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Learning to live with NeoOffice: applying styles via the keyboard


NeoOfficeis OpenOffice.org for the Mac. It's certainly nicer to use. Looks better. You can actually copy from other applications and paste into a document, a feature that no longer even works sometimes with the X11 version.

There was one thing that stopped me from adopting it, though. Like other Mac apps it has no Alt-key access to menus even though the windows and Linux versions do. I have been typing Alt-s to bring up a styles menu for  ICE styles and their predecessors since 1997.  Alt-s h gets me a heading.  Alt-s l 1 b gets me a bulleted list. It's a few key strokes but it's very quick to use.

There are way too many ICE styles to bind each one to a key combination.

Today, between 6:24 and 6:29, before I even made coffee I came up with the start of a solution that will make NeoOffice bearable.

First of all – I added this to the WPInterop macros that come with ICE.

function GetStyle()     styleName = InputBox("Style?")     'TODO - allow abbreviations such as 'l2b' for 'li2b'   'and 'l' for 'li1b'     SetStyle(StyleName) end function

Then I used Tools / Customize to bind that macro to Cmd-9. The key binding seems to be attached to NeoOffice itself, whereas the macro resides in the template and is copied into each new document instance by NeoOffice.

Now Cmd-9 gives me a text input box and I can type the name of the style I need. ICE styles have short names, but as the comment in the code says this macro could be improved with a bit of string handling to allow shortcuts.

Kylie will put this into the ICE Writer template soon and we'll start incrementally improving it. We could do one for Word too – it doesn't support Alt-Keys either.

Note that NeoOffice does not come with Python (it should, must be a mistake) so you need to install the X-11 version as well and get it to listen on port 2002  to get ICE to work, at least for now.