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Multi-column document: Need headings on left, text on right

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Joined: 20 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:44 am    Post subject: Multi-column document: Need headings on left, text on right Reply with quote

Hello all -

I am starting on a whitepaper-ish document in oowriter, and I'd like to learn some more about how to use styles and oowriter tools to achieve a particular style.

I've set up the document with 0.6" margins all-around, and I'd like a two-column layout throughout. I want the right column to contain the document text, and the left colum to contain the table-of-contents headings for each section. The left column would be about 2" wide, with the main column taking up most of the page.

I've tried a few different approaches, but haven't hit the nail on the head yet:

1) I tried simply using a 2-column layout, but the body text tries to flow through both colums. This is the natural behavior, so I didn't expect this to work for my app.

2) I tried using the "Text body" style for my text, and indenting it 2", then using an un-indented Contents style for my TOC headings. This almost worked, but the body text was dropped 1 line below the TOC text. I'd like them to be vertically aligned together.

3) I searched for some way to put a text frame on all pages, then link them together for text flow purposes, but a) I couldn't find any way to do a "master" frame, and b) this would require me to manually maintain the vertical location of my TOC headings. I'd rather they moved with the text.

4) I thought about using a giant 2-column table, spanning multiple pages, to keep everything lined up. It would seem like there's a better solution than this, but I'll give it a shot if y'all think it's a decent idea.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 9183
Location: Lexinton, Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A two column table may be a good solution as long as you remember that, at least in OOo versions before 2 beta, you can not split a table row across a page boundary so when you reach the end of a page you need to start a new row.

You might also try inserting a new Section (Insert > Section) for each topic and format it with 2 columns. Insert whatever you want in the left column, then do Insert > Manual Break > Column Break and you can start with your text in the right column. Sections can span pages.

If you need to edit the properties of a section you do so from the Navigator.

Note also that the content of sections can be linked to the content of another document or a part of that document so you could maintain an entire large main document as a group of individual smaller files, if that would be helpful in your situation. Sections can also be hidden based on the content of a variable so you can do things like, if I'm printing my main document about OOo1.1.4 then I want this section to say something but if I'm print it for OOo2 then I want this section to say something else.

EDIT If a section spans a page break then the main text would want to go back to the left column so this may not be a good approach. So here's another.

Create a paragraph style and on the Indents & Spacing tab set the indent before text to two inches. When you want a title to the left insert a frame, set it to the left and set its anchor To Character then drag the anchor to the first character of the appropriate paragragh and the frame should follow the paragraph's position.

Don' t forget to change the paragraph style used in the frame to an appropriate Heading1-10 style so OO will be able to automatically create your TOC.
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