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OpenOffice.org 2.0: Creating a Table of Contents

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Scott M. Morris

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Posted: 7 Jun 2006
 

Applies to:

  • SUSE Linux 10.0
  • SUSE Linux 10.1
  • SUSE LINUX Enterprise Desktop 10
  • Systems using OpenOffice.org 2.0

Introduction

One of the software suites that have helped people shift from Windows to Linux is OpenOffice.org. It is a well-rounded, fully-featured office suite providing, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software, and a database program. The word processing part, called Writer, is what we'll look at today.

In longer documents, navigation can be difficult. It is also easy to lose your place or get lost. One thing that really helps address this issue for you readers is if you can create for them a table of contents. In OpenOffice, creating such a reference for readers is quite simple. Let's take a look at how this is done.

Install OpenOffice.org and run Writer

First, let's make sure you have it installed. Most of the time, it will already be installed, but let's just make sure. Open up YAST, go into SOFTWARE MANAGEMENT, and search for the package called openoffice_org. When it comes up in the right pane, make sure that the checkbox next to it is ticked. Then, click ACCEPT:

YAST may ask you for some CDs as it installs the software.

Next, we will run it.

For KDE users, follow this path:

    K Menu => Office => Word Processor (Writer)

For Gnome users, follow this path:

    Applications Menu => Office => Word Processor => OpenOffice.org Writer

You should see the main window appear, which looks something like this:

Creating the Table of Contents

Let's type in some paragraphs and headings that we can work with. These headings will be what appears in the table of contents. In your blank Writer document, type "Heading Number One" and then press Enter. On the next line, type "This is a paragraph that explains, in detail, everything about Header Number One." and then press Enter. Next, type "Heading Number Two" and press Enter. On the next line, type "This is a paragraph that explains, in detail, everything about Header Number Two." You should how have a document that looks something like this:

Next, we will need to bring up the "Styles and Formatting" window by pressing F11:

What we are going to do here is apply formatting to the headings so that OpenOffice knows where they are. This makes it easy for OpenOffice to generate the Table of Contents. Click on the line in your document that says "Heading Number One". Then, in the Styles and Formatting window, double-click the "Heading 1" entry. You will see the line change in your document:

Let's do the same thing for the line that says "Heading Number Two". Click on that line in your document. Then, double-click the "Heading 1" line in the Styles and Formatting window. Your heading will change:

We are now ready to put in the Table of Contents. Put your cursor at the very beginning of the document, to the far left of the words "Heading Number One." You can do this by pressing CTRL + HOME on your keyboard.

Click on the INSERT menu, go down to INDEXES AND TABLES, and then select INDEXES AND TABLES:

You will see a window appear asking you to set some preferences for your table. Most often, you can just click OK:

Back in your OpenOffice document, you will see the Table of Contents appear:

Notice at the far right that the page numbers appear for which page each heading is located.

You can also do this if you need subheadings. You just apply "Heading 2" from the Styles and Formatting window to any subheadings you wish to create.

You will notice, as you are working on your document, that the Table of Contents does not automatically update itself. Doing this manually is a snap. Simply right-click on the Table of Contents. A small menu appears. Select "Update Index/Table" from this menu:

Any time you add new headings, edit the text of a heading, or remove a heading, you can update your Table of Contents in this manner. You will notice that the subheadings will be slightly indented in your Table of Contents:

Conclusion

In this short example, everything is on page one. However, if you have more than 20 pages, it is helpful to tell the reader where things are. You can do this by implementing a simple Table of Contents, as demonstrated above.

More information can be found here: http://www.tutorialsforopenoffice.org/tutorial/Create_and_Modify_A_Table_of_Contents.html


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