In this orientation module you will learn how to get started in the OpenOffice Documentation Team.

To complete this module, read through the material on this page, including the linked references. There will also be some start-up tasks for you to perform, such as signing up for an account in our wiki.

Your first task is to subscribe to our Documentation mailing list. You can subscribe by sending an email to

Then you can introduce yourself by sending an email to the list. We'd love to hear who you are, where you are from, what your background is, etc. Also as you work through the items on this page, if you have questions or problems, please feel free to ask for help by sending a note to this same list.

Note: In parallel with the Doc-specific items on this page, you may want to also review the Level 1 and Level 2 Orientation Modules. They have useful background information on The Apache Way, mailing list etiquette, decision making in the project, etc. A quick review is a good idea, especially if you are new to working in Apache-style open source projects.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let's get started!

The Big Picture

As a popular end-user facing product, Apache OpenOffice is used by millions of people around the world, with a wide range of skills and backgrounds. Some have been using OpenOffice for decades. Others are just moving over from Microsoft Office. Some are very familiar with computers and their operating systems. Others may be using a computer for the first time. Some are doing just basic editing. Others are "power users" and are creating complex applications built on top of OpenOffice.

When users have a question, when they get stuck, there are a wide range of options for them:

The documentation we write aids both the end-users as well as those who support the end users. We aim to provide authoritative, up-to-date material for Apache OpenOffice, and to aid users of all skill levels. If we do our tasks well, users are more satisfied and more productive.

Varieties of Documentation

We maintain documentation in a variety of forms:

All OpenOffice documentation is housed on the OpenOffice wiki for ease of maintenance by volunteers with the exception of the help files which are integrated with the OpenOffice product itself.

Goals and Constraints

In our documentation work we need to be aware of the following goals and constraints:

Volunteers are Welcome

We're looking for volunteers with technical writing experience, a good working knowledge of OpenOffice, or ideally both. The ability to collaborate with others in written English on the mailing list is required, but you just need to be understandable. For the actual writing, we have editor volunteers who will review and edit the rough drafts to fix any language errors. So you don't need to have native-level English skills.

For some specialized areas skills in graphic design and programming are also useful.

Volunteers on the Documentation Team work on a variety of tasks, including:

Getting Started

The Documentation Team is the easiest one to get started with. There are just a few basic steps:

  1. Subscribe to our Documentation mailing list by sending an email to
  2. Sign up for an account on our MWiki by sending an e-mail with your preferred user name and e-mail address to the Documentation mailing list
  3. Sign up for an account on our CWiki (Why do we have two wikis? It is a long story...)Note: After creation the account must be allowed by sending a request with the account name to the Documentation mailing list
  4. Add your name to our Directory of Volunteers and Documentation Volunteers pages.
  5. Send an email to the Documentation mailing list and introduce yourself.

We can then bring you up to speed on what we're currently working on.

Module Completion

Once you have completed this Module, go to our our Directory of Volunteers wiki page and add or update your information. Congratulations! Please send a note to so we know.