Styles make documents easy to organise and format. Here’s how to use them in Openoffice Writer
If the absence of a price tag on Openoffice has made you expect rough-looking documents, think again. Openoffice can produce documents that look every bit as impressive as Microsoft Word and is a good alternative for anyone who dislikes the new ribbon interface in Office 2007.
Thanks to its open source roots, downloading Openoffice won’t cost you a penny. Join us as we show you how to set up and use styles to produce professional-looking documents with ease in Openoffice’s word processor, Writer. It is quite a large download, so dial-up users would be wise to ask a friend with broadband to download it for them, or download it at a local library.
Clear and consistent
Well-designed documents are based on consistency of style – a hotchpotch of fonts, spacing and colours makes documents difficult to read. Styles give a consistent structure to your work and make it easy to change the appearance of documents, which is particularly handy when dealing with longer projects.
Instead of having to change each heading separately, you can amend the style and all the text will update automatically. This is far more reliable than doing it manually, even with handy tools such as the format painter. Writer also has some clever tricks that can be used with styles, such as having separate formatting for individual words or characters within a paragraph . Styles are also very important if Writer is used to create a table of contents or an index, as we will show shortly.
To apply styles to a document, use the dropdown menu next to the font menu in the formatting toolbar. Once you have installed Openoffice, open a new document and fill it with dummy text to practise with – go to the Lipsum website, generate a few paragraphs and then copy and paste it into your new document.
Now, left-click at the beginning of some text and then move the mouse to the end of the text before letting go of the mouse button (or place your mouse pointer within the paragraph and left-click four times in succession to select the entire paragraph). Click on the down arrow in the Style box, which will have the text ‘Default’ in it.
To apply the style, you have to double-click its name, unlike Microsoft Office in which only a single-click is required. Double-click the ‘Heading 1’ option. The font will change to Arial and the size to 16.1 points.
There is only a small selection of styles in this dropdown menu, but there are plenty more on offer. Click on the ‘More...’ option in this dropdown menu to see the Styles and Formatting window, which can be positioned anywhere you like on the screen press F11 to open or close it. With a section of text selected, double-click on a style in this window and it will be applied to the text.
In fact, there are so many styles available that the plain list can be a little too long to be convenient, or may not show the ones you want. Writer gets around this by organising styles into themed groups.
Click on the dropdown menu at the bottom of the Styles and Formatting window to see the different selections of styles. Select the ‘Hierarchical’ option to view all available styles by category. Left-click on the small ‘+’ symbol next to a category title to see its family of styles.
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