I've been using Open Office to create my two (so far!) e-books. My first attempts lacked some fairly important elements like a Table of Contents and an Index. Of course Open Office can be helpful in creating these, but it's still quite a bit of work, so my first efforts are a bit crude and clumsy.
Don't panic. I need to remind you once again that you will get FREE updates as I improve these. You get to buy it cheaply now and, if you want, you can just sit back and wait for the final product - don't even read it now if you are fussy about formatting and all that nice stuff.
How will you know when it's done? Well, I'll tell you and also the price will go up (or rather the discount code will go away). But you got it for much less because you bought early!
By the way, sales of these books aren't "through the roof", but enough are selling that I'm not paying close attention to buyers names. So, if we know each other personally and you bought one of these and are wondering why I didn't notice, well, that's why. Drop me a line with your comments and suggestions, please.
Anyway: Table of Contents. That's the easy one. You are supposed to be able to do this partially automatically be applying Heading Styles to your chapter and subchapter text, but I found that was a little unreliable so I reverted to specifically adding to the TOC. You just highlight your chapter heading text and choose "Insert->Indexes and Tables->Entry" and choose "Table Of Contents" and a level:
When you are ready to create your Table of Contents, just "Insert->Indexes and Tables->Indexes and Tables" and choose Table of Contents. You can change the looks of the TOC before applying it. When you need to regenerate, you simply right click on the Table and choose "Update Index/Table".
Creating indexes is a little more difficult. The mechanics are similar (you just choose "Alphabetic Index" instead of "Table of Contents") but you have to choose the words you want to index. You can be lazy about it and have Open Office automatically index all other instances of the word you just chose but that can lead to a large number of irrelevant pages in the Index. You also have to watch out that you select "Match Whole Words" when appropriate: I forgot to do that when I indexed "diff" in the Troubleshooting book, so "different", "difficult" and the like were indexed as "diff". Unfortunately, I haven't found any way to undo that en masse, so I've had to go through one by one fixing these. That's ok - I really need to go through everything carefully anyone to get the best index I can create. It's far from that now, but I'm working on it.
I remain a little confused by "Left-Right" pages. The idea is that you want the first page of chapters and headings to be on odd numbered or "right hand" pages so that they'll always start on a right hand page if printed out. Open Office help seems to understand that and references printing an extra blank page if it encounters two "right" pages in a row. That's fine, but it seems that you can't use that if you want the convenience of having different headers or footers on left and right pages and want to set it to automatically follow a left page with a right page. I found that once I had done that (per instruction in the Help), I could no longer force a particular page to be a "right" page when starting a chapter. Obviously I'm misunderstanding something; I'll keep at it. For now, if I want new chapters to be "right", I have to manually insert blank pages when needed. That can't be right.. I could live with that if I were done adding content, but because I'm still adding to these e-books regularly, that's very annoying.
Tony Lawrence 2008-12-04 Rating:
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The real problem is that programmers have spent far too much time worrying about efficiency in the wrong places and at the wrong times; premature optimization is the root of all evil (or at least most of it) in programming. (Donald Knuth)