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OpenOffice 2.0: Handling Mac, Microsoft migration and database creation

Expert Solveig Haugland covers migration of content from Mac and Microsoft programs and flatfile Microsoft Works databases to OpenOffice in this interview. Haugland, author of The OpenOffice.org 2 Guidebook

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, also gives advice on how to globally format labels, create tables with no borders and provides a workaround for viewing Calc records on separate pages.

More OpenOffice tips:
OpenOffice Base: Converting data and files from Access

Quick tips: Documents and database forms in OpenOffice 2.0

Can you offer some advice on importing fonts from Mac OS or Windows XP into OpenOffice?

Haugland: OpenOffice.org should reflect whatever fonts you have on your computer. To copy fonts from one computer to another on Windows, find the FONTS or PSFonts directory and copy the contents. If you want to set up a font substitution, choose Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > Fonts. Select the font you don't want in the left list and select the font you do want, if it appears, in the right-hand list.

What is the difference between OpenOffice 2.0 and OpenOffice Portable?

Haugland: The software is functionally the same. The only difference is that you can run OpenOffice.org Portable from a portable thumbdrive.

For users interested in migrating flatfile Microsoft Works databases to OpenOffice, what advice can you offer for getting started?

Haugland: You can export them from Works into .csv files, comma-separated files or plain text files. Use the export feature in Works; it should be under File > Export or somewhere similar. Be sure that you know what the separator between each column is; it will probably be a tab or a comma.

Once you've got the Works databases in text files, follow the instructions here for creating a database that connects to text files. The instructions cover connecting to spreadsheets or text files, so follow the individual notes in the procedure that specify what to do with text files.

How do users globally format labels in OpenOffice 2.0?

Haugland: To easily globally format labels, you can either modify the Default style or select the Synchronize checkbox in the third tab of the Labels window. When you modify the Default style, just choose Format > Styles and Formatting. Find the Default style in the window that appears, right-click, and choose Modify, in the styles window, make the changes you want and click OK. All label content will reflect the change.

With Synchronize, a small button appears when you create the label document. Make the formatting changes you want in the upper left lable, then click Synchronize and the other labels will reflect those changes.

How can users create tables with no borders in OpenOffice 2.0?

Haugland: If you want the tables to have no borders, select the table and take off the borders. Click and hold down on the Borders icon on the Tables toolbar and choose the option with no borders, or choose Table > Table Properties and turn off borders in that window.

Is it possible to view every record in OpenOffice's Calc on a separate card or page?

Haugland: I don't know of a way to do that in Calc. You could do that in a mail merge; create a data source from the spreadsheet, then drag the fields you want to see into a Writer document. You might also try using reports.

This was first published in March 2007

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