OpenOffice’s auto-correction madness and how to fix it

[2010-02-20] openoffice, hack, computers
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I do appreciate having OpenOffice as a free and fairly capable cross-platform alternative to Microsoft Office. But one of its features is a perfect example of why the adjective “intelligent” is mainly used in quotes when writing about office software: auto-correction. It bothers me in two cases:

  • Automatic URL formatting: Type a URL and OpenOffice turns it into a hard-to-edit underlined hyperlink. Fix: Menu command “Tools → AutoCorrect Options...”, tab “Options” lets you switch off “URL Recognition”.
  • Automatic date formatting (in Calc): Type a date as 2010-02-18 and OpenOffice turns it into 02/18/2010. There are two solutions: If you like having a common format for dates, you select the column in question, invoke “Format Cells...” via the context menu, use the “Category” called “Date” and change the format. If you want to input anything without constantly being corrected, use the “Category” called “Text”.