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Formatting text

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Using styles is recommended

Styles are central to using Writer. Styles enable you to easily format your document consistently, and to change the format with minimal effort. A style is a named set of formatting options. Writer defines several types of styles, for different types of elements: characters, paragraphs, pages, frames, and lists. See Chapter 3 (Using Templates and Styles) in this book and Chapters 6 and 7 in the Writer Guide.

Formatting paragraphs

You can apply many formats to paragraphs using the buttons on the Formatting toolbar. The figure below shows the Formatting toolbar as a floating toolbar, customized to show only the buttons for paragraph formatting. The appearance of the icons may vary with your operating system and the selection of icon size and style in Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > View.

Formatting toolbar, showing icons for paragraph formatting.
1 Open Styles and Formatting window     8 Line Spacing: 1.5
2 Apply Style 9 Line Spacing: 2
3 Align Left 10 Numbering On/Off
4 Centered 11 Bullets On/Off
5 Align Right 12 Decrease Indent
6 Justified 13 Increase Indent
7 Line Spacing: 1 14 Paragraph Format dialog

Formatting characters

You can apply many formats to characters using the buttons on the Formatting toolbar. The figure below shows the Formatting toolbar as a floating toolbar, customized to show only the buttons for character formatting. The appearance of the icons may vary with your operating system and the selection of icon size and style in Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > View.

Formatting toolbar, showing icons for character formatting.
1 Styles and Formatting window     9 Subscript
2 Apply Style 10 Increase Font
3 Font Name 11 Reduce Font
4 Font Size 12 Font Color
5 Bold 13 Highlighting
6 Italic 14 Background Color
7 Underline 15 Character Format dialog
8 Superscript
Tip.png To remove manual formatting, select the text and click Format > Default Formatting, or right-click and select Default Formatting.


Autoformatting

You can set Writer to automatically format parts of a document according to the choices made on the Options page of the AutoCorrect dialog (Tools > AutoCorrect Options).

Tip.png If you notice unexpected formatting changes occurring in your document, this is the first place to look for the cause.


Some common unwanted or unexpected formatting changes include:

  • Horizontal lines. If you type three or more hyphens (---), underscores (___) or equal signs (===) on a line and then press Enter, the paragraph is replaced by a horizontal line as wide as the page. The line is actually the lower border of the preceding paragraph.
  • Bulleted and numbered lists. A bulleted list is created when you type a hyphen (-), star (*), or plus sign (+), followed by a space or tab at the beginning of a paragraph. A numbered list is created when you type a number followed by a period (.), followed by a space or tab at the beginning of a paragraph. Automatic numbering is only applied to paragraphs formatted with the Default, Text body or Text body indent paragraph styles.

To turn autoformatting on or off, go to Format > AutoCorrect and select or delete the items on the sub menu.

Creating numbered or bulleted lists

There are several ways to create numbered or bulleted lists:

  • Use autoformatting, as described above.
  • Use list (numbering) styles, as described in Chapter 6 (Introduction to Styles) and Chapter 7 (Working with Styles) in the Writer Guide.
  • Use the Numbering and Bullets icons on the paragraph formatting toolbar: select the paragraphs in the list, and then click the appropriate icon on the toolbar.
Documentation note.png It is a matter of personal preference whether you type your information first, then apply Numbering/Bullets, or apply them as you type.

Using the Bullets and Numbering toolbar

You can create nested lists (where one or more list items has a sublist under it, as in an outline) by using the buttons on the Bullets and Numbering toolbar. You can move items up or down the list, or create subpoints, and even change the style of bullets. Use View > Toolbars > Bullets and Numbering to see the toolbar.

The appearance of the icons may vary with your operating system and the selection of icon size and style in Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > View.

Bullets and Numbering toolbar.
1 Bullets On/Off 8 Insert Unnumbered Entry
2 Numbering On/Off 9 Move Up
3 Numbering Off 10 Move Down
4 Up One Level 11 Move Up with Subpoints
5 Down One Level 12 Move Down with Subpoints
6 Move Up (One Level) with Subpoints 13 Restart Numbering
7 Move Down (One Level) with Subpoints     14 Bullets and Numbering

Hyphenating words

You have several choices regarding hyphenation: let Writer do it automatically (using its hyphenation dictionaries), insert conditional hyphens manually where necessary, or don’t hyphenate at all.

Automatic hyphenation

To turn automatic hyphenation of words on or off:

  1. Press F11 to open the Styles and Formatting window.
  2. On the Paragraph Styles page of the Styles and Formatting window, right-click on Default in the list and select Modify.
  3. Modifying a style.
  4. On the Paragraph Style dialog, go to the Text Flow page.
  5. Turning on automatic hyphenation.
  6. Under Hyphenation, select or deselect the Automatically option. Click OK to save.
Documentation note.png Turning on hyphenation for the Default paragraph style affects all other paragraph styles that are based on Default. You can individually change other styles so that hyphenation is not active; for example, you might not want headings to be hyphenated. Any styles that are not based on Default are not affected.

You can also set hyphenation choices through Tools > Options > Language Settings > Writing Aids. In Options, near the bottom of the dialog, scroll down to the find the hyphenation settings.

Setting hyphenation options.

To change the minimal number of characters for hyphenation, the minimum number of characters before a line break, or the minimum number of characters after a line break, select the item, and then click the Edit button in the Options section.

Hyphenation options set on the Writing Aids dialog are effective only if hyphenation is turned on through paragraph styles.

Manual hyphenation

To manually hyphenate words, do not use a normal hyphen, which will remain visible even if the word is no longer at the end of a line when you add or delete text or change margins or font size. Instead, use a conditional hyphen, which is visible only when required.

To insert a conditional hyphen inside a word, click where you want the hyphen to appear and press Control+hyphen. The word will be hyphenated at this position when it is at the end of the line, even if automatic hyphenation for this paragraph is switched off.


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