Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to Fix Broken Bullets in OpenOffice for Mac

This tends to happen when opening a .doc(x) file in Writer, or after saving it as a .doc(x) file from Writer then reopening the file. A temporary fix is to unbullet then rebullet the text, but upon saving and reopening, the broken bullets will return. For some, the character looks like a black clapperboard but for me (and in most other documented cases), the broken character looked like this:
Broken bullet character (size 197) retrieved with Unicode Hex Input keyboard (E000)

This has been filed as a bug since at least 2003, and the current bug thread, started in 2008, can be found here. It has something to do with a dependency on the Windows Symbol font, but I don't know why it hasn't yet been fixed.

I found a simple workaround in the openoffice.org forums here that worked for me. The post I used explained that one could copy the symbol.ttf font from Windows to do this, but the author also generated a version of the font to avoid licensing issues, which I've linked below. Here's how to fix it:
  1. Download symbol.ttf.
  2. Right-click on OpenOffice.org.app and choose "Show Package Contents".
  3. In the new window that comes up, navigate to Contents/basis-link/share/fonts/truetype/ and copy symbol.ttf into this folder.
  4. You should now see bullets correctly.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are brilliant. Thank you; this has been one of the more frustrating problems with word processing I have ever had.

:)

Araignée said...

Glad to be of assistance!

Mike L said...

This is a great fix for a small but frustrating problem. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I followed your advice to the letter, and still have the same old issue. Can you shed some light on why that is?

Araignée said...

To be honest, there are several reasons why it might not work. The most likely one is that updated versions of OO have affected the fix (tho' the bug report itself is still open). The other possibility is that the font didn't properly copy to the correct folder.

Peter Bailey said...

Yes, it doesn't work for me either. Still seeing the very strange logos.
I've posted a question on the forum, too, about this, wondering if there's any way to fix this through a search & replace. I've tried that, but, no luck yet.

Peter Bailey said...

Hey, wait. It did work now. Instead of using your symbol font from above, though, I got the symbol.ttf file from my virtual Windows 7 PC.

Thanks!

Peter Bailey said...

Well, I take that back. This morning I opened up my .odt file and the strange characters were still there in place of bullets. I thought I had it covered, but, I guess not.

Araignée said...

Rats, I was hoping that was successful and I would have posted an update. Beyond that, all I can suggest is posting a comment to the bug report asking them to fix it. Best of luck!

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