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Extend OpenOffice.org

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If you have a nifty macro or a nice Writer template you want to share with other OpenOffice.org users, publishing them on the Web along with detailed installation instructions is probably not the best way to go. Fortunately, OpenOffice.org supports extensions-small installable packages that provide added functionality. You easily can turn your templates, autotext entries, gallery art and macros into extensions that can be installed with a couple of clicks. Better yet, OpenOffice.org's extensions have an easy-to-understand and well-defined architecture, and you can start building your own extensions in no time.

Extending OpenOffice.org's functionality using extensions is nothing new. From the very beginning, users could add new features to the office suite by installing so-called UNO packages. Usually, these packages contained OOo Basic code, and they offered a more straightforward way of integrating macros into OpenOffice.org applications. With the release of OpenOffice.org 2.0.4, the idea of adding new features via installable packages has been rethought thoroughly and aligned with a concept that is more familiar to end users-namely the extension architecture of the Mozilla Firefox browser.

The technical implementation of the extension system in OpenOffice.org also has been reworked. Most notably, the new version of OpenOffice.org can handle so-called non-code extensions that can contain document templates, gallery items, autotext snippets and so on. The new version of OpenOffice.org also introduces the new .oxt file extension that allows users to identify installable extension packages easily.

How Extensions Work

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