Libreoffice Markdown

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LibreOffice Impress Templates - A collection of 246 well-designed, modern, freely-licensed templates on GitHub. 3 Column basic Brochure This is a sweet & simple template for a 3 column Brochure and/or Pamphlet. A Markdown Editor for the 21st century. Only a spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel 2007/2010/2013, LibreOffice or OpenOffice Calc) with the desired values is required.

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Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Sun, 16 Jul 2017

Translating Markdown to LibreOffice or Word

For the Raspberry Pi Zero W book I'm writing, the publisher, MakerMedia, wants submissions in Word format (but stressed that LibreOfficewas fine and lots of people there use it, a nice difference fromApress). That's fine ... but when I'm actually writing, I want to beable to work in emacs; I don't want to be distracted fighting withLibreOffice while trying to write.

For the GIMP book, I wrote in plaintext first, and formatted it later.But that means the formatting step took a long time and neededexceptionally thorough proofreading. This time, I decided toexperiment with Markdown, so I could add emphasis, section headings,lists and images all without leaving my text editor.

Of course, it would be nice to be able to preview what the formattedversion will look like, and that turned out to be easy with a markdowneditor called ReText, which has a lovely preview mode, as long as youenable Edit->Use WebKit renderer (I'm not sure why thatisn't the default).

Okay, a chapter is written and proofread. The big question: how to getit into the Word format the publisher wants?

First thought:ReText has a File->Export menu. Woohoo -- it offers ODT.So I should be able to export to ODT then open the resulting file inLibreOffice.

Libreoffice

Not so much. The resulting LibreOffice document is a mess, with formattingthat doesn't look much like the original, and images that are all sortsof random sizes. I started going through it, resizing all the imagesand fixing the formatting, then realized what a big job it was going tobe and decided to investigate other options first.

ReText's Export menu also offers HTML, and the HTML it produces looksquite nice in Firefox. Surely I could open that in LibreOffice, thensave it (maybe with a little minor reformatting) as DOCX?

Well, no, at least not directly. It turns out LibreOffice has noobvious way to import an HTML file into a normal text document. If youOpen the HTML file, it displays okay (except the images are all tinythumbnails and need to be resized one by one); but LibreOffice can'tsave it in any format besides HTML or plaintext. Those are the onlyformats available in the menu in the Save dialog. LibreOffice also hasa Document Converter, but it only converts Office formats, notHTML; and there's no Import... in LO's File. There'sa Wizards->Web Page, but it's geared to creating a new webpage and saving as HTML, not importing an existing HTML-formatteddocument.

But eventually I discovered that if I 'Create a new Text Document' inLibreOffice, I can Select All and Copy in Firefox, followedby Paste into Libre Office. It works great. All the images are thecorrect size, the formatting is correct needing almost no corrections,and LibreOffice can save it as DOCX, ODT or whatever I need.

Image Captions

I mentioned that the document needed almost no corrections. The exceptionis captions.Images in a book need captions and figure numbers, unlike images in HTML.

Markdown specifies images as

Libreoffice Markdown Mac

Unfortunately, the Image description part is only visible as amouseover, which only works if you're exporting to a format intendedfor a web browser that runs on desktop and laptop computers. It's nohelp in making a visible caption for print, or for tablets or phonesthat don't have mouseover. And the mouseover text disappears completelywhen you paste the document from Firefox into LibreOffice.

I also tried making a table with the image above and the captionunderneath. But I found it looked just as good in ReText, and muchbetter in HTML, just to add a new paragraph of italics below the image:

That looks pretty nice in a browser or when pasted into LibreOffice.But before submitting a chapter, I changed them into realLibreOffice captions.

Markdown libreoffice pandoc

Libreoffice Markdown Download

Libreoffice Markdown

In LibreOffice, right-click on the image; Add Caption is in thecontext menu. It can even add numbers automatically. It initiallywants to call every caption 'Illustration' (e.g. 'Illustration 1','Illustration 2' and so on), and strangely, 'Figure' isn't one of theavailable alternatives; but you can edit the category and change it toFigure, and that persists for the rest of the document, helpfullynumbering all your figures in order. The caption dialog when you addeach caption always says that the caption will be 'Illustration 1:(whatever you typed)' even if it's the fourteenth image you'vecaptioned; but when you dismiss the dialog it shows up correctly asFigure 14, not as a fourteenth Figure 1.

The only problem arises if you have to insert a new image in themiddle of a chapter. If you do that, you end up with two Figure 6 (orwhatever the number is) and it's not clear how to persuade LibreOfficeto start over with its renumbering. You can fix it if you remove allthe captions and start over, but ugh. I never found a better way, andweb searches on LibreOffice caption numbers suggest thisis a perennial source of frustration with LibreOffice.

The bright side: struggling with captions in LibreOffice convinced methat I made the right choice to do most of my work in emacs and markdown!


[ 14:12 Jul 16, 2017 More writing permalink to this entry ]

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