Is it just me, or do the default OpenOffice.org Writer styles suck?
Given that most people don’t even use all six heading sizes in HTML, what made them think that it was vital to have ten styles, adjacent pairs of which are only distinguished by the presence of or lack of italics? Quick: is the italicised one more or less important? Heading 1 is not at all suitable for the top of a document, where I, at least, would expect something centred and perhaps underlined. And the spacing OOo leaves between the smaller headings and the previous paragraph is far too large, giving documents a “gappy” appearance.
In the default list, what’s the difference between “Default” and “Text Body” anyway? And where are the styles for common things like like “Quotation”, “List”, “Emphasis” and so on?
There’s a “Styles and Formatting” window which you can invoke when you want anything more than the default simple five which are in the toolbar dropdown (thereby making you pay a window management penalty). There are about five different ways of configuring the exact list of styles it displays, but it does not have a “New” button. The closest you have is “New Style From Selection”, which is one option on a combination pseudo button/menu in one corner with a totally unintuitive “Paragraph” icon on it. (After five minutes of searching, it turns out that you can create a new style from the context menu.)
Lastly, whenever I try and read a Word document, it always sets the margins too far in so some of the content is squeezed onto the next page. Do Word files not contain margin information? Grr.
There’s a big opportunity for the free software world to make a word processor which is actually usable – because it’s one area Word has failed miserably in recent years, hence their multi-million dollar new UI. The retraining this UI requires is an opportunity to persuade people to switch; but it’s going to be a hard sell if the alternative is even more complex than the original.