Making orders of service easier II

Pat Geary just commented in a posting nearly four weeks old where I ruminated on (A) making order of worship (order of service, service sheets) easier to produce or (B) produced in a format that is more meaningful and can be used in a number of settings (the printed copy, a meaningful large-type version for service participants, a version for the web, etc.) without having to manipulate it for each setting.

She supplied her church’s order of service for a helpful end; I hope to be helpful, too.

(B) is a larger goal than (A) but there have been bubblings on the often-dormant
LitML list. It is more active than usual right now; if you’re interested, please join it.

For many people (A) would be accomplished if only there was a sensible way to get the beastie to automatically paginate in half-letter-sized pages (or A5 pages for those on the other side of the Atlantic), and that’s all they need.

I’ve got a free solution for this: get OpenOffice.org. I first discovered the predecessor of this robust and mature (and free) office suite at Labarum, hosted (again) by Oremus. Labarum has ready-to-use services for military chaplaincies, and the models are good for a number of settings. Some of the downloads are native to OpenOffice.org.

Here’s their trick: Set the page size to 8.5×5.5 inches or A5 or what-have-you, set it to print as landscape, and under Tools > Options > Text document > Print and click “Left pages” “Right pages” and “Brochure.” It’ll print out the pages in order.

This can be combined with a mail merge (with the changing elements; “the propers”) in a spreadsheet, also found in OpenOffice.org. (This is the correct name of the software and its URL.)

Author: Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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