Create a new blank document in Writer.

1. Click the File Menu > New > and select Text Document. A new Blank document will appear as shown below:

Create a new blank document in OpenOffice Writer.

Turn on the Show/Hide Symbol

Your I-beam will be flashing at the top of the page which is the current insertion point. You can apply many formats to paragraphs using the buttons on the Formatting toolbar. We’ll start by turning on the Show/Hike (Non Printing Characters) Symbol so you can see your paragraph and line space marks.

2. Click the Non Printing Characters button on the Formatting Toolbar as shown below.

Show/Hide symbol in OpenOffice Writer

Set Single Line Spacing

Your business letter needs to be single spaced.  Set your line spacing to Single Line Spacing.

3. From the Menu, click Format > Paragraph. The Paragraph Dialog Box will appear.

Set single line spacing in OpenOffice Writer

4. Under the Indents and Spacing Tab, Line Spacing heading, make sure that Single Spacing is Selected

5. Click the OK button

Set single line spacing in OpenOffice Writer

Turn on the Ruler

If the Ruler is not currently displaying, turn on the Ruler so you can see the margins and get ready to type.

6. From the Menu, Click View and Choose Ruler. There should be a check mark by Ruler. We will use the default tabs on the ruler for the letter.

The Ruler in OpenOffice Writer

7. Tap the ENTER key 5 times on your keyboard to place the insertion point (2 inches) from the top of the page. It will show at approximately the 1 inch mark on the vertical ruler.

8. Start typing the date by typing July, 19, 2011 or the current date.

9. Tap ENTER 4 times (1 inch) and continue typing the address and salutation as shown below: Make sure you tap the ENTER key on your keyboard every time you see a paragraph symbol.

Paragraph spacing in OpenOffice Writer

10. Continue typing the 3 body paragraphs as shown below. Do NOT press enter at the end of each line. Writer’s Word Wrap feature will automatically move you to the next line based on the default margins in the document. Tap ENTER twice at the end of each paragraph.

Note: If you see red or green wavy lines, Writer is letting you know that you have a misspelled word or made a grammatical error. If you right click on the word, Writer will present you will some correct spelling options.

Paragraphs in a business letter in OpenOffice Writer

11. Continue typing the rest of the letter which includes the complimentary close and signature block. Remember to tap ENTER where you see the paragraph symbol.

Complimentary Close and Signature block in OpenOffice Writer

Check Your Document Margins

Verify that your margins are at least 1” for the top, left and right margins. You can change page margins in two ways: By using the page rulers or using the Page Style dialog box. We’ll use the Page Style Dialog box as shown below:

1. Right-click anywhere on the document page and select Page from the pop-up menu.

2. Click on the Page tab of the dialog box, and under Margins, type 1” for the Left, Right, Top and Bottom margins.

3. Click the OK button

Margins in OpenOffice Writer

Your completed letter should look like the following.

Business letter in OpenOffice Writer

Saving Your Document

It’s important to save your documents to protect yourself from power outages and other incidents that could result in lost data. You can save your documents to storage locations such as hard drives, USB flash drives or in the Cloud. In this example, we’ll save the document to our hard drive on the computer in Windows.

The Save Command

There are 3 ways you can save your Writer documents:

  • The Save button on the Toolbar
  • The File > Save Command from the menu
  • The File > Save As command

1. Click the Save button on the Toolbar

2. Navigate to the folder in which you wish to save your document and open the My lessons folder on the storage location of your choice.

3. Type the name Business Letter

4. You will notice that the ODF Text Document (.odt) file extension is the default file type. This is Writer’s native file format.

5. Click the Save button

Saving documents in OpenOffice Writer

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