… using 3 Writer

Self-publishing with 3 WriterThis book is now available in paperback from Downloadable eBook (PDF) is here. An ePub edition is planned.

The online draft version of the book starts here. The online version may eventually be updated if I ever have some spare time.

Who is the book for?

This book is for beginners to intermediate users of Writer. It concentrates on the needs of people writing a book-length document such as a novel or a collection of poetry or essays—including people who want to self-publish their book using one of the on-demand printing services like Lulu, Booksurge, or Lightning Source.


Why use
What do you need to do first?
For more on self-publishing

Part 1: Essentials

Chapter 1 Introduction to Writer
The Writer workspace
Status bar
Changing document views
Using the Navigator
Creating a new document
Saving a document
Combining several documents into a book

Chapter 2 Set Up Writer
Choosing options for all of
Choosing Load and Save options
Choosing options for Writer
Choosing language settings

Chapter 3 Write and Edit in Writer
General recommendations
Selecting, copying, and pasting text
Moving paragraphs quickly
Finding and replacing text and formatting
Checking spelling and grammar
Using Writer’s built-in language tools
Using the thesaurus
Using automatic functions
Including document information

Chapter 4 Design your Book using Writer’s Styles
What are styles? Why use them?
Types of styles
Basic page layout using page styles
Automating the sequence of page styles
Creating and modifying paragraph styles

Chapter 5 Format Pages in Writer
Defining page styles
Setting up headers and footers
Numbering pages
Restart page numbering
Applying page styles
Apply a sequence of page styles
Change a sequence manually
Add a title page to an existing book
Add a copyright page to an existing book

Chapter 6 Format Text in Writer
Hyphenating words
Manual hyphenation
Working with fonts
Applying paragraph and character styles
Inserting special characters
Inserting non-breaking spaces and hyphens
Inserting dashes
Defining your own tabs and indents
Working with lists
Create a new list style
Apply the list style
Combine list and paragraph styles

Chapter 7 Create PDFs using Writer
Quick export to PDF
Controlling PDF content and quality
Printing to PostScript for PDF conversion

Part 2: Extras

Chapter 8 Pictures and Graphics in Writer
Creating and editing images
Prepare images for black-and-white printing
Inserting an image from a file
Inserting images from other sources
Modifying an image
Crop an image
Rotate an image
Positioning images within the text
Wrapping text around images
Using Writer’s drawing tools

Chapter 9 Tables of Contents in Writer
Creating a table of contents quickly
Defining a hierarchy of headings
Customizing a table of contents
Maintaining a table of contents

Chapter 10 Indexes in Writer
Adding index entries
Building an alphabetic index quickly
Customizing index entries
Example of using an index key
Customizing an index
Maintaining an index
View and edit existing index entries

Chapter 11 Create Special Effects in Writer
Drop caps
Character spacing
Rotating text
Centering text vertically on a page
Paragraph borders and backgrounds
Page borders and backgrounds
Header and footer special effects
Include document information
Use a table to align text in headers and footers
Special effects for lists

Chapter 12 Track Changes in Writer
Preparing a document for review
Recording changes and comments
Viewing recorded changes
Accepting or rejecting changes
Merging modified documents
Comparing documents
Inserting, editing, and replying to notes

Chapter 13 Use Templates in Writer
Creating a template
Using predefined templates
Setting up a custom default template
Creating a document from a template
Editing a template
Updating a document when its template is changed
Changing to a different template

Chapter 14 Customize Writer
Customizing menus and toolbars
Assigning shortcut keys
Adding functionality with extensions
Install extensions
Some popular extensions for Writer

About the author

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
11 comments on “Self-publishing
  1. Dingo says:


    I’m Dingo, owner of dokupuppy site, devoted to puppy linux, and including openoffice sfs package for this distro, I build myself (this is why I’m very interested to OpenOffice question, especially in pdf output as final export)

    I started to read, so, your section:

    *Controlling PDF content and quality*

    that lacks of two or three very important questions:

    *colorspace issue in pdf export*

    (Actually – OpenOffice 3.xx – OpenOffice export as rgb colorspace even you use only black text)
    this is a critical bug I can’t understand why developpers have yet fixed

    due to this critical bug, your pdf will have same colorspace (RGB), so, you cannot print your ONLY-BLACK-INK book exported to pdf, with offset, RGB, causes RIP (pre-printing process) will make four plates Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black), instead one (Black only), now, typography must spend much money for every plate, so you must convert to grayscale before submit to offset print service. please, you have a great blog, I hope more people know about this bug, so developpers are constrained to fix (now they think very few people know this and they can avoid to spend time to fix)

    We need ability of select between: BLACK- CMYK – RGB in pdf export for professional printing

    I found recently a trick to convert RGB colorspace to grayscale for professional printing

    with ghostscript, type (in Linux and Windown both) all over one line
    gs -sOutputFile=output.pdf -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sColorConversionStrategy=Gray -dProcessColorModel=/DeviceGray -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 input.pdf < /dev/null

    NOW, in Linux, print via CUPS, seleting GRAY from OpenOffice print options dialog. this second choice, ever works fine, the first may have problems with pdf exported via internal pdf driver of openoffice, due to custom font encoding. In fact, once converted, with gsview command line, you see above, is not more searchable (because text encoding is puzzled, even viewing and home printing seems fine)

    ANOTHER PDF related question is about font encoding:

    I discovered some time ago, OpenOffice, when performs jpeg compression on images, also do something to font encoding, and if you try to select text portions, you will give garbage text instead of corrected text

    another advices when I finish reading of other sections

  2. RGB output shouldn’t be a problem if printing on a modern black-and-white press. Microsoft Word for the Mac produces the same, and it has never caused me any trouble when working with POD printers. It wouldn’t work on a color press, of course — but then, you shouldn’t be using a word processor for a full-color book. You need a professional app with full CMYK support.

    That said, black text in grayscale would be cleaner and more professional in files meant for commercial printing. That’s what’s produced by Word for Windows.

  3. Dingo says:

    Dear Aaron Shepard

    POD (like Lulu and others) are not printing using offset technique, but they print digitally. Offset printing is very different from digital printing

  4. admin says:

    Aaron and Dingo, thanks for your clarifications. That’s what I thought.

    Dingo, this book is being written for people using POD printers. (The title of the finished book will include those words.) Many of the people reading the book probably won’t know how their book is printed, so I am not including information about colour spaces as it would only confuse them.

    Also, I am confused about your statement about not submitting for printing using JPEG compression: “…if you try to select text portions, you will give garbage text instead of corrected text.” When and why would someone select text in a PDF being submitted for printing?

  5. Dingo says:

    Well, pdf should be printed rightly even you select jpg compression, anyway, this is difference:

    a pdf with jpg compression

    same pdf without jpg compression

    try to select text from first pdf (jpgcompressed) and you will view text is scrambled while second pdf not; this has something to do with encoding, so, is better submit pdf withoput jpg compression.

    in addition to this an user has reported that pdf produced by penoffice with jpg compression, are not accepted by his POD

    read specially my answer suggesting to export without jpg compression

  6. T. A. Lintz says:

    Thanks so much for your wonderful generosity in offering your book, Self-publishing using Writer, for free in the pdf near the beginning of this webpage. You’re awesome!
    I’ll give it a read, try it, and if it works well for me, I’ll pass it along and buy a copy for my local library.
    Peace and Happiness to you and all of your!


  7. Erik says:

    I thoroughly agree that you must address the lack of CMYK with OpenOffice for POD writers. I am a POD publisher who has created a 400 page 8×11 book in OpenOffice. My POD printer will not accept the RGB file, and I must figure out a way to convert it. Using Quark or InDesign seems like complete overkill for a typical author. I love the authoring features of OpenOffice, but discovering the inability to convert to CMYK this late in the production cylce is ludicrous. You need a STIFF warning.

  8. Jean says:

    I am not a developer, or a decision maker, at I write books and publish a personal blog. You need to make your concerns known to OOo, or add your name to the list of people on an enhancement request. OK, I realise you’ve probably already done that. Commenting on blogs like mine is okay, but please say “OOo developers must address…” and “OOo needs a stiff warning” instead of “you” (i.e., me). Cheers.

  9. Erik says:

    You are clearly misunderstanding the purpose of the comment here. If YOUR subject is “self-publishing using OpenOffice,” then YOU should warn people (address) about the lack of CMYK with OpenOffice subject matter and YOU need a stiff warning here. For a self-publisher, this really is BAD when it comes time for pre-press and radically impacts the cost model for printing.

  10. Jean says:

    Yes, I misunderstood your comment. Thanks for clarifying.

  11. Shawn says:


    Am downloading your Self Publishing Guide for Writer right now.
    Thanks for making such useful information freely available. For one who has had no MSOffice training I have found Open Office quite a beast to master however I feel it’s the way to go and have been happy to support them with donations from time to time. (Although not in the order of the horrific expenses M$Office demands!)
    Best wishes