Desktop Publishing with OpenOffice.org
Before you sit down at your keyboard and open OO.o, you need to have a plan. The best way to do this is with old-fashioned pencil and paper. Get out a pad of paper and draw what you want to do. Where do you want the graphics to go? What about text? What orientation? What about logos and other artwork?
You should have a good idea about the text you plan to use. What font and size, and how long will the text be? It needs to fit into the text boxes you make, and it needs to formated so it makes the point you wish to convey in your document.
Figure 4 shows what I did. First, I drew lines to divide the page into quarters. I then folded the page into quarters and oriented it like a greeting card. I roughly drew where I wanted the text to go and where graphics should be placed. Opening up the rough layout gave me a guide on where I needed to place text and objects.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes here or at any other point in the process. You probably will make changes as your project takes shape. If it is a complex project, you may need several revisions, even at this stage, before you start working on the computer. If you need to back out of a change you just made, press the Ctrl-z keys, as in any other DP program.
Before I had a finished product I made several changes. I used three different graphics before I found one that I liked. I inserted them, resized and rotated them, even printed out the drafts. I decided "I don't like that" and removed them from the document before I found one I liked.
The same goes for text. I had to make several changes to the text, including formatting, before I had something I liked. I moved text around, reformatted it and re-wrote it several times before I liked it.
Once we have a rough layout and a good idea of how the document should look, it's time to start OO.o and get to work. Clicking on the OO.o icon on your desktop opens OO.o in writer mode, which is default.
OO.o 1.1.0 is very fast compared to 1.0.3. Programming optimizations have made a huge increase in performance. I can open OO.o with folding@home running and use OO.o normally without much of a performance hit. It would run smoother if I had shut down the background apps, but doing so wasn't necessary for creating either this project or article. While working on this article, I had not only folding@home running, but I was running multiple OO.o workspaces, Mozilla, The GIMP for working on the screenshots--and I was listening to albums in mp3 format in xmms without problems.
Once open, you need to go to the drawing application, called Draw. Click on the File -> New -> Drawing. This opens a fresh OO.o workspace. Some distributions install a separate menu item on your programs menu for OO.o from which you can directly select the Draw application.
You can customize your view in OO.o. The default Draw view in Figure 5 shows the Main Toolbar on the left side of the workspace. This is where the drawing tools are located. The tools in the Main Toolbar change depending upon the OO.o application. At the top of the workspace we have the Function Bar with tools common across OO.o applications. The Object Bar has text formatting tools, such as underline, italics, font type, size and color. Tools here change depending on the OO.o application. These toolbars can be turned on and off by clicking on the View Pull-down menu or by right-clicking on the toolbars. They also can be customized, but that is beyond the scope of this article. Vertical and horizontal rulers also appear; we use them below.
OO.o is designed to be used around the world. So, you need to make sure the document size is appropriate. Clicking Format -> Page allows you to set the page size. This document is US Letter size, 8.5 x 11.0 inches in Portrait layout.
Because we need to keep track of how we lay out items on the page, enable the grid view on the document workspace. Clicking View -> Grid -> visible grid makes the grid visible. Next, I needed to create lines defining the folds of my document. The lines can be removed later. Click and hold down the left-mouse button on the Line Tool on the Main Toolbar. A new box pops up, with several options for lines (see Figure 6). This box is called a Tear-off, as you can keep it open and available and move it around your workspace.
Because I wanted a simple line without arrows on the ends, I clicked the Line (without arrows), and my pointer changed to a + (insertion point) with a \ indicating what type of line was activated. I then moved the mouse pointer to the point I wanted to start the line at, guided by the ruler. I then clicked the left mouse button, held it down and dragged the pointer across the workspace until I was at the point where I wanted to stop. Releasing the mouse button resulted in two small green boxes at each end of the line. These are the handles I mentioned earlier. Move the line around to get a feel of how this works.
I made a second vertical line in the same way as the first. Now, I had the page divided into quarters, along with the grid view, to guide me.
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