Making the leap: Microsoft Word to OpenOffice.org Writer Wednesday April 20, 2005 (09:00 AM GMT) By: Jem Matzan
Whether you're moving from Windows to GNU/Linux, or just from the proprietary Microsoft Office to the free software OpenOffice.org suite, one of the challenges you'll face is learning how to use OpenOffice.org Writer effectively if you're used to Microsoft Word. In this article I'll show you around OpenOffice.org Writer, where to find familiar Word tools, and how to customize the interface and preferences to make it a little more Word-friendly.
First, don't worry; you won't have much trouble adjusting to OpenOffice.org Writer. The interface isn't terribly different; the menu and toolbar layout are similar to Word's. If you prefer a custom display you'll be much happier with Writer, as it doesn't have a lot of the annoying Word features that people often disable. If the first thing you do when you install Word XP is disable personalized menus and eliminate the superfluous and space-hogging task pane, you'll find it easy and convenient to switch over to Writer.
If, on the other hand, you regularly use the task pane, you're going to have to make some adjustments to work efficiently in Writer. While the task pane does not offer any unique functionality, it does make it more convenient to reach certain tools and commands.
Standard functions and features
The OpenOffice.org Writer menu bar titles are nearly identical to Word's, with the one exception being Word's Table menu. The major functions of Word's Table menu are integrated into the Table dialogue in the Insert menu in Writer.
The button bars of the two products are also similar. One obvious difference is the Writer button bar field called Load URL, which lets you specify a file to open and shows the path and filename of the document you're working on. It's actually quite convenient if you have to load files remotely, but if you want your button bar to more closely resemble Microsoft Word, you'll have to move it over a little. Right-click ...
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