The "Of Zen and Computing" blog has a nice article on Linux and open source and just what the deal is.
I've written an article for TechTarget.com on how to use the OpenOffice.org Data Pilot, aka pivot tables. There are some newish 2.x features so if you haven't looked at them recently, take a look.
A new filter is being worked on for opening Word files in Writer. I don't necessarily follow the technical description here, from Henning Brinkmann but it's good to know that things might get even better.
The French National Assembly is to adopt open source software for its deputies’ use, from the next legislative session. Each
deputy’s desktop computer will be equipped with the Linux operating
system, the Open Office productivity suite, the Firefox internet
browser and an open source e-mail application.
The French National Assembly is to adopt open source software for its deputies’ use, from the next legislative session.
Each deputy’s desktop computer will be equipped with the Linux operating system, the Open Office productivity suite, the Firefox internet browser and an open source e-mail application.
Note: I've been having a dickens of a time getting all my posts to show up as searchable in Technorati. Thus, a repost of this Draw blog.
Sure, you like the nice little triangles and double arrows in the list of arrowheads you get with OpenOffice.org. They're nice. They point.
But sometimes you need a little something extra. Something fun, something for your schematics, something for your UML diagram (UML is a little tough to do, more on that in other blogs), something you just need.
Here's how to create your own arrows, or line ends (I'll be using the terms interchangeably).
First, though, the basics. How do you apply them? How do you get the line ending, the arrowhead, of your choice, onto a line?
Applying Arrows and Making Them Big Enough to See
You have a line. You want to put an arrow on the end or you want to change it. How do you do it?
First, draw the line with any of the line or curve tools on the Drawing object bar. Be sure it's selected.
Then apply the line end. The quick way is to click on the dropdown list at the top of the work area, and just select what you want for each end of the line.
However, the default size of the line ends is really small. You'll usually need to make the end bigger. So select your line, choose Format > Line, and in the far more powerful window that appears, select your line end styles. Select the size, and while you're at it you can change line styles too. Click the image below to see a bigger version of the window.
Loading the Extra Arrows
The arrows that OpenOffice.org comes with are stored in .soe files, usually in your openoffice.org\user\config directory. There are two by default; you can only have one loaded at once.
NOTE: You can put all your line ends that you create yourself in a separate one, if you want. More on that later.
The style files are arrowhd.soe and standard.soe. Standard.soe has hardly any. Arrowhd.soe has a bunch more. To load a different style file, choose Format > Line, click the Arrow Styles tab, and click the Load Arrow Styles icon.
In the dialog box, select a different style file and click OK.
Creating a Basic Arrow
Here are the rules. You can create a line end with any character, polygon, contour, curve, or line in OpenOffice.org. This means most of the shapes in the drawing toolbar, like the puzzle piece, though some like the smiley face won't work. However, basically if you just draw anything using the drawing tools, it'll work.
All of these will work as line ends. The first three will end up filled.
If you find yourself with a shape that you think should work but doesn't, or just a shape you want to use of the wrong type, convert it to the correct type. Select it, right-click on it and choose Convert, and select Polygon, Curve, or whatever works for you.
You can also use the line tools to draw filled shapes, like the angled straight-line tool that I used to draw this clumsy-looking crown shape (drawn with grid showing).
When you draw a shape, you might want to have the grid on so it'll look reasonably regular. Choose View > Grid > Display Grid, and Snap to Grid as well.
So let's assume you've got your shape. I'm going to use the crown. Draw the shape right-side-up, by the way.
Select the shape and choose Format > Line. Click on the Arrow Styles tab. The Add button should be enabled; if it isn't, you don't have the right kind of shape drawn. Click the image below to see a bigger version.
Click Add, and name the line end something. (The line end will be saved in the currently loaded .soe file.) Click the image below to see a bigger version.
NOTE: Line ends are always filled unless you go to great lengths to avoid that. I cover that later in this post.
Now the shape will show up in the lists with the other line ends.
Creating an Arrow With a Special Character (or Any Letter)
If you want an arrow that's shaped like the greek symbol for pi, you can do it.
Use the text tool to draw a text box.
Click inside the text box and choose Insert > Special Character. Find the symbol you want and click OK. (Or just type a Z or a W or whatever character you want.)
Make the character bigger if necessary with the font size dropdown list, and change the font as well if you want.
Select the text box, and then just create the line end as I described above.
You can't use a word as a line end, by the way, just a character.
Here's a couple lines with the pi ending and another special character.
Creating Your Own .soe Line Styles File
If you want your own styles in a separate file, here's what you do. Before you start creating, just choose Format > Line, click the Arrow Styles tab, and click the Save File icon. Name the file something like mystyles.soe and click OK.
That new styles file is now loaded, with the default arrow styles from the standard.soe file. Now just create your line ends as you would normally.
Draw a Line With an Arrow in the Middle
You can't actually do a single line with an arrow in the middle. But you can do two lines, with an arrow at the end of the first one. To make sure they don't separate when you move them, use the connector lines.
Here's the connector line palette.
Here are two connector lines, creating the impression of one line with an arrow midway through.
Creating Unfilled Arrows
Thanks to the clever folks in this discussion, I discovered that you can fool Draw into thinking something's closed. Well, it is closed, but you do it all a little differently. This approach is a bit of a pain in the tookus but it works, and once it's done, it's done.
Display the grid; choose View > Grid > Display Grid.
Use one of the two straight-line drawing tools; the squarer one is better.
Draw a triangle for this practice run. Start drawing a normal triangle, but instead of connecting after the third line, double back as shown.
Then complete the triangle so that it's actually a very long thing rectangle bent twice to form a triangle.
Click the Edit Points icon on the Drawing toolbar at the bottom of the work area.
Zoom into about 400%. (Choose View > Zoom.)
Drag each of the two points of the disconnected end toward the other line, so they're almost but not quite touching.
Zoom back out. Click the Edit Points icon again to turn off that function.
Now just create the line end as you normally would.
Here's a picture of the triangle, and a line with the line end applied.
Note that with unfilled shapes, you get the line intruding into the shape very slightly. (Mark Center in the Lines window to change it from definitely intrusion to very slight intrusion.)
In the Name of All That Is Holy, Use Graphics Styles
Once you've got a line that you like, with the ends you like, the size you like, with the line width and type you like, etc. that you're going to reuse, SAVE IT.
NOTE: Graphics styles are like the paragraph and character styles in Writer, and combine all these attributes as applicable. Your specific arrows that you create are also called arrow styles, and are saved in the .soe file that's loaded when you create it. But when you're combining a bunch of line and arrow types and widths and sizes, then those attributes are stored in a graphics style in the Styles and Formatting window. That's what I'm talking about here.
Select your line and choose Format > Styles and Formatting. Click on the New Style From Selection icon with the green + sign.
Name the style something and click OK.
Now, the next time you want that kind of line, draw the line, select it, choose Format> Styles and Formatting, and find the style you created in the list. Double-click the style name. All that painful formatting you did last time will be applied instantly this time.
Styles you create stay in the document you're in. To get a line style from another Draw document, just copy a line with that style, or use templates (which is a whole nother topic).
That's all there is to applying and creating your own line ends! Simple, huh?
Always have a backup. That's up there with wear your seatbelt, eat your vegetables, and always have cab fare on a first date.
OpenOffice.org has a backup system that lets you create a backup copy of your documents, anywhere you want. Not a bad idea, eh? Here's how you do it.
1. Choose Tools > Options > Load/Save > General.
Mark the checkbox for always making a backup.
2. In the same big window, open the OpenOffice.org category. Click the Paths option and select the Backups item. This is where the backups will be created. If that's fine, leave it as is.
If you want the backups elsewhere, click Edit, specify the new location, and click OK.
3. Click OK to save all the changes you made in the settings window.
For every new document you create, then each time you edit that document, a backup of the previous version will be created. Your backups will be created with a BAK extension in the location you specify.
Check this out -- you can get a refund for your Windows install on a new PC.
"UK freelancer Dave Mitchell bought a new Dell laptop, replaced its copy of Windows with Linux - and got money back from Dell for never using the Microsoft OS."
OpenOffice.org Calc and Writer have the usual editing features that let you send files out for edit and get redlined comments back from anyone who reviewed it.
However, not so much for Impress presentations. Not within OpenOffice, anyway. Fortunately, there are a few ways around this, including SlideShare. They support OpenOffice.org Impress files as well as PowerPoint. You can share, tag, and get comments back.
You can also take a look at this extension for OpenOffice Impress. O3Spaces works by providing users a single web-based team environment, with built-in search capabilities and an optional Java-based Desktop Assistant.
Their web site says "O3Spaces technology enhances OpenOffice.org and StarOffice with an integrated solution for Collaboration, Document Management and Document Retention within teams and small businesses. O3Spaces provides the OpenOffice 2.0 and StarOffice user community with a professional out-of-the-box extension for team and project collaboration, O3Spaces means an affordable and integrated alternative for MS Office Sharepoint."
I met Martin Hardee at a friend's party this past weekend, and, since it was a group of Sun employees and Sun escapees, the conversation naturally turned to work. (After a rolicking discussion of wines, gossip, Camaros, and other fun-loving topics, of course.)
Martin mentioned that he likes Impress for doing storyboarding. He has some interesting blogs on it on his Sun blog; check'em out.
"Here's how we're progressing on our project to create Comic-based storyboard templates for web designs. I've put together an example comic book storyboard using StarOffice slides and telling the story of buying ballet tickets from an imaginary web site (actually a real site but I changed the name to protect the guilty). If you don't already have it, you can download StarOffice or OpenOffice to view and edit the slides."
Read more on this blog
If you're feeling a little freaked out about your Thanksgiving gathering, calm your nerves with the planning spreadsheet from Make magazine.
I've written a big ol' "what, why, and how" article on styles for TechTarget.com.
It starts with just how useful styles are in daily life and why they make life great, then goes into just how to apply, create, and update them.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll be celebrating with friends in the usual tryptophan-heavy way, and also by hitting Ladies' Night at the Grizzly Rose in Denver. I've had a few very nice lessons on the two-step and triple, and will be looking to dance now that I'm a little more confident with the country dances. I'm hoping to find someone there who'll do a little swing, too.
I don't know exactly what frequency tables are, even after my stats class circa 1988, But I know that if you need them, you need them. Here's a nicely explained and illustrated blog about using them in OpenOffice.org Calc, from Ernest.
Here's another link that Antonios tipped me off about. They're for Excel but I understand they also work in Calc.
Lightweight data exploration in Excel "We often are given a chunk of data in Excel that we need to explore. Of course, the first tool you should pull out of your toolbox in cases like this is the trusty PivotTable (it slices, it dices!). But at times we have to dig a little deeper into the toolbox and pull out the in-cell bar chart. "
More on Excel in-cell graphing "We received an enthusiastic response to our post on in-cell bar graphs in Excel. The community quickly explored every edge case. I want to highlight some of the great ideas raised. Henk was first out of the gate with a great suggestion that two columns could be used to show positive and negative values. "
Moving Around Easily Between Sections in the Navigator
"Is it possible to set up chapters or sections in an OpenOffice Writer document so that I can jump to them easily, like maybe with tabs or a tree like some PDFs have? I found something called "sections" in the documentation, but it doesn't sound like what I'm looking for.'
Definitely. Press F5 and you'll see the Navigator window.
You can expand the Headings option and just double-click the heading name to jump to that part of the document.
(This is only if you've used the Heading1 through Heading10 styles, or if you've used other styles for your headings and set them up at the right levels under Tools > Outline Numbering.)
You can also jump to anything listed in that window that you have set up--graphics, bookmarks (Insert > Bookmark), cross references, notes, etc.
You're right, sections aren't what you want, but if you have them you can double-click them in Navigator and go to them.
Rearranging Sections in Writer by Moving Headings in the Navigator
You can move one section of your document to an earlier or later part of the document easily in the Navigator too. Again, you need to have applied paragraph styles to your headings such as Heading1, Heading2, etc.
In the Navigator, just select the heading for the section you want to move.
Then click the Promote Chapter icon or the Demote Chapter icon as many times as needed to move the section to where you want it. In this picture, the 1950s and Bread section now comes before Romans and Bread.
Other Good Alternative Open Source Software
I love alternative software, especially when it is a piece of free software that does basically the same function as a far more expensive version. What are some good alternative softwares that you have found?
MS Office alternative: OpenOffice
Movie Creation Software?
First Person Shooter?
So on and so forth..."
A lot of people do stuff in Photoshop or Gimp that is easier to do in OpenOffice Draw. (File > New > Drawing.) If you're doing diagrams or anything that's not direct raster editing, do it in Draw, then export to EPS, JPG, PNG, whatever.
You do have slight raster control in Draw -- adjust RGB, make things B/W or grayscale, control contrast and lightness, etc.
"Phipps added 'I think you’ll see growing support from Sun for the things people use.'"
This strikes me as a remarkably practical attitude:
Here's what I've experienced as an OpenOffice.org and StarOffice author and trainer.
- Business started taking off when OpenOffice.org became available, not when it was just StarOffice.
- People asked me the difference between OpenOffice.org and StarOffice, and seemed to think that OpenOffice.org was the better program.
- I encounter very few training clients who use StarOffice. One is a school that gets it essentially for free anyway, and one is a private company contracting to NASA, so perhaps they want a big company name behind their software.
OpenOffice.org, in my experience, has better name recognition and a better reputation. Like Phipps says, follow the market share.
I wrote this blog about how to rename styles in your current document to match the style names in a different template or document, then import styles from that different template or document to update the definitions.
Now, that's a reasonable approach. More or less. Renaming can be useful also if you just realize, d'oh! you really should be renaming things something like Directive_Heading, Directive_Text, rather than Textfordirectives and headingtouseindirectives. It's nice to have all the styles you use together sorted together alphabetically.
But unfortunately the Nancy Drew in me is sometimes drawn more toward hacks than to regular ol' features already there in the software.
Felipe wrote to that post and said "Is there a way to search and replace styles?"
And I slapped myself on the forehead and said, "Well, yes, that feature DOES exist and that would, OK, be a perfectly reasonable way to deal with replacing one style with another."
So here's the scenario.
You have a wonderful document with great styles.
But then Bob the Annoying Boss comes along and says "You need to use THIS template with THESE styles."
If all the names of the styles were the same you could just import the styles and be done with it. BUT the styles in the template are DIFFERENT so it's not that simple.
What do you do?
Follow the instructions in this blog if you want to try that approach to rename the styles in your document to match the ones in the template.
Or just search for your style names, and replace them with the style names from the template.
Here's how to do the second one.
Step 1: Import styles from the new template
Open your document.
Choose Format > Styles and Formatting.
Click and hold down on the far right icon and choose Load Styles.
That document's styles will show up in your Styles and Formatting window.
Step 2: Search for Your Styles and Replace With the New Styles
Be sure you're in your document.
Choose Edit > Find and Replace or just press Ctrl F.
In the Find and Replace window, click More Options and select only the Search for Styles item. NOTE: An alert reader, Julian, has this warning. "The option
to search for styles disappears if you have specified some formatting in one of the search
or replace boxes. Clicking No Format brings it back."
Click Find, then Replace as appropriate. Or if you're feeling confident, click Replace All.
Repeat for each style you need to replace.
You'll see that the old styles have been replaced by the new styles. (In this illustration, the style ChapterTitle used to be applied, and it looked like the style illustrated near the top of this blog.)
I've mentioned this in the context of various articles before but I don't think I've really zeroed in on it before.
Selecting text and formatting it, whether manually or with styles, is one of the standard tasks you do every day. Let's say you've got a few notes, interspersed in your document, that need to be bold. They're not consecutive so you select one, then apply formatting; select the next then apply the formatting again and so on.
Select, apply; select, apply. It's one of each.
Or IS it???
You can select a bunch of pieces of text that aren't next to each other, and then apply whatever formatting you like. (Or delete all the pieces of text, or do anything.)
1. Select the first piece of text. (If you're applying a paragraph or list style, you just need to select a part of the paragraph.)
2. Hold down the Ctrl key and keep it held down.
3. Select the next piece of text.
4. Select the next piece of text.
5. When you're done, release the Ctrl key.
6. Now apply the formatting or just generally have your way with the text.
7. You'll see the formatting change.
8. Click somewhere else in the document to deselect the text.
ComputerWorld has an article about the pros and cons of continue the upgrade trail with Vista and Office 2007.
I've been talking about this for a while. Upgrading to Vista or Microsoft Office 2007 or both is not to be undertaken lightly.
Here's the deal in a nutshell.
So....what works for you and your organization?
Note: If you're a school or otherwise on a limited budget, are you sure that's the best way to spend the money, especially on the hardware you have now? Here's a blog from a Vista beta tester, The Tech-Savvy Teacher.
Note: Having clearly labeled import and export features for Base has been proposed and you can vote for it by clicking one of the following links. Here's how to make things work until the features are implemented and put into the next build.
Vote for adding a wizard to import data into Base
Utility to export CSV from Base
Here's the related article on the cleverly disguised import function, for getting data from a spreadsheet, Access, or another database into an OpenOffice Base database.
NOTE: You can also search and replace for styles. Open the search and replace window, click More Options, select the Styles checkbox, and go nuts. I have blogged more on this here. Thanks to Felipe for reminding me of this.
Maybe I should have thought of this years ago. Maybe I just hadn't thought about it all that hard. But regardless, I had a realization this morning while brushing my teeth that makes importing a new template much easier.
So. You have a grrrreat document on what makes squirrels look so cute when the sit up and eat nuts. And you need to submit it to the Journal of Squirrel and Possum Research.
You've applied all sorts of styles from your best template. Styles like ReportHead1, ReportHead2, StrongNote, PlainNote, BodyText, ListDiamondBullets, etc. You've got about 20 styles and about 100 pages.
And now you get the note from the JoSPR and they love your article, but they want it in their template.
No problem! you cry as you swig a celebratory jigger of apricot brandy that you keep in your desk drawer for just such occasions. You open your document, import styles, find the template, click OK, and boom......
OK, no boom, just a whimper. You get all those new styles but guess what? Nothing changed because when you import SquirrelHeading1 into a document that uses ReportHead1, nothing about ReportHead1 changes.
Do you need to go through the whole document and apply the JoSPR styles? Isn't the whole point, or one of the key points, of styles, is that updating them is soooooo easy?
No, and yes. IF YOU USED YOUR OWN STYLES RATHER THAN STYLES THAT CAN'T BE RENAMED LIKE HEADING1 THROUGH HEADING10 THEN IMPORTING DIFFERENTLY NAMED STYLE DEFINITIONS ISN'T THAT BAD
If you used your own styles, all you need to do is rename the styles. And then when you import, you're golden because when you import SquirrelHeading1 (20 point, Albany font) into a document that uses SquirrelHeading1 (18 point, AvantGarde font), then all of a sudden SquirrelHeading1 does in fact change to the new definition. And alllll text with that style applied changes, too.
Here's what you do.
Figure out if you've applied existing styles that are part of every Writer doc, like Heading1 through Heading10, or if you've applied styles you created yourself like ReportHeading1. If the former, then you do have to just import all the styles and then reapply. If the latter, then you're good.
Use this procedure if you can rename the styles you used. If you don't know, try this procedure and you'll find out.
1. Open your document.
2. Go to the text with the first style you want to rename, like ReportHead1. Select that text.
5. Right-click on the style name and choose Modify.
6. In the style window, click the Organizer tab.
8. Click OK.
9. Now, all the text that used to have the style ReportHead1 applied to it now has the style SquirrelHeading1 applied to it.
10. Rinse and repeat for all the other styles you need to rename.
All you need to do now is import the right definitions from the new template.
1. Open your document.
2. Go to the text with the first style you want to rename, like ReportHead1. Select that text.
3. Choose Format > Styles and Formatting.
4. Click and hold down on the far right icon and choose Load Styles.
5. In the window that appears, select all the checkboxes.
6. Click Find File.
7. Find the new template and click Open.
8. Now all the new style definitions have been imported and all the text should look different.
(If you used un-renameable styles, then at this point you need to go through and reapply the new styles. Sigh.)
OpenOffice Writer numbering is powerful but it lacks at least one very important feature.
(I’m not saying Word numbering doesn’t suck. I think it does. )
Now, it’s not all bad. Anyone doing a nice little shopping list like this is going to have no problem.
To get lists like this, just type the list, select the list, click the Numbering icon to turn numbering on, press Tab to indent each item as far as it needs to go, then select the whole list and in the Options tab select the numbering type you want at each level.
However, what do you do if you want this? AND let’s say you have about a hundred of these and combine them in the same master document?
Directive on Parking
Parking shall be completed by 8:30 AM each morning.
Parking shall be performed in the following lots
Lot A, except on Mondays
Lot Q on weekends
Directive on After-Work Parties
Parties shall follow these guidelines
Parties shall last no longer than three hours
Parties shall be catered for no more than $300
Parties shall provide bus service home as necessary
Parties shall take place no more than five times a year
When I first typed up the Directive on Parking part in OpenOffice, composing the blog before I posted it here, it actually looked like the following: the top-level numbering for the directive on parking continued from the bread list, even though it was totally separate.
Imagine a 100-page document or a 100-document book where you have to go back and fuss and curse over restarting the numbering.
The trouble with using regular ol’ numbering is multi-fold.
There Are Problems With Trying to Do Complex Numbering in Big Projects, Especially Relating to Restarting Numbering
Restarting the numbering where and when you want it is hit and miss. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.
To restart numbering, you need to click the Restart Numbering icon, or alternately use the Paragraph formatting window. Here they are.
NOTE however that this restart attribute is NOT available when you create a paragraph style.
This all means that you cannot apply restart-iness with styles. You can only apply it manually.
[I have tested the following issue moderately with 2.1 and it does not SEEM to be a problem. Test with your documents.] Also, here’s the kicker. When you import new styles, at least some of the time, the manual settings, aka the restartiness, are kablooied and you need to set them all over again.
[I have tested the following issue moderately with 2.1 and it does not SEEM to be a problem. Test with your documents.] Did I say the kicker? That was a kicker. There’s another even bigger kicker. Importing the styles also often kablooies all the indenting you did to get, say, Rye bread down to level 3 or the party rules down to the level they’re at. You can get around this by using a separate paragraph style/numbering style combination for every level but you still end up with the problem of manual restarts.
You could consider using outline numbering; however you cannot restart the numbering if you are going to combine multiple documents in a master document. Also you have only the most basic control over the distance from the number to the text. (Tools > Outline Numbering. See also http://openoffice.blogs.com/openoffice/2006/10/in_praise_of_ou.html )
So what the heck is the solution?
There Is A Solution If You’re Willing to Do Things Completely Differently
The solution comes from my colleague Jean Weber, at www.jeanweber.com. She has an excellent book on Writer, including high-end complex issues like this.
Here’s the link to the OOo doc, to which she contributed. http://documentation.openoffice.org/manuals/oooauthors2/
Here’s a link to the file you’re going to be using to solve this problem. http://documentation.openoffice.org/manuals/oooauthors2/0214WG-WorkingWithFields.pdf
What you do is, you create a numbering series of your own that has nothing to do with the normal numbering.
I’ll leave the particular details to Jean’s guide; go to the section called Defining your own numbering sequences. Here’s what you need to accomplish.
1. Create a single number range for every level. For instance, if your top level is regular Arabic, your second level is Alphabetic, and your third level is lower Roman, then create a single number range for each of those called Arabic, Alpha, and Roman (or one two and three, or Larry Moe and Curly, or whatever). Choose Insert > Fields > Other, click the Variables tab, choose Number Range on the left, and the rest is pretty clear. Jean's guide provides lots of nice detail for this.
2. Create paragraph styles with the indenting you want, one style for each level. The paragraph styles are what will take care of the indenting. You also need to set up the correct tabs since you’ll press Tab between the number range and the text.
Here are examples for levels 1, 2, and 3. In this formatting example there’s an indent of .3 inches from the left margin of the document for all text. Also the distance from the number to the text is .3 inches.
Level 1 (plus set a .3 tab in the Tabs tab)
Level 2 (plus set a .3 tab in the Tabs tab)
Level 3 (plus set a .3 tab in the Tabs tab)
3. Start inserting the numbers, just anywhere in the document. You're going to insert them, then make shortcuts so that you can insert them more easily.
Choose Insert > Fields > Other, select your top level variable such as Arabic, specify 1 in the Value field, and click Insert.
Now create your ArabicContinued field. Press Return or just make a space or two. Still in the Fields window, delete the 1 from the Value field, and click Insert to insert another field of the same range. It’ll show up in the document as 2. Click Insert again if you want to prove it's working; it'll show up as 3.
DO NOT set up different variables here for the regular and the restart. They need to have the same name.
Do the same for the first item and the next item at all the levels you’re using.
4. Apply the appropriate paragraph styles to each number range you're using. If you created a paragraph style called TopLevelNumbering, apply it to all the Arabic fields (or whatever you're using at the top level). Also press Tab to insert a tab after each number.
5. If you have a lot more work to do, you want all this inserting stuff to be easier so make AutoTexts.
5.a. Select the first top-level numbering item, the Arabic one that equals 1 and the tab. (Not crucial, but as long as you're saving yourself some work, you can make the tab show up automatically, too.) Be sure the appropriate style is applied so that you can bundle the number and the correct style into one convenient autotext.
5.b. Choose Edit > AutoText. Type a name like ArabicRestart, make the shortcut something obvious like AR for ArabicRestart. Click and hold down on the Autotext button and choose New.
5.c. Repeat the steps for the next number at that level, the one that doesn’t have 1 as the value. So select the field that shows 2 in your document, choose Edit > AutoText, and call this one just Arabic or ArabicContinued. Make the shortcut something like A or AC.
5.d. Repeat those steps for every level.
6. Now just keep on formatting or typing your list by inserting numbers. Type AR F3 (the shortcut plus the key that says "insert the autotext with that shortcut" to insert a numeral 1 plus a tab. Type AC F3 to insert a sequential continuous number.
Note on inserting: You can't have the cursor immediately next to any existing text or the AutoText tool will get confused about what you want to do. There has to be at least a space between the cursor and any other text.
Alternately, if your list already exists, copy and paste the appropriate restart and continuous number variables to the appropriate spots, rather than using the shortcut keys.
Is it wildly different from normal numbering? Yes. Is it complicated to set up? No more than any other complex numbering.
Does it offer much more reliability and control than other numbering in OpenOffice Writer, for complex lists? Yes, yes, oh god, yes.
I've written an article for TechTarget on how to use the functions such as Sum and Max in OpenOffice.org Base queries and views.
It took me a while to grok how to use these -- the difficulty is not in applying the functions, but in the kind of data you can use the functions with, and the Group function that needs to be applied along with Sum, Max, or whatever you're using.
It's time for more data pilot adventures.
I blogged here about the data pilot. The example I used there was for analyzing data in your spreadsheet. You also, of course, have the option of analyzing, using the data pilot, any of your data sources. You'd want to analyze a data source rather than a spreadsheet for many reasons-- perhaps the data is in Access and not in a spreadsheet. Or the spreadsheet is just realllllly big and you don't want to have to open it every time you want to run data pilot on it.
Here's my sample data for this blog.
Just a nice basic set of data for a week. It's similar but different to what I used in the previous blog and more suitable for demoing the different options. Click to see it bigger.
The first step, of course, is to make sure you have a data source. (Or database—it's all kind of the same thing.) If you already have your data in Access or another database, you'd skip this, of course. However, let's say that this spreadsheet is extremely large and I need to make a database out of it to save time.
Here's what you do to create a database from a spreadsheet; using a different type of data is pretty similar.
1. Choose File > New > Database.
3. In the next window, just specify where the spreadsheet is that you want to turn into a database. Click Next.
4. Unmark the Open for Editing option and click Finish.
5. Save the database with an obvious name. This is the name you'll be selecting from dropdown lists in OpenOffice.org.
Now you've got a database.
To analyze a database, start the same way as usual.
1. Open a new empty spreadsheet and choose Data > Data Pilot > Start.
2. Choose to use a data source already registered with OpenOffice.org. Click OK.
3. Select the data source name, then the sheet name (typically Sheet1) where your data is, and specify Sheet as the type of data. Click OK.
4. Now you're ready to drag fields into the layout area and set options as you have with other analyses. This time, I'm using the Date fields as the quick filter field, so I put it in the Page area. The rest is as pictured.
Here are the results of the setup shown above.
Data Pilots are the OpenOffice Calc equivalent of pivot tables.
How do you use them? Very carefully. If you haven't used them before, it's just a bit of a mind-bender to get started--it's all about the data that you start off with. You start off with raw, plain old data, not data that you've already summed up.
I'm including a lesson here on how to use the data pilot. Download this file, datapilotspreadsheet, if you want to use the same spreadsheet I've used. (Don't worry if your numbers are a little off from the screen shots--I tweaked it a little along the way.)
1. Open a spreadsheet.
2. Click in the upper left corner of the data. Don't select the data; you don't need to.
3. Choose Data > Data Pilot > Start.
4. Choose to use the current selection, then click OK.
I'll show you a few examples: the setup, and what the data results look like.
NOTE: Click any of these images to see a bigger version.
Here's what the setup looks like.
Click OK, and you get this data.
Here's the setup. The Store window in the Page Fields area will give you a dropdown list so you can view all values, or one value at a time for the category in the Page Fields area.
Here are the results you get with that setup.
Here, I double-clicked the Sum-Amount field to get other function options. I'm going to choose Average for this example
Here are the results.
Double-Clicking a Field
You can see the detail rather than the sum or average if you double-click the name of a field. The following window appears.