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Shrink to Fit in Open Office

Denny from Missouri asks:

Microsoft Word has a “shrink to fit” option under the print preview function that will take a document that extends a few lines onto an additional page and adjust the font and picture size to make it all fit in the document without the additional page. Does Open office Writer have a similar option?

As many of you already know, Open Office is a free, Microsoft Office-compatible alternative to Microsoft Office.  For those of us who preferred Office XP’s interface to Office 2007 or 2010’s interface, these are also more familiar waters in which to swim.  What many of us have also discovered is that, although Open Office is a GOOD program, it does lack some of the features of Microsoft Office. One of these, sadly, is the one-touch “shrink to fit page” option.

All is not lost, however, Denny.  When you click on the shrink to fit button in an Office document or spreadsheet, it accomplishes this task in one of a few ways, and, although a little more labor-intensive, you can actually do all of these things manually.  Also, doing them manually like this gives you greater control over how your final document looks.

The first and easiest of these in Open Office Writer (OO’s equivalent of word) is to change the font.

Step one in this process is to select the text of either the section that you want to resize, or, if all of the document is the same font size, the entire document.  You only want to select certain text if you have different font sizes for different items in the document.  For instance, if you have a 20 point title and 12 point text, you may want to reduce the title to 18 point and the text to 10 or 11.  If you want to select individual text, simply highlight the text that you want to change and then move on to step two.  For selecting the entire document, you want to use “Select All” from the Edit tab on the toolbar.

Step two is to select the new font size from the toolbar.

Keep shrinking the text, one step at a time, until you have achieved your objective.

Another way to do this that will change the look of your document somewhat more significantly is to widen the margins.  If you do this, I would recommend only changing the right margin, as changing the left margin will also effect your indents.  In order to change the right margin, simply click on the upside-down triangle at the right of your ruler and pull it to the right until it is as wide as you want to go.

Be cautious using this, however, because you may overrun your printers ability to print the document on a single page.

In Open Office Calc (OO’s version of Excel), there is one easy step to doing this, and that is to change the size of the cells themselves.  Remember, though, that if you change the height of the cell too much, you will have to change the size of the font in order for the information in the cell to fit.  The first step here is to click on the empty box in the upper-right corner of your spreadsheet.

This will select all of the cells in the spreadsheet.  You change the height of the cells by clicking on the line under one of the numbers on the left hand side of your spreadsheet and pulling up.  You change the width of the cells by clicking on the line to the right of one of the letters along the top of the spreadsheet and pulling to the left.  Typically, though, if you are trying to fit it all on one page, you will have to change the height of the cells and not the width.

Hope this helps.

~Randal Schaffer