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Customize Open Office Writer

Now that we’re all spending some time investigating our new “toy” – you’ll have to excuse me, new programs are toys to me since I love to see what I can get them to do!

Anyway, back to what I was saying… now that we’re all investigating OpenOffice I thought that we might want to take a look as how we can tailor it to our individual preferences.

I can’t speak for you but I know that I tend to make all my workstations (home, office, Microsoft or OpenOffice) look about the same.

When I open a blank file I want to start with roughly the same thing each time so I “move into” the new program. (It’s a nesting instinct that I just can’t ignore.)

For example, in the Writer program the first thing that I wanted to get rid of was the box marking the text boundaries and I found that in the View menu. Simply deselect that choice.

You’ll probably find for many appearance issues that the View menu, in any of the programs, will help you to address your needs.

The next thing I wanted to investigate for flexibility was the toolbars. (Besides the basic ability to choose which ones to display from within the View menu.)

In my previous programs I’ve had the ability to rearrange and modify the contents of each one so I went in search of the options. Fortunately, I found quite a few.

First, just like in many program there are handles on the left side of the toolbars.


If you want to rearrange them simply drag and drop them where you choose. (Top, bottom, left or right… or even make it a floating toolbar!)

Next I found that at the end of each toolbar there is a down arrow.


Click that to access the entire list of available buttons for each toolbar. Under the Visible Buttons sub-menu you can select and deselect buttons to suit your needs.

For those of you who are really adventurous and want to control the button order you’ll want to choose Customize Toolbar from the down arrow.


In the Customize dialog box on the Toolbars tab you’ll find a list of buttons for the toolbar and to the right of that up and down arrow buttons.

Select a toolbar button and use the up and down arrow buttons to move it to a new location.

When you’re happy with one toolbar setup you can choose a different one in the top section and then make changes to it too.

Is there more?

Yep – you bet but I’d have to say that is probably enough for one day.

We’ll delve deeper into customization of those toolbars next time – so stay tuned if you’re adventurous and want to truly make things the way you want them.