving or printing. Of these options, the most useful is probably the one that recommends password protection when you save a document. The tab also includes settings for opening documents in read-only format and for recording changes automatically.

However, most of the security settings control how documents with macros open. If you click the Macro Security button on the tab, you’ll notice that the default setting, which asks for confirmation before OOo opens a document containing macros, is only ranked as medium security. If security matters to you — and it should — you should consider other settings. Maintaining a list of trusted sources is better than the default, and enabling only macros from trusted file locations better yet. Needless to say, the lowest setting, which enables all macros, is a triumph of convenience over wisdom, and should not be used at all. In fact, since the interface stresses that the lowest setting is not recommended, I wonder why it is even offered.

Enabling assistive options

If you are visually impaired, OOo includes several options, most of them available from OpenOffice.org > Accessibility tab. The options in the tab include a setting for having a cursor in read-only documents to aid reading, but the most useful ones customize OOo for high-contrast viewing. From the Accessibility tab, you can set whether OOo uses your operating system’s high-contrast mode, as well as its automatic font color when displaying documents. In addition, you can choose to use system colors when opening File > Page Preview.

OpenOffice.org > View has further assistive options. From there, you can increase the scale of OOo’s menus and widgets — although, practically speaking, at a scale much beyond 175%, jagged edges become obvious and everything becomes harder to read. You can also combine the scale with options for large or high-contrast options.

If you are a regular help user, you might also appreciate the option in OpenOffice.org > General for setting the help formatting to one of several high-contrast modes.

Conclusion

The general options for OOo don’t stop with these use-cases. Regular users of fields will find that filling out the personal information in OpenOffice.org > User Data gives them more options. Other useful options include OpenOffice.org > Print > Print to file, which creates a postscript file when used with a postscript printer driver, and OpenOffice.org > Color, which allows you to add to the default colors available in OOo — a feature that is especially useful when you constantly need a company’s standard colors for branding purposes. Another useful option is the Paths window, which you can modify to ensure or prevent the saving of resources such as graphics and templates. And, personally, whenever I’m setting up OpenOffice.org, I soon go to the Appearance window for the sole purpose of changing the default color for notes to something bright and garish so that I can quickly find them in the editing window.

When you first starting using OpenOffice.org, the general options may seem so numerous as to be overwhelming. Fortunately, the defaults are mostly intelligent — or at least acceptable — ones, and most users can safely ignore them at first. However, once you feel comfortable with the software, take the time to become familiar with them. Chances are, you’ll find at least a couple of options that are exactly what you’re looking for.

January 11, 2007

Office, OpenOffice Ready To Talk

Filed under: Novell, Open Source, OpenOffice — tuxicity @ 8:24 am

Novell plans to release open-source interoperability technology between the OpenOffice.org productivity suite and Microsoft Office 2007.

The Waltham, Mass., company, which recently launched a partnership with Microsoft, said it is working with the software maker and others to develop bidirectional translators for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations between the two suites. The first, the word processing translator, should debut in late January.

The translators will be available as plug-ins to OpenOffice.org. In addition, Novell plans to release to the open-source community code needed to integrate the Open XML format, developed by Microsoft, into OpenOffice. The integration code is expected to help maintain consistent formats, formulas and style templates across Office 2007 and the open-source productivity suite.

Microsoft submitted Open XML, which is the default………….

Intelligent Enterprise Magazine: Dashboard: More….

January 10, 2007

Review: OpenOffice

Filed under: OpenOffice — tuxicity @ 5:24 pm

One of the most important apps for any user is the office suite. The most popular suite is, of course, Microsoft Office. It’s an excellent application, with lots of wizards and templates to make tasks easier, and more features than any one person could ever need. It also costs a few hundred dollars, and they keep changing their file format every few releases just to remind everyone they have to upgrade to the newest version or risk not being able to read others’ documents.

Another excellent office suite is OpenOffice. It is also has lots of wizards and templates, and more features than any one person could ever need. It is available for free, however. And while it has its own file format, it can also read and save Microsoft Office documents, which means you will still be able to share documents with people who are broke because they’ve spent all their money on Microsoft Office. It’s also multiplatform: it will run on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and FreeBSD.

Blogcritics.org | More..

January 2, 2007

Book review: OpenOffice.org 2 Guide

Filed under: OpenOffice — tuxicity @ 4:39 pm

OpenOffice.org expert Solveig Haugland has published a massive new manual called the OpenOffice.org 2 Guide. This 520-page tome will be useful both for OOo newbies and power users who are interested in learning arcane features of the office suite. What does Haugland’s $28 book have that the free online guides don’t? The primary distinction is that Haugland’s book is one work in one place, whereas the community’s guides are available for sale in the form of separate books on the main OOo programs (Writer, Calc, Draw, Impress) for generally $10 to $20, or for free download.

Linux.com | More…

January 1, 2007

OpenOffice Ready To Talk

Filed under: Novell, Open Source, OpenOffice — tuxicity @ 12:28 pm

Novell plans to release open-source interoperability technology between the OpenOffice.org productivity suite and Microsoft Office 2007.

Technology News by TechWeb | more..

December 31, 2006

Formatting cells in OpenOffice.org Calc

Filed under: OpenOffice — tuxicity @ 6:39 am

I’ve seen spreadsheets that are basically interactive tutorials, and many more loaded with what Edward Tufte refers to as “chartjunk” — embellishments that do nothing to make the presentation of information more effective. Yet, generally, spreadsheets are treated pragmatically. Certainly, few people worry about their layout than the layout of text documents. Still, even if you share this attitude, learning the basic formatting options for cells in OpenOffice.org Calc can be worth your time. Many of the options directly effect how you interact with spreadsheets, and even the purely visual ones can make your lists and calculations easier to read at a glance.

Linux Journal | more..

December 21, 2006

Assessing the scalability of open source

Filed under: linux, Open Source, OpenOffice — tuxicity @ 1:02 pm

The Linux operating system and office productivity software such as OpenOffice can be downloaded free. That sounds a lot better than paying $200 (£101.49) for each system’s OS and $300-500 more for an Office suite.

ZDNet UK | More..

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