Archive for the ‘August 2007’ Category

I was blown away. I have just installed and used OxygenOffice Professional on Windows XP. I must say – OpenOffice.org is great. But man, OxygenOffice Professional is even better.

The open source community does not just sit and wait for things to happen. They are active participants in setting the direction of software . New templates , sample documents, cliparts, extensions, tools, macros , and other add ons for OpenOffice.org are being contributed by its supporters everyday. Some take it a step further. Rather than simply contribute to the OpenOffice.org project, the OxygenOffice Professional team had developed an extended version of OpenOffice.org.

What is OxygenOffice Professional?

OxygenOffice Professional is based on OpenOffice.org 2.0.4 and was formerly known as OpenOffice.org Premium. Since the project is independent of the OpenOffice.org project, its name was later changed to OxygenOffice Professional.

OxygenOffice Professional uses Open Office.org’s user interface and includes the key desktop applications, such as a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation , and drawing program. It likewise works transparently with a variety of file formats, including those of Microsoft Office, except for docx. It supports the Linux and Windows operating systems.

There are a few available language versions: Hungarian (HU), English (EN-US), German (DE), Italian (IT), French (FR), Turkish (TR), Georgian (KA) and a special 5 in 1 .

Downloading and Installing OxygenOffice Professional

You can download OxygenOffice Professional 2.2.0 from :

For the English versionfor Windows, click on the file with this name:

If you use Internet Explorer to download this file, you may encounter an Information Bar that displays the following message :
“To help protect your security, Internet Explorer blocked this site from downloading files into your computer. “

Don’t believe everything that you read….I personally think this is one of those Microsoft attempts to discourage users from downloading open source software. Other browsers will not show a warning like this. Just click on the “Click here for options “ link on the information bar and select “download file” if you want to proceed. You can also click on the link on the webpage that says “If you are experencing problems with the download, please use this direct link.”

After downloading the program onto your computer, run it and follow the instructions. An installation wizard for OpenOffice.org, not OxygenOffice Professional opens. Don’t worry about this. You are actually installing OxygenOffice Professional. You will know this since the name appears on a few pages of the wizard, even though the title bar says OpenOffice.org. You can choose to do a complete installation or a custom installation. You can also set the program as the default for all documents .

After installation, you will not find an application called OxygenOffice Professional on your computer. Look for OpenOffice.org. If you already have OpenOffice.org installed onto your computer prior to downloading OxygenOffice, you will find that it had simply been enhanced. Whatever you had installed on OpenOffice.org prior to installation of OxygenOfficeProfessional- macros, extensions, templates, remain intact.

What’s in it for you?
Open the application. Click on the gallery and voila! There are over 3,000 cliparts and photos, arranged into themes . Check out the templates (File-New-Templates and Documents). You will find a library of templates for education, finance, business, and personal use. Click on the font style box and you will find over 90 fonts.

Launch Impress then open the Presentation Wizard (File -Wizards-Presentation). There are over 12 templates, and 170 presentation backgrounds. (OpenOffice.org only had two ) . There is also an enhanced color palette for use with drawings. Currently under the test phase is the support for Visual Basic for Application (VBA) macros in Calc.

OxygenOffice Professional has additional tools like OOoWikipedia, which can search the free on-line encyclopaedia , Wikipedia. There is great support for beginners, which includes an enhanced help menu, a User’s Manual, and the enabled extended tips.

Everything is free to use for personal and professional purposes.

Your alternative to OxygenOffice Professional is the free StarOffice application from Google Pack , which also has tons of cliparts, templates, backgrounds, etc. However, that StarOffice version from Google Pack only runs on Windows XP or Vista. If you are using Linux , Win2K, WinXP, Win98 OSR2, WinME , you might want to consider OxygenOffice Professional.

Just because you’re unwilling to pay for your software does not mean you deserve less!


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OpenOffice.org Extras

OpenOffice.org Extras is a project that accumulates templates, macros, documents, and a clip art / artwork image library from contributors all over the world. The goal of the project is to make available an add-on package that will greatly enhance OpenOffice.org’s functionalities . The extras are available in different languages: English, French, German, Italian and Czech. To view and/or download OOo extras, visit the OOo extras website at:
To download the entire package of extras, access:

Here are ways to add the downloaded extras to the OpenOffice.org gallery or library of templates.


To access the artworks, double click on the Open Office.org artwork found on the OOo extras website. Then extract the files. Add the artworks to your OpenOffice.org Gallery in a few easy steps:
1. Open OpenOffice.org Writer.
2. Click on the Gallery icon on the Standard toolbar
3. When the gallery opens, click on the button that says New Theme. The “Properties of New Theme”dialog box opens.
4. Type the name for the theme you wish to create ( for example,Flowers )
5. Click on the Files tab in the same box. Click on the Find Files button
6. Find the folder where you stored your graphics for the theme . Press Select.
7. The files stored in that folder appears. Select the files you wish to include in the theme you named previously. Click the Add button. You can otherwise, click the Add All button to include all the files in the folder into the theme.
8. The artworks will be added to the gallery.
9. To add another theme to the gallery, click on the New Theme button again. Then repeat the process.

To access the templates, simply double click on the names of the templates. The template automatically downloads.
1. Open Impress.
2. On the menu bar, select File – Templates – Organize. Click on the My Templates Folder.
3. Then click on the Commands button. Select Import Template.
4. Find the location of the template in your computer. Press OK.

To use your template, click on File-Wizards-Presentation-From template. The new template appears in the My Templates box. Select the template then follow the rest of the instructions on the Wizard.

OOo extras makes folder labels, CD labels and CD covers available to users . To add these labels to the list of templates:
1. Open Writer.
2. On the menu bar, select File – Templates – Organize. Click on the MyTemplates Folder.
3. Then click on the Commands button. Select Import Template.
4. Find the location of the template in your computer. Press OK.
To open the template, click on File-New-Templates and Documents.

More cliparts
That there are other places where you can get free cliparts:


Just be sure to read the copyright and use information before downloading and using the images.

If you have no interest in downloading files from the Internet or have no time to do so , the OpenOffice.org Extras CD is available for $8.69 .The money raised from sales of the CD generates income for the OpenOffice.org Community.

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There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else’s, there’s GooglePack. Google Pack is a collection of software applications that helps users install and maintain a wide range of essential PC programs. It includes Google software such as Google Earth, GoogleToolbar for Internet Explorer, GoogleDesktop, Google Photos Screensaver, GoogleTalk, as well other Google-recommended software- Norton Security Scan, Spyware Doctor Starter Edition , Picasa, Mozilla Firefox with GoogleToolbar, AdobeReader, Skype, and Realplayer.

In what seems to be an all-out assault against software giant, Microsoft Corporation, Google recently included MS Office’s major competitor, Star Office 8, to its GooglePack. Before its inclusion, StarOffice was available at no cost to education and research institutions but is normally sold to other consumers at $69.95. Now , GooglePack makes it available to everybody for free.Note , however, that unlike the paid version, the Google version is not entitled to technical support from Sun.

GooglePack runs on Windows XP or Vista. Google software can alo be downloaded for Mac users. However, it is not yet available for Linux. The size of the StarOffice installer varies from 140 MB to as much as 210MB, depending on the language. Thus, downloading using dial-up connection could take hours. The use of broadband connection is highly recommended.

Visit http://pack.google.com to download the pack.

Why not OpenOffice.org?

Star Office is the commercial version of OpenOffice.org. It is an office suite that contains a word processor, a spreadsheet tool, applications for presentations, databases, math formulas and drawing. StarOffice became the foundation of OpenOffice.org when Sun Microsystems released StarOffice’s source code in 2000. Bloggers everywhere are asking: Why did Google choose StarOffice over OpenOffice.org? Sun ‘s 2005 agreement with Google “ aims to make it easier for users to freely obtain Sun’s Java™ Runtime Environment (JRE), the Google Toolbar and the OpenOffice.org office productivity suite”. So why not Open Office.org?

I would speculate that the choice has to do with the fact that StarOffice “packs more punch” than OpenOffice.org against its rival, Microsoft Office. Indeed , StarOffice is a step-up from the open source project version. Both OpenOffice.org and StarOffice support Microsoft Office formats except for Microsoft Office OpenXML . However , OpenOffice.org does not consist of all of the StarOffice code. OpenOffice.org does not include certain fonts , the database component , Adabas D, templates, an extensive Clip Art Gallery, some file filters and management tools which StarOffice carries.

There are a few clear benefits to the Sun-Google tie-up. The inclusion of Star Office into GooglePack is bound to make a dent in the office suite market, grabbing substantial market shares from Microsoft Office. Since StarOffice supports Google through added Internet search capabilities within its applications, it increases Google’s online and offline presence in personal computers. Google reciprocates by pushing StarOffice rather than develop its own Google Office that is based on OpenOffice.org.

However, Sun Microsystems is bound to lose revenues from the Google Pack inclusion. Who would want to pay $69.95 for Star Office now? The partnership between Sun and Google suggests that market share dominance is only the first step, and Microsoft Office is just roadkill on the Google-Sun highway towards a grand master plan. What’s really in it for Google and Sun? I don’t really care. I just want my Star Office freebie.

By the way, here’s a follow up on last week’s article on Open XML. Apple Corporation’s recently released iWork ’08 , a suite of three Mac applications called Keynote (presentation), Pages (desktop publisher) and Numbers(spreadsheet) . This office suite reads the Office Open XML files with very high fidelity. You can view the current list of implementations of the Office Open XML standard at http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/08/07/iwork-08-supports-the-open-xml-formats.aspx.

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Your boss just sent you a crucial document with a .docx extension (Microsoft Open XML Format ) rather than the traditional .doc extension. It seems your boss had just upgraded to MS Office 2007. You need to open and print the file , but you dont know how. OpenOffice.org does not support .docx formats. Neither do earlier version of MS Word or alternative operating systems like Linux. Not even GMail Word viewer or Google Docs & Spreadsheets support the .docx file format. Here are a few new tools you can use to convert that file.

The Docx converter

The Docx-converter can convert a Microsoft Office Word 2007( .docx ) file into a simple html file. Mac users can download the docx converter dashboard widget from http://docx-converter.com/widget/ . Once downloaded ,unzip docx-converter.wdgt.zip, click on the extracted file, and the widget is automatically installed onto your dashboard. To convert your docx file, drag the file to the document converter widget. To do this, first select the file in Finder and single click. Without releasing your finger, press F12 to open the dashboard , then drag the file to the widget. A new file is automatically saved on the same folder as the .docx file. Double click on the new file (the name is similar to this: homework.docx.htm). The file opens on Firefox or Safari. Your document could be stripped of its formatting, except for a few character styles- bold, underline, italics, alignments, and other basic formatting. If you need the text more than you care about the formatting, it’s actually quite useful.

The docx converter can also be used on Windows. To convert .docx files into .doc format, upload the .docx file , enter your email adress then click on “Upload it”. The online location of the converted document will be sent to you via email. You can save the page onto your computer or cut and paste the content into your wordprocessor.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack

Users of earlier versions of Microsoft Office can download the free Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack from the Microsoft.com Download Center. The pack will make it possble for users to open, print, edit and save .docx files in Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003. Note that .docx and .docm formats can be opened using previous versions of Word , but Office Word 2007 template files saved in .dotx or .dotm format could not. Some formatting losses could also occur. For example, Office Word 2007 themes are converted into styles when it is opened in previous versions of Word. When the file is opened again in Office Word 2007, the styles are not modifiable using theme effects.

OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-in for Office

The OpenXML/ ODF Translator converts Open XML documents into the ISO-standard OpenDocument format / ODF files (.odt, .ods and .odp) and vice versa. It is available for free at Source Forge : (http://sourceforge.net/projects/odf-converter )

This add-in can be installed on top of Microsoft Office Word , Excel and PowerPoint applications. It also provides command line translator utilities for batch conversions, which can also be run on the server side. However, the translator only works one way. It doesn’t currently allow users of OpenOffice to open documents formatted using Microsoft’s Open XML.

Sun ODF Plugin for MS Office

The Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office makes it possible for MS Office users to write documents using the Open Document Format (ODF). This version supports MS Office 2003 (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) and earlier versions . Unlike the Open XML Add-In, which requires the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack , with the Sun Plugin, you just download and install.


NeoOffice is a full-featured , open source, office suite for Mac OS X. It is similar in many ways to the OpenOffice.org interface. However, it has one distinct advantage. You guessed it! Not only can it open Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) , it can even save the document into that same file format or to numerous other file formats !

Zip It

The .docx files, are essentially a bunch of zipped XML documents. OpenXML uses the ZIP file container to ensure that files are up to 75% smaller than the same documents saved with previous Microsoft Office file formats. Let’s say you don’t care about formatting- just the text. You don’t have to go through all the trouble of uploading your file, or downloading add-ons or plug-ins.

All you have to do is to change the file extension from .docx to .zip (e.g. homework.docx becomes homework.zip). Then extract the contents of the zip file. Inside the folder containg the extracted files, find the file named content.xml or document.xml. Open your web browser. Drag this file to the browser window. The contents of the file is displayed. A word of warning: The XML file may not be recognized by the web browser. Thus, although the content is displayed, the mark up tags are displayed as well. Based in my experience, this occurs using Firefox on Mac or Linux as well as using Internet Explorer on Windows. However, mark up tags do not appear on Safari on a Mac and on the Konqueror file viewer on a Linux environment.

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The Styles and Formatting feature provides a way to set the appearance of documents. There are five categories of styles. Paragraph styles are associated with an entire paragraph. Character styles are associated with text inside a paragraph. Page styles affect page formatting, which includes page size, margin and orientation. Frame styles are used to format frames and graphics. List styles affect numbered lists and bulleted lists. Here is an example of how you can use paragraph styles in your document.

Modify and Apply The Title Chapter Style

1.Type “The Food Groups”. Do not press Enter. The cursor should remain at the same line as “The Food Groups”.
2.Click Format > Styles and Formatting. (The “Styles and Formatting” box appears.)
3.In the list of paragraph styles at the bottom of the Styles and Formatting box, select Automatic > Chapter Styles. (Click on the in the menu box at the bottom of the Styles and Formatting window . Scroll to and select “Chapter Styles”. The “Chapter Styles” window appears. It contains two styles: “Title” and “Subtitle”.
4.Right-click Title. A small menu appears. Click Modify. (The “Chapter Style: Title” window appears.)
5.Click the Alignment tab. In the Options section, click Center. Click the Font tab. Set the font style , typeface and size. (The “Size” may be specified in percent or in points. To change from percent to points, delete the number in the upper “Size” box and type a number followed by the letters, pt., such as 25pt. To change from points to percent, delete the “Size” number and type a number followed by the percent symbol such as 25%.)
6.Double-click Title. (The words, “The Food Groups”, move to the center.)

Modify and Apply The Heading 1 Paragraph Style

1.Press Enter. If you look at the Apply style box on the Formatting bar of OpenOffice.org, you would notice that the style, “Subtitle” is automatically applied to the next line. Do not worry about this for the meantime. You can change it later.
2.On this line, type type “Fruits and Vegetables”. Remember that the cursor should be at the same line as “Fruits and Vegetables”.
3.Click Format > Styles and Formatting. (The “Styles and Formatting” window appears.)
4. Click Paragraphs Styles. (The “Paragraph Styles” menu appears.) Select Automatic in the drop down list at the bottom of the box.
5.Right-click Heading 1. Click Modify. (The “Paragraph Style: Heading 1” window appears.)
6.Click the Alignment tab. In the Options section, click Left. Click the Font tab. Choose the Font Style , Typeface and Size. Press OK.
7.Double-click Heading 1. The Formatting is applied.

Modify and Apply The “Heading 2” Paragraph Style

1.On the next line, type “Pomelo”
2.Click Format > Styles and Formatting. (The “Styles and Formatting” window appears.)
3.Click Paragraphs Styles. (The “Paragraph Styles” menu appears.)
4.Right-click Heading 2. (A small menu appears.)
5.Click Modify. (The “Paragraph Style: Heading 2” window appears.)
6.Click the Alignment tab. In the Options section, click Left. Click the Indent & Spacing tab. In the Indent section, Before text dialog box, type .50. Click the Font tab. Select the Font Style, Typeface and Size. Click OK.
7.Double-click Heading 2. (The formatting is applied)

Now try to add more entries under Pomelo. Then add the rest of the Food Groups:
Meat, Fish and Eggs
Milk, Cheese and Yogurt
Cereals, Bread and Potatoes

Create A Table Of Contents

1.Click after the title of the document, “The Food Groups”. (The flashing cursor, appears just after the letter “s”.)
2.Click Insert > Indexes & Tables > Indexes & Tables. (The “Insert Index/Table” window appears.)
3.Select the Index/Table tab. The default title is “Table of Contents”. You may modify it. In the Type dialog box , select Table Of Contents. Uncheck Protected against manual changes. Click OK. (The “Table of Contents” appear at the beginning of the document.)
4.In the Create Index/Table box, choose Entire Document. The “Evaluate up to level” option lets you specify the number of heading the table of contents schould include. Press OK.

There you have it! A document formatted using paragraph styles. Now , in case you decide to modify the contents of your document, you can update the table of contents by right clicking on the table of contents and clicking Update Index/Table.

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Style Is Everything

It’s 4:00 pm and Maria had just finished printing her 50- page term paper that is due at 5:00 pm. She submits a copy to her teacher , who notices that her formating is all wrong. The font style and size should be Times New Roman , 10 instead of Arial, 12. The headings should be bold rather than underlined. The first line of each paragraph should be indented, .5 inches. Lists should be numbered, not bulleted.

With one hour left to edit her 50-page term paper, she will not be able to meet the deadline — unless she had used the styles feature in OpenOffice.org. Thankfully, she did! She makes all the changes in less than 5 minutes, with enough time to spare for printing.

Before styles were available, users had to edit documents using menus and toolbars. These manual overrides took a lot of time, specially if changes were applicable only to specific parts of the document , such as headings, rather than the entire document. The styles feature in OpenOffice.org are a more efficient way to format documents .

What are styles?
Styles are a list of format settings. It is a way to format parts of a document automatically so that manual overrides are no longer necessary . When you modify the styles, the new format is applied to all parts of the document to which you applied that style. Styles can also be applied to documents created in other OpenOffice.org applications.

Wordprocessors can assign physical attributes to documents. For example, text is assigned a font style , font size and typeface (e.g. Courier, 12pt, bold). OpenOffice.org styles assign logical attributes . To differentiate between physical and logical attributes, think of how you describe your car to someone you just met. You do not ordinarily say (unless this is specifically the topic of your conversation ) that your car has a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged aluminum 32-valve V8 engine with unequal length wishbones with pushrod-activated shock and spring for suspension. Instead , you describe it as a Cadillac or a Toyota. To say that your car is a Cadillac is to imply that it has the physical attributes associated with that type of car.

Why use styles?
Styles help improve the consistency in a document and make major formatting changes easy. If you decide to change the font size and font style of all level 2 headings, you do not have to select all level 2 headings on each page and edit them separately. All you have to do is update the formatting associated with the Heading 2 style, and all the text that were assigned a Heading 2 style are updated automatically.

OpenOffice.org Writer has five categories of styles. Paragraph styles are associated with an entire paragraph. Character styles are associated with text inside a paragraph. Page styles affect page formatting, which includes page size, margin and orientation. Frame styles are used to format frames and graphics. List styles affect numbered lists and bulleted lists.

Let us first look into paragraph styles.

Paragraph styles
To add styles to paragraphs, first create a new document . ( File > New > Text Document or press Control+N). Type the title or heading . Leave the cursor in that same line. Click the Styles and Formatting icon located on the Formatting Bar or press the F11 key. This opens the Styles and Formatting window. Double-click the Heading 1 entry of Styles and Formatting. This will do two things:
● Apply the Heading 1 style to the title or heading you just typed and;
● Add Heading 1 to the Apply Style menu found on the Formatting toolbar.

Once the style is included in the Apply Style menu , you can use this to apply styles to text instead of the Styles and Formatting toolbar.

Modifying paragraph styles
Suppose you are unhappy with the formatting associated with Heading 1. To modify the style, Heading 1, right click on Heading 1 on the Styles and Formatting box. Two options will open- New and Modify. Select Modify. The Paragraph style box appears. Choose the proper formats (e.g. Indents, alignments, text flow, font, etc.). Then press OK. The parts of the document that are tagged as Heading 1 are updated automatically.

(To be continued next week)

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