Do it with style: Using styles in OpenOffice.org Writer

In many respects, OpenOffice.org Writer looks like any other word processor. But behind its unassuming interface hides a slew of powerful features, which can help you to create and manage even the most complex documents with consummate ease and efficiency. One such feature is Styles that lets you work with character, paragraph, page, and list formatting properties. While other word processors have a similar feature, Writer is the only application that makes extensive use of styles and encourages the user to use them.

So, what is this Styles feature and how can it help you? The basic idea is simple: instead of using the formatting options available in the Formatting toolbar, you can define a style containing the desired properties. For example, if you want the headers in your document to use Bitstream Vera Sans 15pt font in bold and left-aligned, you can create a style that includes these properties instead of applying them manually every time you add a header. While using styles won’t save you much time and effort when you are working with short documents, they come to their own in long and complex documents like books and manuals.