Video tutorial, take 2. Smaller display area. It takes a while to load, but should run fine once it gets going. (Optimization is one of the things I'm working on as I create more of these.)
Note: The video uses the Navigator (press F5) to get around more easily to various headings being referenced. The Navigator shows you the structure of your document and the objects in it. By "structure" I mean that it shows all the text to which you have applied the paragraph styles Heading1, Heading2, and so on. More specifically, it shows whatever you have set up as the paragraph styles defining your documentBy structure under Tools > Outline Numbering. That's a whole nother topic, though a very useful one. To learn more about outline numbering and the Navigator, see these blog entries.
I don't know how or why, but they're fabulous applications and they're free. If you do anything with video or screen capture and you don't have them already, get'em now.
TechSmith, the makers of Camtasia Studio (one of the best screen recording and video editing tools around) are offering the full version of Version 3.1.3 for free download. This is a terrific tool for all educators to create resources as well as for learners to create their own digital stories and videos - so get it while it's hot. :)
Free Screen Capture program
SnagIt Pro is now giving away retail editions of SnagIt screen capture software for free. Follow these steps to download SnagIt for Free:
This is not fancy. There are a couple goofs. But it is accurate, and it's a video. Let me know how you like it!
I realize the size is quite big -- one thing that isn't obvious because of that is the navigation tools way at the bottom. (I'm pretty sure that they show up for everyone; I hope they're not just appearing for me somehow because I have Captivate installed.)
Life just isn't cut and dried. Sometimes when you're filtering you don't want to just say "give me all the people whose last name is Hanson." You want Hanson, Hansen, and Hansengaaardennn (those Dutch really go for the jawbreaker names).
You'd like to filter out everyone except those whose names contain "Hans".
Here's how to do that. Select the item in the Comparison Field from the dropdown list in the standard filter, then type what you want in the other field. Click More, and select Regular Expressions, then click OK.
Example of what you want
What to enter in the Condition field
Syntax for what to enter in the Value field
Example of what to enter in the Value field
Begins with Hans
^Hans.* (you can also skip the ^, I've found)
Does not begin with Hans
Ends with Hans
Does not contain Hans
Here are some examples. Let's say you want all names that start with Hans, but not all names that simply contain Hans.
Here's a different example. I want names that DON'T CONTAIN the series of letters Hans.
The window with the restrictions:
And the results.
That's a bit limiting. So the Advanced Filter lets you enter up to 8 criteria.
Using the Advanced Filter
Here's your data. Click the image to see it larger.
Now, here's how you enter your critera. Copy your headings and paste them somewhere else in the spreadsheet. Then type the values you want. Click this image to see it larger. I've entered Fargo for the city, ND for the state, and =>5 for the Years of Service. Note that they are all on the same row. This means they are ANDed together.
Click in the data (not the criteria but the main data) and choose Data > Filter > Advanced Filter. In the window, click in the right-hand field and draw a box around the area where you typed the criteria. Click OK.
These are the corresponding results. Because of the OR, you get a lot more results. Click the image to see a bigger version.
I am fortunately not traveling for the actual Thanksgiving holiday. If you are, NPR's "Marketplace" mentioned a site, http://www.flyersrights.org. It's all just legislation and related plans, from Barbara Boxer and Mike Thompson. If you come back from your holiday trip with some nasty experiences, however, that is the web site to sign petitions, make calls, relate stories, etc.
It also has a bunch of phone numbers, including some reporters if you are REALLY pissed off and want to spread the word immediately.
The Autofilter is a quick way to restrict what you're looking for. If you need some more flexibility, though, you need to move on to the Standard filter or the Advanced filter.
Maybe you have people from 12 states and you want to see the ones from Ohio OR Montana OR New Jersey. Or you want to see people with five or more years of service. Or you want to see anyone with more than three overdue library books who is also from Denver, because you're traveling to Denver and you want to drop by their houses and scare the heck out of them in person.
These are a challenge for the AutoFilter, so you move on.
Here's how to use the Standard Filter. Let's say you've got this data.
Here are the corresponding results. Note the person from MT with only 1 year of service, but there's no one from OR with fewer than 5 years of service. The logic is
"anyone from Montana"
"anyone from Oregon who also has 5 or more years of service."
Sooner or later, you're going to get a huge spreadsheet with way too much data to scan visually.
How do you, ahem, filter out what you don't want to see?
One way is to use the AutoFilter.
Let's say you've got this spreadsheet of employees.
You'd like to just take a look at those from Montana, or those with a particular number of years of service. Something like that.
Click on one of the arrows, and choose to view all records containing one of the values, or all records containing the top 10, i.e. the ten most frequently occurring values in that column.
If you choose another value in another column, then you get rows that have the selected value for BOTH columns.
Here, I get rows for people who are in Montana, AND in Kalispell. Which works out fine since Kalispell is a city in Montana.
However, if I choose to view records for people from Montana, and from Portland (a city in Maine and in Oregon but NOT in Montana), I get nothing.
To go back to viewing all the values, select All from the list.
Then you get to view all the records again, once you've selected All for any columns you restricted.
When you're done and want to get rid of the little arrows, click somewhere in the data, and choose Data > Filter > AutoFilter again. There'll be a checkmark and when you select AutoFilter, it will go away.
There's the data the way it was before you started.
Issues With AutoFilter
When you get this, click OK and click somewhere in the data.
Then choose Data > Filter > AutoFilter yet again. This time you'll see the checkmark.
And then the arrows will disappear and you're back to normal.
I also recommend liberal use of the Undo feature, Ctrl Z or click the Undo icon. You can undo at least 20 and possibly more depending on how your system is set up.
Can You Delete Rows When in the AutoFilter Without Deleting the Intervening Data?
I'm glad you asked. Yes, you can. Here's a demo. Look at the range from row 15, Dan Montbatten, to row 20, Beth Jerlin. They're both from Montana. In between you've got Jon, Marcus, and Kyle.
I'm going to view only people from Montana, which includes Dan and Beth but excludes the three rows between.
OpenOffice.org has a feature that lets you automatically save documents in Microsoft Office format. Save Writer as Word, save Calc as Excel, etc. This lets your users send out documents to the outside world without having to remember to save in MS format first.
Choose Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > Load/Save and use the lists in the bottom half of the window.
Likewise, you can save an OOo document in MS format by choosing File > Save As, or by choosing File > Send > Document as [microsoft format for that document type].
However. There's a but. It's not a huge but, but it's significant.
In some versions of OpenOffice.org, the following features don't work when you save a Writer document in Word format. It's not just the automatic saving, it's saving in Word format through File > Save As, as well. So the only way to get around it is to save as PDF (click the PDF icon on the toolbar or choose File > Export as PDF).
This isn't a complete list; please add your own through comments. I just tested all of these on the standard 2.3 release.
Mail merge prints field names, not content. If you save your mail merge document in Word format, then print, all you'll get is the names of the fields, like Firstname, rather than the data, like Bob.
Background graphics disappear. If you choose to put a graphic in the background of a header footer or page, under Format > Page, the graphics will disappear when you save in Word format.
Custom frame, page, and list styles get screwed up This one is an issue because page styles are the basis for doing so much really good, powerful stuff. (I hope this is on the list of things to fix, and/or not a problem in other builds.) I just tested, in 2.3, a file I'd created with custom page styles to automatically switch from a page style with no page number on the first page footer to a page number on subsequent page footers.
If you insert page breaks between page styles with Insert >
Manual Break, and the Break With feature in the Text Flow tab of a paragraph style, do preserve more formatting
than the Next Style feature in the Organizer tab, which preserves
nothing. The headers and footers are preserved in the first two
approaches, as are page borders and jumps from page 2 to page 66.
Landscape versus portrait is also preserved.
However, no background formatting is preserved, and the page style names are changed to Default for the first one, Convert1 for the second, and so on.
If these are issues for you, please vote to have the following bugs prioritized as things to work on. (I'm actually having trouble bringing up the OOo issue tracker right now; I think these are correct but I will check them later.)
One of the great things about OpenOffice.org is that you can open corrupted Word files with it. Or Word files that are just too big to open in Word, open fine in OpenOffice Writer.
However, every so often you will get a rogue OpenOffice file that just won't behave. It crashes constantly, or behaves in other ways that just don't make sense.
In that case, the best approach is surgery.
OpenOffice file formats can be unzipped to reveal their components. Once you see their components, you can take copy different components from a different uncorrupted file and replace the corrupted ones in your problem file. Zip it all up together again, and whammo, your file works.
I'll show an example in Writer but the same principles apply to Calc, Draw, and Impress.
I like to make a copy of the problem file, just to make sure I can always get back to the original version. So I create a copy, give it a different name, and change the extension to .zip. (Or gzip, or whatever works for you on your operating system.)
I'm not going to go into painful detail about all of the content. But content.xml contains the content, styles.xml contains the style definitions, Pictures contains the graphics, and so on.
So here's what I do. If I have content but don't care about the styles, pictures, whatever else in the problem document, I:
- create a new totally empty OpenOffice document of the same type (Writer, Calc, etc.)
- change the extension to .zip and unzip it
- copy the content.xml file from the problem doc directory into the new empty doc directory, replacing the empty doc's content.xml file
- zip up the new empty doc directory
- change the .zip extension to .odt, .ods, or whatever
- and open it up again, using this as the new version of the problem document
If you have pictures and styles in the problem document that you need, then just copy the Pictures and Thumbnails directories, and the content.xml and styles.xml files, into the new empty doc directory, replacing the corresponding directories and files.
It's a techy but quite effective way to redo a document.
Would it be better to just copy and paste the content of the problem document to another new empty document? Not always--nasties have a nasty way of accompanying the content. But sure, try that first, and if that doesn't work, then do this.
There's a nice little extension for OpenOffice.org that lets you quickly upload your document to your googledocs account. Click here to get it.
Installing the extension gives you this toolbar, as well as a Google Docs menu.
Your document will be automatically uploaded to your account in Google. It works pretty nicely.
Installing extensions is pretty easy. Download the extension. Then choose Tools > Extension Manager. Select My Extensions and click Add.
Find the extension file you downloaded, an installation process runs, and you’ll see Enabled next to the extension. For some extensions, you’ll need to restart. Look for a new menu, new menu items, new toolbars, or all three.
In this entry I talked about a fairly straightforward but manual way of giving your labels a little room to breathe.
In this entry, I'll go through how to use the Format tab to tweak a particular layout, then save it for re-use.
When you create labels, you of course choose File > New > Labels. You select your type and layout here, then add your content, and then click New Document.
You get something that looks like this.
Now, what if you then print and everything is too high, too low, too much to the left, etc.?
Well, you just adjust it, then save that adjustment as a specific format you can select next time.
Here's what all the measurements mean. I suggest starting by changing the left and top margin, then get into changing the pitch if necessary.
The distance from the left of one label to the left of the label to the right of it. If you want to actually increase the distance between columns of labels, i.e. if labels get increasingly (or decreasingly) cut off as you go across the sheet, change this.
The distance from the top of one label to the top of the label below it. If you want to actually increase the distance between rows of labels, i.e. if labels get increasingly (or decreasingly) cut off as you go down the sheet, change this.
Just the width of the actual space for the label content.
Just the height of the actual space for the label content.
The distance from the left side of your sheet of labels to where content begins. If all your labels are getting cut off on the left, adjust this.
The distance from the top of your sheet of labels to where content begins. If all your labels are getting cut off on the top adjust this.
The number of columns. You don't need to adjust this.
The number of rows. You don't need to adjust this.
Here's a normal sheet, next to one where I increased just the top margin. Click the image to see it larger.
Here's an example where I increased the vertical pitch by a half inch. You wouldn't want to increase it that much, but I made it big to make sure you could see the effect. Click the image to see it bigger. Note that on the right, you only are at the 5th row while at the same place on the left, you're at the 7th row.
Once you've got the label adjustments where you want them, click Save in the Format tab. Name the label in the window that appears, and click OK.
Then when you create labels again, that saved format will be in the list.