Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

OpenOffice.org: The Need for Style

Filed under
OOo
HowTos

Office applications like OpenOffice.org can bring out the worst in people. The same people who wouldn’t dream of driving a car without a few lessons will start pounding away in a word processor as though it were a typewriter, ignoring basic features like styles and templates. In the end, they may produce the documents they want, but only with far more effort than is necessary. They might as well be pushing a car instead of turning the ignition key.

Nothing stops you if you really want to format manually, any more than anything prevents you from using the soles of your shoes to slow down a car instead of the brake. OpenOffice.org does nothing to stop you from indenting each new paragraph in Writer or setting each number format in a Calc cell on its own. For small, unusual documents, manual formatting may even be quicker.

But to insist, like some people I’ve heard, that any alternative is too hard to learn, or an attempt to restrict users’ freedom simply makes life difficult for yourself. Using styles takes a different perspective and may require more initial planning than manual formatting, but it makes reformatting much easier. It also makes tools like outline numbering or generating tables of contents far simpler to use.

That is true of any office application, but it is doubly so in OpenOffice.org, which is far more organized around styles than most of its counterparts. If you really want to get the most from OpenOffice.org, you need to start using styles, and know what they can do in each OpenOffice.org program.

STYLE BASICS




More in Tux Machines

4 things governments need to know to adopt open source cloud - Red Hat

Open source cloud platforms, like OpenStack, can allow public sector agencies to connect systems and share data easily. Here are four things governments need to know to make open source cloud a success. Read more

Open source key to preserving human history, argues Vatican

Ammenti explained that, in order for the manuscripts to be readable, the Vatican Library opted for open source tools that do not require proprietary platforms, such as Microsoft Office, to be read. "We save it as a picture as it's longer life than a file. You don't rely on PowerPoint or Word. In 50 years they can still just look at it," he said. Read more

Open Source Router Connects US, Australia

The ONOS Project and partners said Wednesday they have demonstrated the real-world practicality of using a router with open source software to connect networks in Australia and the US. The test validates the vision of SDN, open source for carriers, as well as ON.Lab's ONOS network operating system, according to one of its coordinators. "SDN is about disaggregation of closed, proprietary boxes and separating of forwarding planes, control planes and applications," says Guru Parulkar, executive director and board member of ON.Lab , which coordinates ONOS development. The communications test between Australia and the US achieved just that, he says. (See ON.Lab Aims to Make White Boxes Carrier-Grade , ON.Lab Intros Open Source SDN OS and SK Telecom Bets on SDN for Wireless.) Read more

Xubuntu Core 15.04 Officially Released, Not Related to Ubuntu Core

A new official Xubuntu flavor called "core" has been announced by developers. It's based on Ubuntu, and it integrates the Xfce desktop environment and nothing else. Read more