Category Archives: Extensions for Business Users is an excellent all-around productivity suite as it is, but you can add a few useful features using extensions to make it better suited for use in a business environment. Here are a handful of extensions worth considering if you are using as a business tool.

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Managing Bibliographies with and Zotero

If’s own bibliography feature doesn’t really cut it for you, you have several choices. One popular bibliography solution is Bibus, a cross-platform tool that integrates nicely with It is, however, not the only bibliographical tool out there.  In fact, there is another nifty tool called Zotero that turns Firefox into a powerful research tool. More importantly, it comes with an extension that allows you to use Zotero as a bibliography database. Zotero also sports a few clever features that make the process of creating and managing bibliographies much more efficient.

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Using Calc to Manage Schedules

If you want to keep tabs on your deadlines, you don’t need a fancy project management application — often, a simple spreadsheet can do the job. To see how, let’s create a spreadsheet that tracks task deadlines, shows the current status of each task, and highlights scheduling conflicts. In the process we’ll learn a few useful Calc techniques.


To keep things simple, we’ll create a separate sheet for each month, with three columns: Task, Deadline, Days left, Status, and Conflict. The Status column might hold values such as “In Progress” or “Completed.” Depending on the current status, the cells in the Days left column will display either the number of days to the deadline or “OK.” If the deadline for the task has passed but the article’s status is not “Completed,” the Days left column will display “OVERDUE,” making it easier to quickly locate unfinished and overdue tasks. Finally, we’ll use the Conflict column to identify scheduling conflicts: if two tasks have the same deadline date, the Conflict cell of the offending task will display a “CONFLICT” warning (ideally, the spreadsheet should mark both conflicting tasks, but I’m still working on how this can be done).

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Open Office

Welcome to, the world-class office suite that’s also free and open source. This is your new-user orientation. You probably already know that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation application, drawing program, and database: you stay productive without touching your wallet. What you may not know are all the resources to help you make the most of your experience. Read on to discover support, tutorials, community insights, templates, clip art, extensions, and blogs. is organized differently than its main competitor. Hoping to entice business users to purchase support and services, Sun Microsystems (recently purchased by Oracle) gives away not just the free of charge, but also its source code (the blueprints) and a significant degree of control. is organized as a community under the leadership of Louis Suarez-Potts, the community manager employed by Sun Microsystems. Sun funds the infrastructure and most of the software engineers. The community provides additional software engineers, quality assurance experts, marketers, translators, template developers, trainers, help desk staff, and other important roles. Anyone may participate in the community. Continue reading

FastMailMerge: An Alternative Tool

FastMailMerge is an extension for those who feel intimidated by other alternatives. Unlike the standard merge tools or KBarCode, and allows you to see what you are doing each step of the way.

Like any other extension, you can install FastMailMerge by downloading it, then opening Tools -> Extension Manager in The next time you start, the extension is ready to use — but note that its icon is placed on Calc’s toolbar, because, even though it outputs to Writer and other text formats, FastMailMerge uses a spreadsheet as the data source.

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Open Office logo

The economic situation is eating into your profits, and the Microsoft Office licenses look more expensive than before. Or maybe you are familiar with the way Microsoft Office has looked for over a decade: it had a file menu, edit menu, and format menu, and you balk at the thought of retraining your staff for Microsoft Office 2007’s bizarre ribbon. In either case, you don’t have to buy Microsoft Office thanks to the best kept secret in office suites. is a free office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, slide presentation application, drawing program, and database. It’s compatible with practically all operating systems and runs well on old and new computers alike. Don’t worry about exchanging documents with Microsoft Office users because is compatible with many file formats including the new Microsoft Office 2007 formats.
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New Template Repository has launched a new website specifically for templates: Here you can find all the templates you need for presentations, letterheads, business cards, all types of spreadsheets and lots lots more. Search by Tags, highest rated, most popular, latest template,  business, education and private.

If you have created a great template, please feel free to upload it and share your work with the community.

If you need label templates for Writer and Draw visit the Worldlabel template page.

Don’t forget Extensions, these are macros/add-ons that extend in all types of ways and functionality. There are almost 300 great extensions to help you become more productive. Here you can also publish your extensions and discover how popular they are. Check out the Sun PDF Import extension, Writer Tools, Color palettes and color Atlas, Wordlabel’s OOoDesignedLabels and so much more!

Mail Merges in In-depth

Mail merge provides business owners, organizational leaders and even families a way to communicate easily and effectively with clients, members and friends. Mail merge allows users to personalize letters so that mass communication becomes more personal and yet efficient. Mail merge also is an efficient way to organize mailing lists for mailing labels. But, how can you use mail merge in Open Office? That’s the question!

We’ve provided an In-depth guide to mail merge with which explains all the intricacies of using this powerful feature. Learn how to use the mail merge feature to create letters, labels, and envelopes. The guide is also available as a PDF eBook document for your perusal. Continue to article or download the eBook.

The author of this article is Solveig Haugland, an author, instructor, and consultant near Denver, Colorado. She has been working with and StarOffice since 1999 and loves to show people how to make do what they need it to. She blogs at and her business web site is