Writing with Open Officeorg Writer

As I mention in the preceding paragraph, OpenOffice.org Writer is a word processing program. If you've ever used a word processing program before, you should be able to easily begin using OpenOffice.org Writer. To start the program, click the OpenOffice.org Writer icon from the desktop panel (it looks like a pen and two sheets of paper) or choose ApplicationsOOfficeO OpenOffice.org Writer. The first time you open the program, you're prompted to register the program and then you are presented with a blank document, as shown in Figure 3-8.

I can't go into a detailed explanation about using OpenOffice.org Writer; that could be a complete book in itself. However, I will show you how to open documents and save them in other formats. So instead of using MS Office to do your work, you can use OpenOffice.org instead and share your work with others still using MS Office.

Opening documents

To open a document in OpenOffice.org Writer, do the following:

1. Choose FileOOpen from the menu bar at the top of the window.

A standard Open window appears (see Figure 3-9).

Figure 3-8:

OpenOffice. org Writer program main window.

Figure 3-8:

OpenOffice. org Writer program main window.

Figure 3-9:

Opening a file in OpenOffice. org Writer.

Figure 3-9:

Opening a file in OpenOffice. org Writer.

As you can see from Figure 3-9, OpenOffice.org Writer recognizes the file extension .doc as a MS Word file. With OpenOffice.org, you can open any MS Word-formatted file.

2. Select the file that you want to open and then click Open.

The document opens in the main window.

3. After you open the document, you can make any changes that you desire. When you are finished, be sure to save your document (as explained in the following section).

If you're interested in seeing all the file types that OpenOffice.org can handle, click the down arrow next to the File Type field in the file browser when you are looking for files to open.

Saving documents

Saving documents in OpenOffice.org Writer is a very simple procedure, and you probably already know what to do. The reason why I bring this up is to tell you how to save the document in formats that other word processing programs can understand. By default, OpenOffice.org writer uses the file extension .sxw for documents, but if you want to be able to use the document in another program, you will need to save the file with a different extension. To save your file, follow these steps:

1. Choose FileOSave from the menu bar (or FileOSave As if you want to change its name).

If you are saving a file that you previously opened, the program saves it in the same format that it was opened with. For example, if you're saving a file that was opened as a MS Word file, the program will save it as an MS Word file (look for a .doc extension).

2. In the Save As dialog box that appears, you can change the file type to a different format by clicking the down arrow next to the File Type field and selecting the type of file you want.

Figure 3-10 illustrates choosing a different file type.

Figure 3-10:

Choose a different file type here.

Figure 3-10 illustrates choosing a different file type.

When you save your files by using a different file type, the program warns you that using a different file type might affect your formatting. The program will prompt you to use the default OpenOffice.org file type. You can safely answer No and save the file with the type that you desire.

3. Be sure to enter a name for your file as well as the file type. Then click Save to save the file.

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