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Front Page » December 6, 2005 » Tech Tips » OpenOffice.org 2.0 Writer
Published 3,241 days ago

OpenOffice.org 2.0 Writer


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By JASON BAILEY
Sun Advocate/Progress Webmaster


Word processing is certainly not new to computers. In the 1990s, it was one of the biggest reasons people bought computers. Today, word processing continues to be one of the biggest reasons many people own computers. For many, OpenOffice.org Writer is an excellent word processing solution.

Like Microsoft Word, OpenOffice.org Writer is part of an office productivity software suite. Unlike Word, however, Writer is freely available (for commercial and non-commercial use) and, consequently, can be downloaded from the OpenOffice.org web site.

Writer includes many features, some of which are fairly common, and others that are unique.

Like many word processors, Writer has a built-in spell checker and thesaurus. It also contains an "AutoSpellcheck" feature, which highlights mis-spelled words on the page with a red, wavy underline, so they can be easily spotted and corrected.

Writer also comes equipped with a customizable "AutoCorrect" system, which attempts to repair spelling, punctuation and typographic errors on-the-fly. For example, many people commonly mis-spell "the" as "teh." AutoCorrect will detect the mis-spelling as it is typed and instantly correct it.

AutoCorrect also provides a word completion feature, and will make suggestions as the word is typed. To accept the suggestion, the user simply presses Enter. If the suggestion is wrong or undesired, the user simply continues typing and ignores the suggestion.

OpenOffice.org Writer has an uncluttered interface. The 2.0 release brings many new features to the word-processor, like a formatting "paint brush," and the ability to open basic Corel WordPerfect documents.

Like any modern word processor, Writer also supports tables, hyperlinks (web addresses), lists, indents, word wrap (around graphics, frames (objects that can contain other objects), forms, etc.

Many types of graphics can be imported into Writer. Graphics can be linked (so the location of the graphic on your computer is remembered) or embedded (a copy of the graphic is stored inside the document). Also available are the word wrap options, which allow text to flow dynamically around the graphic.

One of Writer's great features is its stylist, which can be displayed (or hidden) by pressing F11, or using the stylist icon (the first icon on the formatting tool bar). Various types of styles are supported: character, paragraph, frame, page and list. Any property that can be manually applied can be set in a style.

Styles come in handy when the same formatting needs to be applied to multiple elements. For example, suppose there are 12 headings in a document, and each one needs to have a font size of 16, bold and underlined, and the font face "Amerigo BT." Without the stylist, the font formatting would have to be repeated on every element. Instead, by applying a style that contains all the proper formatting information, all the formatting is done instantly.

Writer also sports a PDF export feature, which makes a copy of the current document in PDF format. The PDF can then be opened in Adobe's Acrobat Reader or any other program that can read PDF files.

Although Writer boasts good interoperability with Microsoft Office file formats, those that frequently exchange files with Microsoft Office users may want to change Writer's default file format to "Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP." This will ensure that all new files are automatically saved as Microsoft Office files. This option can be found by clicking on "Tools" and then "Options." Once the options dialog appears, expand the "Load/Save" section and select "General." The selections on the bottom will allow you to set those preferences.

A simple overview such as this won't adequately describe what the program is capable of. Download it, and see for yourself what this word processor will do.

Have comments or suggestions for a weekly Tech Tips article? Send an email to webmaster@sunad.com.


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