How to create pechas with LibreOffice

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Preparations and preview

Pic 1: A page of the sample pecha.

Creating a new pecha

Resources required:

  1. A pecha template
  2. The Tibetan text of the pecha
  3. An image for illustration

Select a template

In order to start to create a new pecha, we will use a template:

For our example we chose the template: File:Pecha-Template-Jomolhari-Title-Image-Std.odt from the template library.

Import Tibetan Unicode text

For our example, download the Tibetan text: File:PraiseToShakyamuniText.odt

  • Open the text in a second editor, select the whole text and copy it to the clipboard.
  • In the LibreOffice pecha document, use "Edit / Paste special..." and select "Unformatted text".
  • Now within the pecha-document, select the whole text and apply paragraph style "Tibetan Pecha Text". ("Format / Styles and Formatting...")
  • Now identify the parts of the Tibetan text that need to be printed as yig chung (in small characters). Select yig chung parts and apply the character-style "Yigchung". ("Format / Styles and Formatting..."), then select the second button on the top of the style window, to see the list of character-styles.

Illustration

  • The template we selected requires an image for the center of page 2. Images are available from the Pecha Image Library

For our example we chose the image "Buddha Shakyamuni" from the library.

  • Use "Insert / Picture / From File..." to insert the illustration into the center box of page 2.

Formatting

Correct left/right justification

Windows only: zero-length-justification-characters

The Windows version of OpenOffice does not handle left/right justification correctly. Simply use the extension function "Tibetan / Insert Justification characters..." to fix this. The function insert a zero-length space character after each tsheg. Justification then works correctly in Windows.

Note: justification for other operating system works correctly when "Expand single words" is ticked in "Format / Paragraph / Alignment".

Optimize spacing

Especially when using Windows, there might be too much white space between Tibetan syllables. In this case select the whole text and use "Format / Character... / Position / Spacing" with "Condensed" and a value of "0,1" or "0,2".

Rinchen Spungs Shad handling

Now as last formatting step use "Tibetan / Apply Rinchen Spungs Shad". This will automatically change all shad signs into rin chen sprungs shad after a single syllable at start of a new line.

Customize titles and page-numbers

Edit the placeholders for the left border titles and add Tibetan page numbers where necessary.

Prepare printing

Now add pages at the end of the pecha until the number of pages is a multiple of six. This will be necessary for printing.

Done! the pecha is ready for printing and should look like this:

Our pecha is now ready for print!

Printing

  • Create a PDF document (press LibreOffice's PDF-button)
  • Then follow Working with PDF Documents for an explanation on how to correctly print pechas on A4-paper.

For best results use 80gr ivory-colored paper and a color printer.

Some tips

  • Performance: OpenOffice tends to get very slow when working with very long paragraphs. If you have pechas that are longer than 20 pages, you can considerably speed up the editing by inserting a paragraph-break at line-ends every 10 to 20 pages.
  • Switch off contour wrapping: The text flow of OpenOffice sometimes gets confused if any of the inserted objects (mainly the yig go boxes and middle images) use the "Wrap / Contour" option. To check, select an object (e.g. the text-box that contains the yig go on top of each uneven page), right-click the object, select "Wrap ->" and make sure that the option "Contour" is not ticked.

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