(This is a repost of an older entry. The features are still the same, but the windows will look a little different in the current version.)
Everyone's got their favorite features that make life easier, more fun, or both. Here are a few of my favorites.
Making PDFs Straight From OpenOffice.org
One of the greatest, most convenient features is the ability to make Adobe Acrobat PDFs from any OpenOffice.org document. Why is this cool? Because anyone can read a PDF document no matter what software they have (since everyone has the little program for reading PDFs). It’s the perfect way to send a document to someone else, if they don’t need to change your document.
Just click on the handy PDF icon on the top of your work area, give it a name and specify a location for the PDF file, and click Save. Then email that mydocument.pdf or quarterlyreport.pdf document.
If you want more control over the PDF, choose File > Export as PDF, name the file, then set options in the next window.
Send Document as Email
To make it even quicker, choose File > Send > Document as PDF Attachment. That starts your mail program, creates a new mail document, AND attaches a PDF of your current document to that email. It really doesn’t get much slicker.
Or if you don't need a PDF, just choose File > Send > Document as Email.
Paste Icon for Inter-Text-Document Pasting
When you're pasting from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice.org, or from OpenOffice.org 2.0 to OpenOffice.org 1.x, you're not going to get text. You're going to get a frame of text or an icon object.
What I've done to get around this is to use Notepad as an intermediary. But it's a whole lot easier to use OpenOffice.org's multiple paste format features. Either choose Edit > Paste Special and choose unformatted or formatted text, or just click on the paste icon and choose your option. Formatted Text (RTF) usually works just fine.
Make the Icons a Decent Size
Choose Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org (or StarOffice) > View and make sure the icons are large enough. I like to see my icons, not squint at them.
The List Object Bar and the List Formatting Window
I used to curse the indenting and levels of OpenOffice.org lists until I started using the specialized object bar. Choose View > Toolbars > Bullets and Numbering, or just make a list and the floating one pops up.
Also, when you're developing complex list formatting, always use the numbering/bullets formatting window (Format > Bullets and Numbering) and use only the last two tabs, Options and Positioning. These are the only tabs that let you specify specific formatting that's different for each level.
This was in my configuration blog too but I really like it. The same tab where you turned off word completion (Tools > AutoCorrect, Replace) has a really great feature for creating shortcuts. Let’s say you type the word supercalfragilisticexpealidocious a zillion times a day, or your name and title, or anything kinda long. You can set up a shortcut for it.
Just choose Tools > AutoCorrect and click on the Replace tab. In the left-hand field type your shortcut like sig and in the right-hand field, type the word you’re tired of typing all the time. Click New, then click OK. In your document, type the shortcut, followed by a space, and your word will appear.
Making My Own Color and Other Fills
I might be pickier than most about the color I want for drawings, but for one thing, I don't like the greens that come with OpenOffice.org. Too dark or too limey. So I make my own.
Choose File > New > Drawing, then choose Format > Area and click the Color tab. Or just choose Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org (or StarOffice) > Colors.
Click Edit and fiddle til you have the color you want.
Click OK, then type a new name in the main color field and click Add. The new color now shows up in all color lists including the font color lists.
Following the navigation for doing this in Draw, you can make your own gradients, hatches, and bitmaps in the same window.
In Draw and in Writer, you can use the 3D shapes to, well, draw 3D shapes. Even better, you can make them intersect. Draw two shapes, select one, cut it, select the other one, press F3, and paste. Then move them together.
To change their orientation, click on each shape once to get green handles, then again to get red handles, and swivel them around.
I'm not sure how useful this is to everyone but it sure is cool.
You can also convert any item to 3D, in Draw. Choose File > New > Drawing and create any shape, even text. Then right-click on the shape and choose Convert > To 3D. Shazam.