How LibreOffice Writer Tops MS Word: 12 Features: Page 2

If you think LibreOffice Writer is outclassed by MS Word, you need to take another look.

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5) Frame Styles

Frames are the containers for objects in a document. In Writer, they can have styles applied to them -- a feature that is roughly paralleled in Word for text frames, but not for other objects.

Why would you want to use frame styles? For the same reason you use any styles: to automate your work. Instead of setting characteristics like the border, background and text wrap around each time you insert an object -- or finding, copying and pasting an earlier frame -- you can apply a frame style with a single click. Frame styles are especially useful for hard-to-position frames, like those for annotations in the margin.

6) Hierarchical Paragraph Styles

Technically, Word paragraph styles are hierarchical. However, since every style is based on Normal, the hierarchy is not much use when you want to make subtle design changes quickly

Admittedly, all Writer's paragraph styles are based ultimately on the Default style. But Writer's paragraph styles also have intermediate levels. If you want to change all the headings in a document, instead of editing styles Heading1 through Heading10, you only need to change the Heading style. The same arrangement applies to the styles used for indexes and tables of contents.

7) WYSISYG Headers and Footers

In the last few releases, headers and footers have become significantly less awkward in Word. Using multiple header and footer layouts in particular has become much easier.

Unfortunately, though, headers and footers in Word continue to be restrained by limited designs that divide the space into several columns and that use partly hidden features and labeled diagrams for editing. As a result, in Word you still get only an approximation of what the edited results are like as you edit.

Unlike Word, Writer shows headers and footers very chose to how they will print, with more options. It also ties them to page styles, making them easier to find than in Word.

Writer also gives you more control. Where Word only allows users to set the distance between the header or footer and page edge, Writer also lets you choose the distance from the text and the distance from the left and right margins and choices about how to set the height of headers and footers.

The type and position of any lines in the header or footer can also be modified, as well as the header and footer paragraph styles. Everything about headers and foots is handled more simply and in more detail than in Word.

8) Custom Properties

Individual users often ignore document properties. However, in corporate settings, details such as who wrote the document – and security to control who can do what with a document – can be important. Those who publish online or on an intranet are also concerned with keywords, which can help searchers to locate a document.

However, only Writer includes the ability to add properties. You could, for instance, add fields for an artist or an editor who worked on a document. These fields could then be used where appropriate in the document, instead of typing the names each time.

Should the names changed or need to be updated, you can do so once under custom properties instead of going through the document making manual changes. In this way, custom properties are much like styles.

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Tags: open source, Linux, Office, Word, LibreOffice

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