Choosing Options for All of Apache OpenOffice

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Choosing Options for All of Apache OpenOffice

This section covers some of the settings that apply to all the components of Apache OpenOffice. For information on settings not discussed here, see the online help.

Click Tools → Options, or on macOS OpenOffice → Preferences. The list in the left-hand box of the Options – OpenOffice dialog varies depending on which component is open. The illustrations in this chapter show the list as it appears when a Writer document is open.

Click the marker (+ or triangle) by OpenOffice on the left-hand side. A list of pages opens. Selecting an item in the list causes the right-hand side of the dialog to display the relevant page.

AOO41GS12 001.png
Figure 253: OpenOffice options
Documentation note.png The  Back  button has the same effect on all pages of the Options dialog. It resets the options to the values that were in place when you opened Apache OpenOffice.

User Data Options

The name or initials stored in the OpenOffice – User Data page are used for several things, including document properties (created by and last edited by information) and the name of the author of notes and changes. You should ensure that the correct information appears here. Fill in the form (shown in Figure 254), or amend or delete any existing incorrect information.

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Figure 254: Filling in user data

General Options

The options on the OpenOffice – General page are described below.

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Figure 255: Setting general options for OpenOffice


When Tips is active, one or two words will appear when you hold the mouse pointer over an icon or field, without clicking.

Help–Extended tips

When Extended tips are active, a brief description of the function of a particular icon or menu command or a field on a dialog appears when you hold the mouse pointer over that item.

Help Agent

To turn off the Help Agent, deselect this option. To restore the default behavior, click  Reset Help Agent .

Help formatting

High contrast is an operating system setting that changes the system color scheme to improve readability. To display Help in high contrast (if your computer's operating system supports this), choose one of the high-contrast style sheets from the pull-down list.

High-contrast style Visual effect
Default Black text on white background
High Contrast #1 Yellow text on black background
High Contrast #2 Green text on black background
High Contrast Black White text on black background
High Contrast White Black text on white background

Open/Save dialogs

To use the standard Open and Save dialogs for your operating system, deselect the Use OpenOffice dialogs option. When this option is selected, the Open and Save dialogs supplied with OpenOffice will be used. See Chapter 1 (Introducing Apache OpenOffice) for more about the OpenOffice Open and Save dialogs. This book uses the OpenOffice Open and Save dialogs in illustrations.

Print dialogs–Use OpenOffice dialogs

(macOS only) To use the standard Print dialogs for your operating system, deselect the Use OpenOffice dialogs option. When this option is selected, the Print dialogs supplied with OpenOffice will be used. This book uses the OpenOffice Print dialogs in illustrations.

Document Status

If this option is selected, then the next time you close the document after printing, the print date is recorded in the document properties as a change, and you will be prompted to save the document again, even if you did not make any other changes.

Year (two digits)

Specifies how two-digit years are interpreted. For example, if the two-digit year is set to 1930, and you enter a date of 1/1/30 or later into your document, the date is interpreted as 1/1/1930 or later. An “earlier” date is interpreted as being in the following century; that is, 1/1/20 is interpreted as 1/1/2020.

Memory Options

In the Options dialog, click OpenOffice → Memory.

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Figure 256: Choosing Memory options for OpenOffice

These options control how the program uses your computer's memory and how much memory it requires. Before changing them, you may wish to consider the following points:

  • More memory can make Apache OpenOffice faster and more convenient (for example, more undo steps require more memory); but the trade-off is less memory available for other applications, and you could run out of memory altogether.
  • If your documents contain a lot of objects such as images, or the objects are large, Apache OpenOffice's performance may improve if you increase the memory for OpenOffice or the memory per object. If you find that objects seem to disappear from a document that contains a lot of them, increase the number of objects in the cache. (The objects are still in the file even if you cannot see them on screen.)
  • To load the Quickstarter (an icon on the desktop or in the system tray) when you start your computer, select the option near the bottom of the dialog. This makes Apache OpenOffice start faster; the trade-off is that AOO uses some memory even when not being used. This option (sometimes called Enable systray quickstarter) is not available on all operating systems.

View Options

The options on the OpenOffice – View page affect the way the document window looks and behaves. Some of these options are described below. Set them to suit your personal preferences.

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Figure 257: Choosing View options for AOO applications

User Interface–Scaling

If the text in the help files or on the menus of the AOO user interface is too small or too large, you can change it by specifying a scaling factor. Sometimes a change here can have unexpected results, depending on the screen fonts available on your system. However, it does not affect the actual font size of the text in your documents.

User Interface–Icon size and style

The first box specifies the display size of toolbar icons (Automatic, Small, or Large). The Automatic icon size option uses the setting for your operating system. The second box specifies the icon style (theme); here the Automatic option uses an icon set compatible with your operating system and choice of desktop: for example, KDE or Gnome on Linux.

User Interface–Use system font for user interface

If you prefer to use the system font (the default font for your computer and operating system) instead of the font provided by AOO for the user interface, select this option.

User interface–Screen font anti-aliasing

(Not available in Windows; not shown in Figure 257.) Select this option to smooth the screen appearance of text. Enter the smallest font size to apply anti-aliasing.

Menu–Icons in menus

Choosing Automatic or Show displays icons in addition to words in menus.

Font Lists–Show preview of fonts

Causes the font list to look like Figure 258, Left, with the font names shown as an example of the font; with the option deselected, the font list shows only the font names, not their formatting (Figure 258, Right). The fonts you will see listed are those that are installed on your system.

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Figure 258: Font list (Left) With preview; (Right) Without preview

Font Lists–Show font history

Causes the last five fonts you have assigned to the current document to be displayed at the top of the font list. Otherwise, fonts are shown in alphabetical order.

Graphics output–Use hardware acceleration

Directly accesses hardware features of the graphical display adapter to improve the screen display. Not supported on all operating systems and AOO distributions.

Graphics output–Use anti-aliasing

Enables and disables anti-aliasing, which makes the display of most graphical objects look smoother and with fewer artifacts. Not supported on all operating systems and AOO distributions.

Tip.png Press  ⇧ Shift  +  Ctrl  +  R  to restore or refresh the view of the current document.

Mouse positioning

Specifies if and how the mouse pointer will be positioned in newly opened dialogs.

Middle mouse button

Defines the function of the middle mouse button.

  • Automatic scrolling–dragging while pressing the middle mouse button shifts the view.
  • Paste clipboard–pressing the middle mouse button inserts the contents of the “Selection clipboard” at the cursor position.

The “Selection clipboard” is independent of the normal clipboard that you use by Edit → Copy/Cut/Paste or their respective keyboard shortcuts. Clipboard and “Selection clipboard” can contain different contents at the same time.

Function Clipboard Selection clipboard
Copy content Edit → Copy  Ctrl  +  C  Select text, table, or object.
Paste content Edit → Paste  Ctrl  +  V  pastes at the cursor position. Clicking the middle mouse button pastes at the mouse pointer position.
Pasting into another document No effect on the clipboard contents. The last marked selection is the content of the selection clipboard.


Determines the appearance of selected text or graphics, which appear on a shaded background. To make the shaded background more or less dark, increase or decrease the Transparency setting.

If you prefer selected material to appear in reversed color (typically white text on a black background), deselect this option.

Print Options

On the OpenOffice – Print page, set the print options to suit your default printer and your most common printing method.

In the Printer warnings section near the bottom of the page, you can choose whether to be warned if the paper size or orientation specified in your document does not match the paper size or orientation available for your printer. Having these warnings turned on can be quite helpful, particularly if you work with documents produced by people in other countries where the standard paper size is different from yours.

Tip.png If your printouts are incorrectly placed on the page or chopped off at the top, bottom, or sides, or the printer is refusing to print, the most likely cause is page size incompatibility.

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Figure 259: Choosing general printing options to apply to all AOO components

Path Options

On the OpenOffice – Paths page, you can change the location of files associated with, or used by, OpenOffice to suit your working situation. In a Windows system, for example, you might want to store documents by default somewhere other than Documents folder.

To make changes, select an item in the list shown in Figure 260 and click  Edit . On the Select Path dialog (not shown; may also be titled Edit Paths), add or delete folders as required, and then click  OK  to return to the Options dialog. Note that some items can have at least two paths listed: one to a shared folder (which might be on a network) and one to a user-specific folder (normally on the user's personal computer).

Tip.png You can use the entries in the OpenOffice – Paths dialog to compile a list of files, such as those containing AutoText, that you need to back up or copy to another computer.

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Figure 260: Viewing the paths of files used by OpenOffice

Color Options

On the OpenOffice – Colors page, you can specify colors to use in AOO documents. You can select a color from a color table, edit an existing color, and define new colors. These colors are stored in your color palette and are then available in all components of AOO.

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Figure 261: Defining colors to use in color palettes in AOO

To modify a color:

  1. Select the color to modify from the list or the color table.
  2. Enter the new values that define the color. If necessary, change the settings from RGB (Red, Green, Blue) to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) or vice versa. The changed color appears in the lower of the two color preview boxes at the top.
  3. Modify the Name as required.
  4. Click the  Modify  button. The newly defined color is now listed in the Color table.

Alternatively, click the  Edit  button to open the Color Picker dialog, shown in Figure 262. Here you can select a color from the color window on the left; or you can enter values in the boxes on the right, using your choice of RGB, CMYK, or HSB (Hue, Saturation, and Brightness) values.

The color window is linked directly with the color input fields on the right; as you choose a color in the window, the numbers change accordingly. The lower color field on the left shows the value of the selected color on the left and the currently set value from the color value fields on the right.

Modify the color components as required and click  OK  to exit the dialog. The newly defined color now appears in the lowest of the color preview boxes shown in Figure 261. Type a name for this color in the Name box, then click the  Add  button. A small box showing the new color is added to the Color table.

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Figure 262: Choosing colors

Another way to define or alter colors is through the Colors page of the Area dialog, where you can also save and load palettes, a feature that is not possible here. In Calc, draw a temporary draw object and use the context menu of this object to open the Area dialog. If you load a palette in one component of AOO, it is only active in that component; the other components keep their own palettes.

Font Options

You can define replacements for any fonts that might appear in your documents. If you receive from someone else a document containing fonts that you do not have on your system, OpenOffice will substitute fonts for those it does not find. You might prefer to specify a different font from the one the program chooses.

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Figure 263: Defining a font to be substituted for another font

On the OpenOffice – Fonts page:

  1. Select the Apply Replacement Table option.
  2. Select or type the name of the font to be replaced in the Font box. (If you do not have this font on your system, it will not appear in the drop-down list in this box, so you need to type it in.)
  3. In the Replace with box, select a suitable font from the drop-down list of fonts installed on your computer.
  4. The checkmark to the right of the Replace with box turns green. Click on this checkmark. A row of information now appears in the larger box below the input boxes. Select the options under Always and Screen only.
  5. In the bottom section of the page, you can change the typeface and size of the font used to display source code such as HTML and Basic (in macros).

Security Options

Use the OpenOffice – Security page (Figure 264) to choose security options for saving documents and for opening documents that contain macros.

Security options and warnings

If you record changes, save multiple versions, or include hidden information or notes in your documents, and you do not want some recipients to see that information, you can set warnings to remind you to remove it, or you can have AOO remove some of it automatically. Note that (unless removed) much of this information is retained in a file whether the file is in AOO's default OpenDocument format, or has been saved to other formats, including PDF.

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Figure 264: Choosing security options for opening and saving documents

Click the  Options  button to open a separate dialog with specific choices (Figure 265).

Macro security

Click the  Macro Security  button to open the Macro Security dialog (not shown here), where you can adjust the security level for executing macros and specify trusted sources.

Security Options and Warnings

The following options are on the Security options and warnings dialog (Figure 265).

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Figure 265: Security options and warnings dialog

Remove personal information on saving

Select this option to always remove user data from the file properties when saving the file. To manually remove personal information from specific documents, deselect this option and then use the  Reset  button under File → Properties → General.

Ctrl-click required to follow hyperlinks

Many people find creation and editing of documents easier when accidental clicks on links do not activate the links.

The other options on this dialog should be self-explanatory.

Appearance Options

Writing, editing, and (especially) page layout are often easier when you can see the page margins (text boundaries), the boundaries of tables and sections (in Writer documents), page breaks in Calc, grid lines in Draw or Writer, and other features. In addition, you might prefer to use colors that are different from AOO's defaults for such items as note indicators or field shadings.

On the OpenOffice – Appearance page, you can specify which items are visible, and the colors used to display various items.

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Figure 266: Showing or hiding text, object, and table boundaries
  • To show or hide items such as text boundaries, select or deselect the options next to the names of the items.
  • To change the default colors for items, click the down-arrow in the Color Setting column by the name of the item and select a color from the pop-up box.
  • To save your color changes as a color scheme, click  Save , type a name in the Scheme box; then click  OK .

Accessibility Options

Accessibility options include whether to allow animated graphics or text, how long help tips remain showing, some options for high contrast display, and a way to change the font for the user interface of the OpenOffice program.

Accessibility support relies on Java technology for communications with assistive technology tools. See Java Options below. The Support assistive technology tools option is not shown on all AOO installations. See Assistive Tools in OpenOffice in the Help for other requirements and information.

Select or deselect the options as required.

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Figure 267: Choosing accessibility options

Java Options

If you install or update a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) after you install OpenOffice, or if you have more than one JRE installed on your computer, you can use the OpenOffice—Java options page to choose the JRE for AOO to use.

If you are a system administrator, programmer, or other person who customizes JRE installations, you can use the Parameters and Class Path pages (reached from the Java page) to specify this information.

If you do not see anything listed in the middle of the page, wait a few seconds while AOO searches for JREs on the hard disk.

If AOO finds one or more JREs, it will display them there. You can then select the Use a Java runtime environment option and (if necessary) choose one of the JREs listed.

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Figure 268: Choosing a Java runtime environment

Online Update Options

On the OpenOffice – Online Update page, you can choose whether and how often to have AOO check the AOO website for program updates. If the Check for updates automatically option is selected, an icon appears at the right-hand end of the menu bar when an update is available. Click this icon to open a dialog where you can decide to download the update.

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Figure 269: Configuring Online Update

If the Download updates automatically option is selected, the download starts when you click the icon. To change the download destination, click the Change button and select the required folder in the file browser window.

Content on this page is licensed under the Creative Common Attribution 3.0 license (CC-BY).
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