Using OpenOffice again!

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Using OpenOffice again!

Postby EldoE » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:40 pm

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an issue with OpenOffice. A document I had worked for years suddenly opened as a blank page. There is a question at the end of the following update. The comments that follow are in the hope that OpenOffice doesn't copy Word's features.

My update: Since the blank page issue wasn't resolved, I began using Word (365, I believe) but I was frustrated with Word for many reasons. The menu items seemed to me to be cluttered and too small. Because I used unconventional spelling and grammar, I got a message saying that I had too many grammatical and spelling errors so Word would no longer check my spelling (What!??). Word has no outer lines to define the beginning/end or margins. I much preferred OpenOffice's discernible method of saving a document (green bar) rather than indiscernible method Word uses.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that in trying to resolve the blank page I'd been getting in OpenOffice, I'd not tried to save my Word document back to an OpenOffice document. Wahoo! It worked, at least for now.

The problem I need to resolve now is that in between paragraphs the (white) spaces are not uniform. I believe I have this problem because I wrote off an outline that had main points and sub-points as well as excepts of varying lengths.

If I do a save-as for the entire document (book), what's the best method to make the spacing uniform without changing the font size? In the past, I've been able to make changes in sections but never the entire document.
Last edited by RoryOF on Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited posting to break up "wall of text" [RoryOF, Moderator]
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Re: Using OpenOffice again!

Postby RoryOF » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:59 pm

If you are using OO for a major project you would be well advised to read some details about using it.

This document will be informative:
Writer for students (several languages)

Pleas also break up your postings into groups of a few lines - a wall of text is not very reader friendly.
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Re: Using OpenOffice again!

Postby John_Ha » Tue Dec 25, 2018 1:03 am

Your blank page problem was almost certainly user error and very unlikely to be AOO. We have no reports of people seeing a blank page when they open a file except those like this post leading to this analysis.

Format > Paragraph > Indents & Spacing ..., allows you to set the spacings for a selected paragraph(s).

To edit a Paragraph Style, press F11 to open the Styles and Formatting pop-up > right-click a Paragraph Style > Modify > Indents & spacing.

Clipboard01.png

See [Tutorial] Differences between Writer and MS Word files for why you should always work in and save files as .odt.

You will find much useful information in the Writer FAQ, the Writer Tutorials, the up to date Writer guide and the Writer Manual. May I suggest you bookmark the pages.

Press F1 to access the Help screen and search for help.

The chapter headings in the manual are:

1 - Introducing Writer
2 - Setting up Writer
3 - Working with Text
4 - Formatting Pages
5 - Printing, Exporting, Faxing and E-Mailing
6 - Introduction to Styles
7 - Working with Styles
8 - Working with Graphics
9 - Working with Tables
10 - Working with Templates
11 - Using Mail Merge
12 - Tables of Contents, Indexes and Bibliographies
13 - Working with Master Documents
14 - Working with Fields
15 - Using Forms in Writer
16 - Customizing Writer – Keyboard shortcuts.

When a pop-up window opens, click the Help button for extensive help on that function - it is often more comprehensive than the manual.
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Re: Using OpenOffice again!

Postby keme » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:58 am

By far, the most common cause for reported issues with spacing is that MS Word has been involved. There aree several ways this can happen:
  • Document was originally created from a Word template
  • Document has at some stage been saved as a Word document
  • Document has been edited in Word
Word and Writer handle spacing differently, and use different structures for styles and style property inheritance. Every time a document makes a transition from Writer context to Word context, those differences makes the software create "compensations" to make the document look right. Those compensatory elements remain in the document, and will build up over time. In Writer you can often see them as "MS-..." styles. Sometimes it is inserted as direct, "manual" formatting.

To resolve this, I have found it best to remove all autogenerated styles (accept the warning about styles in use) and all "manual" formatting. Then go through the entire document, painstakingly re-formatting it (preferably using styles you created yourself).
WARNING: This will sometimes jumble your content to an incomprehensible mess. DO make a copy of your document before proceeding.

If the document collaboration must involve both Word and Writer, you should avoid layout work as much as possible, focusing only on content. Do the layout as a finishing task, if at all possible within your workflow.
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Re: Using OpenOffice again!

Postby RoryOF » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:19 am

keme wrote:If the document collaboration must involve both Word and Writer, you should avoid layout work as much as possible, focusing only on content. Do the layout as a finishing task, if at all possible within your workflow.


I agree with keme - detailed formatting should only be carried out on one machine, using one application, rather than swapping between different computer, operating systems and applications.
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Re: Using OpenOffice again!

Postby John_Ha » Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:36 pm

See the tutorial for why you should not edit one file with both AOO and Word.
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Re: Using OpenOffice again!

Postby EldoE » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:37 am

I didn't think my post went through since I got a message saying my post was invalid (didn't explain why) so I haven't checked my e-mail lately. I did see some assumptions that seem to fit with my problem of a blank page. I suddenly was able to open the full document with OpenOffice. After two days, it became a blank page again and I couldn't reload it with OpenOffice. I've worked on this document for fifteen years using only OpenOffice. I never used Word until the blank page problem occurred. I never really formatted the spacing but I wrote off an outline (topic, sub-topics, etc.) which I now feel is the reason I'm having problems with the spacing. I did, in fifteen years, write on a several laptops and desktop computers since a single computer goes out of date over that time period. As for the size of my document, I had at least two responses from this community saying they had up to a million word document, though they experienced slow editing, had no problem loading and never had a blank page problem.I will read your suggestions more carefully, however until my document opens in OpenOffice again, I'll not be able to use any good suggestions. For now, although I'm not all that happy with Word 365, I'm managing.
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Re: Using OpenOffice again!

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:28 am

EldoE wrote:I've been able to make changes in sections but never the entire document.

That means that there is some inconsistency in the document. do you use sections?
Do you use styles to make global changes?
How long is the document? Could it be a screen rendering issue?
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Re: Using OpenOffice again!

Postby John_Ha » Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:06 pm

EldoE wrote:I've worked on this document for fifteen years using only OpenOffice.

The document is almost certainly badly tangled. Go File > Properties > General. How many times has it been edited? For how long has it been open for editing?

1. Create a new empty document by File > New > Text document.
2. Go Insert > File ..., and pull in your document
3. Save with a different name.

The new file will be much smaller in size and the file structure will be much better.
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Re: Using OpenOffice again!

Postby r2openeimer » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:09 pm

That's weird. But in any case the problem shouldn't have consequences beyond the problems you have encountered so far. You'll be able to fix it through Paragraph Style > Modify > Indents & spacing. But make sure you check the tutorial. Cheers!
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