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SUGGESTIONS FROM A COMPLEX DOCUMENT WRITER
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ursus
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 1:39 am    Post subject: SUGGESTIONS FROM A COMPLEX DOCUMENT WRITER Reply with quote

Hi there. I don't know if this is the right place for suggestions for developpers. I am currently writing a pretty long and in some respect complex book (my doctoral thesis). And I switched to OpenOffice from the ms-stuff I used before. For long documents, the following features lack in my opinion:

There is also a slight possibility that Writer supports these things, but that I just did not find how to use them. In this case, PLEASE respond to me on howto...

- View: A view setting, where the pages are not separated, but the page breaks are just indicated with a line, and the footnotes are viewable in a separate window (in the ms-word-slang this would be the "normal" view).

- (long) tables: A way to enable/disable automatic page breaking within tables, partucularly as well within rows or between rows of the same table. Page breaking within tables is in my opinion much more conveniant in ms-word (which is of course not a reason to switch back but wouln't it be nice to say that writer is better also in this respect? Smile

- Cross-Referencies: Yeah, another nice feature to copy from ms: If I want to insert a cross reference that indicates just the page number of a particular title, I have to define bookmarks etc. etc. In ms, I just select the tilte from a list, specify that I want to indicate the page number, and that's it. No need even to jump around in the document (which is quite an annoying task when talking about a 300 pages book).

Would be nice for 1.1.4 wouldn't it?

THANKS for considering, answering, discussing and most of all for developping this NICE alternative to buggy costly commercial software, Urs.
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billbc
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest you look at Stylist/Navigator in this forum and perhaps too at

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=8225

Changing from ms to Ooo is a bit like the difference between a racing bike and a sports-car: both have pedals, and both get you from A to B, but you can't use them in exactly the same way.
By the way, it's pointless trying to get the best out of "Navigator" if you don't use the "Stylist". And it's definitely worth the trouble to use templates, too.

[/url]
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ursus
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your suggestions Billbc.

Of course I spent a couple of weeks using OOo before daring to make suggestions. I do use stylist as well as navigator, both nice features of OOo, even if navigator does not incorporate all the features of the "outline view" of ms-word.

However, I guess, it is one of the goals of the OOo developpers to build a software that is at least as convenient and intuitive to use as the big mainstream competitior. And quite honestly, on the long run, to reach this goal is probably the only chance of survival for OOo. So to build another sports car that features anoter, perhaps a better, engine is quite OK, but why not putting the pedals at the same places. If we are already comparing to cars and bikes: All other brands had to adapt to the first one that put the gas pedal right and the break in the middle... (was it Ford T...?) I guess the same applies for softwares: people get used to a certain interface and the competitors may build better programs, but they will have to adapt to what the consumers are used to in order to have a chance on the market.

Yeah, and the thing with the tables is really extremely annoying... I spent hours trying to make a table break over pages without success. Do you know the solution or isn't there any? All the best! Urs.


billbc wrote:
I would suggest you look at Stylist/Navigator in this forum and perhaps too at

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=8225

Changing from ms to Ooo is a bit like the difference between a racing bike and a sports-car: both have pedals, and both get you from A to B, but you can't use them in exactly the same way.
By the way, it's pointless trying to get the best out of "Navigator" if you don't use the "Stylist". And it's definitely worth the trouble to use templates, too.

[/url]
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Kaaredyret
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

billbc wrote:
I would suggest you look at Stylist/Navigator in this forum and perhaps too at

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=8225

Changing from ms to Ooo is a bit like the difference between a racing bike and a sports-car: both have pedals, and both get you from A to B, but you can't use them in exactly the same way.
By the way, it's pointless trying to get the best out of "Navigator" if you don't use the "Stylist". And it's definitely worth the trouble to use templates, too.

[/url]


And how would the navigator help him?

Cross references in OOo are too primitive. The feature will be improved, however:
http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=25072

The lack of a satifying cross reference feature in Writer is keeping me away from Writer. Writers implementation is not just different; it is too simple, really just a bookmark function.

I really like Writer, but I cannot switch from MS Office to Writer before this, and a few other features, works.
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billbc
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are two issues here: one is that there is a lways room for improvements, and there are people working on them (as Kaaredyret points out). The other is that my analogy is also valid in two directions: I began writing with an Atari ST and sophisticated word-processing at a time when Word was a myterious jumble of cryptic text commands at the bottom of a dark page. When I had to switch to an IBM PC in 1992, I was much happier with Star Writer
than with Word, which was still in a pathetic state. These days, if I am forced to use Word, I am very irritated because I am not familiar with the way it works.
This is your problem in reverse.

As for breaking tables between pages, the problem only seems to arise a) when the original table was made with MS-Office and b) when a row is split. Splitting a row doesn't seem to be a very good idea, in fact I would find it very confusing, but not being able to import a large table is definitely a pain. Up to now I have got round the problem of disappearing rows by importing the table into nvu or Composer before re-importing it into Writer. As I don't have the problem very often, I can live with that. Otherwise I write long texts with varying formats, where I normally don't need to worry about anything except the content.

I suspect that one reason why Microsoft is taking its time implementing the xml standard is that it would then become much easier to import Ms-files into OpenOffice. Of course, if we all used Linux we wouldn't be faced with these issues and programming could be concentrated on making the applications even better (after all, Word is far from perfect, people are just used to it.)
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multi-lingual_ooo
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 11:27 am    Post subject: Re: SUGGESTIONS FROM A COMPLEX DOCUMENT WRITER Reply with quote

[
- View: A view setting, where the pages are not separated,

View Online Layout and also check "Text Boundaries", Field Shadings", Non Printing Characters", "Fields", and "Hidden Paragraphs".

I _think_ that will provide what you want.

>the footnotes are viewable in a separate window

I thought you could have OOo with split screens, but I don't see it listed as an option.

> (long) tables: A way to enable/disable automatic page breaking within tables,

Go Format Tables Enable Page Breaks.

>partucularly as well within rows or between rows of the same table.

Do you want the top half of the row on page 1, and the bottom half on page 2?
Or do you mean columns a thru g of row 1 on page 1, and columns h thru m of row 1 on page 2?
Or do you mean row 1 on page 1, and row 2 on page 2?
Or do you mean something else?

>- Cross-Referencies: If I want to insert a cross reference that indicates just the page

Try the Cross Reference Macro.

>Would be nice for 1.1.4 wouldn't it?

OOo 1.1.4 is scheduled for release this month.
The "Feature Freeze" for OOo 2.0 went into effect a month or two ago.

You might see it in 2.0.1, if you file and issuezilla for it now, and get at least six votes. Having somebody provide the code would also help.

xan

jonathon
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ursus
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 12:25 pm    Post subject: Thanks multi-lingual_ooo Reply with quote

Lots of useful hints! I will try them out and give you a feed-back. Thx.
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ursus
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 12:32 pm    Post subject: Agree to all of that... Reply with quote

Hi Billbc, Ideed, my tables were imported from ms-word, as I switched only a couple of months ago to OOo. Yeah, I started with ms-word in the black screen era, I got quite used to it and had my pain switching to the gui-version being a cmd-line enthusiast. However one thing I find really nice in OOo is that it gives you the option to use the ms-format as default, because honestly I am the only one in my circle who uses OOo and I need to exchange documents quite frequently. I hope this table issue gets solved in a future release. Thanks for your help..

billbc wrote:
There are two issues here: one is that there is a lways room for improvements, and there are people working on them (as Kaaredyret points out). The other is that my analogy is also valid in two directions: I began writing with an Atari ST and sophisticated word-processing at a time when Word was a myterious jumble of cryptic text commands at the bottom of a dark page. When I had to switch to an IBM PC in 1992, I was much happier with Star Writer
than with Word, which was still in a pathetic state. These days, if I am forced to use Word, I am very irritated because I am not familiar with the way it works.
This is your problem in reverse.

As for breaking tables between pages, the problem only seems to arise a) when the original table was made with MS-Office and b) when a row is split. Splitting a row doesn't seem to be a very good idea, in fact I would find it very confusing, but not being able to import a large table is definitely a pain. Up to now I have got round the problem of disappearing rows by importing the table into nvu or Composer before re-importing it into Writer. As I don't have the problem very often, I can live with that. Otherwise I write long texts with varying formats, where I normally don't need to worry about anything except the content.

I suspect that one reason why Microsoft is taking its time implementing the xml standard is that it would then become much easier to import Ms-files into OpenOffice. Of course, if we all used Linux we wouldn't be faced with these issues and programming could be concentrated on making the applications even better (after all, Word is far from perfect, people are just used to it.)
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ursus
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2004 11:10 pm    Post subject: Re: SUGGESTIONS FROM A COMPLEX DOCUMENT WRITER Reply with quote

Xan: Thank you again for your suggestions. Unfortunately it does not work: OOo freezes when trying to apply online view to a long document (see http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14221). Regards! Urs.

- View: A view setting, where the pages are not separated,

View Online Layout and also check "Text Boundaries", Field Shadings", Non Printing Characters", "Fields", and "Hidden Paragraphs".
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are we talking about an html document? "Online View" in OpenOffice only exists for html ,as far as I know. I checked in 1.98, the latest pre-release, and even that has disappeared. The whole point is that the "online view" function in MS Word is handled quite differently in Writer, which uses structures with Navigator to keep track of complex documents.
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AntonioFabio82
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

billbc wrote:
Are we talking about an html document? "Online View" in OpenOffice only exists for html ,as far as I know. I checked in 1.98, the latest pre-release, and even that has disappeared. The whole point is that the "online view" function in MS Word is handled quite differently in Writer, which uses structures with Navigator to keep track of complex documents.


With OOoWriter 1.1.2 I can also have a "online view" for non-html documents.
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billbc
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you mean "View- Online Layout"? This will show non-html docs but is not the same as Word's "Online View" (I believe that is what it is called). As I said in my previous post, the confusion should not arise in the new version, which will apparently not have this menu item any more (I won't miss it, having used Star Writer/Star Office/OpenOffice for over ten years without even knowing the menu item was there!)
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ursus
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Billbc. It's not about what MS calls Online View, but about something analog to MS "normal view" which is simply a view setting that shows the text continously, without showing it on pictures of pages. Makes it easyer to work with long texts when you actually do not yet care about the layout but rather about the content. Such a "normal view" showing the text continously and the footnotes in a separate window would be a real enhancement in OOo.


billbc wrote:
Do you mean "View- Online Layout"? This will show non-html docs but is not the same as Word's "Online View" (I believe that is what it is called). As I said in my previous post, the confusion should not arise in the new version, which will apparently not have this menu item any more (I won't miss it, having used Star Writer/Star Office/OpenOffice for over ten years without even knowing the menu item was there!)
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ursus wrote:
Hi Billbc. It's not about what MS calls Online View, but about something analog to MS "normal view" which is simply a view setting that shows the text continously, without showing it on pictures of pages. Makes it easyer to work with long texts when you actually do not yet care about the layout but rather about the content. Such a "normal view" showing the text continously and the footnotes in a separate window would be a real enhancement in OOo.


I agree.
It is also useful to show page breaks (as dotted lines), that aren't visibles in the normal view... And the visualisation may be a lot speeded up in this mode, that doesn't show frames and other objects on the page.
I think this would be a great enhancement for OOo.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Page breaks are visible in "normal" (that is, OOo default) view if View -> text boundaries is active: It's shown as a darker top line in the next page. You can change this colour in Tools -> options ->OpenOffice.org -> appearance -> page and columns breaks
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