OpenOffice.org 3.0 is a fully featured office suite. The suite is designed to completely fulfil the needs of working in most office environments. It consists of a database management program called Base, a vector-based drawing environment called Draw, a presentation program called Impress, a spreadsheet program called Calc, a scientific calculator called Math and a word processor called Writer. Here are some of the finer aspects of Calc, Impress and Writer.
Work With Numbers Beginning With Zero
By default, spreadsheet applications convert entries like 042 to 42. Leading zeros in numbers are used in many places, a simple example being serial numbers. To insert a number that begins with a zero, just type [‘] before the number. Entering ‘042 will convert it to 042. The apostrophe does not show in the spreadsheet. This method cannot be used for calculable figures. To do this, select the cells you want to insert the numbers in, then go to Format > Cells > Numbers. Under Category, select User-defined. In the Format code field, enter “�0”. This will add a zero before every number. The program will append the number with as many zeros as you enter after ‘�’. For example, using “�000” in the Format code field, and then entering “21” will show up as “0021” in the cell.
To freeze headers while working with large documents, select the column to the right, or the row just below the row you want frozen, and check Window > Freeze. To unfreeze the frozen area, uncheck Window > Freeze. Selecting a single cell with this option will freeze all rows above the cell, and all columns to the left of the cell. It is not possible to freeze two separate areas simultaneously. To freeze headers while printing a document, go to Format > Print Ranges > Edit. Click on the Rows to Repeat icon, then select the rows with the cursor. A red rectangle will be drawn on the rows. To repeat columns, click on the Columns to Repeat icon and select the columns. To enter the code manually, type in “$1:$2” to repeat the first three rows or “$1:$3” to repeat the first two rows and so on. For columns, use “$A:$B”.
Add Notes To Cells
To add notes to individual cells, select the cell, then go to Insert > Notes. A yellow field will appear where you can type in your text. Drag the nodes of the field to resize or reposition the note. Every cell with a note will have a small red square on the top right corner. The note will be visible when the mouse hovers over this square. Alternatively, you can right-click on the cell and select Insert Note in the menu. To edit the note, go to Insert > Notes again. To show the note permanently while editing other cells, right-click on the cell with the note and check Show Note. The note will be visible till you right-click and deselect Show Note. Double-click on the note in this view to edit it.
Rotate a table
To rotate a table in such a way that the rows become the columns and the columns become the rows, select a range of data, go to Edit > Copy then select a single cell where you want to past it. Then go to Edit > Paste Special and check Transpose under Options, then click OK. If you select a row or a column, the data gets pasted many times over in the rows and columns, so be sure to select just one cell. Also, the data will get automatically rotated the next time you use Paste Special, so make sure that the Transpose option is unchecked.
Change the colour of the gridlines
By default, the gridlines in the spreadsheet is grey. If you want to choose another colour for the gridlines, or want to make it slightly darker or lighter, go to Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org Calc > View. Under Gridlines, select a colour from the colour drop down box. Click OK.
Using Conditional Formatting
You can specify upto three conditions for a cell, and then format the resulting values in that cell according to the conditions. Select the cell or cells for which you want to use this feature, and go to Format > Conditional Formatting. There are three conditions available, with a drop down box to change the three conditions. This includes a number of operators. The options are equal to, less than, greater than, less than or equal to, greater than or equal to, not equal to, between and not between. Select a condition, then select a style from the Cell Style drop down menu. There are four default styles available. To create your own styles, enter a text or number, apply the font changes you want to it, select the cell, then go to Format > Styles and Formatting or press [F11]. In the Styles and Formatting window, click on the New Style from Selection button. A window will pop up asking you to name the style. Once this is done, click on OK. Now, go to Format > Conditional Formatting and in the Cell Style drop down menu, you will see your new style.
Scenarios is a useful little feature in Calc that allows you to assign a different set of values to the same set of cells. This means that you can use the formulas and create charts, as well as use the Data Pilot on the same cells, with alternate values for different situations. Select the cells you want to enter alternate values to, go to Tools > Scenarios and click on OK. A grey box appears by default around the area of selection. This is your Scenario 1. Go the Tools > Scenarios to create the second scenario. Now you can move back and forth between the two scenarios using the scenario drop down menu that appears boxed around the cells. You can create as many scenarios as you want on the same set of cells. Editing one scenario will not change the other scenario. Note that the notes on a cell will remain the same throughout all the scenarios.
Using The Start-up Wizard
On start-up, Impress initiates a wizard. To disable the wizard, check Do not show this wizard again when it starts up. However, the wizard is a very helpful feature, and gets your presentation well under way before opening up the application for editing. You can select the design, the transitions, and the timing of the transitions. The fourth step in the wizard asks you the name of the company, the subject of the presentation and ideas to be presented. These fields, when filled occupy the first slide of the slideshow. The fifth step is choosing particular pages, which is centered around a presentation for a product. This can be easily changed later on.
Custom Slide Shows
You can create custom presentations from a large slideshow according to the needs of the audience. This means that you can take particular slides from the presentation, re-order them and present to an audience. You can create as many custom slide shows as you want.
To do this, go to Slide Show > Custom Slide Show > New. The Define Custom Slide Show window will now open. You can add or remove slides from the main presentation.
Once you are done, click on OK to save the custom slide show. To make another custom slide show, click on New again. To present a particular custom slide show, click on Start from this window, after selecting a custom slide show from the list.
Insert Summary Slide
A summary slide is a slide added to the end of the presentation that highlights all the points covered in the presentation. To insert a summary slide at the end of the presentation, go to Insert > Summary Slide. Note that changes made in the intermediate slides after creating the summary slide will not change the summary slide, and the summary slide can be created only once in a presentation.
Rehearse Slide Show
Impress lets you calculate the duration for display of each slide during a presentation so that you don’t need to manually feed in the duration while creating a slide show. Go to Slide Show > Rehearse Timing. The slide show should start now, with a semi-transparent timer in the bottom left corner of the screen. Change the slide after the appropriate duration of time. Once you have gone through the entire presentation in this manner, the timings for each slide are automatically stored. Save the file and run the presentation. The presentation will now proceed with the rehearsed timings.
Batch convert PowerPoint Documents And Templates
You can batch process MS PowerPoint templates and presentations to be used with OpenOffice.org with the Open Document format. The same procedure can be used with different settings for converting Excel and Word files as well. Go to File > Wizards > Document Converter. The Document Converter window should now open. By default Star Office is selected. Select the Microsoft Office radio button. Check PowerPoint Documents and click on Next. Select the Import from: and Save to: directories for the Templates and the Documents. By default, the PowerPoint templates are in the C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeTemplatesPresentation Designs directory. Click on Next. A summary of which directories the templates and documents will be imported from and exported to will show up. Click on Convert and the files will be converted to the Open Document format.
Turn On Reference Options
To turn on the grid in Impress, go to Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org Impress > Grid. Under Grid check Snap to grid and Visible grid. The grid that appears is made up of an array of dots, and not lines. To show Rulers, go to Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org Impress > View. Under Display, check Rulers visible.
Customise The Menu
The top bar can be totally re-ordered and customised according to user preferences. You can rename the menu options of File, Edit, View, Tools etc, add sub-menus and sub-sub menus, re-order the arrangement of the items in each menu and so on. Impress allows total flexibility with regards to the menu. Go to View > Toolbars > Customize. From the Customize window, you can tweak the menus, the keyboard shortcuts, the toolbars and events according to your preferences.
Make 3D Rotation Objects
You can use Impress to create 3D objects from a curve. Although the objects created are not really 3D, they appear to be so. Draw a line or a curve, right-click on it and go to Convert > 3D Rotation Object.
Creating A New Style
To create a new style, first type in a few text characters anywhere in the document. Apply the font settings that you want, and go to Format > Styles and Formatting or press [F11]. Click on the New Style from Selection button, and enter the name of the style. You can use the same method to update a particular preset style. To do this, press [F11] then click on the Update Style button.
Writer can automatically learn and complete long words. This feature is enabled by default, but can be distracting. To disable the feature, go to Tools > AutoCorrect > Word Correction and uncheck Enable word completion. If you want to use this feature, but want to use the space bar to accept a word instead of the [Enter] key. Under the Accept with drop down menu, select Space. If you want to use a particular word, but another word is showing up in the autocomplete feature, press [Ctrl] [Tab] to cycle forwards through the list or [Ctrl] [Shift] [Tab] to cycle backwards through the list. To decrease the minimum number of letters for which this feature is active, reduce the min. word length from the default value of 10 to either 5 or 2 as per your choice.
Using The Direct Cursor
The direct cursor feature allows you to start typing anywhere on the page. The feature divides the document into lines and three zones - right, centre and left. Once activated, you can click the cursor anywhere on the page and start typing. To enable the feature, go to Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org Writer > Formatting Aids. Under Direct Cursor, check Direct Cursor. To allow for even more flexibility, and give you the freedom to start writing from any point on the page, go to Tools > Options > Open Office.org Writer > Formatting Aids. Under Direct Cursor, select Insert. Finally, select the Tabs and Spaces radio button.
When writing a technical document, it is useful to append footnotes at the end of a page. To add a footnote, bring the cursor to the end of the sentence to which you want to add a footnote, go to Insert > Footnote, and click OK with the default values. The cursor will now be taken to a modified footer, where you can type in the footnote. Footnotes will be added to the end of every page. To collect all the notes at the end of a document, go to Insert > Footnote and under Type select the Endnote radio button.
Sections are a useful feature that allows a part of the document to behave in a different way than the rest of the document. To create a section, go to Insert > Section. The section is by default named serially starting from Section1. Write some text in this section, or copy-paste from another location. To change the way the section behaves, go to Format > Sections. Select a particular section from the list. You can protect a particular section from being changed. Check the Protected check box under Write Protection. You can choose to add a password to this section to remove the write protection. To hide the section in the document, check the Hide checkbox under Hide. To allow only the section to be edited in a write-protected document, check Editable in read-only document under Properties.
Notes are small post-its like fields for comments or personal reference. Notes can be added anywhere in the document, and show up with a dark yellow line linked to a field to the right of a document. Position the cursor to the left of the character to which you want to add the note to, then go to Insert > Note or use the shortcut [Ctrl] [Alt] [N]. If you delete a text, the accompanying note will also be deleted. You can edit the note by clicking on it. The note is attached to a particular character on the page, typing before the character will make the note change position too. To keep the notes, but make them invisible, go to View > Notes.
Add Animation To Text
You can add animation to text in drawing objects like circles or rectangles to give more visual appeal to your documents. First, insert an object into the document from the drawing toolbar. If the toolbar is not visible, go to View > Toolbars > Drawing. Once an object is inserted, double-click on it to enter text. After entering the text in the object, select the object and go to Format > Object > Text Attributes > Text Animation. There are four effects available, blink, scroll through, scroll back and forth and scroll in. Most of these effects can be looped infinitely or made to repeat a specific number of times. You can choose other settings like direction, increment and delay. Click on OK when you are done.