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(NOTE: Each chapter, except Chapter 24, concludes with In the Next Hour.)
I. PREPARING TO USE STAROFFICE.
II. CREATING DOCUMENTS WITH STARWRITER.
III. CREATING SPREADSHEETS WITH STARCALC.
IV. WORKING WITH PRESENTATIONS.
V. USING INTERNET AND SCHEDULING FEATURES IN STAROFFICE.
[Figures are not included in this sample chapter]
In this hour, you learn the details of using the Explorer window to access StarOfficeresources in your documents.
You also learn how to get around the Desktop and associated Start menu to quicklystart editing new or existing documents.
This hour builds on the overview of the StarOffice window presented in Hour 2,"Getting Started with StarOffice." You'll have some opportunities to trythe things that you are shown, so you might want to have StarOffice running in frontof you as you read.
In Hour 2, you learned about the Explorer window. In this hour, you dig deeperinto how to use the Explorer window as you work in StarOffice.
The Explorer window as it appears after you install StarOffice is shown in Figure3.1. The Explorer gives you a treelike structure in which you can locate and storedocuments of different types, including templates, Web pages, and documents thatyou've created. In addition, you use the Explorer to create and access most Internetresources in StarOffice.
The StarOffice Explorer window isn't just for documents, however. It providesa quick interface to many specialized resources that StarOffice provides. With theExplorer, you can access these resources with a couple of mouse clicks instead ofsearching through subdirectories.
To use items listed in the Explorer window, follow these two rules:
TIP: You also can double-click on an item in the Explorer window to display its contents in the main viewing area. This is convenient if you don't have the Beamer open, but it can get in the way if you're working with open documents.
TIP: If the Explorer window takes up too much room on your screen, click the stick pin icon on the right edge of the Explorer to make the window appear on top of your document. Then use the arrow icon to view or hide the Explorer as needed.
You'll see the Explorer used for examples throughout the rest of the book.
As you're learning the parts of the Explorer window, you'll view many differenttypes of information and system resources. The best way to view these i tems is usuallyin the Beamer window.
To view the Beamer window, choose Beamer from the View menu. The Beamer windowis like a little catalog or listing where special information is displayed; it appearsjust below the toolbars.
With the Beamer onscreen, it is easier to see how useful the different parts ofthe Explorer can be. Why is the Beamer so useful? In general, the items displayedin the Beamer can be dragged and dropped into the document that you're working on.You'll walk through some examples as you explore the items in the Explorer.
The following sections define each of the items shown in the Explorer window anddescribe how you can try them yourself.
In order to try the examples that follow, you need to have a document open. Toopen a blank StarWriter document, double-click on the New Text Document icon. (Usethe Start bar Desktop icon to switch to it first, if necessary.)
With the Explorer and Beamer windows visible, you're ready to look at the defaultitems in the Explorer.
Many options in the Explorer are accessed using a right-click menu. To see themain right-click menu, click your right mouse button on the word Explorer in thetop line of the Explorer window. The pop-up menu, with the New and Document submenusopened, is shown in Figure 3.2.
The address book is a collection of mini-databases (each one called a Table) inwhich you can store names, addresses, and other information about people you know.You can create custom queries and forms for these Ta bles, and you can add new informationas needed.
Follow these steps to view the sample table in the Address book and to see howyou might use it:
2. Click on the plus sign to the left of the Tables icon to open the list of Tables.
3. Click on the address item. The sample addresses appear in the Beamer window.
4. Click on one of the gray buttons at the far left, near one of the addresses in the Beamer window, to select that record. (The display that appears is shown in Figure 3.3.)
6. Use the Database columns dialog box to select which parts of the address book entry are to be inserted into your document, and what form they will take (table, text, and so on). When you choose OK, the data from the address book appears in your document.
TIP: You can create new tables by right-clicking on the Tables item in the Address Book and choosing New, Table, and then AutoPilot or Table Design.
Bookmarks are pointers to documents that you might want to view or edit againin the future. The bookmarks folder is like using bookmarks in any Web browser, exceptthat in StarOffice you can use bookmarks fo r local documents as well as for documentson the Web. If you want to add a file that you're viewing to the bookmark folder,just drag and drop the Link icon onto the Bookmark folder in the Explorer. (The Linkicon is a folder with a triangular flag on it, located just to the left of the URLwindow in the Function toolbar.)
If you click on the Bookmarks folder, a few predefined bookmarks appear in theBeamer window.
StarOffice comes with a collection of hundreds of graphics that you can use foryour own documents. The Gallery collection includes many types of images, includingthe following:
You might recognize that these graphics are most useful in creating Web pages,as described in Hour 22, "Creating Internet Documents with StarOffice."However, they can also be useful for other documents.
All these graphics are located in the Gallery folder of the Explorer. You canbrowse through the graphics in the Gallery and insert any of them into a document,spreadsheet, or presentation you're preparing.
Use a graphic from the Gallery by following these steps:
2. Click on the Bullets icon. A collection of bullet icons appears in the Beamer window. (This is shown in Figure 3.4.)
4. Click and drag that icon, releasing the mouse button over your document. A copy of the graphic is inserted into your document.
Most graphical operating systems have a recycle bin where you can place documentsthat you no longer need. The recycle bin in StarOffice provides this feature foryour StarOffice documents. By default, documents are not actually erased until youempty the Recycle Bin.
You can place any unwanted file from the StarOffice Desktop or Explorer foldersin the Recycle Bin by dragging its icon to the Recycle Bin folder.
When you click on the Recycle Bin icon, the list of files stored in the RecycleBin appears in the Beamer window.
The Explorer Recycle Bin lists in parentheses the number of files that are currentlyin the Recycle bin (no number is shown if no files are present).
To work with the Recycle Bin, click on the Recycle Bin icon with your right mousebutton. You can then choose to empty the Recycle bin to permanently delete the filesit contains (thus freeing up that disk space).
NOTE: The Recycle Bin pop-up menu does not include the option to Empty Recycle Bin unless the Recycle Bin contains at least one file.
CAUTION: No undelete command exists in Linux--the delete function is permanent. When you delete files by emptying the Recycle Bin, you c annot recover the files that were deleted.
The Samples folder contains templates and sample documents that you can use toprepare your own documents in StarOffice. You'll look at some of these sample documentslater to see some of the features of StarOffice.
TIP: If you didn't use the Standard installation for StarOffice, the Samples folder might be empty.
The Work Folder is your personal storage area. When you save a file in StarOffice,the default location in which to save it is the Work Folder, described in Hour 7,"Creating a New StarWriter Document." When you open the Work Folder item,all the files that you've stored in the Work Folder appear in the Beamer or on theDesktop area; you can then double-click on any document to open it. Figure 3.5 showshow the Work Folder might look after you've saved a few StarOffice files in it.
Of course, the Work Folder is actually just a directory on your hard disk (~/Office50/explorer/WorkFolder). In fact, the graphics in the Gallery and the other Exploreritems are also stored in distinct subdirectories on your hard disk. The Explorerwindow is useful because it makes opening files that you work on regularly more convenient--youdon't have to browse through the entire Linux filesystem.
The Workplace is a way to graphically access the filesystem on your Linux computer.When you click on the plus sign next to the Workplace ite m, the contents of the rootdirectory of your Linux system appear. Subdirectories appear as folders in the Explorerwindow; files appear in the Beamer window so that you can work with them directly.
Figure 3.6 shows how the Explorer and Beamer windows might look while you areexploring your local filesystem.
If you store your documents in the Work Folder (the default when you save a file),you probably won't often use the Workplace item. On the other hand, you might wantto import graphics stored on other parts of your hard disk, open text documents thatweren't originally created in StarOffice, or drag and drop files to new locationson your Linux system. The Workplace in the Explorer window works well for any ofthese tasks.
The Desktop is the main viewing area of the StarOffice window. When you firststart StarOffice, it appears as shown in Figure 3.7. This section describes the iconson the Desktop and shows how you can use them to get started with StarOffice.
The idea behind the Desktop (and behind the Explorer window and icon bars, forthat matter) is that you can have immediate access to most tasks in StarOffice withouthaving to remember which menu they're located on. Often, you never have to view astandard menu. You can just choose an icon or an item on the ever-present Start menuto initiate an action.
In the sections that follow, the icons and tools on the Desktop are describedin more detail so that you can use them to start creating documents in Hour 7.
Both the Desktop and the Work Folder in the Explorer window are places to storeyour work.
Normally, you store all your documents in the Work Folder. You can create subdirectoriesto organize your work and divide files into different types (such as spreadsheetsand presentations).
However, some documents are always more active than others. Documents that youare working on from day-to-day are normally placed on the StarOffice Desktop so thatthey are only a click away when you start StarOffice. When a document is finishedor less important than others, it can be moved back to the Work Folder for permanentstorage, leaving the Desktop uncluttered for current projects.
In the sections that follow, you learn how to move files between these two areasof StarOffice.
Several types of icons are included on the default StarOffice Desktop:
The StarOffice Desktop isn't just for these default files. On the Desktop you'reactually seeing the contents of a special subdirectory on your Linux system. Youcan see this in the URL window of the function bar when you're viewing the Desktop.The following URL is displayed (with your username, of course):
Because the Desktop is always quickly available by clicking on the Desktop iconin the lower-left of the status bar, storing your daily work files on the Desktopmakes them easy to access.
You can add any of your documents to the Desktop so that you can immediately findthem. Just follow these steps:
2. In the Explorer window, open the Workplace folder.
3. Within the Explorer window, browse in the Beamer until you locate the work file that you want to move to the Desktop.
4. Click and drag the file's icon from the Beamer, dropping it on the Desktop (see Figure 3.8).
CAUTION: When you move a file to the Desktop, you're moving the actual file to a different subdirectory. Use the same drag-and-drop procedure when you want to move the file off the Desktop. Deleting the file from the Desktop erases the file from your system.
TIP: When you drop an icon onto the Desktop, sometimes it doesn't appear on the Desktop even though the file has been moved. To refresh the Desktop display, choose the Display Details icon from the Object toolbar. When you choose the Display Icons icon on the toolbar, the new file appears on the Desktop.
You can add many files to your Desktop, arranging them to suit your work needs.You can even delete some of the help files on the Default Desktop and use the Helpmenu instead when you need to open an Online Help file. Figure 3.9 shows a sampleDesktop with a collection of personal files.
The easiest way to move a document from the Desktop to a folder in your Workplaceis to drag the icon from the Desktop to a folder in your Workplace (within the Explorer).
If you want to delete a file that's stored on your Desktop, another choice isto drag and drop the icon from the Desktop to the Recycle Bin icon in the Explorerwindow.
If you want to delete a file directly from the Desktop, however, you can followthese steps:
3. Use the Confirm Delete dialog box to confirm that you want to erase this item from t he Desktop and from your filesystem. The icon and the file it represents are deleted.
The right-click menu that you just used to delete a Desktop icon has many otheruses. The menu changes depending on the type of icon that you right-click. In general,however, the menu shown in the previous figure applies.
One of the things that you'll use the right-click menu for is to view the propertiesof a document on your Desktop--to see its size, its date of creation, and so on.
When you right-click on any Desktop icon, you can choose the Properties item fromthe pop-up menu. The dialog box in Figure 3.11 appears. Different types of fileshave slightly different dialog boxes.
From the Properties dialog box, you can view properties such as
In addition to the Properties item, you can see many other options on the right-clickmenu that you can explore to arrange the icons on your Desktop and work with yourDesktop files.
With all your key working documents stored on your StarOffice Desktop for easyaccess, you might be asking what makes the D esktop so convenient.
You can always switch to the Desktop by selecting it from the Window menu. Theeasier way, usually, is to click on the Desktop button on the left end of the Startbar (see Figure 3.12). Because this button is always visible, you're always justone click away from viewing all the files on your Desktop.
When you have multiple documents open in StarOffice, you can display each onein a window smaller than the main StarOffice window so that parts of multiple documentsare visible at the same time.
These floating windows each include a Status bar for the document in thatwindow.
Use the small buttons on the upper-right corner of the document window to createa floating window while viewing a document. As with non-floating, full-sized windows,you can use the Windows menu or the buttons on the Start Bar to make any documentvisible.
The Start menu is a great way to access many StarOffice features. Not only aremenu items provided to start new documents of many types, but you can also use theStart menu to open recently edited documents (their names are saved and shown onthe Documents submenu), just as you do in Microsoft Windows 98.
Bookmarks and Help files are also listed in separate submenus on the Start menufor quick access.
If you're using KDE on your Linux system, and you selected KDE Integration whenyou installed StarOffice, you have two other features available in the Start menu:
The menus in StarOffice will be very familiar to you if you've used other officesuite software. The items are arranged in a similar pattern that is easy to learn.
The catch is that StarOffice, unlike MS Office, isn't composed of several componentssuch as MS Word and MS Excel. Instead, everything is part of one program: StarOffice.
Therefore, the menus don't have to change much between different document types.In fact, most of the menu items remain the same for any document that you're workingon. This makes it easy to find the command that you need on the menus.
When you work with different types of documents, you'll see that the followingmenus remain constant most of the time:
On the other hand, some of the menus change quite a bit. For example, the formattingoptions for a spreadsheet and a word processing document require different commands,so the items listed on the Format menu change according to what you're working on.
Computer users seem to fall into two camps. The first prefers to use a mouse,feeling that typing is for content and not for controlling a computer program. Thesecond type prefers the keyboard, and only touches the mouse as a last resort.
Graphical programs make it easy to learn a new application, but they require youto use the mouse. Most graphical programs in Windows and Macintosh also have keyboardshortcuts to accommodate users who prefer using the keyboard. These shortcuts area great way to quickly perform tasks without using the mouse. Most Linux programsdon't have these shortcuts, but StarOffice for Linux does!
Two kinds of keyboard shortcuts are provided in StarOffice. The first uses theAlt key to open a menu and regular keystrokes (letters, arrows, and the Tab key)to select an option.
The second type of shortcut is called an Accelerator key. By pressing the Ctrlkey in combination with other keys, you can immediately execute an action such assaving or printing a file, or bolding a block of selected text.
Following is an example of using the Alt key to perform a task--opening a newStarCalc spreadsheet:
2. Press the n key. The New item is selected, and the New submenu appears.
3. Press the s key. The Spreadsheet item is selected, and a new spreadsheet document appears on your screen.
4. Looking back at the menus that you selected using the keyboard, notice how can you tell which keys to use for these shortcuts: each one is underlined (see Figure 3.13).
To open a menu, hold down the Alt key and press the underlined key; to selectan item within the menu, just press the underlined key.
Accelerator keys are even quicker. Look again at the File menu (see Figure 3.14).Anytime you press Ctrl+O, the Open File dialog appears as if you had selected Openfrom the File menu (using Alt+F and O, or by using the mouse).
How can you tell what the Accelerator keys are for a task? Just look at the rightside of a menu item to see whether a key combination is shown there.
In the next hour, "Configuring StarOffice," you'll learn how to setoptions for how StarOffice behaves and how to modify StarOffice menus and toolbarsto suit your preferences. You'll also explore how to check settings for things suchas how often documents are autosaved, how many levels of undo are allowed, and whereStarOffice looks for your document files.