Miscellaneous Information

File Format Differences

The file formats are different now in OpenOffice 2.0.

1. The new download of OpenOffice has different formats in comparison to the older versions of OpenOffice 1.x.x. The new 2.0 version can open, edit and save all of the older 1.x.x files. If you use the 2.0 version, then all of the older files are going to be available and completely usable.

2. Older versions of OpenOffice are not going to be able to use the new files. Once you have installed the 2.0 version and have tried it out to ensure that the installation was completely successful, you will be able to delete older versions of the software so that you can reclaim space on your PC.

3. You can delete older versions of OpenOffice by clicking “Start” and “Control Panel.” Double-click the “Install or Remove Programs” icon, and then click on “Remove.” This is not actually going to remove any created files, only the software files that were used in the previous version of OpenOffice.

Convert OpenOffice 1.1.x .sxw Document Files to 2.0 .odt Document Files

After the conversion, both the 1.1.x files, which are .sxw text files, and 2.0 files, which are .odt files, are going to be on the computer. In order to do the conversion, take the following steps:

Step 1: Open 1.1.x from within 2.0.

1. Load the 2.0 version of the software. Click Start, All Programs, OpenOffice 1.1.x , OpenOffice.org Writer. The file will appear on the screen.

2. Click File, Open. Find the 1.1.x file, then click on the file. Click Open and the name of the file is going to appear in the box marked “File Name”. The file will appear in the 2.0 format. The name of the file will appear in the top blue line with the icon for 2.0, followed by the name of the file, then the .sxw extension. The .sxw extension is somewhat misleading because .sxw is from the older file type but the file is being opened as a 2.0 version file.

Step 2: Save Using the 2.0 Format.

1. Click File Save As. Now the “Save As” window will appear.

2. In “Save as Type”, select “OpenDocument Text” which is .odt.

3. In your “Save In” dialog, select whatever folder you desire. Click Save. Now the file will be saved in the new 2.0 format. The file will appear on your screen in this 2.0 format.

Notice: You can use the same name for both of the files files, 1.1.x and 2.0 versions. The extension that is associated with the file is going to indicate which is which.

Notice: In the first step, the file is opened using the 2.0 format. The 1.1.x file that was originally opened is still on your computer in its original file format. In the second step the file is re-saved using a 2.0 file format.

Notice: If the file contains graphics and the 2.0 version is opened up, then the graphics will be visible as normal. If there are graphics in the file and the 1.1.x file version is opened up, then the graphics will not be visible due to incompatibility issues.

Save a 2.0 Version File as a 1.1.x File Version Format

If you want to save your 2.0 version file into a 1.1.x version file format, do the following:

1. Click File, Save As. Now the “Save As” window will appear.

2. Change the “Save As Type” dialog to say “OpenOffice 1.0 Text” which is a .sxw file. Select the folder you want to save in under the “Save In” dialog. The file will be saved as a 1.1.x file format and the original 2.0 file will still be present on the screen.

Spell Check

The OpenOffice software installation for version 2.0 sets the spell check as the default. The country where your downloading server is from will determine the default dictionary being used. United States servers, for example, will cause the USA dictionary to be the default. Servers in the United Kingdom will cause the UK dictionary to be the default.

When words are spelled incorrectly, they will have a red wavy line beneath them. If a word is actually spelled properly but it has a red line beneath it, then you can modify the dictionary in order to remove that red line from any correctly spelled instances of the word. From that point on, the word will never have a line underneath it.

Adding Words to the Dictionary

1. Right-mouse-click on a word that has a wavy line under it despite being spelled correctly and a menu will appear.

2. Click on Add, Standard.dic and the wavy red line will go away.

Correcting Misspelled Words

You can correct misspelled words by doing the following:

1. Right-mouse-click on the word that is misspelled with a wavy red line beneath it. A menu will appear.

2. In the top section of that menu there will be suggestions for the proper spelling. Click on the word that is spelled correctly. The menu will close and the word will be corrected.

The entire completed document or just a highlighted section can be checked for errors in spelling by clicking the “Spell Check” icon which is on the Menu Toolbar.

Using Thesaurus for Synonyms

1. Click on the word that you want to find a synonym for.

2. Click Tools, Language, Thesaurus. The dialog for the thesaurus will appear. The proper language version will appear depending on what dictionary your version of OpenOffice contains.

3. Under “Meaning,” select the meaning of the word. In the “Synonym” box, select the right word. Click OK.

Using WordPerfect Files

You can open WordPerfect file types with the 2.0 version of OpenOffice. These files were not capable of being opened in previous versions.

Using Microsoft Office Files

You can open files from Microsoft Office using OpenOffice. You can modify the opened files and can save them again using either the OpenOffice format or the Microsoft Office format.

1. To save a file in either format, go to File, Save As. Select your format of choice in “Save as Type.”

2. OpenOffice will be able to convert any Office files into OpenOffice formats with the use of the Document Converter.

3. Go to File, Wizards, Document Converter and the document converter window will open. To convert your text documents, select “Microsoft Office” and “Word Documents” when asked to choose the document type.

4. Excel and PowerPoint documents can be converted as well but only from Office to OpenOffice.

Changing the Default Document Saving Settings

1. Go to Tools, Options, Load/Save , General.

2. Select the document type in the pull down menu.

3. Under “Always Save As,” select your chosen format. OpenOffice Text might be the best file type for a Writer Text Document rather than Microsoft Word. If you choose any file type other than .odt, you may lose some content or formatting.

E-mailing in an OpenOffice File

1. Have the file open that you want to attach to an e-mail.

2. Click on File, Send, Document as E-mail. When your e-mail server window pops up, the Compose window will appear.

3. Write your e-mail as you normally would. Once written, you can send as normal as the file will already be attached.

Notice: This is only going to work if you have an e-mail client like Mozilla Thunderbird or Outlook. If you use a web mail like Hotmail or Yahoo, then this will not work for you. You will be asked instead to save the document locally and to attach it yourself using your e-mail client.

Using Rich Text Files (RTF)

RTF files can be opened, used and saved using any type of word processing software, including Open Office, NotePad, Word, WordPad and Star Office. OpenOffice files can also be saved in the RTF format. This format is an excellent way to exchange files with users that only use other word processors.

Saving in PDF Format

If you have the free Adobe add-on, then you can open PDF files in your OpenOffice software. Visit http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.HTML to download this add-on.

1. Click on File, Export as PDF. Now the export window will appear.

2. Select a folder in your “Save in” dialog box. Under “File name,” enter in a name. Click Save and the PDF Options window will appear.

3. Select either All or Range under Pages. Click on Export. The file is going to be saved under the selected folder in a PDF format. The file has been exported to your computer.

4. You cannot edit PDF files. Write the file as an OpenOffice document, then save it as an OpenOffice file AND as a PDF file. If edits need to be made, you can edit the OpenOffice version and then re-save the PDF file version.

JRE Java Runtime Environment

1. If the JRE is not already installed, then an error message might appear that says that you cannot do something specific in OpenOffice because the Java Runtime Environment is not installed.

2. You can obtain JRE for free from http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp.

3. On the web page for the JRE download, click on whatever operating system your computer uses.

Inserting Dates

Inserting Today’s Date in a Document

1. Place your cursor where you want to place the date.

2. Click on Insert, Fields, Date. Today’s date is going to be inserted in the mm/dd/yy format.

Inserting a Selected Date in a Document

1. Place your cursor where you want to place the date.

2. Click on Insert, Fields, Other. The Fields window will appear. Select the Document tab.

3. Select a format under “Format.”

4. Click on Insert, Close.

Changing Icon Sizes in OpenOffice

With your OpenOffice document open, click Tools, Options. If a “+” is present before OpenOffice.org, click on the “+” and a “-” symbol should then appear within the box. Click on View, then click on “Small,” “Large,” and “Automatic” in the Toolbar Icon Size area. Now you can click OK.

Background Color Highlighting

Highlighting is an option that will allow you to change the color that is behind the words on the page. You can highlight a single letter, a single word or an entire selection of words.

1. Select what you want to highlight.

2. Click on your Highlighting icon in the Formatting Toolbar. Press the icon until a drop-down menu appears. This is known as a long-click. Long-clicking means that you are pressing and holding your left mouse button until the pull down menu appears, or until another window appears offering you additional functionality.

3. Select your chosen color from the Highlighting color palette that appears before you.

Line Numbering

How to Activate the Line Numbering on Your Page

1. Click on Tools, Line Numbering and the line numbering window will appear.

2. Click on “Show Numbering” to create a check mark there if there is not one already. Under “Interval” you can select 5 or any number of your choice. Click on OK. A check mark will appear next to “Show Numbering.”

3. Every fifth line, or whatever number you chosen, will have a line number in the leftmost margin of your page.


1. Click on Insert, Footer, Default. The footer will appear at the bottom of your page. The cursor should be at the left margin and flashing.

2. Click inside of the footer and move your cursor to where you want to add data. Add the data of your choice after clicking in the desired spot.

3. Click on the page to move your cursor back.

Page Count and Page Numbering

1. Click the Footer. Type “Page” then click the space bar. Click on Insert, Fields, Page Number. Now the footer displays “Page 1.”

2. Click anywhere on the main page to return the cursor to your main document.

Start Page 1 on the Second Page

Here, the first page will not have a number.

1. Click on File, New, Text Document.

2. Click on Format, Styles and Formatting, Page Styles.

3. Right-Click “Page Styles” and then click New.

4. Under “Page Style” click on “Organizer” and name your page style as “Restarting Page Numbers.” Now click on Footer Tab, Footer On, OK.

5. Click on your first page, the one that should not have a page number.

6. Click on Format, Paragraph so that the Paragraph dialog appears.

7. Click Text Flow, Breaks, Insert. The “Type” will say “Page” in the dialog box. The position will have “Before” in the dialog box.

8. Select Breaks, With Page Style. In the dialog box that appears below Type, you should click on the down-arrow to select the “Restarting Page Numbers” option. Under “Page Number” select “1.” Now Click OK. A footer will appear on the second page of the document but there will be no footer on your first page.

9. Optional Step: Click the space bar, then type “of” and click the space bar again. Click on Insert,  Fields, Page Count. Now the footer will read “Page 1 of 1.”

Word Count

Click on Tools, Word Count. Now a menu will appear that shows you the number of words as well as characters either in the current selection or in the entire document.

Horizontal Rulers

To change between centimeters or inches, simply right-mouse-click on the rulers and select either inches or centimeters.

Name of the File on the Top Blue Title Bar

If you want a different name to appear on your title bar, which is the very topmost blue bar on your screen, then you can do the following:

1. Click on File, Properties, Description.

2. Enter any name into your title box and then click on OK. The name that you have entered will now appear in the title bar for the document, but the file name itself will not change.


When you have the Tips feature activated and you place the cursor over any icon in the menu bars in the program, the name is going to appear on your screen. This is ideal if you are just learning to use the software and need guidance on how to use the menu items.

1. Click on Tools, Options. The Options window will appear. If there is a “+” symbol in front of OpenOffice.org, then click on this plus. A menu will appear. Click on “General.”

2. If there isn’t a check mark before Tips, then click on Tips to create a check mark there. The menu will close and the feature will be activated.

3. If a check mark is there, then you simply have to click “OK.” The window will close and the cursor will return to the document because Tips is already activated.

Changing the Font Color

1. Highlight your chosen words by clicking on the first letter and holding down the shift key. Hold down the down or right key to select the entire area you want highlighted.

2. Click and hold the Font Color icon, which is an A with a colored bar beneath it. Hold the mouse down in a “long click” until the menu appears. You will see a palette of different colors that you are allowed to change your text into.

3. Choose the color that you want to convert your text into. The pallet of colors will close and the Font Color icon now displays your chosen color.

4. Click the Font Color icon quickly and release the mouse button quickly. This is known as a long click. Now your selected text is in the desired color.

Auto Correct

In your AutoCorrect window, you will find several choices for customizing AutoCorrect to suit you.

Capitalizing the first letter of each sentence will be the default setting in your initial OpenOffice installation. To change this, you can do the following:

Click Tools, AutoCorrect, Options. Add or remove the check mark before “Capitalize first letter.”

Entering Text in a Column and then Moving Your Cursor to Another Column

If you are approaching the end of a column, press Enter several times until the cursor has moved over into the new column.

Instead, you can click where you’d like to stop in your column. Click Insert, Manual Break, Column Break.


OpenOffice has a proprietary version of Basic though it is not compatible with Visual Basic. Visit http://www.openoffice.org’s Macro Documentation section for more information.

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