For Dummies


Ready to leave your other Office? Open this friendly guide and find out how opens up your options! You can collect your thoughts in Writer documents, crunch numbers with Calc spreadsheets, draw great graphics, and create presentations that will really impress'em.
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Ready to leave your other Office? Open this friendly guide and find out how opens up your options! You can collect your thoughts in Writer documents, crunch numbers with Calc spreadsheets, draw great graphics, and create presentations that will really impress'em.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764542220
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/1/2003
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 7.35 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Finkelstein has written numerous best-selling computer books on AutoCAD, PowerPoint, and Flash. She consults on Web site and presentation content and organization, and maintains a Web site of free tips and tutorials at She works at home so that she can help her kids with their homework between paragraphs of her current book.

Gurdy Leete is an assistant professor of art and the director of the programs in digital media at Maharishi University of Management, where he has taught computer graphics and animation for the past 11 years. Gurdy has written extensively on computers, graphics and software. He is also an award-winning graphics software engineer, and is a coauthor of the Multitile plug-in for the free GNU image manipulation program, the GIMP. A selection of Gurdy’s computer art is available for download under the terms of the free software license, the GNU GPL, from his Web site,

Mary Leete has published widely on computers and other subjects. She has a masters degree in Professional Writing and ha s taught writing at the university level. She also has.a B.S. in computer science from Rutgers University and worked for several years as a database and spreadsheet programmer. Mary used exclusively to help design and build the Leetes’ new home. She used Draw to create numerous plans, Calc for budgets and expense accounting, Writer for endless correspondence and Impress to give seminars on the joy of being your own contractor after it was all finished.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I Introducing 7
Ch. 1 Getting to Know 9
Ch. 2 Switching to 23
Pt. II Using Writer - The Word Processor 35
Ch. 3 Creating a Document 37
Ch. 4 Formatting to Perfection 67
Ch. 5 Designing Complex Documents 87
Ch. 6 Keeping Control of Your Documents 113
Ch. 7 Creating Web Pages 125
Pt. III Using Calc - The Spreadsheet 139
Ch. 8 Creating a Spreadsheet 141
Ch. 9 At Home on the Range 155
Ch. 10 Knock on Wood and Print! 175
Ch. 11 Snazzing Up Your Spreadsheet 185
Ch. 12 Making Calculations 201
Pt. IV Using Impress - The Presentation Package 219
Ch. 13 Creating a Presentation 221
Ch. 14 Modifying a Presentation 241
Ch. 15 Making Presentations Picture Perfect 251
Ch. 16 Animating Impressively 265
Ch. 17 Showing a Presentation 275
Pt. V Using Draw - The Graphics Program 285
Ch. 18 Unleashing the Artist Within 287
Pt. VI The Part of Tens 315
Ch. 19 Ten Reasons to Use 317
Ch. 20 Ten Places to Look for Support 325
App Installing 331
Index 347
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First Chapter For Dummies

By Gurdy Leete Ellen Finkelstein Mary Leete

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-4222-2

Chapter One

Getting to Know

In This Chapter

* What is

* Getting started with

* Opening

* Checking out the applications

* Facing the interface

* Closing is an exciting new Office suite program that is extremely powerful and completely free to everyone. It operates on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Solaris, and it can easily read and write a plethora of file formats, including Microsoft Office. It is currently available in more than 30 languages, and people all over the world are migrating to for their entire office suite needs. Over sixteen million people currently use the program, and the total is increasing daily!

You don't have to pay a single dime to use - either now or in the future! Sounds too good to be true? The more you learn about, the more fascinated you'll become.

What Is, the Office suite, includes the following four major applications:

  •   Writer: A full-featured word processor that also includes an HTML editor for designing Web pages
  •   Calc: An extremely capable spreadsheet program that also allows you to link to corporate databases
  •   Draw: An excellent drawingand graphics program for both 2-D and 3-D
  •   Impress: A very capable presentation program for creating electronic slide shows

As its name suggests, is also a Web site. The Web site, at, is the home of the project that creates, markets, and distributes the applications.

What is Writer?

What do you use your word processor for? Jotting down notes to yourself? Writing letters? Or publishing an entire book with style sheets, automated indexing and table of contents generation, as well as bibliographies? Whether your needs are large or small, Writer is up to the job. Figure 1-1 is an example of a Writer document. Look familiar? This book was written in

Of course, Writer does all the basic things that word processors do, but it also allows you to do much more including:

  •   Design and create your own Web pages.
  •   Create forms for automatically inputting data into databases.
  •   Create personalized documents with Mail Merge, and link to your email address book or external database.
  •   Use Text Frames and Linking to lay out such documents as newsletters and flyers.
  •   Automatically generate standard documents such as letters, faxes, agendas, minutes, or import or create your own templates.
  •   Create your own Style Sheets.
  •   Import seventeen different types of text documents with ease, including "doc", and "dot"; and export nineteen different file formats, including "pdf", "html" and three kinds of "doc"s.
  •   Automatic indexing, tables of contents, bibliographical references; plus such details as custom headers, footers, footnotes, and endnotes.
  •   Track changes; compare documents, Automatic outlining, Spellchecking, and Thesaurus.
  •   Automatically correct words, or automatically complete words as you type. (This is all completely customizable, of course.)
  •   Insert Dynamic fields (such as date and time) and hyperlinks.
  •   Connect to email software.
  •   Create and use macros.

What is Calc?

Calc can calculate anything you hand it. It's a full-featured spreadsheet program with all the great bells and whistles you'd expect from the best. While Calc is super at doing all the basic spreadsheet things, such as adding, sorting, manipulating rows and columns, and inserting graphics, Calc also lets you do the following:

  •   Link to external databases, such as dBase and MySQL (or even your email address book) and view, query, sort, filter, generate automatic reports and more, as well as input data.
  •   Use an intuitive graphical interface to organize your data from your spreadsheets or database.
  •   Filter your spreadsheet or database data to locate information quickly.
  •   Use automatic subtotaling with outlining capabilities to give you instant information of the big picture, whenever you need it.
  •   Use any and all of 364 built-in functions for financial, mathematical, statistical, database and other purposes. Or create your own formulas.
  •   Use extensive formatting capabilities, including autoformatting, style sheets, graphical backgrounds, fancy borders, as well as conditional formatting.
  •   Freeze headings, create multiple sheets for a 3D spreadsheet, use split sheets, floating frames....
  •   Validate data (for example, require a specified format, such as a date).
  •   Save, print, and import and export a variety of formats (including your favorites).
  •   Generate 3-D charts, try out goal seeking, protect your documents, create macros, and lots more.

What is Impress?

Impress creates presentations (also known as slide shows) that you display from your computer, often with a projector, so that people can see what is on your screen. Each page of a presentation is called a slide. You add slides to a presentation and then add text and graphics to each slide. You also have all you need to create a masterful presentation. Impress allows you to do the following:

  •   Create a presentation quickly with AutoPilot or a template.
  •   Add notes to each slide that are just for the presenter.
  •   View your presentation in several ways using the Drawing, Outline, Slide, Notes, Handout, and Slide Show views.
  •   Save, print, and export and import in several formats (including your favorites).
  •   Format text characters and paragraphs.
  •   Create bulleted and numbered lists.
  •   Control the look of the presentation with a master slide.
  •   Insert graphics and control them using layers.
  •   Create your own graphics, including 3-D graphics.
  •   Add text animation and slide transitions.

What is Draw?

Draw is well integrated with the other programs but stands completely on its own as well. It's a great drawing program. Of course, it offers the basic drawing functions, such as the ability to automatically create lines, curves, circles, squares, 3-D spheres and more, but you can also use the following more advanced features with Draw:

  •   Customize your own glows, transparencies, gradients, bitmaps, or use ready-made gradients and import bitmaps.
  •   Use floating toolbars for easy access to create shapes, curves, lines, arrows, dimensional brackets, and more.
  •   Merge, subtract, intersect, rotate, and flip your graphics and otherwise modify them in many ways.
  •   Edit points to fine-tune curves and polygons.
  •   Cross-fade images for animated dissolves and morphing.
  •   Create text animation for livening up your Web pages or presentations.
  •   Use smart connectors to create flow-charts and organizational charts.
  •   Add shadows and 3D effects; create 3-D objects from 2-D objects. (Careful, this is addicting.)
  •   Add shading, texture, lighting, and materials to 3-D graphics; rotate 3-D objects in three dimensions.
  •   Use layers and groups.
  •   Import and export many formats, including SWF Flash Player format., the organization, asks that all public communications use when referring to the suite of applications, even though simply using OpenOffice seems to make more sense. Leave it to the lawyers and trademark laws to complicate things, but that's okay, this way we can always remember where to go for our free upgrades and online support.

Can replace my current office suite?

With you can most likely do everything you currently do with your office suite, and maybe even lots more. You may find to be even more handy than your current Office suite. Users report that is extremely robust and can handle very large, complex documents with ease. And many users are fond of having their files take up 25 to 60 percent less space than that of the leading office suite. Also since is open source, any security holes are dealt with extremely quickly. Anyone in the community can find and fix any problem or potential problem in a flash! No waiting for one company to get around to it. This means it is much less likely that anyone could take over your computer from another location without your knowledge and consent through was created as a Microsoft Office clone, so Microsoft Office users generally experience little or no difficulty making the transition. However some situations do exist where it is not recommended that you switch to They are as follows:

  •   If your business requires the Exchange Server capabilities of Microsoft Outlook, This feature allows you to have shared workspaces with other people on other computers. has no substitute for it - at least not on Windows or Mac.
  •   VBA macros written in Microsoft Office, as well as other macros from other office suites do not convert into and must be re-programmed. (It is estimated that this may affect five percent of office suite users.)

In other words, unless you are a power-user of another office suite with special needs, converting to should be no problem. Chapter 2 explains more about switching to

To write this book with, we needed perfect compatibility with Microsoft Word, because the publisher automatically converts Word text and formatting into QuarkXPress to print the book that you are reading. We imported Wiley's custom Word template into and wrote the entire book in We checked the document in Microsoft Word. Occasionally, we had to change the document formatting to match what the publisher wanted in Word. However, the actual text transferred perfectly from to Word.

Getting Started with

Most people who use download the program from the Web site of the same name. Other people get it from their friends. But you don't have to do either. The CD-ROM with the complete program for Windows, Mac, and Linux accompanies this book. Check out Appendix A for Installation Instructions.

If you need to go to Appendix A, go ahead. We'll wait for you. Then come back here to continue reading about opening and working in

Once you have installed on your system, you are ready to open it and get to work!

To open, follow these steps:

  •   Windows: Choose Start[right arrow]Programs (or All Programs)[right arrow]OpenOffice 1.1, and then choose the application that you want from the submenu. For example, to open the word processor, choose Text Document.
  •   Linux: The procedure depends on the Linux distribution that you have. Linux has several different desktop environments. If you are using KDE, then choose K[right arrow] 1.1.0 and then choose the application that you want from the submenu. If you are using Gnome, then choose Applications[right arrow]Office and then choose the application that you want from the submenu. Most Linux desktop environments have a relatively straightforward way of finding
  •   Macintosh: Navigate to the folder that contains (which should be called OpenOffice.org1.0.1), and double-click the Start icon to open a blank Writer document. To open another application, choose File[right arrow]New and choose the type of document that you want to open.

Of course, you can place an alias on your desktop and double-click that or drag the alias to your dock.

The first time you open, you see the Registration dialog box. To register, choose Register Now and click OK. The Web site opens, so that you can register.

Facing the Interface

Each application in has a somewhat different look, of course, but many features of the interface are common throughout the suite of applications.

In the following sections, we use Writer, the word processor, as an example. However, the principles apply to all the applications. For more details, refer to the parts of this book that explain the applications that you want to use.

Tooling through the toolbars

A toolbar is a bar of small buttons with pictures on them that you click to execute commands or otherwise complete the task that you are working on. All applications have three commonly used toolbars: the Function Bar, Main toolbar, and Object Bar, as shown in Figure 1-2. The toolbar buttons are shown on the Cheat Sheet at the front of this book.

The following sections describe's three main toolbars.

Function Bar

The Function Bar is the most similar toolbar across all the applications. This toolbar contains basic commands that apply to most types of tasks. You can find the toolbar at the top of the application window.

When you open a window, such as Navigator, Stylist, Gallery, or Preview (in Impress), you can let it float on the desktop or you can dock it. The following points explain docking and undocking:

  •   To dock a window, press Ctrl and drag the window by its title bar to the right side of the application window.

When docked, you can use the arrow icon in the window to collapse the window to a tiny bar that takes up little screen space. Click the arrow again when you need to see the window.

  •   To undock a window, use the same procedure (press Ctrl and drag the window by its top toolbar).
  •   You can also click the Pin icon in the window to change the window from floating to stick (docked).

Main toolbar

The Main toolbar resides along the left side of your screen and contains many often-used commands.

You can turn any fly-out toolbar into a floating toolbar. Click the Insert button on the Main toolbar and hold down the mouse button for a second.


Excerpted from For Dummies by Gurdy Leete Ellen Finkelstein Mary Leete Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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