I had a colleague phone from Wellington today needing to work on a document riddled with custom fields, only, it was a Word doc and he wanted to work on it in his Linux environment (I think, either way, he wanted to use Open Office). Problem was though, he couldn't work out how to edit the fields once the doc was open in OOW.
So I suggested Ctrl+F2 and check out the Variables Tab and the User Fields section. Nope, not there. Ok, try double clicking on one of the fields. Yep - opens the Fields Dialog, to the DocInformation tab and there are all the fields listed under the Custom type. But they're not editable there. So, I hunted around, and I have to confess this one took a bit of hunting and adding puzzle pieces together from a variety of hints found on disparate forums, help files, and feature update info, but I got there in the end. So for your knowledge and edification, this has been a very long and grutuitiously babbly intro to:
Beating Fields into Submission When You're Working on a Doc Created in Word
A quick recommendation first up - if the document in question is one you intend to use over and over again and create mutliple versions with different values in the various fields, I would strongly recommend taking the time to go through it and actually put in OpenOffice native fields and remove the converted Word Custom fields. But if it's just a one off use, go ahead and use the instructions below to change the field values to what you need them to be.
NB: remember I am using OOW 3.1 - I believe what I'm about to describe has worked since about 2.4, but I have no way of testing that, so do get the latest version!
- Open your custom-field-riddled MS Word document in Open Office Writer.
- Do a Save As, choose the default Open Office format (odt) and save the file.
- Now close it. Seriously, just close the file. The rest simply won't work if you don't close it. I know, I've tried, many times in many ways. It won't work.
- Open the recently re-saved file (the odt).
- Go to File | Properties
- Click on the Custom Properties tab
- Here you will find all of the fields that had been created as custom fields in Word. You can change their values in here, you can add more, you can remove them as well. (NB: If you didn't believe me at step 3 and insisted on not closing the file before proceeding, you will now discover that every change you make in this tab is a teaser only - close the dialog, open it again and you'll note that the updates you have made - poof! They've disappeared. Bugger. Should have closed the file at step 3. Better do it now and go back to step 4.)
- Once you've updated the values to what you want them to be, close the dialog box.
- Your document won't look any different at this point. This is where these fields differ from the ones I've described in an earlier post. They don't automatically update. Easy fixed, just hit F9 (or go to Tools | Update | Fields) and all of the field instances will be updated throughout the doco (unlike word, you don't have to do a Select All first).
- Save the file.