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Four layout extensions for OpenOffice.org Writer

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OpenOffice.org Writer is as much a desktop publishing program as a word processor. That fact, however, has yet to have much influence on the extensions created for Writer -- perhaps because most users prefer manual formatting to organizing themselves with page styles, templates, and other elements of document design. Still, extensions for layout are starting to appear, as demonstrated by four extensions that help you automate layout: Alba, which manages page orientation; Pagination and Pager, which manage page numbering; and Template Changer, which allows you to change the template, and therefore the entire layout of documents, on the fly. And all but one of these extensions use styles and templates, the way that OpenOffice.org is built to work, which means that they are highly stable.

You can install each of these extensions in the usual way: Download the file, then select Tools -> Extension Manager -> My Extensions, and use the Add button to navigate to the file. The newly added extension will be listed under My Extensions as Enabled, but you will have to restart OpenOffice.org to use it.

Alba

To change page orientation between landscape and portrait in Writer on a single page is a matter of either selecting Format -> Page or setting up at least one page style for each orientation and switching between them as needed. Neither is especially efficient, which is where Alba comes in handy.

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