Cool Free Stuff Archives

3 New FREE Ebook Templates Added

Took a while, but I’ve managed to add 3 all new free OpenOffice Writer ebook templates to the Free Templates page.

I’ll try to get a few more up in the next week for you to download as well.

But, for now, enjoy the new templates!

Before we get into the actual creation of our very own OpenOffice Writer Template, we’re going to need a few tools.

Now, for the basis of this, and other tutorials available freely on, I’m going to make some assumptions about the tools you actually have. I’m going to assume that you have the same tools I do.

But don’t worry, I’ll also have alternative suggestions for the higher priced tools that I use ;-) .

Okay, with all that out of the way, it’s time to get down to the first portion, which is. . . . .

Being Prepared By Having The Right Tools Handy

Simple, right?

But, having the right tools can make a huge difference in what types of OOo ebook template creations you can come up with.

So, here’s what I use:

1.) OpenOffice Writer — Duh!

2.) Photoshop 7

3.)’s Color Picker Tool

4.) A Good Resource For Color Schemes — like

5.) A Slammin’ Place To Generate Web 2.0 Stripe-y

6.) A Few Extra Graphic Resources — like Photoshop Layer Styles, Photoshop Brushes, Ebook Cover Actionscripts (that’s for Photoshop too ), Royalty Free Images that can be included inside “for sale”, or “commercial”, template designing, a place to help with template ideas, etc.

Now, if you’ve got good resources like those listed above, coming up with killer OOo ebook templates is much easier to do.

But, don’t be fooled. It’s still kind of tricky to do, and does take some time. However, it’s nothing you can’t learn with a little bit of help ;-) .

So, if you don’t have the things on the above list, it’s time to let you in on where to get them and some great cheaper alternatives to some of the tools.

1.) OpenOffice Writer Alternatives
Um. Okay, why would you need one??? It’s FREE dammit! Plus, it’s really the entire basis of this tutorial, and the entire site, so if you don’t have it and you want to continue on, then GO GET IT!!

2.) Photoshop 7 Alternatives
Really, I think you should be using Photoshop when following along, but I know it’s pretty expensive. Even for the older version I’m using.

So, a good alternative, that’s also FREE, would be GIMP.

Lots of people use it. And it works fine for them.

However, there are certain things that we’ll be using in the following parts of this tutorial that will require you to have Photoshop, like Brushes, Layer Styles, and Actionscripts. Those are designed to work solely with Photoshop, so it may be a good idea to download a free 30 day trial of the program from Adobe.

At least that way you’ll have 30 days to play around and learn how to use Photoshop :-) .

3.)’s Color Picker Tool Alternatives
Well, I don’t know why you’d need an alternative since the tool is free. But, if you do, you can purchase a similar tool from But again, you really don’t need an alternative to free. . . . .do you??

4.) Good Resources For Color Schemes
The color schemer site isn’t the only place to check out cool color schemes. There are a few more places. Oh, and every one of them is free to check out the color schemes, so there’s no worries about cost here! – for those of you that prefer to create your own unique color schemes :-) – a terrific place to spy all kinds of neato color schemes, patterns, and other cool colorful stuff

ColorSchemer Gallery – the standard for checking out tons of color schemes

Daily Color Scheme – nice site that offers new color schemes every day

Page Painter Color Scheme Gallery – a number of color schemes to check out

Adobe’s Kuler – pretty cool site with very attractive color schemes

5.) Web 2.0 Stripe-y Generator Tool Alternatives
Well, again, the Stripe Generator site online tool is free to use. Plus you can browse other people’s stripe designs and get some great ideas of your own. So, I think this one is the only one you need :-D

6.) Extra Graphics Resources
You can never have too many of these sites bookmarked. The tricky part is finding sites that offer free, or not too expensive, graphics to use inside designs you plan to sell. Those are few and far between at this juncture, but I’ll do my best to provide you with a few places . . . .

Creating Online – so far, looks like you can pick up some free stock photos and can use them multiple times within your designs without having to purchase an extended use license, but this is for the FREE photos listed ONLY

Wikipedia Public Domain Image Resource Page – this has a pretty good listing of places to get “so-so” images you can use commercially for free

Image*After – a decent resource offering free images that can be used commercially in your designs – this use to be a great place to pick up some free images to use within your template designs, but they have since changed their terms and this is no longer allowed.

but, you can get some great ideas for desiging by browsing through their gallery.

and, if you’re just making ebook templates for your own use, then adding their images is all right, so long as you’re not reselling it? messy stuff, i know!

feel free to read through their terms of use, maybe you can decipher the usage rights.

Big Stock Photo – this site is a little bit more lax with their terms of usage, but if you’re going to be reselling your template multiple times, then you’ll need to purchase one of their “special licenses” for every photo/image you use.

again, check out their terms of use before using any images in your “for sale” products.

Free Photoshop Brushes – contains a nice list of places to pick up personal use and commercial use PS brush sets

bsilva’s Squidoo PS Brush List Page – even though you’ll have to pay $9.99 for each commercial brush set you want to use in any resellable works, b includes some really nice free Photoshop brush sets you can play around with, along with tutorials and other interesting stuff

SpoonGraphics Urban Brushes – these can be used within commercial designs( read the comments on the page and you’ll see what I mean ) and they are very, very good

Emma Alvarez’s Butterfly Brushes – a lovely collection of soft butterfly shapes that can be used in commercial designs with a few restrictions

Nice And Easy PS Brushes – free for commercial use, a few sets that are interesting and could be useful to you :-)

Free Web 2.0 Layer Styles – the best web 2.0 styles I’ve found anywhere online, free or otherwise. i prefer to use these on my text and sometimes within a header/footer design. they’re fantastic!!

Okay, that was a LOT to digest.

I know. But think how much more prepared you’ll be when we start designing our very first ebook template. And how much simpler it will be.

Tomorrow we’ll start getting into creating a simple design that doesn’t use a whole mess of extra graphics.

Then, future tutorials will include creating more complex graphics and how to turn them into killer ebook templates.

Why OOo Templates And Not MS Word??

You know, a lot of people ask me why I decided to create ebook templates for use exclusively within OpenOffice Writer and not develop them for Microsoft Word.

Well, here’s the short answer . . .

Because OOo Writer is FREE!

The longer answer is . . . .

There are plenty of free resources for ebook templates for use inside MS Word, but not even a handful for OOo Writer.

One highly respected friend of mine asked me why I wouldn’t just create ebook templates in both formats so that I wouldn’t leave any “money on the table”. And, he had a great point.

But, honestly, I tried converting the templates over to MS Word, and what a friggin nightmare that was!!

The images didn’t show up, the table formatting was all wrong, the text looked like crap, etc., etc.

And talk about a pain in the a$$ trying to use MS Word as compared to the ease of OOo Writer. Wow. It was simply something that I wouldn’t want to do again.

Now I have a question . . .

Why Are People Still Using MS Word And NOT Using OpenOffice Writer??!?

All around, the program is much better than MS Word. It’s easy, simple, and fast. Not to mention it’s 100% totally FREE! Who could ask for more than that? I don’t know, maybe someone who likes doing things the hard way?

The last thing I’m going to say is this . . .

If YOU are still using MS Word, I think you might want to switch over to OpenOffice Writer. It’s a better program that makes more sense.

You can download the entire OOo Suite of programs free from here:

Whoever said you can’t get anything decent for free wasn’t talking about OOo!

Amazing Photoshop Tutorials – FREE!

Last night, I was searching for a simple online tutorial that would show me how to create a carbon fiber background that would seamlessly tile.

I Googled it up and found an unbelievable source with plenty of tutorials called, including a carbon fiber background tut.

I first thought, when I saw the tutorial, “Wow, this is gonna take me forever to do!”

But, to my pleasant surprise, it took me about 5 minutes — give or take, as I had to go back and forth to complete the steps.

The point is, IT WAS SOOOOO EASY!!

I was flabbergasted.

It was so simple, I thought, well, I’ll check out another tutorial then. So, I happened across a chrome tutorial.

Guess what?

It was just as easy to follow as the first one!

And the outcome, OUTSTANDING!

Turns out, by following the tutorials, you get the exact same effects.

Oh, and by the way, I have Photoshop 7, and the graphics turned out just as good as they looked on the website where the tutorials were listed.

Best of all, every one of them are 100% FREE.

You can’t get much better than that.

So, my advice, if you need to brush up on your PS tricks, then bookmark It’s one resource I, for one, won’t ever be without again!

Well, that’s what I’ve heard anyway.

I’m gonna put the direct link right here on top before I do a break down on my thoughts about the free tool.

The name of the tool is Paint.NET and it’s pretty cool.

First off, it is indeed 100% free to use and download. And that’s a plus, especially for the budget conscious ;-)

Second off, if you’ve used Photoshop before, then finding your way around this program shouldn’t be too complicated. Many of the tools available to use inside it are just about the same.

There are some differences, though.

But overall, it’s a decent tool for being free.

The one downfall is that, from my own inspection, it couldn’t handle images with a .psd extension.

What does that mean?

Well, it means that if you have images that were created for use with Photoshop, such as a .psd image, they won’t open inside of Paint.NET.

But, as I said, if you’re on a tight budget and don’t have cash to spend on higher end graphics editing tools, then this might be a solution for you. And, if you don’t like using GIMP.

As a bonus, Michael Fortin has set up a video tutorial showing you what can be done with Paint.NET here:

Pretty much, you’ll have to decide for yourself if this is something you can make use of.

You’ve got nothing to lose by downloading it and checking it out.

Free ClipArt To Download

OpenClipart is a site that offers free to use, and royalty free clipart graphics.

A really cool thing is that instead of having to hunt through and download each graphic one by one, you can download the whole collection.

And remember, it’s 100% free to download and use for either your personal projects or commercial projects.

Here’s the link:


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