Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
In-cell Charting in Calc

Oct 01, 2008 GMT

In-cell charting is not a new idea: do a quick Web search, and you'll find quite a few examples of how to create in-cell charts. While most of these examples are designed to work with Excel spreadsheets, you can easily use in-cell charting techniques in Calc. As the name suggests, an in-cell chart is a bar graph where each bar occupies a separate cell. Each bar represents the value from another cell, and the bar itself is generated using the REPT function which is normally used to insert a particular character or string a specified number of times. To make the REPT function create a chart bar, you can use the pipe (|) as the repeating character. To see how this work, create a new Calc...
Quickly Encrypt and Decrypt Files with GPG

Sep 22, 2008 GMT

Need to quickly encrypt a file or an archive? You can do this using the GPG encryption software which is installed by default on many mainstream Linux distributions. To be able to encrypt files with GPG, you have to generate a key pair. To do this, run the following command and follow the on-screen instructions: gpg --gen-key When generating the key pair, GPG creates a user ID (UID) to identify your key based on your real name, comments, and email address. You need this UID (or just a part of it like your first name or email address) to specify the key you want to use to encrypt a file: gpg -e -r part_of_UID file_to_encrypt For example, if I want to encrypt the TidlyWiki.odt...
Sync Files with Dropbox

Sep 15, 2008 GMT

Keeping files and documents in sync on multiple computers can be a real pain, but Dropbox offers a clever solution to the problem. This Web-based service allows you to seamlessly sync files and documents across multiple computers, and it offers a few other nifty features to boot. The key component of the Dropbox service is a client software. Once installed, it sits quietly in the System Tray and syncs files and documents in the Dropbox folder in your home directory with the Dropbox service and all the machines linked to your account. This way, you can work with your files and documents on any linked computer, and changes made to documents and files in the Dropbox folder are automatically...
OpenOffice.org on Puppy Linux

Sep 11, 2008 GMT

Puppy Linux is an excellent Linux distro for all occasions, but to turn it into a real productivity workhorse, you might want to install OpenOffice.org on it. Unfortunately, the Puppy software repository holds an older version of OpenOffice.org, but you can install the latest release of the productivity suite by following the steps bellow: Download the openoffice-2.4.1.sfs squash file. Move the downloaded file to the /mnt/home directory Choose Menu -> Setup -> Wizard Wizard -> Configure startup of Puppy -> Choose which extra SFS files to load at bootup. Add the openoffice-2.4.1.sfs file and make sure that the Ignore above user selection check box is unticked....
Five Useful Extensions for OpenOffice.org

Sep 09, 2008 GMT

Want to expand OpenOffice.org's default functionality? The official extension repository has quite a few extensions you can use to add some nifty features to the productivity suite. Precisely which extensions you might find useful depends, of course, on your particular needs, but there are at least five extensions that deserve a closer look no matter how you use OpenOffice.org.   The Bookmarks Menu extension adds the ability to bookmark frequently used documents, so you can open them in a few clicks instead of wading through directories. Better yet, the extension allows you to bookmark directories, macros, and even external applications. Using the latter, you can, for example,...
Extension Watch: Last Session

Sep 04, 2008 GMT

You can set Firefox to save the session on exit, so when you launch the browser again, it opens all tabs and windows from the last time. You can enable this behavior by choosing Edit -> Preferences -> Main and selecting the Show my windows and tabs from last time item from the When Firefox starts drop-down list.   But you probably knew that already. But did you know that you can add a similar feature to OpenOffice.org courtesy of the Last Session extension? This extension is a real boon if you often need to work on several documents at the same time. Using the extension is a no-brainer. When installed, the extension adds a new toolbar containing two buttons: save and Load....
Adding a Nifty Conversion Calculator to OpenOffice.org

Sep 02, 2008 GMT

A conversion calculator can save you a lot of time and unnecessary mouse clicks when you need to convert values in a document from the imperial to the metric system (or vice versa). Although OpenOffice.org doesn't have a built-in calculator, you can easily create your own one using OpenOffice.org Basic. Start with creating a dialog with three fields in it: NumericField1 -- a numeric field where the user enters the value to be converted ListBox1 -- a drop-down list containing a list of the available conversion options (e.g., Fahrenheit -> Celsius, Foot -> Meter, and so on) NumericField2 -- a numeric field which displays the converted value The dialog box should...

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