In the first portion of this tutorial, we assembled our tools. And, discovered some free places to amass even more cool stuff to add to our own OOo ebook template designs.

Now, in Part 2, we’ll actually begin the first steps to building our own OpenOffice Writer ebook templates. Don’t worry, it’s really easy to do. For simple designs. We’ll cover the tougher stuff in later tutorials :-) .

So, let’s get started. . .

STEP 1: Open Up OpenOffice Writer

Pretty self explanatory, just open up the OOo program and create a new Text Document. You can do that by clicking on “File> New”, but since you’ve just opened up the program there should already be a new Text Document there waiting for you to add content to ;-)

And here’s what it should look like:

STEP 2: Insert A “Default” Header & Footer Into The Document

Again, pretty simple, but here’s the actual ‘break down’ on how to do this . . . .

Go To: Insert > Header > Default

You will now see a new table looking portion at the top of your new text document:

Now, to insert the footer, do the same thing:

Go To: Insert > Footer > Default

Again, you will see a new table portion at the very bottom of your new text document:

The next thing you should do is enter some basic text inside both the Header and Footer.

Normally, I simply add “Ebook Title Here” or “Author Name” inside the Header section along with the Page Number that I either set to the far left or far right.

**Quick Tip : You can also add in a table to better separate any text and page numbering to make things flow better inside your headers and footers.

To add a Page Number count, simply go to: Insert > Fields > Page Number and it will show up wherever you place it. You can find the text alignment settings in the upper toolbar inside OpenOffice Writer shown here:

And here’s what I came up with for my Header default text:

To separate the “Ebook Title Here” text and the Page Number, I just added extra spaces with the space bar.

Now, do the same thing with the Footer. Personally, I like to add something like: “copyright(c)2008 Your Name or Site Link Here” in this area, but you may want to do something different.

Again, you can right align, left align, or center align this text just as you did with the Header text in the same manner.

Here’s what I ended up with:

To get the neato copyright symbol, just go to: Insert > Special Character and a new window will pop open, then just find the copyright symbol, click on it, hit OK and it will auto insert it.

You can also insert a table to add and separate text and special fields section such as Page Numbering( as mentioned earlier ).

Do this by following: Table > Insert > Table

You can make further adjustments to the inserted table after you have put it inside the area you want it to be in by Right Clicking inside one of the table portions, or “cells”.

A new window will pop open giving you plenty of options for adding colors, borders, background colors, table size proportions, and more. Just play around with the settings to see what you can come up with.

Also, to adjust the column widths, you can simply left click and hold the button then drag the middle column line.

STEP 3: Select A “Page” Background Image & Add It

To add an image to the entire ebook, or “Page”, background area, you will need to right click somewhere inside the new Text Document “white area” — this is exactly what it sounds like — the “white” area within the text document that isn’t inside the Header or Footer areas you just added.

This will bring up a menu. Inside this menu, find the linked word: “Page” and left click it once.

A new window will be brought up that looks like this, or similar to this depending on your computer operating system:

Remember too that you can use any .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif image you want for the background.

Personally, I would try and stay away from backgrounds that don’t provide a center “white” area for your ebook contents. This would make reading much more difficult for your audience.

However, you can always add a table right on top of the background image you select that is filled with the color white. That would solve the problem :-)

STEP 4: Add Your Ebook Content

Now that you have your background in place — if you choose to use one — and your Header + Footer added, all that’s left to do is add your ebook content.

When I use the word “content” I’m mostly always referring to text contents. But, you could be creating a graphical ebook. At any rate, all that’s left to do is add your own stuff inside your ebook template.

STEP 5: Save Your Work & Export As A PDF

Pretty easy here.

Just hit: “File > Save”

or, you can also use the little blue floppy disc icon on the toolbar — just left click it once

Either one will save the document. And of course you’ll have to give your new ebook .ODT file a name.

Then, all that’s left to do is hit the little PDF icon and presto! You have your own uniquely designed ebook.

In both editable .ODT format and non-editable .PDF format to pass out to your customers/readers.


Don’t be afraid to play around with font settings for your text, sizes, colors, adding plain colors to your ebook background, and changing your header/footer styles.

You can come up with great looking ebooks no matter what your skill level. It’s all about playing ;-)

Well, I hope you enjoyed the tutorial.

I’ll be adding more in the near future.

And, while you wait, be sure to have a little fun out there!

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