Wednesday 30 April 2008

Writing with Open Office

These days I do all my chess writing/editing/type setting with Open Office. I find it just as easy to use as Word, and most importantly, I'm not locking my data into a proprietary format that may become redundant at some future time.
However there are a couple of gotcha's that are worth noting if you plan to shift away from the evil empire that is Microsoft.
The first is spell checking. You can specify which language you are writing in, including English(Australian). However if there isn't a dictionary that matches the language (and I haven't been able to find an Australian dictionary), the spell checking doesn't work. You need to choose English(British) instead. And more importantly, in the tools->options->language settings->writing aids section, make sure you leave the "Check in all languages" unchecked, otherwise the program grinds to a halt while checking words in Swahili, Esperanto etc
The other trap is page numbering. If you want to start page numbers from something other than 1 (which I often have to do with ACCQ), the obvious "Page Offset" when formatting your page number fields doesn't work as advertised (it does something completely different). Instead use the Format->paragraph->text flow option on the first paragraph of the document and insert a page style. This does the trick.

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