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Re: [O] org-odt: specifying fonts

From: Christian Moe
Subject: Re: [O] org-odt: specifying fonts
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2011 21:37:51 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.6; rv:5.0) Gecko/20110624 Thunderbird/5.0

Hi, Mehul,

It's not that I would be opposed to a fonts option, of course, but I don't see it as a priority or even necessary. As long as org-odt handles the document structure and semantics right, and allows attaching an external stylesheet, I think it's done its job.

There are other developments I'm more keen on, like a finalized set of documented header options for images (those often need to be set on a per-image basis), or the table styles Jambunathan's been experimenting with (OpenOffice, eat your heart out!), or simply the definitive integration of the odt exporter into core Org.

On 10/18/11 11:15 PM, Mehul Sanghvi wrote:
As for fonts, like styles, it
would be easier, simpler and more elegant
to be able to do that without having to edit styles.odt every time.
This is not specific to org-odt.  It should be,
at least I think so for now, to do this with any exporting backend.

Some would say tinkering with fonts is a distraction from writing that having Your Life In Plain Text allows you to get away from. And the consistent use of styles and templates is anyway good word-processing practice.

But sure, this is possible in other backends. For html export (which I know better than latex), one can simply include a header like:

  #+STYLE: <style> * { font-family: Gentium; } </style>

to make every element use the Gentium font if available. If I need more than 2-3 STYLE headers to get a job done, though, I find it easier, simpler and more elegant to link to an external stylesheet.

HTML comes with the breathtaking power and simplicity of CSS styling; LaTeX comes with breathtaking power and ... well, at least it's in plain text that Org can pass on to the relevant backend. ODT is a slightly different story. Its styles are in XML that was not really meant to be hand-edited.

If you send me a styles.odt, and I do not like the fonts you are
using, it becomes cumbersome to be editing the styles.odt
for each font and making sure to change it in all possible places
until I settle on a proper font I want to use.

If I could instead specify the font in org file itself, it would be a
matter of changing the header and re-generating the file.

You'd still need to do the cumbersome work of making sure to change it in all possible places, though. Changing the Default paragraph style will typically change e.g. the linked Text Body style, too , but not the headings (they're linked with Heading). So at a minimum, you'd need options to modify both. And once fonts can be specified, users will want sizes, weights, colors, borders, etc. Sure, there could be an extensive options vocab a la:

  #+ODT_STYLE: "Default" :type para :font "Gentium" :size 12pt
#+ODT_STYLE: "Heading" :type para :font "Arial" :size 16pt :weight bold :color blue :borders ...etc. etc. ...

But is it needed? While Latex, HTML and DocBook users should never be required to sully their hands with a GUI, when we use ODT we can reasonably be expected to open up an office application now and again to modify our templates.

Okay, #+END_RANT...


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