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Document parts and pieces

It seems a lot of people write documents much like the guy who builds his house by bringing a few boards home every week. It is all ad hoc and tacked together. Christian Paratschek describes a better way in Text Formatting with Writer. The idea is that a document is make of parts and pieces. Open Office provides a catalog of common parts and pieces and using these can make building your document a much more effective process.

In a document, the key part is called a style. The catalog of parts is a style sheet.

What Christian notes is that people usually just take text and adjust it directly. The style sheet idea means that you identify text and associate it with a style that describes its attributes. Instead of selecting the salutation and setting it left justified with no indent you just label it as a salutation that has those attributes.

As with many things computer, it doesn’t make too much of a difference for trivial one-of projects. But, if your project gets towards the large and complex or is something you do many times with small variations, a bit of effort up front can pay big dividends.

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