OOo Off the Wall: That's Your Version--Document Control in OOo Writer

Learn how to use Writer's version control tools to keep track of who made which changes and when, without diving into big CMS applications.

Find all of Bruce Byfield's OOo articles here.

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist and course designer. His articles appear regularly on the Linux Journal and Newsforge Web sites.


-- Bruce Byfield (nanday)


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Changing Designated Author Color in Open Office Writer

Lisa's picture

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for your helpful article. Two questions. I'm editing a document that has been edited by several editors, each with a different color. My edits must also be tracked and I have been asked not to reject or accept previous editor's changes.

One: How do I change the designated color of my edits? The default is a puke brown (excuse my language) and I would prefer my edits appear in a less revolting color.

Two: When I copy and paste a portion of text into another document, the entire portion appears in my edited color, thus loosing the colors of the previous editors' ... In other words, the whole section appears as one big edit by me. What's worse, when I delete text in this pasted section, it actually deletes it and doesn't strike through it.

Help? Thanks so much!


Merging documents - only in OOo native format?

Robin Grindley's picture

What I would like to do is have a multi-reviewer process. A single master review copy goes out to multiple reviewers, who all make their markups. They send it back to the review owner, who then merges all the changes back into a single review copy, showing everybody's changes.

I saw that OOo has Edit->Changes->Merge Document. In theory, this should allow what I want - go serially through each reviewer's marked-up copy and merge them all back into a single copy. But I'm trying to do this in MS Word format, and it keeps saying that the merge is not possible. I think the Merge feature only works with OOo native format, but I couldn't find anything in the Help, Docs or web to confirm this.

Changesets need.

Tim Webster's picture

What we really need is opendocument integration of with software change management tools. svn, bzr, cvs, etc

To do this we need is a way to seperate a openoffice document into a document container "odf" and collection of changesets "odf" into document containers. Next we need external diff and merge tools for
creating and merging changesets. Of course the software change management tools need to be able to properly handle mime types so that they can call the correct external diff and merge tool program.

To make things fast, I think it makes since leave each changeset as a seperate file "uncompressed" within change management software database. Then be able to retrive either a document container with the base document and "changesets" or a document container with changesets applied and but not included.


Martey's picture

Are OpenOffice's versioning tools compatible with those of other office suites (i.e. Microsoft Office)?

Not so compatible

Lucas's picture

I've tried opening a Word document in OO Writer and then saving a Version of it rather than Save or Save As, and guess what! Versions option is greyed out on the File menu!!

So I guess, at least on the Versions, are not compatible, which is a great shame really - would be very useful if they were!

Having said that I have also used the Changes tools in both Word and OO Writer and it looks like those work flawlessly! So brownie point where brownie points are due...

Can we have Version support now? Pwetty pweeeeze!

Versioning not working?

OOo.user's picture

How is the Compare Feature in the Versions dialog supposed to work? I opened a document, saved three versions of it but when I try to use the "Compare" button on any of them nothing seems to happen...

Have you tried selecting two

Shaun McDonald's picture

Have you tried selecting two different versions, then clicking compare?

How to compare versions

Anonymous's picture

You need to 'Show' the first version and then select the second and click 'compare'


hypotheek's picture

Finally a website where the print-function works properly. I'm going to read this article on my couch now. Thanks.

PS: you could leave out the button in the print version :-)