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styles/templates confusion
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Wordflee
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 5:55 pm    Post subject: styles/templates confusion Reply with quote

I've managed to get myself totally confused about styles and their relation to templates. I never really understood what styles were, or what the stylist does, since I started using OO. Recently, I've decided I need to understand better to effectively use the program. Unfortunately, the bit of reading I've done to try and clarify matters has only made me more confused. I'd therefore like to ask here for either clarifications from other users, or links to some good documentation on these matters, for starters.

It seems to me like a template should be a sort of master document - a blank document set up with various tweaks to its appearance, layout and sequence. Say, margins of a certain specification, page numbers occuring in a certain place, a header. Is that right? It seems so obvious to me that this is what a template is, or should be, but I suppose I could be wrong. Anyway, if I'm right about what a template is, then I need a way to distinguish what the stylist is and does with reference to templates. I feel fundamentally confused about how the two interrelate. Do they do similar things, with certain parts of a common task assigned to templates and other parts of the same task assinged to styles and the stylist? I just read a bit of documentation where someone talked about using the stylist, and they were using it in a way that seemed really strange to me. Not that I've used it much: I just try to keep it turned off and out of the way, since it's not really clear to me what it is or does. I perceive that folks involved with the OO project have some strong ideas about the way a word processing program should function and how a user should interact with it - what I'd call a "philosophy" of word processors. Maybe I need to understand that philosophy better to understand OO and how to use it effectively?

I will appreciate input or pointers to documentation that can help clear up my confusion.

Thanks, James
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RGB
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try here for documentation:
http://www.math.umd.edu/~dcarrera/openoffice/docs/
Styles are the way in which OOo manage the "formating" of the document (type of character, size of a page, titles, and so on), and the stylist is the tool for working with this stuff.
Template is a document where you previously defined a collection of styles for using with new documents (like letters, articles, books, ...)
Good luck... and be patient: OOo have (almost) everything you want in a office program Wink
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geoff_f
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James, you have the correct concept for templates - that's exactly what they're for, and a little bit more, but more of that later.

Styles do for paragraphs what templates do for documents. A paragraph can have a particular font, font size; it can be bold, italic, underlined; it can be all capitals, or all lower case, etc; it can have lots of formatting that is possible under Format->Paragraph and Format->Character. Where you want to have a paragraph formatted with a lot of attributes that are different from the Default style (ie, the standard format for paragraphs that comes out of the box), instead of having to make multiple settings for every paragraph, again and again, OOo lets you define all those particular attributes into a Style, with a name (say, MyFancyFormat) that identifies it for you. To use your style, select the text that you want to have that particular format - it may be one paragraph, several paragraphs, or the whole document - then double-click on the style in the Stylist (or select it from Format->Styles->Catalog). All of the selected text then adopts the style's formatting. The alternative would have you selecting the text, then setting individual formats one after the other - font, font size, bold, italics, indenting, background color, etc. Styles are real time savers.

Now, back to templates and the little bit more that they can do. As well as defining page margins, etc, templates also hold a collection of styles. You might have a set of styles for writing an essay that are completely different to those you use for writing business letters, which might be different again to those you use to write the Minutes of your hobby club's monthly meetings. To make things easier to organize your documents, you can define styles for those different uses and save them in their own templates - say, essay.stw, business.stw and Minutes.stw.

There's more info in OOo's help files. Look at Help->Contents-> Contents tab-> Text Documents-> Formatting Text Documents-> Templates and Styles. You can also select Help's Index tab, type in 'Styles' and follow the links from there.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

geoff_f wrote:
There's more info in OOo's help files. Look at Help->Contents-> Contents tab-> Text Documents-> Formatting Text Documents-> Templates and Styles. You can also select Help's Index tab, type in 'Styles' and follow the links from there.


Thanks for the replies here. Reading the info in the OO help is part of what got me more confused. Likewise reading about styles at the URL RGB provided did not help much. Maybe I'm dense. Even so, I will appreciate further input and help here, and it may in fact help educate me about OO and the wisdom behind the way it does things.

I think it may be helpful to clarify one out of several issues at a time. I'd like to take the issue of templates vs the stylist's "Page Styles." I understand page styles and templates to be pretty much exactly the same thing, the only difference being that you cannot select a page style when you go to open a new document, while you can select a template. Am I wrong about this? What can a template do that a page style under the stylist cannot do, or vice versa?

Thanks, James
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RGB
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Suppose that you need to write different things, like: a letter, a novel, a fax, and you do that kind of document very often. Then you create a lot of styles: the header of the letter, the author of the novel, or a style for its chapters, etc. If you put everything in the same place, this become a a little mess: here enter the templates.
You made a template for letters, with date, sign, salutes, etc
A template for your novel, with chapter styles, a proper index, page numbering, etc
And so on.
Then, when you need to create one of this kind of documents, you don't need to redo the whole formating: you use the proper template.
That's the main idea.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RGB wrote:
Suppose that you need to write different things, like: a letter, a novel, a fax, and you do that kind of document very often. Then you create a lot of styles: the header of the letter, the author of the novel, or a style for its chapters, etc. If you put everything in the same place, this become a a little mess: here enter the templates.
You made a template for letters, with date, sign, salutes, etc
A template for your novel, with chapter styles, a proper index, page numbering, etc


Can these things be done with Stylist > Page Styles as well?

Thanks, James
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RGB
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You must use the stylist inside each template ir order to obtain the styles needed for your document.
You can think of the template like a mould to made each kind of documents: you have a mould for the novel, a mould for the fax and so on. Every mould was made with the stylist, but was saved in a different file. When you want to write a new letter, you could open your "letter template" and start to work inside this mould. That's all.
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Wordflee
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. Thanks for your patience. Let me cite a real-world task I need to accomplish which could help by giving an instance to apply the ideas I've been asking about.

I've created 2 templates that will be used in the bulk of pages of my document: one is landscape-oriented with an inserted-in-footer page number and some other unique formatting features, the other a portrait-oriented template with page-number-inserted-in-header. I've done a portion of my document already using the landscape-oriented template. Now, within that same section, I need to insert a few pages of prefatory remarks: these pages should use the portrait orientation with all the attributes I've applied to my portrait-oriented template. Do I use templates or page styles to insert these prefatory pages? Any pointers on how?

Thanks, James
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Wordflee
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RGB wrote:
You can think of the template like a mould . . . . Every mould was made with the stylist


So, the Stylist creates both styles and templates?

Thanks, James
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Wordflee
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please, could someone help? I'm getting nowhere with this. The documentation I'm reading is of little or no help, and I understand so poorly the overall nature of what I'm doing it's not really very sensible to just keep taking wild stabs at this. Is there no way to insert the prefatory, portrait-oriented pages - conforming to the portrait-oriented template I've made - at the front of my landscape-oriented document section? Is using styles the way to do this? Can I insert my portrait-oriented template there somehow and have it not interfere with the landscape-oriented stuff that follows? I'm at an impasse with this, and my understanding of templates and their differentiation from styles seems not to be progressing. I'm willing to learn, but is there someone willing to teach?

James
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Wordflee
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The task: we have a section of my document - let's call it Appendix A. This section consists of about 35 pages of parallel text and has been put in landscape orientation since portrait was too narrow. This section needs to have, say, 5 pages of prefatory material. Those pages need to be in portrait orientation. So, about 40 pages: 5 in portrait orientation, 35 in landscape. Each page has a header - both the portrait- and landscape-oriented pages. Since these pages are all from the same section, they should have the same text in the heading. But in the case of the portrait-oriented pages, the header is going to need to contain a page number that needs to appear in the upper right hand corner of the page. In fact, the number needs to appear in the margins, so some special settings available under format > paragraph need to be set for these and so that the text on the page below the header will begin at 1 inch from the top page edge (style sheet requirement). The landscape-oriented pages, on the other hand, will have the default header formatting, and there will be *no* page number inserted in it. Instead, the page number needs to appear in the bottom right hand corner of these landscape-oriented pages - again in the margins. So, special settings for the footer as found under format > paragraph are set, allowing the page number to appear in the margins yet cause the text on the page above it to extend no farther down than 1 inch from the bottom of the page. Sounds rather complex, I'm sure. I've figured out the part about specially tweaking the header and footer format settings for the portrait- and landscape-oriented pages so that page numbers appear in the right places and the text on the main part of the page gets bound by margins stipulated in my stylesheet: no need to pay any attention to that. What needs attention is how to get these two differing page orientations to appear within a particular section and not clobber each others' specially-tweaked paragraph settings for header/footers (page numbering, distance of the given header/footer from the main text on the page). Note as well the the landscape pages have *both* a header and footer, while the portrait pages have only a header - though one that differs quite a bit from the found in the landscape pages. I have not found any way to do this, and I've read carefully what documentation I can find. That's not to say I might not have overlooked something. But I defeinitely need help to progress further. Input, anyone? Don't I need to stipulate some sort of break within the section where portrait-orientation will end and landscape- begin? But what sort of break would this be? I can't work that out from the documentation. And doing insert > manual break > page is not helping, since that only allows access to page styles defined using the stylist, and these have no options for setting paragraph parameters which is what I need to get the page number positioning I need.

Thanks, James

PS To get the page numbers where they need to appear I've had to set differing top and bottom margins for the portrait- as opposed to landscape-oriented pages: the portrait-oriented pages ahve a .5 inch top margin and 1 inch bottom margin (left and right margins are the same for portrait- and landscape- pages), while the landscape-oriented pages have a .5 inch bottom margin and a 1 inch top margin. Just further, possibly relevant details.
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dfrench
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Difficult to see the problem here...
First avoid doing any hard formatting if you are using styles like this ... it will really be difficult to debug.

You need at least two page styles (say portrait and landscape) with a manual page break at the end of the portrait text setting the new landscape style.
This covers all the margin, header,footer requirements.

If you have need of a paragraph style for page number spec (this I cannot imagine) and it is different on the two orientations of page then it is a different paragraph style and two styles should be created para-portrait and para-landscape.

all the styles are direct children of a template or document; paragraphs styles do not belong to page styles.
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ftack
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wordflee, as long as you are working with a single document, you are working with a single template. One template = One document.

Inside your document (based on one template) you use styles.

You want both landscape and portrait pages into one document. This implies pages with a different style, so oposite to what you seem to suspect, page styles are the way to proceed here, as dfrench already pointed out. You need at least one page style for the portrait pages and one page style for the landscape pages. To switch to a different page style, you need Insert - Manual Break - Page break and specify a page style. Alternatively, paragraph styles can be defined to automatically begin on a new page with a specified style (great for first pages of a chapter, for instance).

Both your landscape and portrait pages use a different page style. That implies that you have to define running headers for each one of these. What you need to do is to tweak the layout of these two different pages through page settings until you get the layout you want for each of them. Then tweak the headers, footers and page numbers for each of them.


Quote:
What needs attention is how to get these two differing page orientations to appear within a particular section and not clobber each others' specially-tweaked paragraph settings for header/footers (page numbering, distance of the given header/footer from the main text on the page).


This won't happen using different page styles because each page style has its own independent settings for margins, header and fotter areas, etc.

Quote:
Note as well the the landscape pages have *both* a header and footer, while the portrait pages have only a header - though one that differs quite a bit from the found in the landscape pages. I have not found any way to do this, and I've read carefully what documentation I can find.


Again, different page styles. You first need to define these styles before you can apply them. Once you've applied them, any change on the page you apply using Format Page automatically updated the page style (there is no such thing as "direct formating" here: page settings are controlled solely by styles).

Quote:
That's not to say I might not have overlooked something. But I defeinitely need help to progress further. Input, anyone? Don't I need to stipulate some sort of break within the section where portrait-orientation will end and landscape- begin?


No. Just switch to the Landscape page style if you want landscape pages, and to the Portrait page style if you want Portrait styles. Each time you switch back and forth, you will need to copy the contents of the header and the footer from a previous group of landscape pages to the new group of landscape pages, because the page style only controls the layout settings (spacing) and not the actual content of headers and footers or body text..

Quote:
But what sort of break would this be? I can't work that out from the documentation. And doing insert > manual break > page is not helping, since that only allows access to page styles defined using the stylist, and these have no options for setting paragraph parameters which is what I need to get the page number positioning I need.


This is the way, and as I already outlined, you should tweak headers and footers on one page, then copy the contents to a new group of landscape (or portrait) pages.
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geoff_f
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James, I'll just elaborate a bit on what dfrench has covered, and correct some of your perceptions of templates you stated earlier.

James said:
Quote:
Do I use templates or page styles to insert these prefatory pages?

You've definitely got the wrong idea about templates here. When you think of 'template', think of whole document, not just the page layout of a document. Templates are more than a specification of things to do with page size and margins - they involve everything you can put in a document. This includes all formatting of text (paragraph styles, character styles, numbering styles), the page layout (page styles), the text itself, macros that may be included to make life easier, etc. For example, you could type out a form letter with most of the text already entered, save it as a template, and when you create a document based on that template, it will be created with the text already there. So, templates are all about the whole document; whereas styles, being sub-sets of documents, are just sub-sets of templates. The answer to your question therefore, is that you use page styles to separate your portrait and landscape pages, as dfrench has outlined.

James said:
Quote:
So, the Stylist creates both styles and templates?

No: the Stylist only creates styles. You create a template by configuring a document - in its totality (which includes all its styles) - and saving it as a template by using File->Templates->Save. You use this template to create a new document as a clone of that template by using the dialog from File->New->Templates and Documents.

James said:
Quote:
Can I insert my portrait-oriented template there somehow and have it not interfere with the landscape-oriented stuff that follows? [my emphasis]

Again, the impression you give here is that templates are page specifications, and no more. No, templates are not something just to control a page layout; they are more than that. Just to clarify this last statement: you can have two separate templates which both specify a landscape page style. One template's landscape page might have 2.5cm (1in) margins all round, have a title in the header and a page number in the footer. The other template's landscape page might have 1.3cm (1/2in) margins, have no footer, and have a page number in the header, but no title. Creating new documents from those templates will cause them to have different landscape pages where those page styles are used. But they will also be different in other respects as well. In fact, they will be different in every area of formatting and content that the source documents were different when the templates were created. This includes everything in a document that is possible to be different from another document. Re-read my second paragraph above to see examples of these possible differences.

It won't hurt to reinforce my main point: templates specify the attributes of the whole document, not just page attributes. Styles are part of a document's attributes, which also makes them part of a template's attributes.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your input on this thread: it's helping me understand better how the program works. Just to be clear: if I create some - let's say page - style using the stylist, then that style will only be available from within that document. Is that right? So, if I open a different document, that style won't be available for it? Likewise, if I create a style in association with a template: any document I create using that template will have that style available to it? Further clarification with respect to these questions will be appreciated.

Let me ask those who have answered to look at format > load styles. This brings up a window titled, as one would think "load styles." But what are the choices presented within this window? They are the templates I've created. This is at least one area of the program in which styles and templates are synonymous: loading styles means loading templates. I don't know if this is some sort of oversight or mistake of the interface creators, or if it's maybe an indication of what RGB earlier indicated - i.e., that the Stylist creates templates. But I do think that this sort of thing could be partly responsible for my confusion about templates and styles.

Moving on. Now that I've gotten some further clarification on the respective roles of templates and styles insofar as they relate to my task, I suggest the problem I have in trying to further edit my landscape-oriented document has to do with the fact that I need to insert a page break *at the beginning* of my document, rather than at the end. I set up a portrait-oriented style for the document, as was suggested. However, when I place the cursor at the beginning of the document and insert > manual break > page > portrait-style, the whole document (everything following the page break inserted) gets converted to that style. I seem unable to insert a page break based on a differing page style at the beginning of my document and not have it affect the page style of what follows (the bulk of the document that I've already created and that uses landscape-orientation). What I need, on the contrary, is for the page break to affect what *precedes* it - not what follows it. Is there a way to do this or no? Must I create a separate portrait-oriented document, then somehow insert it at the beginning, somehow sepcifying where the landscape-orientation should begin?

Thanks, James
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