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Nifty OpenOffice.org extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.242.108.31] on January 07, 2008 08:31 PM
The extension I'd like (and am unqualified to create, but hope to inspire someone else, or to hear that it already exists) is for customizable find-and-replace-from-a-list. That is, if I want to replace *every* instance of word/letter combo "Q" with a different word/letter combo "Z" (and every "Y" with "P," etc.), I don't want to do it one word at a time, but rather from a list of replacements.

(Better yet, use an existing list built for use with sed, in the format "s/thing-a/thing-a-prime/g")

Use case 1: For note-taking, I use a lot of abbreviations. For later reading / study, I find it simpler and faster to read the full version, because it means I don't have to spend any brain cycles expanding my idiocsyncratic abbreviations. Other people have their own pet abbreviations, and it should be easy to create a "translator" so the result is closer to plain English (or plain whatever-language-one-speaks). (Silly) example: "T 1st ppl in contUS were smlr, n tf wore smlr cardigans" would be expanded into the more readable "The first people in the continental U.S. were smaller, and therefore word smaller cardigans." When I'm *taking* the notes, it's faster to skip as many letters as I can get away with; when reading, though, too many shortenings of the wrong kind really get in the way of speed.

Use case 2: When I'm trying to put a lot of information on one sheet of paper (sometimes I prefer fewer sheets, even when it *does* cut down slightly on the speed with which it can be read, when I'm making outlines, "cheatsheets," written directions, etc), I like to eliminate articles, cull vowels when they can be easily culled without breaking the speed of reading too badly, substitute shorter synonyms, etc. Basically, something close to the opposite of the expansion I described in Use case 1, but (I'd think) identical from the computer's point of view. Example: Find the phrase "Supreme Court of the United States," and replace it with "SupCt," and do that for hundreds of other words or phrases.

Use case 3: I have a lot of frequently repeated typos and spellos; certain words seem to hang me up sometimes. I dislike (despise, hate, sneer at) most autocorrection tools as intrusive and annoying. If I type "poeple's" rather than "peoples," I don't want to hit the distracting red squiggly line of doubt (If it's *not* a typo, just a word the inbuilt dictionary doesn't know, it's especially annoying). Instead, I want to keep typing and fix all of my (predictable) typos at the end in one fell swoop, and run some sort of word-by-word spelling check only after the obvious ones are fixed. Example: Change all instances of "judgement" to "judgment."

Basically, I'd like to be able to choose "Find and Replace with Custom Word List 'Fix Notes'" "Find and Replace with Custom Word List 'Compress for Space.'"

Right now, for printing, I'll often use OpenOffice.org as a tool with which to tweak fonts, margins, columns, etc, but I need to do all the word replacement stuff using sed -- not terrible, but more complicated than I'd prefer. I'd rather be able to do word expansion/compression from my own list all in OO.o.

Cheers,

Tim Lord


Aside: The "Are You Human?" box has gotten slightly better, why why print the word so small? Keep it blocky etc (jeesh, the lengths to which it's necessary to to go to foil asshat spammers!), but please, make it larger :) (It sits in a pretty big mostly-white rectangle, after all.) On small, hi-res screens especially, this is a real pain to read.

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