US Army Retired

US Army Retired

Friday, July 29, 2011

Open Office

I might've mentioned that I decided to use a new word processor because one of my publishers had something included in the contract that I needed to have Change Tracking software or had to get it.

Change Tracking?

I've been using Microsoft Works for years and thought I knew every little things hidden inside the software. But, this wasn't included. So, here comes Google Search!

Lo and behold - I found it! In MS Office. And that's not something I had - or could afford to buy.

I ran across Open Office and remembered reading about it in various writer's forums. So, sucking in my gut, I downloaded it. But, as usual, I figured I knew so much, I just went ahead and started using it.

Uh, isn't there something somewhere about reading a User's Manual? I quickly found it had a whole lot of bells and whistles Word didn't - and didn't have one thing Word did - a somewhat decent grammar checker. And, the whole reason I downloaded wasn't that easy to use - tracking changes, comparing documents and merging documents. So, showing my ignorance, I went to the support website and asked my dumb questions - and got plastered for it! I got responses from two _moderators_ who were downright rude!!!

Well, I finally wised up, checked around and finally found the User's Manual. I downloaded all the pdf. files and quickly learned what I needed - except for how to add a Spanish Dictionary extension.

I figured out how to get around the grammar checker shortcoming by converting an OO document to MS Word, using that grammar checker, then converting it back to a new OO, then comparing the two to see and accept the changes. I even just learned how to remove some words from the dictionary that don't match what I need for my writing - example SeƱor instead of Senor.

Someone on the OO support forum suggested I go ahead and download LibreOffice as it has more updates and gadgets. But, someone else told me to stick with learning OO before I go any further - probably the best instruction I've found on the site.
So, as I continue to use OO and find out all the little goodies, I'll try to share them here. And, I hope all of you who have or think of downloaded will do the same. What do you like best about it? What drives you crazy?
One thing I just noticed, the text files come out far smaller than the Word files!


  1. Open source communities can be brutal. I remember 15 or more years ago trying to figure out and get into using Linux. There were a lot of support forums but no knowledge bases. After two weeks I gave up because every question I asked the responses were just flat out bullying and harassment.

    Seeing you run into the same attitude with Open Office cements my belief that open source (free software) follows the old adage. You get what you pay for.

    I would find out what software your publisher and editor uses and use that. If its something expensive, then just save up and buy it.

  2. Thanks. I don't feel so bad.
    However, the program is turning out to be so much more versatile than MSWord that I'm taking my time to learn it.
    The one thing I like is the Help Menus that are right there when you need them. I still have a problem figuring certain things out.
    However, I just received the sort of next-to-the-last edit of SONORA SYMPHONY from my Chief Editor and was able to do a "compare" of her version against mine. It's a great way to track her comments against my writing.

    Looks like - JUST ONE MORE TO GO!