Adding a Dummy Text Feature to OpenOffice.org Writer

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Aug 09, 2010 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Every now and then, I need to fill a blank OpenOffice.org Writer document with dummy text. While OpenOffice.org comes with a built-in feature that allows you to do that (type dt and press the F3 function key), it generates only one paragraph at a time and doesn't allow you to specify your own dummy text. So instead of the built-in dummy text feature, I used to use the Magenta Lorem Ipsum Generator extension that pulls dummy text from the lipsum.com Web site. It is, indeed, a nifty solution, but since it requires an Internet connection to do its magic, it's not of much use when I work off-line. So I wrote a simple macro that inserts dummy text into the current OpenOffice.org Writer document. The macro pulls text from the dummy.txt plain text file which you should prepare beforehand and place in the OpenOffice.org user directory ( e.g., /home/USER/.openoffice.org/3/user where USER is your actual user name). The text file should contain a few paragraphs of whatever dummy text you want to use. Make sure that the text doesn't contain empty paragraphs. Now copy the macro below, choose Tools | Macros | Organize macros | OpenOffice.org Basic, open the Module1 item in the Standard library for editing and paste the code.

Sub DummyText()
Dim ParaNo as Integer
ThisDoc=ThisComponent
ThisText=ThisDoc.Text
TheCursor=ThisText.createTextCursor

SubstService = CreateUnoService("com.sun.star.util.PathSubstitution")
UserPath = SubstService.substituteVariables("$(user)", true)
DummyTxt = UserPath + "/dummy.txt"

f1 = FreeFile()
Open DummyTxt for Input as #f1

ParaNo=InputBox("Number of Paragraphs:", "Input")
ParaCounter=0

Do while ParaCounter<ParaNo
 Line Input #f1, s
 TheCursor.String=s+Chr(13)+Chr(13)
 TheCursor.collapseToEnd
 ParaCounter=ParaCounter+1
Loop
Close #f1
End Sub

Save the macro, close the OpenOffice.org Basic editor, and you are good to go. If setting up the macro manually is not your cup of tea, you'll be pleased to learn that this macro has been rolled into the latest release of the Writer's Tools extension. However, the Dummy Text tool is not available in the Writer's Tools main menu, so you have to add it to an existing OpenOffice.org menu. To do this, choose Tools | Customize, select the desired menu from the Menu drop-down list, press the Add button, navigate to OpenOffice.org Macros | My Macros | WriterTools | _Hidden, select the DummyText macro, and press Add. That's it. Now you can use the macro to insert dummy text into Writer documents.

Comments

  • How to do something similar without OpenOffice

    Here is a way to create OpenDocument files with content taken from plain text files without even having OpenOffice installed: http://freesoftware.zona-m....nt-invoices-without-openoffice

    (the ODF scripting category on the same website contains other examples of the same technique applied to spreadsheets and presentations.)
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