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Transferring Information via the Navigator

The Navigator window, first introduced in Chapter 2, not only makes navigating your documents a breeze, it also enables you to share information between documents in various ways by using hyperlinks and links or by simply copying an object from a source into a destination document. There is only one catch: The source and target documents must be of the same document type. For example, you can use the Navigator to share information between two Writer documents or between two Calc documents, but not between a Writer and a Calc, Draw, or Impress document. There is one exception to this rule: You can use the Navigator to share information between Draw and Impress documents.


→ For more details on the Navigator, see "Navigating Documents" in "Working in a StarOffice Desktop Environment," p.xxx, Chapter 2.

To use the Navigator for information sharing, follow these steps:

  1. Open the source document that has the information you want, and then open the target document into which you want to insert the information (either as a link or as a copy).

  2. If it isn't open already, open the Navigator window by clicking the Navigator button on the function bar or choosing Edit, Navigator. The list box displays all objects in the currently active (target) document (see Figure 3.2). A plus sign to the left of an item indicates the presence of objects in that category; click it to expose the objects, which are identified by a generic name (unless you have previously renamed them).

Figure 3.2Figure 3.2 Using the Navigator window, you can insert copies of objects from a source document into the current document.

  1. Click the down arrow adjoining the Open Document box at the bottom of the Navigator window (see Figure 3.2) to expose a list of all currently open documents of the same type. Select the (inactive) source document that has the information you want to include in the target document. When its name appears in the Document Open box, the Navigator list box switches views, displaying all tracked objects of the source document. You can now start sharing information between the source document and the target document by selecting and dragging the object you want from the Navigator list box and dropping it in the target document. By default, StarOffice inserts the dragged object as a copy, but you can also select a drag mode that results in a different kind of drop.

  2. Click the Drag Mode button on the Navigator toolbar and choose a drag mode from its drop-down menu. (You can also right-click any selected object and choose Drag Mode from the context menu for the same set of options.) Your options include Insert As Hyperlink, Insert As Link, and Insert As Copy (default). The currently selected drag mode is indicated by an icon on the Drag Mode button.

    • Depending on the current document type, Insert As Hyperlink inserts a text-based hyperlink (Writer, Calc) or hyperlinked pushbutton (Draw, Impress). When you click this link or button, StarOffice opens the source document and puts the focus on the inserted object. (You can use the Hyperlink dialog box or the hyperlink bar to edit the anchor text. For details see "Working with Hyperlinks" in Chapter 14, "Creating Web Pages and Other Online Documents.")

    • Insert As Link creates a linked object that maintains a connection to the source document. When the source changes, you can update the information in the target document accordingly the next time you open the document or by choosing Tools, Update, Links. (For more details on linked objects, see "Linking Data for Up-to-date Information Sharing," later in this chapter.)

    • Insert As Copy creates a copy of the dragged object in the target document. When you use this drag mode with heading items (in a Writer document), the program copies the heading and all text that is part of that section into the target document.

  3. Select the object you want and drag it to the desired location in your target document.

The Navigator is great if you want to connect two documents or copy certain objects from a source rather than re-create them in the destination document. However, not every drag mode is available for all objects in all document types. For example, in text documents, the Insert As Link and Insert As Copy modes do not work with graphics, OLE objects, references, or indexes; in presentation documents, the Insert As Hyperlink and Insert As Link options are not available for the individual objects on slides. In general, you'll quickly find out what works and what doesn't—when a drag mode doesn't work with a particular object, it's not available.

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