Opening Your Ubuntu Office with OpenOffice.org - Working with Ubuntu Workstation - Ubuntu Linux For Dummies (2007)

Ubuntu Linux For Dummies (2007)

Part III: Working with Ubuntu Workstation

Chapter 16. Opening Your Ubuntu Office with OpenOffice.org

In This Chapter

· Introducing OpenOffice.org

· Using OpenOffice.org applications

· Printing with OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org is a suite of applications similar in function to Microsoft Office. OpenOffice.org's application suite provides a word processor, spreadsheet, slide presentation editor, Web page editor, and other utilities. It's a powerful and sophisticated system.

OpenOffice.org's applications are compatible with their Microsoft Office peers. OpenOffice.org Writer, for instance, can read and write documents stored in Office 97/2000/XP, Office 95, and Office 6.0 — as well as many other non-Microsoft formats. It's a powerful tool and well worth its cost. Oh yeah, OpenOffice.org is developed as an open source project, which means it costs nothing. Amazing.

Thanks to all the people in the world who put their energy and inspiration into projects like OpenOffice.org. Because of all of them, people like you me get to use sophisticated software such as Writer — which I'm writing with right now, of course. This chapter describes how to harness, configure, and use OpenOffice.org Writer — in other words, how to get the most bang for your buck.

Getting to Know OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org provides the following applications:

· Writer: Use a full-featured word processor.

· Calc: Use a full-featured spreadsheet.

· Impress: Create static and dynamic slide presentations.

· Drawing: Create drawings and diagrams.

· Database: Read and write to databases.

· HTML editor: Edit Web forms.

Writer the word processor

The OpenOffice.org word processor is called Writer. This section describes how to open Writer and get started using it.

Choose ApplicationsOfficeOpenOffice.org from the GNOME menu at the top-left side of your desktop. Figure 16-1 shows the initial OpenOffice.org Writer window.

Figure 16-1: OpenOffice.org Writer.

You can immediately start writing the next great novel. "It was a dark and stormy night when Paul was startled from his writing by a knock at the door. He had made a lot of enemies in certain corners writing about Linux, so he pulled out his .45 and. . . ." Or you can start writing a letter to Mom. It doesn't matter, Writer is ready to record your thoughts.

Calc the spreadsheet

OpenOffice.org Calc is a spreadsheet application — the equivalent of Microsoft Excel. This section shows how to start Calc.

Choose ApplicationsOfficeOpenOffice.org Spreadsheet from the GNOME menu at the top-left side of your desktop.

Figure 16-1 shows the familiar spreadsheet form.

Figure 16-1: OpenOffice.org Calc.

Impress slide presentation editor

Impress is an Openoffice.org slideshow editor and is compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint presentation manager. Follow these steps to open and take a look at the application:

1. Choose ApplicationsOfficeOpenOffice.org Presentation from the GNOME menu bar.

Figure 16-1 shows the Presentation Wizard that opens.

Figure 16-1: OpenOffice.org Presentation Wizard.

· Use the Presentation Wizard to do any of the following:

· Create a new, empty presentation.

You can open a new presentation window (see Figure 16-1 ) using the Impress defaults by clicking the Create button.

Figure 16-1: Shows the initial Impress.

· Use an existing template to create a new presentation.

· Open an existing presentation.

The following instructions open the OpenOffice.org Presentation application to create and edit slideshows:

1. Choose ApplicationsOfficeOpenOffice.org Presentation from the GNOME menu bar.

The Presentation Wizard opens.

2. Click Next.

This starts the creation of an empty presentation document.

3. Click Next.

This selects the default background.

4. Select Create.

Impress opens a blank presentation.

Chapter 16. Opening Your Ubuntu Office with OpenOffice.org

In This Chapter

· Introducing OpenOffice.org

· Using OpenOffice.org applications

· Printing with OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org is a suite of applications similar in function to Microsoft Office. OpenOffice.org's application suite provides a word processor, spreadsheet, slide presentation editor, Web page editor, and other utilities. It's a powerful and sophisticated system.

OpenOffice.org's applications are compatible with their Microsoft Office peers. OpenOffice.org Writer, for instance, can read and write documents stored in Office 97/2000/XP, Office 95, and Office 6.0 — as well as many other non-Microsoft formats. It's a powerful tool and well worth its cost. Oh yeah, OpenOffice.org is developed as an open source project, which means it costs nothing. Amazing.

Thanks to all the people in the world who put their energy and inspiration into projects like OpenOffice.org. Because of all of them, people like you me get to use sophisticated software such as Writer — which I'm writing with right now, of course. This chapter describes how to harness, configure, and use OpenOffice.org Writer — in other words, how to get the most bang for your buck.

Getting to Know OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org provides the following applications:

· Writer: Use a full-featured word processor.

· Calc: Use a full-featured spreadsheet.

· Impress: Create static and dynamic slide presentations.

· Drawing: Create drawings and diagrams.

· Database: Read and write to databases.

· HTML editor: Edit Web forms.

Writer the word processor

The OpenOffice.org word processor is called Writer. This section describes how to open Writer and get started using it.

Choose ApplicationsOfficeOpenOffice.org from the GNOME menu at the top-left side of your desktop. Figure 16-1 shows the initial OpenOffice.org Writer window.

Figure 16-1: OpenOffice.org Writer.

You can immediately start writing the next great novel. "It was a dark and stormy night when Paul was startled from his writing by a knock at the door. He had made a lot of enemies in certain corners writing about Linux, so he pulled out his .45 and. . . ." Or you can start writing a letter to Mom. It doesn't matter, Writer is ready to record your thoughts.

Calc the spreadsheet

OpenOffice.org Calc is a spreadsheet application — the equivalent of Microsoft Excel. This section shows how to start Calc.

Choose ApplicationsOfficeOpenOffice.org Spreadsheet from the GNOME menu at the top-left side of your desktop.

Figure 16-1 shows the familiar spreadsheet form.

Figure 16-1: OpenOffice.org Calc.

Impress slide presentation editor

Impress is an Openoffice.org slideshow editor and is compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint presentation manager. Follow these steps to open and take a look at the application:

1. Choose ApplicationsOfficeOpenOffice.org Presentation from the GNOME menu bar.

Figure 16-1 shows the Presentation Wizard that opens.

Figure 16-1: OpenOffice.org Presentation Wizard.

· Use the Presentation Wizard to do any of the following:

· Create a new, empty presentation.

You can open a new presentation window (see Figure 16-1 ) using the Impress defaults by clicking the Create button.

Figure 16-1: Shows the initial Impress.

· Use an existing template to create a new presentation.

· Open an existing presentation.

The following instructions open the OpenOffice.org Presentation application to create and edit slideshows:

1. Choose ApplicationsOfficeOpenOffice.org Presentation from the GNOME menu bar.

The Presentation Wizard opens.

2. Click Next.

This starts the creation of an empty presentation document.

3. Click Next.

This selects the default background.

4. Select Create.

Impress opens a blank presentation.

Popular Functions and Tools

All OpenOffice.org applications share a similar set of capabilities. The following list shows the capabilities for the Writer word processor. The menus are organized in the familiar menu layout:

· File: Use file-oriented processes, such as opening and saving files.

You can also e-mail and print documents from the File menu.

· Edit: Provides document-editing functions such as cutting, copying, and pasting text.

· View: Select and modify different document layouts, toolbars, and related functions. Display or hide menus, text, and paragraphs.

· Insert: Insert formats, bookmarks, headers, footers, tables, and objects into the document.

· Format: Add and change document formatting. You can change formatting based on individual characters, paragraphs, or the entire document.

· Table: Insert and modify tables in a document.

· Tools: Access utilities such as the spell checker and macro editor. You can also customize menus, toolbars, key sequences, and change global options.

· Window: Open and close OpenOffice.org windows.

· Help: Access OpenOffice.org local- and Internet-based help systems. You can search the local system based on its index or its own search engine. You can also access online OpenOffice.org help via the Firefox Web browser.

OpenOffice.org features could, as they say, fill a book. It's loaded with many capabilities, too many to cover in depth here, so I examine some of its most commonly used and useful ones.

Managing files

At some point after you open a new file, you eventually need to save it. After you save a file, at some point you need to be able to open it. The circle of life is complete. In the text that follows, I tell you how to do both.

Opening files

Use the File menu on the Openoffice.org Writer menu bar to open files:

1. Choose FileOpen from the program's menu bar.

The Open dialog opens. The dialog is a file manager window.

2. Use your mouse to select a file or maneuver to another directory (folder).

3. Click the Open button to select a file to open.

o The icons along the top of the Writer window represent the subdirectories containing the one you're currently working in.

o The left subwindow shows your home directory, the Desktop folder in your home directory, the overall file system, and any additional directories available to you; for instance, the subwindow can show any USB thumb drives plugged into your Ubuntu computer.

For example, Figure 16-1 shows what I see when I want to open this chapter file.

Figure 16-1: This chapter's Open dialog.

You can open OpenOffice.org files through Nautilus file manager:

1. To open a Nautilus file manager window, from the GNOME menu bar, choose PlacesHome Folder.

See Chapter 12 for more information about the Nautilus file manager.

2. Double-click any OpenOffice.org document file.

The appropriate OpenOffice.org application opens the file. For instance, double-clicking a file created with Writer opens the file in the word processor.

Saving files

OpenOffice.org gives you the option of saving a file using either

· Its current filename, location (folder), and file type

You can use any of these methods:

o Choose FileSave from the program's menu bar.

o Click the floppy-diskette-like icon near the upper-left side of an OpenOffice.org window.

o Simultaneously press the Control and S keys (Ctrl+S).

· A different filename, location (folder), or file type

You can change the filename, location, or type by choosing FileSave As from the program's menu bar. The Save dialog opens.

The dialog selects the current filename, location, and type by default, but you can change any of those items:

o Name: Type a new filename in the Name text box.

o Save in Folder: Click this submenu and browse for another folder (directory) to save to. Alternatively, click Browse to select another folder.

o File type: Click the File Type drop-down menu and select a different file format.

OpenOffice.org file extensions

OpenOffice.org can read and write many different file formats, including its own and the Open Document Format (ODF). The ODF can be used by any application — open source or proprietary. OpenOffice.org uses the ODF by default unless you specify otherwise.

OpenOffice.org uses different file suffixes when saving files. The following list describes the suffixes that the three most popular OpenOffice.org applications use when saving ODF files:

· Writer: Saves ODF files using the .odt file suffix. (Writer uses the .sxw suffix when using its own format.)

· Calc: Uses the .ods file suffix. (Calc also can save files using its own format and the file suffix .sxc.)

· Impress: Uses the .odp suffix. (Impress-formatted files use the .sxi file suffix.)

OpenOffice.org provides a large number of formats to save documents with. You can use popular formats such as Microsoft Office or new ones such as ODF.

OpenOffice.org provides the useful option of saving a file using the Portable Document Format (PDF). You can easily distribute documents with others by saving files with the PDF option. Here's how:

1. Choose FileExport as PDF from the Openoffice.org Writer menu.

The Export dialog opens.

2. Select the name and location to save the file.

Your document is converted and saved as a PDF file.

Setting properties

You can enter useful information about your document using the Properties utility. Choose FileProperties from the program's menu bar. The Properties dialog opens. Click the Description tab and add descriptive information that is saved as part of your document but not displayed as part of the text (or cells, in a spreadsheet). Close the Properties dialog by clicking the OK button. You can view a document's description by choosing FileProperties and clicking the Description tab.

The Properties dialog also provides document statistics, such as the number of characters, words, and lines used in the document. Click the Statistics tab to see this information.

Using macros

Sometimes you repetitively perform an editing sequence on a document. OpenOffice.org's macro system lets you record and save an editing sequence. You can run the macro in order to replay the editing sequence and save yourself some work.

Creating macros

To record a series of OpenOffice.org Writer editing steps as a macro, follow these steps:

1. Choose ToolsMacrosRecord Macros from the program's menu bar.

A small Record dialog opens.

2. Perform the repetitive task as you would without using the macro utility.

Every action you perform is recorded.

3. Click the Stop Recording button in the dialog.

The OpenOffice.org Basic Macros dialog opens.

4. Type the macro name in the Macro Name text box.

5. Click the Save button.

Your macro is saved.

For instance, let's say you want to create a simple list of numbers from 1 to 3. Your list will look as follows:

1.

2.

3.

You can create a macro to create the list as follows:

1. Click the OpenOffice.org Writer File menu and choose NewText Document.

2. Choose ToolsMacrosRecord Macros from the program's menu bar.

The Record dialog opens.

3. Click anywhere in the document and press the Enter key.

4. Type the number 1 followed by a period and press the Enter key.

5. Type the number 2 followed by a period and press the Enter key.

6. Type the number 3 followed by a period and press the Enter key.

7. Click the Stop Recording button in the dialog.

The OpenOffice.org Basic Macros dialog opens.

8. Type testmacro in the Macro Name text box.

9. Click the Save button.

Your macro is saved. The following steps show how to use it.

Executing macros

To use a saved macro, follow these steps:

1. Choose ToolsMacrosRun Macros from the program's menu bar.

The Macro Selector dialog opens.

2. Select your macro from the Libraries subwindow on the left side of the Macro Selector dialog.

3. Click the Run button.

Your macro executes and you minimize the chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

Change tracking

OpenOffice.org Writer provides powerful change-tracking capabilities. Change tracking lets you record, and optionally display, changes that you make to a document.

This feature is useful when you want to be able to refer to older versions of your documents. Change tracking is essential when you work with other people and trade files.

Change tracking provides the following capabilities:

· Record changes: Start change tracking by choosing EditChanges Record from the program's menu bar. All changes are recorded but not displayed.

· Display changes: You can view changes by choosing EditChangesShow from the program's menu bar:

o Deletions are displayed with red strikethrough font.

o Inserted text shows up with red underlined font.

· Accept or reject changes: You can make all changes permanent by choosing EditAccept or Reject. The Accept or Reject Changes dialog opens, showing all changes you've made. You can accept individual changes by clicking the Accept button, or accept all changes by clicking the Accept All button. Accepting a change integrates the change into the document.

Seeking help

OpenOffice.org gives you extensive documentation and help. Click the Help menu and you get a menu with these options:

· OpenOffice.org Help: Opens a window similar to the one shown in Figure 16-1 . You can use the table of contents to view various topics; you can also search topics via the index or by specifying a search term. Click on the following tabs:

o Contents: View the help system's table of contents.

o Index: Search through the help system's index.

o Find: Search the help system using a search string.

o Bookmarks: Go to help system topics marked by bookmarks.

Figure 16-1: Get help with using the OpenOffice.org applications.

You can create bookmarks to topics that you use frequently. Click the Bookmarks tab to create bookmarks. After saving a bookmark, you can access it by choosing a bookmark and clicking the Display button.

· What's This?: It's a directed help system is what it is. Select this option and your cursor transmogrifies into a question mark. Place the cursor over an OpenOffice.org object and a little yellow dialog opens and displays information about the object.

· Get Help Online: Clicking this option directs your browser to the OpenOffice.org online help system. You should use this option if you don't find the answer you're looking for using the local help system.

· Translate This Document: This option directs your browser to the OpenOffice.org information about language translation options.

· About OpenOffice.org: You can see the version and copyright information about OpenOffice.org.

Printing

Configuring OpenOffice.org to print requires very little work. You can immediately print documents after you configure Ubuntu for your printer. (See Chapter 13.) Follow these steps:

1. Choose FilePrint from the program's menu bar.

The Print dialog opens.

2. Select your printer by clicking the Name drop-down menu and choosing the device.

No selection is required if you have only one printer.

3. Select any options, if desired.

By default, OpenOffice.org prints one copy of every page of the document. You can choose to print

o Selected pages

o Multiple copies

Clicking the Properties button opens another dialog. You can select

o Paper size, orientation (portrait or landscape), and scale

o Special options that your printer might offer, such as duplex printing (both sides of the paper) and trays of special paper

4. Click OK.

Your document prints.