Documentation/Easy hacks

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Reintegrating content into development page. Will separate out Easy Hacks again if space demands it.

This is a first draft. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Please send comments to the Documentation mailing list. The starting thread is here.

What is a documentation easy hack?

An "easy hack" is something you can do quickly and easily to help LibreOffice documentation. Most easy hacks do not require a lot of time or long-term commitment.

Some easy hacks can be done with minimal or no knowledge of LibreOffice or technical writing. By doing them, you will learn more about the product and the process, at the same time as contributing something valuable to the community.

Other "easy hacks" require more knowledge of LibreOffice or some technical writing skills, so you may need some help with them from more experienced members of the team.

More details to come about some of these items.

Getting started - no special preparation needed

Ongoing:

  • If you are on any social media network, share with your network things you see about LibreOffice or LO documentation, such as posts on the LibreOffice Documentation blog.
  • If you find mistakes in the documentation, send a note to documentation@global.libreoffice.org, providing as much detail as you can. If you know what the correction should be, please tell us that too.

Getting started - a bit more involved with the project

For some tasks, you will need to join a mailing list and get several logins, depending on what you intend to do.

  • The Document Foundation wiki login. (Where you are now. Use Create account link at upper right.)
  • To contribute directly to the Documentation blog, http://libodocs.wordpress.com/, you will need a Wordpress.com account. Once you have that, write to the Documentation mailing list and request to be added as a user on the blog; provide your Wordpress username and we will send you an invitation to join.

To get some idea of topics that users ask questions about, you could subscribed to two other mailing lists and forums:

Entry level tasks

Pick any unanswered question from the list of FAQs and answer it. If the answer involves writing a short how-to or tutorial, you could also put that tutorial on the LiboDocs blog, or at least write a short post with a link to the FAQ.

Find on the Web descriptive and how-to and tutorial articles about LibreOffice. Write a blog post about them (for our blog and/or for your own blog) and send a note to the Docs mailing list. (Please note: many of the YouTube videos about LO are from a small number of producers. We do not need to list these individually.)

Set up a wiki page where we can list useful articles written by other people.

Review any chapter of any user guide. Instructions for reviewing are in "Producing LibreOffice User Guides" in the Contributors Guide (see resources listed under For greater involvement below.

More complex tasks

Skills needed: experience using LibreOffice with templates and styles. Some knowledge of the audience for a document and the tasks they want to accomplish.

Write Using XForms in LibreOffice (can be based on J David Eisenberg's 2006 paper, XForms and OpenDocument in OpenOffice.org, which we have permission to use as we see fit). More info is in Valden Longhurst's 2009 paper, Using XForms and the OpenDocument format in OpenOffice.org and StarOffice, but we may not be able to copy from that one.

Write, comment or improve upon a document aimed at a specific audience, e.g. technical writers, small business, university students. Some that have been started are:

Collect or produce examples for LibreOffice Math (e.g. markup language for a 4x4-matrix with placeholders, spread over multiple lines)

Update and adapt the OpenOffice.org 2.0 migration guide for LibreOffice --OR write a guide for people migrating from Microsoft Office.

Index a chapter or a book.

For greater involvement

Adopt one chapter of a user guide. A variation is to maintain the same chapter in several guides, for example on printing or setup options or keyboard shortcuts or customizing.

Adopt a user guide. Keep it up to date or coordinate other people to keep it up to date, reviewed, editing, indexed and published on time. Math, Writer, Impress, Draw, and Base already have coordinators. Needed: Calc, Getting Started.

Re-organise the structure of the Documentation wiki pages.

Resources

First steps with the Documentation team has instructions and templates.