Join David Rivers for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the interface, part of OpenOffice.org 2 Writer Getting Started.
Now that we've launched Writer, it's time to get comfortable in our surroundings. So let's take a tour of the user interface, starting right at the top where we see our Title bar. The Title bar shows you a couple of pieces of information. First of all, a reminder that it is Writer that you're working with right now. OpenOffice.org Writer shows up here just to the right of the name of your document. Now unnamed documents, in other words brand new ones where you haven't saved, Untitled and a number will appear. So as I start creating more and more new documents, I see Untitled1, and then 2, a 3, etc., until I save and name my files. Then the name of the file will appear up here on my Title bar. Over here in the far right-hand corner of the Title bar are the Minimize, Restore and Close buttons as well here on the PC. If you're on the Mac, you'll see those buttons in the top left corner. Right below the Title bar is your Menu bar, with File, Edit, View, all the way over to Help. Now if you've used any application, whether it be Microsoft Word or WordPerfect, any other application for that matter, you'll see a very similar and familiar format here. We've got a Menu bar that starts with File and ends with Help, just like most other applications, and when we click on these we see pulldown menus. Under the File menu, we see File commands. So commands that relate to the entire file, like creating a new file or opening an existing file. We can close, save, export, print, all of these dealing with files. At the very bottom is Exit, which will actually exit the application altogether. So it would close up Writer by choosing this. You'll also see some keyboard shortcuts next to a lot of these. For example, printing is Ctrl+P on the PC; Ctrl+P is the shortcut for printing in almost every application. Same thing goes for saving, Ctrl+S and Save As Ctrl+Shift and the letter S, Ctrl+O to Open. Under the Edit menu we see editing commands like undoing, Cut, Copy, and Paste; all kinds of cool things that deal with editing your document. Sometimes you will see options that are not selectable, for example, Fields and Footnotes and Index Entries, not selectable right now because we don't have any text on our page and we don't have any fields or footnotes to create. Next we have View, you will see check marks next to things that are currently being viewed on the View menu, such as we are in what is know as Print Layout. What we see on our screen is exactly how our document is going to appear when we print it out. The Status Bar is currently checked off; we will get to that momentarily. Same thing for rulers. We'll see text boundaries, that little line you see around here on the page, representing the margins. Field Shadings, if we use fields you would see those. Hidden Paragraphs are visible. We will come back to the View menu momentarily as we continue around our user interface. Under the Insert menu there are lots of different things you can insert into a Writer document, there is formatting commands, a whole menu devoted to tables, working with tables, inserting them, deleting them, selecting them, formatting them. There's a number of tools like spellers and language checkers. AutoCorrect is an option we will be talking about later on. When you have multiple documents, using the Window menu you can come in handy, right now at the bottom you can see there is only one document called Untitled1. But we can be working on multiple documents at a time, have several open and switch to the one we want to move to just by coming to the Window menu here and selecting it. And always at the end is the Help menu. In here you can see there is different ways to get help. F1, function key 1, is the shortcut to open up the Help window. There is a What's This? option; when you click that, your mouse pointer now has a little question mark attached to it. So you can go to any area of your screen if you want to know what it's all about. For example, if I come up here and click on this, I create a brand new document, notice Untitled2, and as I hovered over that, you saw that little quick tip, let's try that again. We go up to Help > What's This? and as I hover over it, creates a new OpenOffice.org document, this is for opening or importing. So if you are not sure what each of the icons represents, always try the What's This? option from the Help menu. Of course, once you click, you turn it off. Just below this menu bar is the first toolbar and the Standard toolbar here has a number of shortcuts. There are a lot of commands in those menus up above. But not all of them will be used on a regular basis; some will be used more often than others, such as saving and printing, for example. That's why you will find shortcut icons here on the Standard toolbar. Here is to create a brand new document like we just did a second ago, opening, saving, there is nothing to save right now. So this icon, which is to represent a diskette, is not selectable. We can send documents as e-mails, we can edit files, save into PDF, there is printing. Lot of these you will see in the File menu. Then we get into some like Spellcheck, for example, and AutoSpellcheck. Something we saw under the Tools menu, grouped together here with little separators. Cut, Copy and Paste all found under the Edit menu.
Again these are all shortcuts for doing things that you might do more often than others instead of having to go up to the menu and access them there. Right below that is another toolbar which is dedicated to formatting, the Formatting toolbar. So if we go back up to the View menu for a second, you will see that we do have here the Status Bar checked off, but just above that is toolbars. The toolbars has a little triangle next to it indicating there is a sub-menu or another menu that's going to pop up on the side here. You can see the Formatting toolbar is checked off, as is the Standard toolbar. Look at all these other toolbars you can choose from. If you do a lot of work with tables, for example, you might click on the Table toolbar, and now it shows up here on my screen and I can move that around, get it out of the way. I can move it up here, so it's docked, up above if I wanted to, right maybe next to my menu bar.
I can move it around by going to the left here and of course I can grab it by the left and move it down, so it's floating and when I'm done with it I can close it from here or go back to the View menu down to toolbars and select it because it's checked off when I click on Table it closes it or hides it from View. So each of these toolbars has these little representations on the left that allow you to click and drag them, to float them and move them around. So both the Standard toolbar and this Formatting toolbar, which is visible by default, contains a number of formatting commands. Here is where we go to change fonts and sizes, bold, italics and underline for appearances. Alignment, we can do list, numbering or bulleted list. There is indenting, you can change font colors, do highlighting, change the background color, all from the Formatting toolbar. One thing you should know about all of these toolbars is that they are customizable. In other words, you can add your own buttons if there is something missing from here that you would like to add or there is something on the toolbar that you never use, you can remove it. You can even create your own toolbars. Notice also that these toolbars have a little drop down arrow at the very end and when we click on these, you can see Visible buttons is one way to customize. So if you never use underlining you can deselect it, maybe you do a lot of Super and Subscript options so you might want to turn those on. You can also choose Customize Toolbar from here to take buttons off and add your own as well. Down below Lock the Toolbar Positions. So you don't want it to move from there. It's no longer floatable if you choose this and you can close it up. Make it hide again by choosing Close Toolbar right from here. All right. Right below of the Formatting toolbar is our ruler.
Our first ruler which runs from left to right and you can see the inches marking off where my margins are and the entire width of my page. So I have got an extra inch here on the left and the right, so I'm using an eight and a half inch white sheet of paper. Over here I have got a vertical ruler as well and you can see I have got margin markers there as well and I can change things right from the ruler. We will be doing a little bit of that later on. As I scroll down using the scroll bar on the right hand side of my screen, you can see I get to the bottom of the page, which is actually an 11-inch long sheet of paper. Of course I don't see inch markers for anything past the margins here.
So as I scroll up, you can see one actually appears to start two inches down. So that's an eight and a half by eleven sheet of paper known as the Letter size paper and currently because the width is less than the height, it's in what we would call Portrait mode. Not turned on its side which would be Landscape mode; all kinds of things that we can change. Now down below there is the Status Bar and the Status Bar down here gives us vital information. First of all, if you have got a long document, you will know exactly what page you are on down here.
I'm on page 1 of 1 on this brand new document. The next little section which says Default here, you will see information show up every now and then down here in this section depending on what you are doing in your document. You will see the language you are using, the zoom level. You have also got some keys on your keyboard for inserting and typing over text and so on. So you are going to see some of this information change as well when you change from Insert to type over, for example, and change your keyboards and so on. And one last piece of information to look at here on our user interface is down here on the bottom right hand corner, where we have got some buttons; I like to call these the browse by buttons. If you have got multiple pages, a quick way to move from page to page is just to click these double arrows up or down, Next page and Previous page, that's because that little icon in between those arrows which currently as I hover over says Navigation, is going by page. But when I click on that, I can change it from Page to anything else. If I want to move from one table to the next, to the next in my Document, I click on Table and now when I go to these little arrows I will move to the Next table or the Previous table in my Document. So think of a long, long document that has maybe a 100 tables in it, you can move from one to the next quickly just by changing the Navigation option here and there is lots to choose from. Text Frames, Graphics, OLE, Object Linking and embedding objects like charts, for example. There is Page, the default, but you can use Headings, Reminders, Drawings, lots to choose from here. Just hover over these to see a little quick tip popup telling you what they are. I'm going to switch back to Page, which is the default. I'm going to come up here to the File menu and I'm going to close this document by clicking Close. That takes me back to my first one, Untitled1. And of course if I close this one watch what happens. Do you want to save your changes? Now I may have done a couple of things by clicking on the menus and the buttons but really there is nothing to save here. So my option is to Discard, which actually clears my screen. I'm still in OpenOffice.org but when I go to the File menu here and click New, I can create any type of new document. It could be a text document, which will launch Writer, could be a spreadsheet, which will launch Calc, presentation will launch Impress, drawing will of course launch Draw and database will launch the Base application. Other options down here as well and that's because I closed up my document and no longer have anything open here in OpenOffice.org. So let's all go up to the File menu, down to New and select Text Document. Notice that the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+N will start a new text document in Writer. So give it a click and there we are back to our new untitled document. So that's a tour of the user interface.
Now it's time to get into some of those basic commands I was talking about. Stay tuned for that next.
- Organizing text into lists, tables, and columns Checking spelling and grammar Adding bullets or numbers to a list Drawing shapes Applying password protection to a file Emailing and printing files