I always learn something when I teach a StarOffice or OpenOffice class. In Green River, Wyoming two weeks ago, I learned how to redock the slide pane in Impress/Draw (for some versions of the software). Click here to see the post.
I also learned that cleaning the dash on a Subaru can knock your hazards on, and they don't flash so it looks like they're your regular lights. I also learned that Green River Imports is a very fine car-fixing establishment that doesn't laugh at you when you bring in your car for something like that.
This week I'm in Largo, Florida at the City of Largo. The weather is gorgeous. I'll post pictures when I get back. I'm teaching an all-Linux set of classes this week--notable, the City of Largo completely skipped Microsoft Office. Never had it or Windows running for the city. Fabulous.
A few of the things I learned from student questions, or things that students discovered and told me about, include:
- You can just click somewhere in a table, then choose Table > AutoFormat, to apply an autoformat--you don't need to select the whole table.
- When you're putting spacing between columns under Format > Page, Columns, or for a section too, it won't accept a space between the columns if you type the measurement. You have to use the arrows to put in the spacing.
- I should have seen this earlier but in mail merge documents, you need to specify the printer before you print. In labels or envelopes just click the Options tab and specify the printer. Or in any created document, choose File > Print Properties and select the printer. Then choose File> Print, click Yes to print a form letter, be sure the Printer radio button is selected, and click OK. Used to be, you got a chance after that window to specify the printer. Not anymore.
- The mail merge wizard in 2.0.1 now does let you do manual editing when you set up the contents and layout of the address block, so it's now less annoying.
- To sort a data source for mail merges, so that for instance everything prints in order by zip code, here's what you do. Choose File > Open to open the data source, the .odb file. Double-click the table you're basing the mail merge on. In the editing window, click the column you want to sort by, and click one of the sort icons, Sort Ascending or Sort Descending. Then do your mail merge. If you need to then change the sort for another mail merge, just repeat these steps.
- I've been reminded that it's not a bad idea to just export your Impress slides to PDF and run your presentation in Adobe Acrobat. (In OOo, File > Export as PDF.) For anyone looking for an OpenOffice.org Impress viewer application, PDF might be all you need. Granted, it won't run your cool effects but unless you're presenting on something where you need to demonstrate motion, you don't technically need custom animation or slide transitions.
You can of course also export to HTML and to Flash; I haven't played enough with Flash to know how the transitions come over, if at all.
- Hyperlinks transfer over to PDF!!! This did not happen in 1.x. However, in 2.0 OpenOffice.org, any hyperlink in a document such as a hyperlinked table of contents or any link period, transfers to the PDF when you choose File > Export as PDF. This is GREAT. To create a plain old hyperlink, select some text to link and click the Hyperlink icon on the top toolbar.
- In labels, to go from one frame to another on the keyboard (or to go from one label to another, period), press Esc Tab Enter. Intuitive, huh? You can also choose Tools > Customize, click Keyboard, and set up a control key for it.
- Cuban food is yummy. I had a pork with black beans and rice thing the other day for lunch. However, when you carry the bag of Cuban food the wrong way, the black beans leak out of the container, out of the paper bag, and splash all over your light beige suit, when you don't have time to drive back to the hotel to change. However, my polyester suit from the fine folks at Target was easy to dab down and get clean with just soap and water. So that was a relief. (I mostly love Target, but will take this opportunity to plead with them to carry tall sizes in pants and jeans.)