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Revision as of 11:54, 9 July 2007

This is a user FAQ for OpenOffice.org Writer.

This page has FAQs about the printing and mail merge using OpenOffice.org Writer.

Back to main Writer FAQ page.

For more information, see these two chapters in the Writer Guide:
Printing, Faxing, Exporting, and E-mailing
Using Mail Merge

Note: Many of these FAQs were originally written for OpenOffice.org 1.x and may not have been updated to reflect changes in OOo 2.x. We are working on checking updating all of them, but this takes a lot of time and more volunteers are needed. If you find an answer that is out of date, please either correct it or leave a comment on the "Discussion" tab of the relevant page. The Writer Guide chapters listed above are up to date.

Why does my document get marked as modified when I print it?

This is because certain information regarding the printer is saved in the document data. This can be turned off in the Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > General dialog. Deselect the checkbox labelled 'Printing sets "document modified" status'.

How to print an envelope in OpenOffice.org?

To print an envelope, follow these steps:

  1. Open OOo Writer.
  2. Insert > Envelope.
  3. On the Envelope tab, enter your address info.
  4. On the Format tab, set Size > Format to DL. Adjust layout to suit.
  5. On the Printer tab, select the layout that reflects how to feed.
  6. On the same tab, click on Setup. This opens a new dialog.
  7. On the Setup dialog, select your printer and click Properties.
  8. On the Properties dialog, select the envelope size in the dialog.
  9. Same dialog, select Orientation. This depends on how your envelope feeds (see step 5) In any case, landscape means that the text is rotated 90 degrees so that it is parallel to the envelope and vice versa for portrait.
  10. If you have a manual feed tray, select this under Device.
  11. Click OK.
  12. Click OK.
  13. Select New Doc if you only want the envelope or insert to add it to your existing doc.
  14. In the new window, check that all is okay and click the Print icon.

Now you have an envelope.

Skipping steps 6 through 12 will cause you no end of problems.

See also Chapter 5, Printing, Faxing, Exporting, and E-mailing in the Writer Guide.

How do I remove an envelope from a document?

Removing an envelope from a document can be tricky. Work is being done to make this easier in the future. In the meantime, here are the steps to manually remove the envelope:

  1. Place the cursor at the beginning of the envelope page.
  2. If the Styles and Formatting window is not open, press F11 to open it.
  3. Change to the Page Styles options. It's the fourth icon from the left.
  4. Double-click on "Default".
  5. Remove the remaining elements.

How do I setup mail merge?

There are three main steps: creating the data source, creating the mail merge document, and printing. It's simple once you get the hang of it.

  1. First you need to "register" the data source (spreadsheet, address book, other file, or database) that the mail merge will use. To do this, choose File > Wizards > Address Data Source from the menu bar and follow the wizard's pages.
  2. Choose File > Wizards > Letter and work through the wizard. It will let you pick the data source you want to use. Then just insert the fields you want. (Another approach is to choose File > New > Text Document, create a new Writer document, select View > Data Sources (or press F4) and drag the fields you want onto the document.)
  3. To print, choose File> Print. Pick the range of data source records to use, then click OK and you get the regular print options window. If you're printing on envelopes MAKE SURE your printer is set up for the same size envelope in the paper tray as you're set up to print to.

How do I create labels in OpenOffice.org?

Select: File -> New -> Labels. In the dialog that appears, you will be able to enter the initial text for the label(s) and select the label type (Avery, etc.) desired. Click on "New Document" to open the document using the settings you selected.

For a detailed description of the process, and problem-solving tips, see Chapter 11, Using Mail Merge in the Writer Guide.

How do I hide a blank address line (or a NULL field value) when doing a mail merge?

Mail addresses for letters or envelopes have a different number of lines. There are two separate things you have to do.

Firstly create the form letter with all the fields that might appear - test that it works and that is shows extra blank lines and spaces where some fields are null.

Then you need to do the work required to make the extra spaces/paragraph marks disappear.

Consider a layout like this:

<First_Name>[space]<Surname>[Return] <House_Name>[Return] <House_No>[space]<Number_Modifier>[space]<Street>

Some houses don't have names, and some addresses are of the form 13 b High Street and some are 121 Acacia Avenue.

You do this by running a test on the values.

First ensure that Hidden Fields are shown on screen, otherwise you will get in a terminal head spin. This is the menu option: View->Hidden Paragraphs

To make the line disappear, put the cursor between and [Return] and choose the menu option: Insert->Fields->Other (or [CNTL][F2] if your desktop manager doesn't intercept it).

The third tab is Functions - choose that. The option Hidden Paragraph is the one we want.

On the right hand side there are three options for invoking a hidden paragraph. We just want the Condition.

Enter 'not(House_Name)' - without the quotes. This tests the field, and if it is empty makes the para disappear. You could also use the condition 'House_Name EQ ""' - this format should be used when the database returns a NULL, with '""' replaced by 'NULL'.

To make the extra space after disappear, select the space. Chose Insert->Fields->Other and the Functions Tab. This time you select 'Hidden Text' on the left and use a similar conditional.

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