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The Las Vegas Writers Group Message Board › LibreOffice and a few tips

LibreOffice and a few tips

A former member
Post #: 44
Now I know some of you use specific novel writing software such as Scrivener to type your stories and that's cool. It's got some great tools to organize your story in preproduction, writing, and editing your story. This post isn't for you.

If all you use is a regular word processor, I cannot recommend LibreOffice (formerly OpenOffice) enough. It's FREE, it's for the three major platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux), and does everything you need to lay out a novel. It also lets you save in MSWord or PDF format.

Here's a few tricks I learned when using LibreOffice (many of these can be done in MSWord as well and slightly differently). There are other great, free word processors out there like GoogleDocs and Abiword, but the following tips are for LibreOffice.

Formatting a new chapter on a new page:

When I started writing my novel, I had the issue of how I was going to divide my chapters up. The first plan was to do each chapter in a separate document. This doesn't work because page numbers need to be adjusted for chapters 2 onward and if you edit an earlier chapter, you were doomed to renumber everything after. If you combine them all into one document, you'll need to start a new chapter on a new page. Here's how you do that:
1. Write at least two chapter's worth of material.
2. Put the flashing cursor at the start of your next chapter. At the start of your next chapter, go to insert>manual break
3. Bubble in "Page break" and make sure the style pull-down says "none". Click OK and where you had the cursor will begin a new page. If you add or delete material, all pages will automatically be renumbered accordingly (given you have page numbers visible).

Bookmarks for chapter navigation

So you got your entire manuscript in one document. It's a pain to navigate if you want to skip around to edit different chapters. Here's how to add bookmarks:
1. Put the flashing cursor at the start of your chapter.
2. Go to insert>bookmark
3. Put your chapter number and a short description if you want.
4. Click OK and your bookmark is set.
5. To navigate to a chapter, right click the page indicator at the bottom left hand of the window. It should come up with a menu of bookmarks to navigate to.

Coloring that is easy on the eyes.

The default color scheme for a word processor is black text on white background (exactly how it will print). Sit and stare at that for a few hours typing and get back to me. Hurts, doesn't it? I've noticed that a different color scheme when typing will be easier on the eyes. I prefer green text on white background (this is probably why DOS had a black background in the old days). Your preference may vary, but if you want to change your text and background colors BUT still have them print black text on white paper, do this:
1. Go to Tools>Options
2. Go to LibreOffice>Appearance
3. Adjust the font and background colors to something easier to read.

Hope this is helpful.
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