Working with fonts

Fonts are handled through both paragraph styles and character styles. Paragraph styles define a collection of font characteristics for an entire paragraph. When you apply a character style to selected text within a paragraph, the character style over-rides the paragraph style for the selected text.

You can also apply many formats (including font choices and type sizes) to paragraphs and characters using the buttons on the Formatting toolbar. However, it is highly recommended that you use styles rather than manual formatting, especially for long documents such as books. For this reason, this book does not cover manual formatting; see Getting Started with OpenOffice.org 3 or the Writer Guide.

Using paragraph styles

The Paragraph Style dialog has 3 tabs related to fonts. Other tabs were described in “Creating and modifying paragraph styles.

Font
Choose the font, typeface, and size. You can specify the size in several ways, including as a percentage of the font size defined for the paragraph style this style is based on. You can also specify the language of the paragraph to which the style is applied, so the spelling will be checked using the correct dictionary.

Font Effects
Set up attributes such as font color, underlining, relief, or other effects. If you frequently use hidden text, for example, you may wish to define a style where the Hidden option is selected.

Position
Here you can define text rotation and character spacing for the paragraph style. See Chapter 11 Creating Special Effects start­ing on page 139 for some examples of use. Subscript and superscript are more likely to be used in character styles.

Using character styles

Character styles complement paragraph styles and are applied to groups of characters, rather than whole paragraphs. They are mainly used when you want to change the appearance or attributes of parts of a paragraph without affecting other parts. Examples of effects that can be obtained by means of character styles are bold or italic typeface or colored words.

Character styles do not have as many options as paragraph styles, but the Font, Font Effects, and Position tabs are similar. See Creating Special Effects for some examples of use.

If you are accustomed to formatting text manually, character styles can take some getting used to. Here are some suggestions for making the transition easier:

  • Never mix character styles and manual formatting. Manual formatting supersedes character styles. If you combine them, you may end up wasting hours in frustration trying to figure out why your character styles don’t work.
  • Right-clicking and choosing Default Formatting removes any text formatting (both manual and character styles).
  • Leave the Styles and Formatting window open to make paragraph and character styles easy to access.

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This book is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 3.0.

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