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Tips for OpenOffice.org Writer


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INSRT STD HYP?

Most users don't give much thought to the cryptic INSRT STD HYP fields in the Status bar. However, sometimes they can come in quite handy. When you click on the INSRT field, it changes its status to OVER. Now, if you start typing in a currently opened document, you will notice that the typed text overwrites the existing text. Use this feature when you want to replace a text segment and don't want to waste time on selecting and deleting it first. The STD field controls the way the selection works, and it has two additional modes: EXT and ADD. This feature can be useful if you use your keyboard to select text segments. Try this: select some text, click on the STD field, and it switches to EXT. Now you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to extend the current selection. Click on EXT, and it changes to ADD; use the arrow key to move the cursor to another text fragment, press and hold the Shift key down and use the arrow keys to add a new selection. The default mode of the last field is HYP, and it allows you to launch hyperlinks in the document. If you want to edit the link, click on the HYP button, and it changes its mode to SEL. Now you can click and edit the hyperlink without launching it.

Using AutoCorrect to insert frequently used special characters

Using Insert Special character, you can easily insert symbols and other signs. That's fine if you need to insert a symbol every now and then, but what if you have to insert a particular character in almost every sentence? One way to solve this problem is to use the AutoCorrect feature. Let's say you need to insert the character µ; choose Tools > AutoCorrect, click on the Replace tab, and create a new rule that converts the specified string to µ, for example, #m. Once the rule is added, you can simply type #m, and Writer converts it into µ.

ODFReader

Instead of using a stand-alone viewer, you can view Writer documents directly in the Firefox browser. To do this, you have to install a tiny extension called ODFReader. Install it by clicking on the Install link, restart your browser, and you are done.

Inserting data from a data source to Writer document

Let's say you have a list of quotations in a spreadsheet file, and you want to access it from within Writer so you can easily insert a quotation into your Document. First of all, create a new Base database that uses the spreadsheet as its data source: Choose File>New>Database, select the Connect to an existing database option, select Spreadsheet from the drop-down list. Make sure the Yes, register the database for me option is selected and press Finish.

1. Open the Writer document and place the cursor where you want to insert a quotation.
2. Press F4 to open the Data Source window.
3. Choose the table (sheet) that contains quotations.
4. Select the quotation record (row) you want to insert and press the Data to Text button.
5. Select the fields you want to insert and press OK.

Dmitri Popov works as a technical translator from English and Danish to Russian, as well as a freelance contributor to major European and US computer magazines and websites. His articles cover open source software including desktop and web-based applications and tools. Recently, Dmitri released the book Hands on Open Source, which provides a practical introduction to the best open source applications.









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