OpenOffice Writer FAQ – Formatting Pages and Documents

  • How do I perform a word count of my document?
  • How do I make my first page a cover or title page and start page numbering (Page 1) on the second page of my document?
  • How do I change the page layout from Portrait to Landscape for an entire document?
  • How do I make a header appear on only the first page of my document?
  • How do I insert a Landscape page into my (portrait) document?
  • I have a blank page in my word processing document. How do I get rid of this extra page?
  • How can I change the default Page Style margins, so that when I start a new document the margins will be 1 inch?
  • How to delete a table?
  • How do I make a table heading row repeat on each page of my word processing document that the table appears on?
  • How do I get my page count to not count my title page? (How do I offset the page count?)
  • How can I change the page number of the first page of my document to something other than ‘1’?
  • How do I add my own templates?
  • How do I do revision marking (redlining) in OpenOffice.org?
  • How do I make page numbers alternate?
  • How do I insert a variable for the current date into the footer of my document?
  • How do I change the default page size?
  • What is the best way to format my documents?
  • What is the equivalent of MSO outline mode in OpenOffice.org?
  • What is a Master Document?
  • How do I insert a page number of the form ‘Page 1 of N’?
  • How do I join two adjacent tables?
  • How do I get a word count for a selected part of the text within a document?

How do I perform a word count of my document?

 

Open the file, then choose File > Properties. Click on the Statistics tab. The word count (and other statistics) will appear in the dialog.

ALTERNATE METHOD: Choose Tools > Word Count.

How do I make my first page a cover or title page and start page numbering (Page 1) on the second page of my document?

 

  1. Open a new or existing Writer document.
  2. Press F11 to open the styles list. Select the fourth tab from the left (Page styles). Double click the First page style.
  3. Move the cursor to the bottom of the first page (ignore that in a blank document). Choose Insert > Manual Break from the menu bar.
  4. Select the Page break button in the dialog box.
  5. From the drop-down list, select Default.
  6. Select the Change page number option in the checkbox.
  7. Click the up or down arrows as necessary until “1” appears.
  8. Click OK.

The document now has at least 2 pages, and the cursor is in the second page. If the cursor is not in the second page, click in the second page so that it is.

 

  1. Choose Insert > Footer > Default from the menu bar. (Or Insert > Header > Default, depending on where you want your page number to appear).
  2. To insert the page number, Choose Insert > Fields > Page Numbers. A number ‘1’ should appear on the second page of the file.

How do I change the page layout from Portrait to Landscape for an entire document?

 

In your open document in OpenOffice.org:

  1. Open the Styles and Formatting window [F11] (or choose Format > Styles and Formatting).
  2. Click on the Page Styles icon (fourth icon from left).

If the list of page styles contains the selection Landscape, then select Landscape and proceed to create your document.

If the list of page styles does NOT contain the selection Landscape, then proceed as follows:

  1. Default may already be highlighted; if not, then select Default. Right-click on Default to see the context menu and select New.
  2. In the dialog that appears, give the new page style a descriptive name, e.g. Landscape.
  3. Click on the Page tab and change the page orientation to Landscape by clicking on the corresponding radio button. You may also make other changes to the page style, if needed (such as adjusting the margin sizes).
  4. Click OK. The new style will appear as one of the page style choices.
  5. Choose Landscape from the list of page styles.

The displayed page should now exhibit the new page style.

How do I make a header appear on only the first page of my document?

 

Follow these steps:

  • Open a new word processing document.
  • Enter some or all of the data that you want on your cover (1st) page (or simply hit the return key a few times)
  • Choose Format>Styles and Formatting
  • Click on the Page Styles icon (fourth one from the left)
  • Double-click on the page style called First Page. The page style name should appear on the status bar below your document. It is also possible at this point to create a custom first page style. You may close the Styles and Formatting window now, if desired.
  • Choose Insert > Manual Break
  • Select the button next to Page Break. Then select the style to use for the next page (pick one from the menu – such as Default).
  • Click OK.
  • Now you should have two pages. Put your cursor in the first page, then choose Insert > Header > First Page from the pulldown menus.
  • A header area will appear on the first page. Choose Insert > Fields to select from popular header items, or type your own header material

How do I insert a Landscape page into my (portrait) document?

 

In your open document in OpenOffice.org:

  1. Open the Styles and Formatting window [F11] (or choose Format > Styles and Formatting).
  2. Click on the Page Styles icon (fourth icon from left).
  3. Default should already be highlighted. Right-click to see the context menu and select New.
  4. In the dialog that appears, give the new page style a descriptive name, e.g. Landscape.
  5. Click on the Page tab and change the page orientation to Landscape by clicking on the corresponding radio button. You may also make other changes to the page style, if needed (such as adjusting the margin sizes).
  6. Click OK. The new style will appear as one of the page style choices.
  7. Place the text cursor in your document at the location where you want to insert the Landscape page.
  8. Choose Insert->Manual Break.
  9. In the dialog that appears, select Page Break and in the Style list, select your new page style, e.g.Landscape.
  10. Click OK.

To end the Landscape area and return to Portrait in your document:

  1. Place the text cursor in your document at the location where the page style should switch back.
  2. Select Insert>Manual Break.
  3. In the dialog that appears, select Page Break and in the Style list, select the previous page style, e.g.Default.
  4. Click OK.

I have a blank page in my word processing document. All of my content seems to fit on the previous page. How do I get rid of this extra page?

 

  • First make sure that there’s really not any extra content. Type Ctrl+End then press Backspace until you get back to your content.

If you still have problems, try the step below:

  • Choose View > Nonprinting Characters from the pull down menus (so that the choice is checked). This will allow you to see if there is a special control character (a page break character), that is pushing the page over to another sheet. Locate that character and delete it (after making a backup of your file). Afterward, you probably want to go back into the View menu and turn off viewing non-printing characters. If you leave this choice selected, the print dialog will prompt you to print or not print these characters.

If the blank page persists, try the next step:

  • In rare cases, playing around with the Insert > Manual Break feature using a change of page style can cause ‘ghost’ pages. These are pages that have no apparent content, no hidden characters, and cannot hold a text cursor. In the case tested, these ‘ghost’ pages were removed by the following procedure:
  1. From the pulldown menus, select View -> Online Layout (on some versions this is View -> Web Layout)
  2. Scroll through your document. The ‘ghost’ pages should not appear.
  3. Select View -> Online Layout again (this deselects the choice). The ‘ghost’ pages should not return.

If the blank page is still there, try this:

  • Another possible cause of a blank page at the end of a document can occur if the content goes right to the bottom of the last non-blank page. It’s possible that the last paragraph mark in the document has too large a font size to fit at the bottom of the page. Put your cursor at the top of the blank page (click with your mouse, or type Ctrl+End, and look at the font size in the formatting toolbar. If you see a large number (a large font size), change it to a small number, for example if it’s set to 22 points try 10 points, or 8 points. oowriter saves enough room for a character of the specified font size on the empty line even if you have no content on the line.

How can I change the default Page Style margins, so that when I start a new document the margins will be 1 inch?

 
First, create a new template:

  1. Open a new text document.
  2. Choose Format > Page and select the Page tab.
  3. In the dialog box, adjust the margins as desired. Click OK to close the box.
  4. Choose File > Templates > Save Under Categories, select My Templates.
  5. In the blank space under the words New Template, type a name for your template.
  6. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Then, set your new template as the default template:

  1. Choose File > Templates > Organize. Double-click My Templates
  2. Right-click on the new template name that you selected in step 4.
  3. Select Set as Default Template.
  4. Click Close to complete. Close your template file.

In future, when you create a new text document it will have the margins you chose.

How to delete a table?

 

  1. Place the cursor somewhere in the table
  2. Choose Table > Delete > Table

How do I make a table heading row repeat on each page of my word processing document that the table appears on?

 

A repeating header row is the default in OpenOffice.org when creating a new table. If you have an existing table, or if you are using a different text document template, follow the following instructions:

  1. Place your cursor somewhere in the table.
  2. Hold your right mouse button down to get the context menu, then select Table.
  3. In the dialog that appears, click on the Text Flow tab.
  4. In the Text Flow page, select Repeat heading (so that a check appears).
  5. Click OK.

How do I get my page count to not count my title page? (How do I offset the page count?)

 

If you have a title page or cover page in your document, Writer’s “page count” field still counts those pages and will be too high.

Unfortunately, you can’t offset the “page count” field. So we’re going to use a formula, instead, to insert a proper page count. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Place the cursor where you want to insert the page count (perhaps in your header).
  2. Press the F2 key to bring up the formula bar. Type in the formula “=page – 1” (the “=” will already be in there). The “page” variable is the number of pages in the document, not the page you’re currently on. Subtract the number of pages that you don’t want to have counted in the page count (in this example, 1, for a title page).
  3. Press the Enter key to insert the formula.
  4. Choose Tools > Update > Fields from the menu (or press F9) to force the formula to refresh. (Otherwise, the page count formula will just be 0.)
  5. To edit this formula again later, place the cursor immediately before the formula, and press F2.

Note: Every time the page count changes, you’ll need to refresh the formula again.

How can I change the page number of the first page of my document to something other than ‘1’?

 

  1. Click in the first paragraph of your first page and choose Format > Paragraph (or right-click and selectParagraph from the pop-up menu).
  2. Select the Text Flow tab.
  3. Under Breaks, select Insert.
  4. In this box, Type should be set to Page, and Position should be set to Before.
  5. Select With Page Style and choose Default as Page Style (or any other style according to your needs).
  6. Now choose the page number you need. Note that the ‘0’ in the Page Number dropdown list does not denote a page number but simply means that the present page number won’t be changed.

How do I add my own templates?

 

The first step is to make your template file. You can make your own text document, presentation, drawing file, or any OpenOffice.org file type. When your file is completely customized, save any changes and note the location where your file is stored.

Follow these steps to make your template easily available:

  1. From the menu bar, select: File -> Templates -> Organize.
  2. In the dialog that appears, choose ‘My Templates’. (You can either put your templates in this folder or create a new folder. To create a new folder, select Commands -> New. A new folder will appear in the box on the left side of the dialog. Enter a new folder name.)
  3. Select: Commands -> Import Template.
  4. Navigate to where you saved the file. Select (highlight) the template file and click ‘Open’. This should make the template show up in the expanded folder view of the folder you selected.
  5. Click ‘Close’.

To use your new template, select: File -> New -> Templates and Documents, highlight the new template folder and template name, then click OK.

How do I do revision marking (redlining) in OpenOffice.org?

 

To enable the Revision feature:

  • Open the document to be edited
  • From the pull down menus, choose Edit> Changes > Record

Start making your changes. All new text passages now added are underlined in color, while all text deleted remains visible but is crossed out and shown in color.

How do I make page numbers alternate? (eg. even page numbers on the top-left, odd page numbers on the top-right).

 

There are two ways to do this.

First method, using one page style only:

  1. From the main menu bar, select Format -> Page (or right-click anywhere on the page and choose Page).
  2. On the Page Style dialog, go to the Page tab.
  3. In the Layout Settings section, set Page layout to ‘Mirrored’.
  4. On the Header tab, select the ‘Header on’ checkbox and deselect the ‘Same content left/right’ checkbox.

Now you can insert page numbers in the headers. On a left-hand (even-numbered) page, align the number to the left. On a right-hand (off-numbered) page, align the number to the right.

Second method, using two page styles:

  1. Open the Styles and Formatting window (F11).
  2. Select the Page Styles icon.
  3. Right-click on the ‘Right Page’ style to open the Page Style dialog.
  4. On the Organizer tab, set ‘Next Style’ to ‘Left Page’ (you’ll have to create Left Page first if it does not exist).
  5. On the Page tab, set ‘Page layout’ to ‘Only left’.
  6. On the Header tab, select the ‘Header on’ checkbox. The ‘Same content left/right’ checkbox is not available. Click OK to save.
  7. Back in the Styles and Formatting window, right-click on ‘Left Page’ to open the Page Style dialog.
  8. On the Organizer tab, set ‘Next Style’ to ‘Right Page’.
  9. On the Page tab, set ‘Page layout’ to ‘Only right’.
  10. On the Header tab, select the ‘Header on’ checkbox. The ‘Same content left/right’ checkbox is not available. Click OK to save.

This sets up the pages to alternate styles automatically. Now you can insert page numbers in the header as usual.

How do I insert a variable for the current date into the footer of my document?

 

Follow these steps:

  1. Insert a footer, if needed, by choosing Insert > Footer > Default.
  2. With the cursor in the footer area, choose Insert > Fields > Other.
  3. In the dialog that appears, select the DocInformation tab.
  4. To update the footer each time the document is modified, select Modified in the Type list. Other choices are Last Printed, Created, etc.
  5. In the Select list, click Date.
  6. In the Format list, click on the date format desired.
  7. Make sure that the check box next to ‘Fixed content’ is not checked.
  8. Click Insert.
  9. Click Close.

You should now see the current date. If you see the name of the date field, select: View > Fields (to turn off the check mark next to this choice). If you see nothing, it may be because you have not yet saved your document for the first time.

How do I change the default page size?

 

First, create a new template using the preferred new page size:

  1. Choose File > New > Text Document.
  2. Choose Format > Page.
  3. In the dialog box, choose the Page tab.
  4. On the page tab, select a page size from the drop-down box.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Choose File > Templates > Save.
  7. Choose a name for the new template and type that name in the blank space in the dialog box.
  8. Click OK.

Then, make the new template your default template:

  1. Choose File > Templates > Organize.
  2. Double-click My Templates in the list on the left.
  3. Click on the new template name from step 7, above.
  4. From the Commands drop-down box on the right, choose Set as default template.
  5. Click Close in the dialog box.

The next time you open a new text document, the new document will be based on the new default template.

Image:Tip.png When printing, be sure to choose the preferred page size in your printer’s menu

 

To reset the template back to the original page size:

  1. Choose File > Templates > Organize
  2. From the Commands drop-down box on the right of the dialog box, choose Reset Default Template.

What is the best way to format my documents?

 

The most stable way to format OpenOffice.org documents is by using styles. Writer has five types of styles: page, paragraph, character, frames/graphics, and lists.

For more information, see these chapters in the Writer Guide

What is the equivalent of MSO outline mode in OpenOffice.org?

 

Open the Navigator to have a little of this functionality, although the Navigator is closer in functionality to MSO’s Document Map. The Navigator can be opened by pressing F5 or clicking the Navigator icon Image:NavigatorIcon.png on the standard toolbar, or from Writer’s menu bar: Edit > Navigator (in OOo versions before 3.1) or View > Navigator in OOo 3.1 and later.

This allows basic navigation of the header structure in the document, but does not provide the tools for preparing a document in the structured way that MSO’s outline mode supports.

What is a Master Document?

 

A Master Document is one that is used as a “holder” for smaller documents. You can write the “front matter” in the master document and then add files which are, each, a separate part of the entire document.

You can edit the front matter, but not the inserted documents as they are other files. It is best if both the Master Document and the files are based on the same template file.

How do I insert a page number of the form ‘Page 1 of N’?

 

  1. Click in the footer or header area of the document.
  2. Type the text “Page “.
  3. Select Insert > Fields > Page Numbers from the pulldown menus to insert the page number field.
  4. Type the text “of “.
  5. Select Insert > Fields > Page Count from the pulldown menus to insert the page total field.

The page number should appear in the footer or header of every page.

How do I join two adjacent tables?

 

The tables must be right next to each other for the “Join Tables” menu choice to appear. Even if there is only one text style between the tables with no content, the choice will not show up. When the tables appear to be almost touching, place your cursor into one of the tables. Right click to get the context menu. Select “Join Tables”.

How do I get a word count for a selected part of the text within a document?

 

In OOo 2.0 and later versions,

  1. Select the text
  2. Choose Tools > Word Count.

The word count and character account appear in a small window.