One of the things about Open Source software is that a great deal of the help comes from the community. This is done through the community, and through an interface called a forum.
Some people may not be familiar with forums, however as a way of getting assistance on specific problems they are pretty useful. Users response with different options and methods of approaching your issue or request.
What is a Forum?
The following definition of a forum is adapted from Wikipedia:
An ‘online forum’, or ‘message board’, is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dialup bulletin board system. From a technological standpoint, forums or boards are web applications managing user-generated content.
The following list gives you some useful links to forums and other resources out there that will assist you in getting assistance with your Office application.
One of the golden rules of forums is to try and avoid posting an issue or request if it has already been answered. Search the forum to see if anyone else has experienced a problem or wanted to do what you are trying to do. This could save you heaps of time if it’s already been answered.
Posting to Forums
When you are posting your problem to forums, try and follow the guidelines below.
- Be as specific as possible.
Other users will try and copy your actions/instructions to see if they get the same problem you are having, or to solve your request. Information that you should provide include:
- The version of the software (OpenOffice, LibreOffice, etc) that you are using. Different version have different capabilities.
- The version of the Operating System (Mac OS, Windows, Ubuntu, etc). This can affect the way that your software and/or data behaves.
- Any plugins / extensions that you have installed.
- The steps that you performed to get to the problem you are experiencing, OR
- A description of the way that you would like your document to behave / look / perform. Link to examples if you can.
- Be polite.
All knowledge to contributed to these forums is done be volunteers, and you want to stay as positive as possible so that people want to help you. Sometimes it can be frustrating when communicating your needs or problems, but you need to try the best you can, politely.
- Use examples.
Examples of the types of information you are entering or trying to achieve are good – they help people to understand. If you have a file that is not too sensitive, try uploading it to a file sharing site like MediaFire so that they can access your file and see if they understand your requirements or problems.
Forums & Support Sites
The following are links to forums and support sites to assist you in tackling your Office Productivity software issues and requirements.
- Documentation Project – http://documentation.openoffice.org/
- OOoForum – http://www.oooforum.org/
- OpenOffice.org Community Forum – http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/
- LibreOffice Forum – http://libreofficeforum.org/
- You can get a lot of assistance for NeoOffice in the OOo forums (see above)
- NeoOffice Forums – http://trinity.neooffice.org/ (Paid – donations)