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WorldLabel on OpenOffice

April 21st, 2009 Benjamin Horst

WorldLabel publishes Opens Up for Business, a blog post about the increased enthusiasm for open source, and OpenOffice in particular, in this time of economic difficulty.

The article is intended as an introduction for new users who may not know OOo yet, so it starts off easy, and includes the following handy anecdote:

Having switched the office I worked at, I know first hand that regular people quickly learn Originally chosen for its price, it was the standard office suite on all computers. Looking back, it would have been ideal to provide training, but the staff, clients, and newcomers learned it with fewer questions than I expected. Many people didn’t seem to notice it was not the Microsoft Office they used before.

Next is a useful summary of the steps involved in migrating a company to OpenOffice, from evaluation, to getting management support, running a pilot project and providing training and learning resources.

With some good advice on customization and suggestions for Extensions, it’s a great introduction to the software. Extension Count

January 20th, 2009 Benjamin Horst

If you’re wondering about the number of extensions currently available for OpenOffice, look no further than the Content Statistics page of the Extensions Repository.

As of this writing, that number is 270.

The name and basic description of each is available from the above page as well as the overall count.

“9 Must-Have OpenOffice Extensions”

December 1st, 2008 Benjamin Horst

OpenOffice’s Extensions are getting a lot of attention lately. Several articles in the latest Linux Identity special issue describe extensions, including my own (The Top OOo Extensions, second from last in the list).

In addition to these,’s Damien Oh writes 9 Must-Have OpenOffice Extensions, which offers another take on some of the best. Among his favorites are the Sun PDF Import Extension, Professional Template Pack II, OpenOffice.org2GoogleDocs, Writer’s Tools, LanguageTool, and several more.

The Ubuntu Wanted Project

September 26th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

Ubuntu’s implementing another clever idea in the form of its Ubuntu Wanted Project.

The idea is to build a web collaboration space for users to submit ideas for improvements and new features that developers could then implement for Ubuntu:

“What do we need to get innovative stuff implemented?

  1. A great idea
  2. The manpower
  3. The infrastructure and toolset

(1) is now more or less successfully covered by Ubuntu Brainstorm. Concerning (3), some good infrastructures exists around here, such as Launchpad, and development toolsets are good but not yet optimal IMO (I’ll keep that for later). (2) is much more tricky.”

There’s been a discussion at of the need for something similar, as lots of people have good ideas for extensions, and lots of developers capable of making extensions are looking for popular user demands to satisfy. Maybe it’s time to build an “ Brainstorm” site!

COOoder Extension: Syntax Highlighting in

September 12th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

Cedric Bosdonnat introduces the new version of COOoder, an OOo extension that automatically highlights programming code in OpenOffice documents. The new version brings a handful of new features to the extension.

Combining text editor functionality into a word processor sounds like it could be an awkward hybrid, but Cedric suggests its primary use is to place code snippets into word processing documents in a more readable format, and that sounds like it could be useful for a lot of programming teachers, among others.

Screenwriter “Extension” for OpenOffice

September 5th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

Alan C. Baird has developed Screenwrite(R), an template for formatting screenplays, which is distributed for free on the OpenOffice extensions site.

Unlike most of the extensions on the site (which are actually extensions), this is just a formatted template you download and add to your OOo installation. I’m not sure whey it’s distributed here, but it’s pretty cool and quite useful for film folks, anyway.

For very detailed instructions on finding and installing OpenOffice templates, check out HowtoForge’s article, “Using and Customizing Templates in”

OpenOffice Extensions: Fast Mail Merge

August 28th, 2008 Benjamin Horst

Mail merge has been a pain for some friends of mine using within their university administrative department, so I’ve been on the hunt for ways to make it easier. Solveig covers OpenOffice 2.x mail merge in an article from 2006 (which I’ve mentioned before), but they still have a few problems with editing the results of the merge before printing labels.

A new extension, Fast Mail Merge, was created to simplify some aspects of creating a mail merge, but I can’t really test it out since it’s not available for OOo 3.0 on Mac OS X (Linux and Windows versions are available). Nonetheless, this extension should prove useful to many OOo users out there.