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OpenOffice Writer lists: Dependable, powerful and won't self-replicate when you're not looking

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I think that software should do what I tell it to do. If I insert a picture of my cat doing its happy dance, I want that picture to show up in the document. If I create a formula multiplying the number of times I've seen Lord of the Rings by 3, I want the right answer. And when I create lists, whether it's a list of all my shoes or a five levels deep reference guide to troubleshooting the Sphereon 4500 switch, I want the formatting that I applied to show up correctly. I certainly don't want a list formatted with styles I never created and never asked to be applied.

Unfortunately, that's pretty much what I get when using lists in Word. Even though I have 15 years of experience in the technical writing and desktop publishing, lists in Word drive me crazy with the spontaneous formatting. It's alarming. I have a feeling that if I could talk directly to the list module of Word and tell it to cut it the heck out, a voice would come back to me saying, "I'm sorry, Solveig. I'm afraid I can't do that."

So what's the alternative? Use OpenOffice Writer, of course.

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