Style Issue

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archangelnix
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Style Issue

Post by archangelnix »

I am one of those Mac guys who can't stand MS and am looking for alternatives to their office suite. Out of all the word processors I like Nisus Writer best.

There is only a few problems I have with it, and it is enough of a deterrent, for me, to switch over to Nisus from MS:

The "Normal" style formating for line wraps and returns really annoys me. I want the return to have the same line spacing as a line wrap.
To get the same line spacing to work I have to change the style of the document to either "Header" or "Footer" I don't want to have to change my style ever time, plus I don't want to deal with a work around.

The other style issue I have is with Lists. I am college student and I use my word processor to take notes. I really like how MS does lists. When I am in list mode I hit return and it auto tabs to the same level as the last line, and it automatically "types" the sequential line item (i.e. a, b, c or i, ii, iii...)

Are there options I am not aware to get the functionality I am looking for, or do they to become features in the next release if there is enough interest?

Also I was wondering what alternatives to MS Excel people use.

Thanks for the help.

archangelnix
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Post by archangelnix »

I feel silly now. After posting I was playing with Nisus and found out how to fix the problem with the line spacing by creating my own Style in the "Nisus New File.dot" file, then selecting it in preferences.

Nisus builds in so much customization support that I am not use to it surprises me when I can make it do it my way.

I haven't figured out the latter point though.

joao
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Post by joao »

For alternatives to Excel, I suggest you take a look at either Mariner Calc or Mesa. You can download evaluation copies for either from the developers (Mariner Software, P&L Software, respectively) or through Version Tracker.

There may be some others out there, but I've found these to be the strongest of the non-MS OS X spreadsheets.

shades
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Re: Style Issue

Post by shades »

archangelnix wrote:The other style issue I have is with Lists. I am college student and I use my word processor to take notes. I really like how MS does lists. When I am in list mode I hit return and it auto tabs to the same level as the last line, and it automatically "types" the sequential line item (i.e. a, b, c or i, ii, iii...)
Depends, I have Office 2004 at home and Office 2002 (Windows) at work. The very first thing I do with Word in both cases, is to remove/uncheck any kind of autoformatting. It will drive me nuts. I prefer to use style sheets, and control it that way. MS Word's "auto" style stuff will often cause headaches later on.
Are there options I am not aware to get the functionality I am looking for, or do they to become features in the next release if there is enough interest?
Setting up your own style called List (and I have styles List1, List2, List3 - each built on the previous, with further indentations from the previous). This gives you much more control. As for auto-numbering, I think that is a future release.
Also I was wondering what alternatives to MS Excel people use.
In one sense there is nothing on the Mac side that compares with MS Excel on the Windows side (not even Excel 2004) - the primary deficiency of Excel 2004 is the lack of adequate VBA. I work with Excel at work all day long, and there is so much in VBA that can be done; but much of it has to be simplified or changed to work with Excel on the Mac, because there are few Reference libraries. And there are no ActiveX controls on the Mac side (that may not be a bad thing!!)

So, aside from the programming aspect, consider Mesa, Mariner Calc, the spreadsheet portion of NeoOffice/j (Java implementation of Open Office), and ThinkFreeOffice. One that is often overlooked, but is a higher end desktop publishing suite is RagTime (RagTime Solo is free for personal use), and it has a spreadsheet "layer" (http://www.comgrafix.com/)
MBP 2.4 GHz, OS X 10.5.6
NWP 1.2, Mellel 2.6, iWork 08

MacSailor
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Re: Style Issue

Post by MacSailor »

archangelnix wrote: Also I was wondering what alternatives to MS Excel people use.

Thanks for the help.
I primarly use Excel after switching from Classic (pre X) to MacOS X. Before that I used Lotus 1-2-3 (version 1.1) that was released in the beginning of the 90's.

I have tested Mesa, but I consider it to be to awkward to be regarded as a serious competitor to Excel. I believe it's a waste of time to try to use it as my primary spreadsheet application.

I have not tested Mariner Calc though, but I have tested their Mariner Write and after that I decided it was not worth the time to test the Mariner Calc.

If Lotus 1-2-3 appeared in MacOS X version I would switch in the twinkling of an eye. I know, I know, that's just a dream. :cry:
Peter Edwardsson
..............................

maurerc
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Post by maurerc »

I agree about Lotus, Mesa and Mariner Write, but after a bout of frustration I looked at the new Mariner Calc more closely and ended up buying. I changed the preferences to suit OS X and thereafter found it distinctly preferable to the others. Mind you, I use spreadsheets for very little.

MacSailor
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Post by MacSailor »

maurerc wrote:I agree about Lotus, Mesa and Mariner Write, but after a bout of frustration I looked at the new Mariner Calc more closely and ended up buying. I changed the preferences to suit OS X and thereafter found it distinctly preferable to the others. Mind you, I use spreadsheets for very little.

Maybe I should take a look at Mariner Calc after all…
Peter Edwardsson
..............................

archangelnix
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Re: Style Issue

Post by archangelnix »

Setting up your own style called List (and I have styles List1, List2, List3 - each built on the previous, with further indentations from the previous). This gives you much more control. As for auto-numbering, I think that is a future release.
I hope so. I think I will play around with style sheets and see if I can come up with something. I think I am too use to Blizzards forums. I was about to ask for "blue text" on this question of auto incrementing lists. :-)
So, aside from the programming aspect, consider Mesa, Mariner Calc, the spreadsheet portion of NeoOffice/j (Java implementation of Open Office), and ThinkFreeOffice. One that is often overlooked, but is a higher end desktop publishing suite is RagTime (RagTime Solo is free for personal use), and it has a spreadsheet "layer" (http://www.comgrafix.com/)
I downloaded RagTime and decided it wouldn't work for general spreadsheet work, but it solved another problem of finding an inexpensive layout program; and free is pretty inexpensive.

WattsM
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Post by WattsM »

While I'm normally reticent to recommend X11-based software, if you're the sort who can deal with it, do take a look at Gnumeric as a free alternative to Excel. It's really surprisingly good.

Mesa is pretty powerful, but it has a lot of usability quirks which are increasingly driving me nuts--things that work logically in Excel don't work logically in Mesa's implementation, even things as simple as entering a table of data by tabbing between cells and pressing RETURN to go back to the first column, next row. (Excel notices when you're doing this and generally returns the cursor to the right place.) I rather wish I'd gone with Mariner Calc instead at this point.

I'm also a Mariner Write owner, having bought it while Nisus Writer Express was at version 1.0. I do like Write, but it has some kind of annoying display quirks, and compared to Express 2.0, there's only a few things Write can do that Express can't, while Express does many cool things Write can't. (The bullet/number list functions are the most obvious, but there's a few other little ones like an easy way to insert horizontal rules, search and replace on styles, borders on paragraphs rather than just table cells, and soft hyphens. I mention these only in the interest of tacitly suggesting them as things to have in Express 2.2. :wink: )

archangelnix
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Post by archangelnix »

WattsM wrote:While I'm normally reticent to recommend X11-based software, if you're the sort who can deal with it, do take a look at Gnumeric as a free alternative to Excel. It's really surprisingly good.
Okay I installed it via fink, but how do I run it. I know I have to use Apple's X11, but I don't know the command to get it to run.

MacUnix
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Post by MacUnix »

archangelnix wrote:Okay I installed it via fink, but how do I run it. I know I have to use Apple's X11, but I don't know the command to get it to run.
Normally fink installs its applications in /sw/bin/
Do a 'cd /sw/bin' and a 'lc -C' to see if gnumeric shows up. You start it with ./gnumeric&
You can add it to the list of applications in X11 using Applications->Customize Give it any name you like and the command '/sw/bin/gnumeric'
I don't have fink installed so, I don't know where it puts the program exactly.

WattsM
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Post by WattsM »

Start Apple's X11 program. It should open an xterm window, with a little shell prompt. At the prompt type "gnumeric".

If that works and you'd like a (slightly) easier way to launch, you can add the file to X11's "Applications" menu:

In X11, go to the "Applications" menu and select "Customize..." Click on "Add Item" in the dialog box and it will (somewhat unintuitively) create a blank line. Double-click on the blank space that's opened up in the "Name" column and type "Gnumeric" for the name, and "gnumeric" for the command. (Case is important.) Then click "Done".

Be warned that Gnumeric will not be the world's prettiest program, because X11 doesn't handle fonts very well. But, for most spreadsheets, the limited font selection you'll have won't be an issue. (I hope.)

WattsM
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Post by WattsM »

You might need to use the path names that MacUnix mentioned above, yes. If "gnumeric" doesn't work at the shell prompt as I described it, type "/sw/bin/gnumeric" and see if that works instead. If that's what you need, use "sw/bin/gnumeric" for the command name in the Applications menu, too.

(Fink's installation instructions tell you how to set things up so /sw/bin is part of the path automatically.)

charles
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Post by charles »

Hi:

I know you solved your original problem with styles, but I thought readers might benefit from a little more info about how you could have fixed this problem:

The reason there is extra space between paragraphs is that the "Normal" styles has after paragraph spacing set to 6pts. (Normally you want some space between paragraphs and this is much preferred to manually inserting extra returns). To eliminate this extra spacing you could do a number of things:

1. You can simply open the New Document preference pane (under the Nisus Writer Express->Preferences menu), click on Formatting and change the after paragraph spacing there. This will modify the Normal style in your Nisus New File.

2. You could open the Nisus New File (again, Nisus Writer Express->Preferences menu, choose New Document preference pane, then click on "Advanced" and click on "Edit Nisus New File") and switch to the style view. Look for the Normal style.

The attributes of each style is listed under the sample text for the style. You can delete attributes of a style by clicking on the attribute and pressing delete. Just click on the "After Paragraph Spacing: 6pt" attribute here and press delete. Voila.

-Charles
Charles Jolley
Nisus Software, Inc.

archangelnix
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Post by archangelnix »

charles wrote:I know you solved your original problem with styles, but I thought readers might benefit from a little more info about how you could have fixed this problem:
Sorry I should have posted how I figured it out. Thanks.

I am glad you answered my question for the first point, but what about the second? You didn't make any reference to it at all.

How so I auto increment list header items? Is this even an option?
i.e. I, II, III; a, b, c; and so forth.

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