Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

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Open Office Footers

Mon, 23 Jul 2007

I've finally taken the plunge and am in the process of fully switching over to Open Office. I've been wanting to do this for a while, partly to move over to open source software and partly because of Portable Open Office.I had tried importing a few MS Word documents and whilst the text comes through OK, it is a little hit and miss with the layout. Anyway I took the time to actually convert some of my documents and all in all I like Open Office. It is moderately intuitive (and let's face it, most "office" suites are largely similar in use), responsive and easy to use.

Inevitably there are many smaller differences between Open Office and MS Office. One of the problems I hit in Writer was making headers/footers different on the front page of a document. In MS Word there is a tick box when setting up the page that determines if the front page should be different. Not so in Open Office and it took a little while to find out the solution, although what it shows is that the design of Open Office is more natural and elegant than Word, not being hindered by a long culture of "bolting on" new functionality. In essence, anything to do with formatting comes under styles and isn't deferred to a tick box on a setup page. Thus going in to "Styles and Formatting" (F11) allows you to change the footnote style on the first page. It's a much better way of designing a document; just have to "unlearn" those MS Word "skills"!!

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