Reposted April 2007 because this post doesn't show up in Technorati searches.
Update: See The Linux Box for more ready-made OpenOffice Impress templates.
One of the biggest losses people experience when switching to open source is the loss of all those cool templates. They are, as the song says, a hard habit to break.
The good news is, you usually don't have to break the habit. (Unless you've been using Publisher, unfortunately, and you can't open Publisher files in anything—not even Word.) Here's how to keep on using the same templates you know and love; find new ones, or create your own in Draw and Writer.
You Can Still Use Your Own Word Templates and Any Others You Can Find
where you might really start to enjoy the value of OpenOffice.org's
compatibility with Microsoft Office.
You can still use all those Microsoft Office templates you got with the software. (Assuming the license doesn't forbid it--just putting that in just in case. ;> ) In OpenOffice.org, just choose File > Open, go to Program Files\Microsoft Office\templates (or wherever) and find the one you want.
You can also set up OpenOffice.org to just find those templates. See this blog on templates. Go to the end.
And you can google around for more. I googled for “postcard templates” and came to this nice site from HP. The templates are available not just in Publisher but in Word. Click the image to see it larger if you like.
Follow a few links, and you get here. Click the image to see it larger if you like.
I decided to download the postcard template and the brochure template. I clicked on each; here's what it looked like to choose the brochure template.
Once the files were downloaded, I just went to OpenOffice.org, chose File > Open, and opened them in OpenOffice Writer. Here's what the postcard template looks like.
So that's really all there is to it. Use your own or find new ones. There are a zillion free templates out there, and you can use the Word format templates (or Powerpoint, or Excel) in OpenOffice.org. Just google for the free ones, or ask friends where they are.
Making Your Own Postcards, Brochures, etc. in Draw and Writer
Now, that's not all the fun. If you want to create a postcard yourself, let's say in Draw, you can go ahead and do that, too. Or a brochure, or anything with specific measurements.
(You can do this in Writer to; I'm just showing it in Draw since the previous section was all about Writer.)
- Select any item, right-click, and choose Position and Size. In the window that appears, click the Position and Size tab. will let you specify that the border of the postcard box, for instance, is 4x6. Remember to mark or unmark the Keep Ratio checkbox depending on whether you want to change one measurement of the object or both.
So let's do an example.
I'm going to create another postcard template. So I choose File > New > Drawing to create a new Draw document. I choose Format > Page, click the Page tab, and set the page size and margins. I'll need a document that's like the first one or the second one, depending on what I'm printing on.
Option 1: A document with no margins, 6 across by 8 high (for two 4x6 postcards), and portrait orientation
Next, I create a box to show me where the content should go. I just click on the rectangle tool in the Drawing toolbar and draw the box. I don't want a fill in it so I make the fill Invisible.
I put the edge of the box against the edge of where the postcard paper will end.
At this point, I make a template of it, so I can get at it again. See this blog on templates. If you want my document to download and make into a template, here it is. Right-click on the link and choose to save link as.
Now I just make one version of the postcard, the way I want it. I put the content in the box, keeping in mind I need a bit of space between the text and the edge of the paper.
I copy the postcard and paste it, and drag the pasted version down to the bottom end of the document.
That's all there is to it. A little bit of work to set up, but the template takes care of that; you only need to do it once.