Category Archives: Open Source

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Choosing line alignment in LibreOffice


The Alignment tab of a LibreOffice paragraph style has four ways of positioning text on a line: Left, Right, Centered, and Justified. In practice, however, Right is used mostly for highly-formatted documents such as brochures, while Centered is mostly reserved for titles and sub-titles. For body text, the choices are usually Justified, in which the left and right sides of the text column align with both the left and right margins, and Left or “ragged right,” in which only the left side of the text column aligns consistently with a margin. Asked to choose between Justified and Left alignments, most users will choose Justified — but the choice is not as simple as you might think.


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Making Barcodes with Free Software & Inkscape


Barcodes provide a very simple, reliable, machine-readable way to read numbers or addresses into your computer so that information can be looked up online or in a database. There are a number of different standards for barcodes, and the most-commonly used ones are quite easy to use and create with simple free software applications, whether you want to incorporate them directly in your cover art, or make stick-on labels for marking packages. Here, I’ll walk you throught the basics of three popular types of barcodes: UPC, EAN (including ISBN), and QR codes.

Producing the barcode itself is trivial in Inkscape — the leading Free/Open Source Software vector drawing application — ever since the extension became part of the standard distribution, with version 0.46. The current version supports several kinds of barcodes, including the UPC and EAN types. To continue reading the complete howto, visit:

Design a Trendy Business Card in

In this tutorial, we’ll be making some very neat business cards using Inkscape. We’ll be starting from a template to keep sizing completely accurate – which also means you can actually print them!


By Aaron Nieze from

Setup the Document

Step 1

Since we’ll be starting from a template, go to and download their business card template WL-244 in PDF. Once that’s downloaded, you can actually open that file straight from Inkscape. It’s a PDF file, so it’ll open up the PDF Import window. The standard settings should be just fine, so just click OK whenever you’re ready.


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Creating Tables of Contents in LibreOffice

In LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice, tables of contents (ToCs) are grouped with index and bibliographical entries under Insert -> Indexes and Tables. All of them are created with a similar procedure, but the details vary for each case. Tables of contents in particular allow much more options for formatting than are available in MS Office.

The basic steps are easy:

  1. 1. Mark in the text the entries for the table of contents.
  2. 2. Position the table of contents where you want it.
  3. 3. Format the ToC (if necessary)

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Two Great Linux Applications for Aspiring Photographers

As a Linux user, you have plenty of photography applications to choose from: digiKam, GIMP, Rawstudio, Darktable, just to name a few. However, if you are just dipping your toes into the world of photography, you might want to keep things simple, and start with a less complex tool for managing and tweaking your photos. In this case, consider gThumb. This image viewer packs several powerful features which make it a perfect tool for managing photos and retouching them.

gThumb is a rather capable image viewer that allows you to manage, edit, and share photos

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Outlining in LibreOffice Writer

Whether you’re in business or school, outlines can be an essential part of your writing. You may plan a longer piece of writing in one, or use one as an executive summary. Either way, you should find the Outline Numbering dialog in Writer’s Tool menu useful. However, it requires some setup before it is ready to use.

Several versions ago, I would have suggested the second option of creating the list styles that you need, then attaching them to paragraph styles, using the Number tab. Now, you can still take this option, but, if you do, you must start by creating your own styles for each outlining level first.

The reason for this extra work is that, in recent versions of LibreOffice the ability to attach list styles to Headings 1-10 paragraph styles has been disabled. Presumably, this change was made to avoid confusion with the Outline Numbering dialog. However, the change means that this second option now requires additional work to obtain the same results that you can get much more easily with Outline Numbering. This second option is much better kept for lists within the text of a document, which is what it is designed for.

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Seven Reasons for Choosing LibreOffice over Microsoft Office

OK, LibreOffice is free for the download, and you can install it on as many different machines as you choose. But a free price and a free license aren’t much good if the software doesn’t have the features you want.

Happily, that’s usually not a concern with LibreOffice or its predecessor, OpenOffice. Although many people assume that a free application must be inferior to one that they pay for, a comparison of LibreOffice with Microsoft Office (MSO) proves that the opposite is often true. Sometimes, MSO has features that LibreOffice lacks, but, just as often, it’s LibreOffice that has more tools than MSO.

However, unless you’re concerned about a must-have feature, there’s usually no need for a point by point comparison. Focusing on performance and high-level interface choices alone, I can think of at least seven reasons to choose LibreOffice over MS Office:

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Working with Barcodes in LibreOffice/

Neither LibreOffice or Apache installs with the ability to print barcodes. However, if you need barcodes, you have at least three ways to add them to either office suite.

The first — and least elegant — method is to use one of the many dedicated shareware, freeware, or free-licensed applications for printing barcodes and labels.

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9 Tricks for Using List Styles in LibreOffice/

List styles are an open secret in LibreOffice and If you press the F11 key to open the Styles and Formatting palette, they’re in plain site at the end of the buttons for the five types of style – yet hardly anyone goes beyond their basic use or even uses them at all. However, if you take a closer look, there are all sorts of ingenious uses for list styles.

Like any type of style, lists styles save time. Change the style, and in seconds you change the formatting of every instance that you use the style throughout the document, instead of hunting down each instance and changing it manually.

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Page styles in LibreOffice

Many users of LibreOffice and are familiar with paragraph and character styles. By contrast, page styles are less familiar. However, if you take the time to set up page styles once in a template, the effort can automate your formatting for years in dozens of documents.

You’ll find page styles in the same place as the rest of the styles, in the Styles and Formatting floating window available by selecting Format -> Styles and Formatting in the menu or pressing the F11 key. It’s the fourth button from the left in the floating window, between Frame and List styles, the other two less commonly used types of styles.

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