Generate OpenOffice.org quick help guides

Q I suffer from short term memory loss and would like to be able to print out some OpenOffice.org instructions, such as how to replace row and column headings with labels. Is there an easy way to do this and make pages from just the information I need?

A The OpenOffice.org documentation is available through the Help menu. While there are ways to get the documentation in other formats - which we'll mention shortly - this may be a good option for you. It has a search facility, which you can't replicate with printed documentation, and individual pages can be printed. What's probably more important for your needs is that you can bookmark individual pages or sections and thus keep a list of the pages you need to reference. The Bookmarks tab effectively becomes your personal table of contents.

There's also documentation in other formats available from the OpenOffice.org site, http://documentation.openoffice.org, although it isn't as complete as the built-in help. You will find PDFs and wiki pages covering the various parts of the suite, along with a number of FAQs and tutorials, although the most recent Calc PDF is an incomplete guide for OpenOffice.org 2.0.

The most flexible alternative is to build your own PDF manual using the Collections facility of the wiki described at http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Help:Collections. Go to http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Documentation and find the documents you want to read. When reading a page, there's a Create A Book section in the left-hand menu. Click Add Wiki Page to add the current page to your collection. Once you've added at least one page, a Show Collection link appears, which takes you to a page where you can manage your collection. Here you can reorder pages, organise them into chapters and download a PDF or Open Document file of the book you've created. If you download in Open Document format, you can also edit the layout in Writer before printing.

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