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Part 3 Formatting Complex Documents

This third part of our course on Better Word Processing covers formatting elements of complex documents. These elements include creating and using Numbered Templates, creating and styling a Table of Contents, Mass Mailing tools and Document collaboration tools. Below are the four chapters covering these topics.

9 Creating and Using Numbered Templates
10 Using Headings to Generate a Table of Contents
11 Mass Mailing Tools
12 Collaborating On and Merging Documents

In this section, we review how, when and why to add 8 custom page styles to a book template. These custom book page styles include:

#1 - a Cover page style to insert a front cover to a report or book

#2 – a Front Matter Page Style for pages at the front of the book such as the title and copyright pages that do not use page numbers.

#3 – a Table of Contents Page Style to place a border and other styling on our Table of Contents pages.

#4 – A Preface page style that uses lower case Roman numeral page numbers.

#5 – a Chapter First Page Style that uses a background image and foreground text and does not have a header or a footer.

#6 – a Chapter Overview Page Style that introduces the topics in a chapter and has a footer but not a header.

#7 – a Chapter Content Page Style that has both a header and a footer with Arabian page numbers.

#8 – a Back Matter Page Style that may or may not have a header and/or a footer depending on the content.

You may not need more than three of these page styles with your book. But we are including all 8 of them here as examples of various ways that custom page styles can be used to create interesting page layouts.

We will also indicate with each page style which page style will come after the current page style when we enter a normal page break. Here is a table outlining the sequence of page styles:

Page Style #

Current Page Style

Next Page Style

1

Cover

Default

2

Front Matter

Front Matter

3

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

4

Preface

Preface

5

Chapter First Page

Chapter Overview

6

Chapter Overview

Chapter Content

7

Chapter Content

Chapter Content

8

Back Matter

Default

The reason that the first custom book page style, Book Cover, is followed by the Default Page style is that we will be inserting an extra page break after the cover and we do not want that extra page to use the cover background image. The reason we have Front Matter and Chapter Content followed by the same page style is that we will be inserting several page breaks with each page style. We want each section to retain the previous page style. To change page styles, we will use manual page breaks.

In this section, we will add each of the 8 custom page styles we made in the last section as actual pages to our book template document. But before we do this, we need to first create a simple book cover image to use with our book cover page style on the first page of our book template.

Step 1: Create a Simple Cover Page Image
We can always create a better cover image in the future. But we need an image for the PDF version of our book. Note that this cover image will be submitted separately when you submit the book document to a book publisher. So eventually, we will have two versions, one with a Book Cover page style and a cover image followed by the Front Matter page style with the title page – and a second version without the Book Cover page style and without a cover image. The second version simply begins with the Front Matter page style and a first page that is the title page.

To create a simple book cover image, click on File, New, Drawing. Then save the drawing file to your Custom Book Template folder as My Simple Book Cover. Insert a Text Box and type in the box My Custom Book Title, Enter a new line and type My Book Sub Title. Then create a second feature box and type in Authors Name Here. Then click on Page, Properties, Background and change the background color to a blue radial gradient.

Then click on View > Gallery. scroll down to the School section. Select, then copy and paste the Book clip art into the drawing. Then use Shutter or some other screen capture tool to capture and convert the drawing into an image.

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Copy and paste this image into a blank Writer document. Then right click and compress the image. Then save the image as book-cover dot jpeg to your book template folder. Then save and close your Simple Book Cover Libre Draw document.

Step 2: Insert your Cover image into your Custom Book Template document.
Go back to your Custom Book Template document. Then select and delete the first sentence (My Custom Book Template) in the document so that the first page is completely blank.

Then with your cursor at the top of this first page, and with your Styles Panel open, click on the 1-Cover Page Style.

In the two previous sections, we created 8 custom book page styles and added 7 of them to our custom book template. We also divided our front matter section into several separate pages with page breaks and we divided our chapter 1 content into four sections by inserting page breaks. In this section, we will use Heading paragraph styles to create a two level Table of Contents.

Step 1: Apply the Heading 1 Paragraph style to the title of your book
As we explained in a previous chapter, your book should use the Heading 1 paragraph style only once and this should be at the very beginning of your book. In the previous section, we added a cover image to the first page and a blank page to the second page of our book template. Thus, the actual printed title of our book is on the third page which is also called the Title Page. Change “This is the title page” to “This is the title of my book”

You can then add a sub-title and authors name below the title. Then select the title and click the Heading 1 page style (either by selecting it in the top menu or selecting in the Paragraph section of the Styles panel. Then select all three lines and center align them on the page.

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The problem with the default Heading 1 paragraph style is that it places the title too close to the top of the title page. To push the title further down towards the middle of the page, we could insert a bunch of paragraph breaks. But it is better to avoid using these as much as possible. So instead, we will modify the Heading 1 Paragraph style.

Open the Style Panel if it is not already open. Then find and right click on the Heading 1 page style (Note that selecting the heading 1 text in the document will take you directly to the Heading 1 Paragraph style).

In the last section, we added a Table of Contents to our custom book template. In this section, we will improve the appearance of our Table of Contents by modifying the paragraph styles it uses.

Step 1: Improve the Appearance of the Table of Contents Title
To see what paragraph styles each line uses, just open the Styles panel and select the text:

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The title of the table of contents uses the Contents Heading paragraph style. Right click on the Contents Heading paragraph style and click modify. If you prefer to use the Context popup, you can also select the text. Then right click and click Paragraph, Edit Style. Either way will open up the following screen:

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Change the Font to Regular 20 pt and the font color to dark blue.

The Front Matter sections of our MS Word Book Template will have to be much different than the Front Matter sections of our Libre Writer Book template. This is because MS Word uses Sections instead of Page Styles – and these sections are very limited in their appearance options. For example, for our book cover page, there is no way to place a custom background image in a MS Word section. Instead, we will provide a work around to put our cover image in the foreground at the front of the MS Word book template and let it go at that. It is also much more difficult to style our Table of Contents. But we will do the best we can given these limitations.

Begin by opening up MS Word to a blank Word document and save the document as MS Word Custom Book Template.

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Step 1: Look at the Pre-made Cover Options
Before adding our own cover, or even creating our own custom book template, let’s look at some Pre-made MS Word book templates. Word has a few cover page templates you can insert and then customize if you need a quick cover page for your book document. To see these, click on Insert > Pages > Cover Page.

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Here are some of the Cover page options:

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Unfortunately, none of these are a full image cover page. It is rather shocking that a company making more than one hundred billion dollars per year cannot provide a simple full image cover page. Equally shocking is the fact that Word does not come with a single true book template. We will therefore make our own custom book template with our own full image cover page.

Step 1: Use a Section Break to insert the Chapter First Page Section

Place your cursor in the content area of the Preface page and click Layout > Breaks > Section Break > Next Page.

Then in the new page, type “This is Chapter 1 First Page.” Scroll down the page and you will see that the Preface footer was carried forward to our new section with lower case roman numerals. For the rest of the book, we want normal numbers. With your cursor on the Chapter 1 page 1, click Insert > Page Numbers > Format Page Numbers. Then change the Number format to 1, 2, 3.

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Then click OK. Then click Insert > Footer > Edit Footer.

Change the text of the footer to “Chapter 1 Footer… Page”

Then close the footer. Sadly, this made our Preface footer have this same text. So click Insert > Footer > Edit Footer. Then click Link to Previous to turn it off.

Then go to the Preface footer by clicking on Previous in the top ribbon. Then change the text of the section 3 footer to: Preface Footer… Page

Then close the Header and Footer.

Step 2: Use a Section Break to insert the Chapter Content Section
Place your cursor in the content area of the Chapter 1 First page and click Layout > Breaks > Section Break > Next Page.

Then type This is Chapter 1 Section 1

The reason we needed to use a MS Word Section break is that our Chapter sections are going to have headers and footers. So we will need a new section to create this.

Recall from our previous chapter that we want the main title on the title page to be formatted with the Heading 1 paragraph style. We will then format the Preface Title and Chapter Titles with the Heading 2 paragraph style. Finally, we will format our Section titles with the Heading 3 paragraph style. We will then insert our Table of Contents.

Step 1: Apply Heading 1 Paragraph style to our Book Title
On the Book Title page, type a sub-title below the book title and type the authors name below the sub-title. We will now apply the Heading 1 Paragraph style to our book title.

There is a bit of confusion in changing the Paragraph styles in MS Word as there are in fact several ways to change Paragraph styles in MS Word and they do not always have the same result. As we have explained previously, a common place to change paragraph styles is from the Home tab. To change the title from the Normal paragraph style to the Heading 1 paragraph style, just select the text and click the Heading 1 option in the Styles group on the Home tab: Home tab > Styles group > Heading 1 Box.

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To modify the Heading 1 paragraph style, you can right click on the Heading 1 style box, then click Modify which brings up the following screen:

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Then in the lower left corner, click Format > Paragraph which brings up this screen:

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In order to move the Book title down to the middle of the title page in our custom book template, we can increase the Spacing before the Heading 1 paragraph from 16 pt to 96 pt. Note: 72 points equals 1 inch. Therefore 96 pts is about 1 1/3 inches.

In this section, we will use Paragraph Styles formatting to format some of our important areas including changing the Normal style, the Heading 1 style, the Heading 2 style, the Heading 3 style, the Footer style and the Header style. In the last section, we learned that we need to avoid using direct paragraph formatting if we want our paragraph style formatting to apply. We also learned that the Home Tab Paragraph group is actually applying direct formatting rather than style formatting. Here is a graphic to help you remember which areas of the screen to click on and which to avoid if you are writing a book and want to use style formatting instead of direct formatting.

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Whether you are using the Home Tab Formatting ribbon, or the right click Context menu, avoid using the direct formatting “Quick Styles” options and instead look for the Styles option.

Step 1: Add Custom Formatting to Normal Style
The Normal style is the style that MS Word applies to all text which does not have some other style applied to it. This should include all of the text in the content areas of your Preface and Chapters. In a previous chapter, we changed the values of the Normal style to Arimo 14. However, Word changed the Normal style back to Calibri Light 11. To see this, on the Home tab, in the Styles group, left click the Normal style to select it. Then right click and click Modify.

Subcategories

One of the most important reasons to learn Better Word Processing is if you want to write or have already written your own book. Books are a very important way to share knowledge. It is common for the general public to write out their book without any knowledge of word processing and then pay a professional publisher or vanity publisher $5,000 to $10,000 to format the book for them. This is a huge mistake. Vanity publishers are notorious for using “direct formatting” to over-ride whatever formatting the author may have placed in their book. This direct formatting turns the book into a complete mess as far as coding is concerned and can create problems for publishing the book as an Ebook or as a series of web pages. You are therefore much better off in the long run to learn how to format your own book using your own custom Page Styles and Paragraph Styles.

One of the biggest differences between MS Word and LibreOffice Writer is the way they format books. With LibreOffice Writer, book formatting is about creating different Page Styles for the different sections of your book. Thus, there is one page style for the cover, a second page style for the Front Matter, a third page style for the Preface, a fourth page style for the first page of each chapter and a fifth page style for chapter pages that are not the first page.

MS Word does not have page styles. This means that one cannot simply convert a LO Writer Book Template to MS Word because MS Word does not recognize and has no way of converting LO Writer Page Styles. Instead, MS Word uses a series of “workarounds” to cover over the fact that MS Word does not have page styles. In this chapter, we will explain how to use LO Writer to create book page styles for a custom book template. Then in the next chapter, we will explain how MS Word gets around the lack of page styles when creating a book or book template.

This chapter is divided into the following four sections:

9.1 Create 8 Custom Book Page Styles

9.2 Add Custom Book Page Styles to our Book Template

9.3 Add a Table of Contents to our Book Template

9.4 Add Custom Paragraph Styles to our Book Template

 

In this chapter, we will look at how to create a custom book template with MS Word. We will try to make our MS Word custom book template look similar to the LO Writer custom book template we created in the last chapter. However, we will skip adding custom Page styles for the Table of Contents and Chapter First pages because MS Word does not have the ability to use Page Styles. It uses Sections instead – and these sections are very limited in their appearance options. For example, there is no way to place a custom background image in a MS Word section. Instead, we will provide a work around to put our cover image in the foreground at the front of the MS Word book template and let it go at that.

This chapter is divided into the following four sections:

#1 Add Front Matter Sections to Your Book Template

#2 Add a Chapter First Page Section, a Content Page Section and a Back Matter Section

#3 Use Paragraph Headings to Create a Table of Contents

#4 Format Custom Book Paragraph Styles

In the last chapter, we saw that it is very difficult to precisely control the appearance of our book template with MS Word. This is in part because MS Word does not use Page Styles and in part because MS Word Headers and Footers are difficult to precisely place. In this chapter, we will explain how to make charts with LO Draw. Because MS Office does not have any tools comparable to LO Draw, we will not attempt to explain the MS Office “work around.” We then will explain how to make a chart with Libre Calc and a Presentation with Libre Impress. MS Office does have similar functions to both of these two tools. This chapter includes the following four sections:

11.1 Create Custom Colors & Gradients
11.2 Create a Diagram with Libre Draw
11.3 Create a Chart with Libre Calc
11.4 Create a Presentation with Libre Impress

 

In this book and course, we have outlined the current state of word processors and the challenges faced by those wanting to create better documents. These challenges include the fact that MS Word documents are one of the primary pathways used by hackers to infect computers with ransomware and that authors of documents are faced with reformatting their documents for each platform the document is provided on.

In this final chapter, we will look at how to use Windows programs such as MS Word more securely by placing Windows onto a virtual stick or inside of a virtual machine. We will also look at how to add more functions to Libre Writer by adding Writer extensions. Finally, we will explain the benefit of expanding the concept of word processing to the creation of universal source documents whereby formatting is done in such a way that the same document can be more easily converted from a print book to an Ebook, PDF book, website or online course.

This final chapter is divided into the following four sections:

12.1 How to place Windows on a Persistent USB Stick

12.2 How to place Windows in a Virtual Machine

12.3 How to Add Extensions to Libre Writer

12.4 Benefits and Creation of Universal Source Documents

 

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