© 2009 Ugur Akinci
In case you don’t know, OpenOffice is an amazingly powerful office suite, at least as good as the MS Office suite. It’s also free. Search for “OpenOffice” on Google to download it from the OpenOffice site. (Note: if you own a Mac, try NeoOffice. It runs much better on a Mac but basically it’s the same suite.)
Select the Text Document option from the OpenOffice menu to display the OO word processor.
This word processor will not write your letters for you automatically but it’s got a built-in Letter Wizard to help you get the basic structural elements right.
Select File > Wizards > Letter from the menu to display the Letter Wizard. (Note the Fax, Agenda, Presentation, and Web Page wizards as well!)
Select from one of the following Letter Type options: Business Letter, Formal Personal Letter, Personal Letter.
The first two letters come with three Page Design options: Elegant, Modern, Office.
The Personal Letter comes with the following Page Design options: Bottle, Mail, Marine, Red Line.
Once you select your Letter Type and Page Design Style, you click Next to display the…
Printed Items screen allows you to include (or exclude) the following letter elements: Logo, Return address in envelope window, Subject Line, Salutation, Fold Marks, Complimentary Close, and Footer.
Click Next and you get the…
Recipient and Sender screen allows you to enter the Sender’s Address and the Recipient’s Address.
Click Next to the…
The Footer screen allows you to type in any footer text you like, with two additional options: you can include page numbers and/or include the footer only on the second and following pages but not on the first page.
The Name and Location screen allows you to attach a name to your template and save it in any file you like on your computer so that you can easily load it up and use it for other letters in the future.
And lastly, after you finish making the right choices for your template, the Letter Wizard asks you how to proceed.
You can then go ahead and create a letter from the template you’ve just created or make manual changes to the template. You can for example replace all the icons and images in the template with your own custom-designed logos and images, etc.
A perfect letter wizard from a fully-equipped office suite that costs you zilch, zero, nada.
Note: You can open all your MS WORD documents inside OpenOffice without a hitch and when you’re done reading or editing them, re-save them as MS Office documents.
I’ve been using OpenOffice (on Windows and Linux machines) and NeoOffice (on a MacBook) for the last 3 years without any problems whatsoever. (This very article, for example, is written with the NeoOffice word processor.)
Go ahead. Make your day! It might be a very bright one that costs you nothing.