LibreOffice can be much easier to use, if you adjust your settings well. Here are a few hints and tips…
As with many programs, there is a row of words near the top of the LibreOffice window. If you click your mouse button on Tools, you get a drop-down menu, and at the bottom is the word “Options” as below:
I’ll come back to some other stuff a little later, but for now, click on the final choice, “Options”. You will see a dialogue box like this one:
Now I will show you how to find your way through it, and create settings to your liking. The first thing you need to know is that the right-pointing white triangles ( ▷ ) tell you that there are more options hiding, and you click the triangle to reveal them. When the options are revealed, the triangle points down ( ▽ ) and you click on it again to re-hide them! So if I type “Load/Save ▷ General” you need to reveal the menu under Load/Save, and then click on General. So here goes:
LibreOffice ▷ User Data: The data you might insert here is used if you want to use the built-in templates provided by LibreOffice, to get documents started.
LibreOffice ▷ Memory: If you want to put a useful LibreOffice Shortcut Icon in your system tray (the collection of icons near the bottom right of the screen), then select “Enable Systray Quickstarter”.
LibreOffice ▷ View: Just to change the appearance of the icons and things at the top of the program.
LibreOffice ▷ Paths: If you want to specify where LibreOffice files are stored (make it different from other programs), you can change the Folder at “My Documents”, and if you have personal templates other than those supplied with LibreOffice, you can add more Folders to “Templates”.
LibreOffice ▷ Online Update: If you use Linux, let your distribution sort out updates. Don’t enable this. If you are a Windows user, it’s probably OK to, but I wouldn’t know.
Load/Save ▷ General: For each choice under “Document Type”, you can select the default format to save in. You can change this when you are saving a file, but if you are sending stuff to and fro on the net to MS Office users, then you can change the default to the MS Office type for each Document Type. Also uncheck the box to warn you if not saving in default format, it’s annoying!
Language Settings ▷ Languages: Hopefully everything is set up in your language, change bits here if not.
LibreOffice Writer ▷ View: If you’re American or British, you might prefer the ruler at the top of the page in inches.
LibreOffice Writer Web ▷ View: Ditto!!
Internet ▷ Email: I use online mail, but if you use something like Outlook or Thunderbird, you might want to see if you can set it up here. Can’t help you with that though.
If you click on the Tools menu again, then a couple of entries above “Options” there is another entry for “Autocorrect”. Some people don’t like this. It’s quite a good tool though. This is the dialogue box with the “Replace” tab selected:
As you can see, this autocorrect can be used to bring characters that are not on the keyboard. You can add your own. The next tab, exceptions, contains two lists. The first is a number of common abbreviations, ending in a full stop. After such abbreviations, the next letter is not capitalised. The second is a list of abbreviations that contain more than one capital letter, and also small letters. As in “CDs”. Normally this would cause a capitalisation error to be detected, but the exceptions enable you to ensure this does not happen when it shouldn’t.
“Localised Options” tab gives you a couple of options. Do you prefer first to be written as “1st” or “1st“? If the latter, then you need to enable this option, if not, disable it. If you like “6” and “9” style single quotes, tick the box “Replace” under “Single Quotes”. There is the problem that if you want to use a right-hand quote at the start of a word (when you’ve missed something out, (for example ’cause for because,) but you can circumvent this, by typing a dummy letter first then going back and deleting it. It’s a rare problem.
Finally, the Word Completion tab enables you to switch this feature on and off. Some people obviously like it. I find it a pain in the arse. What you will notice is the button marked “Help” on the above dialogue box. When you click this from a dialogue box it brings up the help you need for that box. It’s a pretty good implementation of Help, rare in free software, and, to be fair, not as good as it could be in stuff you pay for.
If you’re feeling really enthusiastic, you could try selecting “Customise” from the Tools menu. Maybe rearrange all the menus and icons into the same place as Word. Or just accept that Writer is a little different!