How-to: Create a linked index with Openoffice

Today I am going to explian how it’s possibile to create a linked index of a document. All of us know the importante of indexes in written documents. But if this documents are stored electronically (tipically in PDF format) it’s nice to have a clickable index, which immediatly redirects you to the part of the document you are intrested in.

Creating an index

To easily created an index the quickest way is to format your index entries through the most intuitive instrument: Headers. You can find this options in the toolbar Formatting (View->Toolbars->Formatting).

On this toolbar you find the Heading style I am talking about. As you can see you don’t just have one heading, but at least three. Heading 1 is to be used for the most important titles (es: chapter titles). After this you can use Heading 2-3-4 to create your gerarchy. Once you have created your documents structure is time to create the index.

Select where on your document you want to set your index (usually at the beginning) and go on Insert -> Indexes and Tables -> Indexes and Tables

A small window will open. That’s the window which lets you control your index. Give your index a name and move to the tab named Entries that’s the one which matters for our scope, which is to create a linked index.

Index and Tables windows

The part really interesting for us is the Structure section. This structure specifies, for each level, how one entry of the index should look like. The standard format is the following:

  • E#: Chapter number
  • E: Entry
  • T: Tab stop (this gives the line of spots we see)
  • #: Page number

Linking index entries

Between one an another of this buttons there is a small textbox which can be used both to write something or to add new pieces to the line entry layout. Our goal is to create a linked index. In order to to this:

  • Click on the “E#” button. Click on the “Hyperlink” button. The label of “E#” is now changed to “LS” which stands for “Link Start”. Below select “Page number” from the Character style.
  • Click now on the small textbox after the last entry of the line structure, “#”. Click now on “Hyperlink” again. A new piece should be added and it’s label should be “LE” (Link End).

The is how your structure should look like now:

Final structure
Final structure

The last thing to do is to click on “All“. This will apply the newly created structure to the whole index and not just to the “first level” (Heading 1).

Click now on “OK”. Your index will now be inserted in your document and the entries will be clickable. When you will click on the entries you will automatically been redirected to the specific header. In order to try links in OpenOffice you have to click on the index entries while you keep CTRL button down.

You can now for exemple export your document as PDF and have a really nice clickable index in the PDF format!

Small tip: to automatically update your index after some changes you do in the doc’s structure just right-click on your index and select “Update Index/Table”.

How-to: Create a linked index with Openoffice

How-to: Create PDF forms with OpenOffice

Hi everybody,

under these month I’ve been managing a lot of burocracy due to my Erasmus period which will start in August in Tampere, Finland. Among all the forms I had to fill in, I recieved a PDF file from Finland which actually was a form. I hadn’t seen such files before! So I asked me: How do I create one of them? So after some tries… here you are! My experience.

Why
But why should you need to create such a form? Well, PDF forms are really much better than *.doc or *.odt forms. That’s because in a PDF files fields remain exaclty where you put them and you can set plenty of intresting parameters. They are easily online-fillable and this is nowadays really important.

How
To create a PDF Form you will need OpenOffice. As far as I know Microsoft Office doesn’t support PDF export (but I heard this feauter will be implemented in the next version of Office). You can easily get the OpenOffice suite here: http://www.openoffice.org/

There is not a big difference between OpenOffice and Microsoft Office for what concerns the GUI (Graphical User Interface). So even if you are new to OpenOffice and used to work with MS Office you should not find any big difficulty in working on this easy stuff.

Open now OpenOffice Writer. Here you are. You can now handle this page as you usually do as any other written document. But your question surely is: How do I insert form controls/fields?

To insert Form controls and fields go on View -> Toolbars -> Form Controls .This will show you a toolbar with plenty of useful form stuff such as Labels, Text Boxes, Check Boxes, etc…
In this toolbar you will also find another useful button, More Controls which allows you to insert even more controls.

Inserting form controls in your page should not be a problem. Just find a layout you like. You can treat this elements exactly as any other element like an image, a paragraph or whatever. With a right click on the object you can modify its properties. Really intresting are the “Control…” and “Data…” entries which allow you to set advanced properties of your newly creted object.

Once you have created your form it’s time to create the PDF file. You can click on the “Export directly as PDF” button directly from OpenOffice’s standard bar or either go on File->Export as PDF and select some more advanced options.

There you are! Now you have your PDF Form. You can fill it and print it obtaining a really standard piece of paper, useful if you have to collect lots of the same information from many people.

Pay attention
Please note that you PDF module won’t be saveable. People just have to fill it in and take a print in order not to loose their work!

That’s it. Hope this will be of some help for somebody. Otherwise it has been a great exercise in written English for me! 🙂

How-to: Create PDF forms with OpenOffice