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LO Writer: Multiple columns in different languages? [closed]

asked 2013-07-17 06:14:32 +0200

nugai gravatar image

updated 2013-09-29 21:57:46 +0200

manj_k gravatar image

Hi all,

I'm fairly new to LO (and OO), trying to write a technical manual that presents the information side-by-side in multiple columns in different languages (say, for example, column 1 = English, column 2 = German, column 3 = Italian, etc.). This side-by side format should apply to all section headers, text body and image captions (although the images most likely will be in a single column across the page).

I'm struggling with figuring out what the best layout mechanism would be for doing what I described above:

  • I've tried putting the text body into tables (one column per language, one row per paragraph, multiple tables per section or topic). This, however, does not work for section headers or separating TOC by language.
  • Using section breaks for a multi-column layout doesn't seem to work because column 1 flows into column 2 then into column 3, etc.
  • I've even contemplated creating a master document for the general layout and then using sub-documents for text in each language (so that I can split out languages easily for review and
    editing) but I could only get this to work sequentially (one language after the other instead of side-by-side).

Has anybody here dealt with a problem like this and can you provide me with hints for how to tackle this problem or where to look (or what to read) for figuring out how to solve it? Given that I'm a newbie, any help would be greatly appreciated -- even if it confirms my hunch that this may be too hard to do in LO.

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Closed for the following reason question is not relevant or outdated by Alex Kemp
close date 2015-11-03 23:31:14.964118

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answered 2013-07-17 07:49:56 +0200

oweng gravatar image

updated 2013-07-19 09:13:18 +0200

Yes, this can be done, although I am not sure there is any ideal solution and your resultant document is mostly going to use a combination of section-based columnar layout, text frames (rather than text boxes), and regular (single-column) tracts. How you approach it really depends on how you want to the content to flow, the nature of your content, and the extent of your content.

If you desire independent columns of content (i.e., column 1 on p.1 flows to column 1 on p.2) then linked text frames may be the best approach. I provide an example in this forum thread. This is however more complex and you may run into problems with cross-referencing (e.g., linking to headings) so will need to carefully consider which pieces of content are placed in text frames and which in section-based columns.

I would avoid the master / sub-document arrangement as you are likely going to have a complicated enough document as it is. You may be able to get this method to work, and if your content is truly huge in size then it may be feasible, but it does run the risk of greater problems. I would tend to consider multiple independent documents first, even if it meant manually creating the table of contents at the end.

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Thank you very much for your reply and the link to the thread, which I found be very useful. I'll certainly try the text frame linking you describe in that thread. In addition to frame linking, I'll also look into your notion of "using Writer to write and a Layout program for layout." I think I tried to make LO do both, which may not be the best way of doing things. I'll certainly look into Scribus as well. Thank you for pointing this out.

nugai gravatar imagenugai ( 2013-07-17 23:42:42 +0200 )edit
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answered 2013-07-17 10:49:59 +0200

mahfiaz gravatar image

I myself would go with the tables. It is easiest to set up and only complication is Table of Contents, so here are two workarounds for this. (as you probably don't need footnotes and endnotes)

1) Use usual heading styles only for the English version, for others create a new set of heading styles. Now create one normal ToC for English and for others use a ToC in two columns. Left column has just ToC with numbers (the modern and more usable style for ToCs), the right one has simple text where you manually translate the names.

2) The same as first, but you create other ToCs manually by using correct styles and two cross-references to get heading name and page.

3) Use different heading styles per language and create several ToCs which use the right per-language styles.

If your document is simple and one-off, then pick 1), if your document changes a lot later and is going to be edited for a long time, pick 3) (or if you just want to do the things "the right way", it kind of is the nicest solution).

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Thank you for your reply! I never thought about using different heading styles (one with numbering, the others without and/or as one per language) -- These are great ideas! I intend too use footnotes during the writing/editing process (typically to reference a source, e.g. where a quote or picture came from, but also to remind myself of things that need to be talked about in the subject matter). I'll see what works best.

nugai gravatar imagenugai ( 2013-07-17 23:48:12 +0200 )edit

@nugai - It would be very interesting to see once such a document! But be careful with the content, this is a public site.

ROSt52 gravatar imageROSt52 ( 2013-07-18 02:51:00 +0200 )edit

@nugai - The editing notes are what comments are made for. That way your layout won't change and you can keep these comments forever.

mahfiaz gravatar imagemahfiaz ( 2013-07-18 09:58:38 +0200 )edit

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Asked: 2013-07-17 06:14:32 +0200

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Last updated: Jul 19 '13