2.0 Writer

Published Date
01 - Jan - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Jan - 2006 2.0 Writer
The good thing is, is very similar to Microsoft Office is an office package by Sun Microsystems. The package was initially introduced for *nix OSes and Sun OS machines, and was later compiled for Windows. It's free, and is probably the best alternative to MS Office. You can get the latest package for free from

The switch from Microsoft Office to, while saving a lot of money, is also easy: the user interface of OOo ( is very similar to that of Microsoft Office. Take a look at a snapshot of the Toolbar (below), and you'll see that the two packages are very similar. Most (but not all) editing, formatting, and other such options are located under the same menus as those of Microsoft Office. 2.0 Writer looks very similar to Microsoft. The only thing is, some menu items are in different locations

Here, we introduce you to Writer running on a Linux (Ubuntu 5.10) machine. Note that the following basic tips are also applicable to OpenOffice2 Writer installed on a Windows machine.

Count The Words
Unlike in the earlier version, Word count is easily accessible in OpenOffice.org2 Writer. Just click Tools > Word Count. More comprehensive details of a document are available under File > Properties > Statistics Tab. This tab displays details such as the number of paragraphs, lines, characters, graphics, etc.

Check Spelling
OOo doesn't have a grammar check feature. But it does have a spell check feature, which sports an auto-complete feature that will intuitively auto-complete the word you are typing and display the auto-completed portion with a grey highlight. Hitting [Enter] will save you the time of typing in the entire word. If you've written a few pages, it keeps a tab on the oft-repeated words, and adds it to the auto-complete list.

Save In MS Word Format
You can save an OOo Writer file in MS Word format. The default format is, however, .SXW. If you've already saved the file as an SXW, and if you're wondering if the text formatting may become corrupt when converting to the MS Word format, don't worry: you have another option - PDF. To export your document as a PDF file, use File > Export as PDF. You'll also find, under File > Export, the output choice between PDF and xHTML.

Adding Comments
To add a Comment, click Insert > Note... This will open a dialog box where you can type in your remarks. You can also author the comment in the same box. A little yellow rectangle appears at the end of the cursor position, indicating a Note; move the mouse pointer over it to display the remark.

The Paragraph dialog box has all you need for formatting paragraphs

Changing Page Numbering
Some writers split their chapters into separate documents, in which case page numbering becomes a daunting task. Writer allows you to append page numbers greater than 1 to a the first page of a document.

Let's use page numbers on the footer. Insert a footer using Insert > Footer > Default, and then add a page number to it by going to Insert > Field > Page Number. Now, to start the page with a number greater than 1, move the cursor out of the footer to any paragraph on the first page, then click Format > Paragraph. This will open the 'Paragraph' dialog box.

On the 'Text Flow' tab, select 'Insert' under the 'Breaks' section, and also enable 'With Page Style'. This will activate the drop-down menu from where you need to choose 'First Page' (see screenshot below), and then type in a page number. Click 'OK'.

Track Time Spent
There's a feature in Writer that comes in handy when you want to know how much time you've spent writing an article. Go to File > Properties, and choose the 'General' tab. Make sure, however, that you have saved the document before you proceed with checking the time-the time duration is recorded only for saved files.

Create A Template
If you need text files to have specific line spacings, margins, borders, etc. then you should create a user-defined template. Open a new document and do the necessary page setup. Now click File > Templates > Save…; this will open the Templates dialog box. Type in a name for your template under 'New Template' and choose 'My Template' from 'Categories'. Click 'OK'.

To use the template thus created, go to File > New > Templates and Documents; a dialog box opens. Choose 'Templates' from the left pane; select 'My Templates' from the centre pane to display a list of user-defined templates.

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