OpenOffice.org is a powerful office suite that offers tools for all types of office tasks, such as writing texts, working with spreadsheets, or creating graphics and presentations. With OpenOffice.org, use the same data across different computing platforms. You can also open and edit files in Microsoft Office formats then save them back to this format, if needed. This chapter only covers the basic skills needed to get started with OpenOffice.org. Start the application from the SUSE menu or using the command ooffice.
OpenOffice.org consists of several application modules (subprograms), which are designed to interact with each other. They are listed in Table 1.1, “The OpenOffice.org Application Modules” (↑Applications). The discussion in this chapter is focused on Writer. A full description of each module is available in the online help, described in Section 1.6, “For More Information” (↑Applications).
Table 1.1. The OpenOffice.org Application Modules
Powerful word processor application
Spreadsheet application that includes a chart utility
Drawing application for creating vector graphics
Application for generating mathematical formulas
Application for creating presentations
The appearance of the application varies depending on which desktop or window manager is used. Additionally, the open and save dialog formats for your desktop are used. Regardless of the appearance, the basic layout and functions are the same.
OpenOffice.org is able to work with Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases. They can be seamlessly opened like other files and saved back to that format. Because the Microsoft formats are closed and the specifics are not available to other applications, there are occasionally formatting issues. If you have problems with your documents, consider opening them in the original application and resaving in an open format, such as RTF for text documents or CSV for spreadsheets.
To convert a number of documents, such as when first switching to the application, select+ + . Choose the file format from which to convert. There are several StarOffice and Microsoft Office formats available. After selecting a format, click then specify where OpenOffice.org should look for templates and documents to convert and in which directory the converted files should be placed. Before continuing, make sure that all other settings are appropriate. Click to see a summary of the actions to perform, which gives another opportunity to check whether all settings are correct. Finally, start the conversion by clicking .
When sharing documents with others, you have several options. If the recipient only needs to read the document, export it to a PDF file with+ . PDF files can be read on any platform using a viewer like Adobe Acrobat Reader. To share a document for editing, use one of the regular document formats. The default formats comply with the OASIS standard XML format, making them compatible with a number of applications. TXT and RTF formats, although limited in formatting, might be a good option for text documents. CSV is useful for spreadsheets. OpenOffice.org might also offer your recipient's preferred format, especially Microsoft formats.
OpenOffice.org is available for a number of operating systems. This makes it an excellent tool when a group of users frequently need to share files and do not use the same system on their computers.