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The Text to Table Feature in OpenOffice Writer

OpenOffice.org Writer: Oh Man, I Should Have Used a Table!

While I cannot speak for
everyone, I know that there have been many times that, after setting up information
in a word processing document, I find myself wishing I had used a table
instead of a list of text.

If the list is long and
complicated or really more of a data type of information, a table might
have been the way to go, when it comes to presentation.

Oh well, too late… I’m
done with the list and not redoing the work… or maybe not.

OK, so I don’t mean that
redoing the work is a good option, I’m say that maybe it’s not too late to present
the information in a table without a lot of cut / paste work or starting over.

Here’s the deal:

If you have a list in OpenOffice.org
Writer that should have been in a table, we’ll put it in one using Text
to Table
feature.

We tell Writer which information to use and let it know what character to use as a column indicator, and it does all
the hard work while we sit back and watch.

Admittedly, there’s some
formatting work to be done, since I got a table that went from left to right
margins. I find it to be a decent trade-off… a bit of formatting on a table
is nothing compared to the hassle of setting one up and then moving all the
information into it.

Now that we have a sense
of what we’ll be doing today, it’s time to move on to the “how to” part.

You’ll begin by highlighting
all of the text that should go into the table.

With the text still selected,
you’re off to the Table menu, Convert sub-menu, Text to Table choice.

The Convert Text to Table dialog box will open looking like this:

The top section is where
you tell Writer how to know where to separate the information into
columns.

As you can see it has 3
preset choices (Tabs, Paragraphs & Semicolons) and a fourth choice
labeled as “Other“.

If your pieces of data are
separated by any of the first three, you can choose it. However, if you’re like
me, there’s a good chance that they are separated by a space.

By default my “Other” field had a comma in it. What you see above is the result of me replacing the
comma with a space.

At the bottom you’ll find
a couple of options… such as table borders and headings.

-Use the headings options
if your column titles are a part of the highlighted data.

-The AutoFormat button
can be used to apply preset formatting to your table.

When you’ve set everything
as you want it, click the OK button.

Voila!

Your text list is now in
a table – you’re ready to format it and move on :)

~ April