OOo Off the Wall: What New Users Need to Know About OpenOffice.org
The first time a new user encounters OpenOffice.org, other impressions probably will be lost in the overwhelming sense of difference. If you are used to working another way, you also may jump to the conclusion that OpenOffice.org's way of doing things is inferior.
If you are interested in learning OpenOffice.org, get to know these quirks. Then work with them for a couple of weeks before deciding what you think of them. Only then will you have a chance of getting beyond your initial impression.
It may be that OpenOffice.org's ways aren't yours. If so, you have no shortage of materials. If you prefer to work from the command line, LaTeX may be a better tool for you. If you've always formatted manually and don't want to change, then a less styles-oriented office application, such as Abiword or KOffice, might be a better choice. However, if you know what to expect going in, you can work with OpenOffice.org's quirks instead of being puzzled by them--and make an informed decision rather than one based on the comfort of familiarity.
Thanks to Alexandro Colorado for suggesting that this topic needed to be covered.
Bruce Byfield is a course designer and instructor and a computer journalist who writes regularly for NewsForge and the Linux Journal Web site.
-- Bruce Byfield (nanday)
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