D&D 5e Character Sheet Updates

There are drawbacks to being a long-time devotee to a piece of software. Because Opera has been my default browser since version 5, someone had to point out to me the custom search function that every other browser has since copied and which I can no longer live without. I run into the same issue from time to time with Open Office. I first started using OO about 15 years ago with StarOffice 5 (now you know why OO’s executable is soffice.exe instead of openoffice.exe). At that time it was a single application that opened all of your documents into a single tabbed instance like MS Works did and browsers do now.

Since then hundreds of changes have taken place, so it’s no surprise that I missed a few. In this particular case it’s the PDF export function. Up until now I’ve been exporting my character sheets from OO using various free PDF printers (I especially recommend Cute and Primo). Naturally, that method has its limitations; for one thing, you can’t export links that way.

For my new 10 page long D&D 5e supersheet I decided to finally try out OpenOffice’s PDF export function – the resulting file was one quarter the size of the PrimoPDF version. The drawback is that for some reason the various lines came out much thinner when exported than when printed, forcing me to re-do most of the first page. While I was at it I figured I may as well take another stab at the AC shield, which I had made in Gimp but with which I was never wholly satisfied.

The first thing I did was load up the old XCF and switch it to a sans-serif font, but when I started changing the thicknesses of all of the lines in OO Writer it got tiring having to constantly change and re-import the image. For several years now I’ve been meaning to learn my way around OO Draw, so I took that as my cue to finally do it. In the end I only actually made the curved bottom half of the shield in Draw and the rest in Writer itself, but it was a good learning experience and only took about an hour.

The only other major change I made was eliminating most of my use of Times New Roman. As it was most of the sheet was in sans-serif Verdana, but the skills and several other things used TNR instead. Now the skills use TNR because serif fonts are easier to read  in sentences , but everything else is in Verdana because sans-serif fonts are generally easier to read in titles.

There’s also one change that end users won’t see but that other character sheet designers might find useful: I put all of the front page’s various frames into one giant one. When I first made the supersheet I had to manually copy over each of those frames into the new document, and that was as tedious as it was painful. Since I was rebuilding it anyway, it made sense to put it all into one frame to make it more portable. Now I can put into a new document with a single copy-paste.

A few hours ago I finally finished several days’ work making all the requisite changes to the front of the character sheet and made a test print. My task for later today is incorporating those changes into original documents since I rebuilt it in a new document. Fortunately, since I’m in the habit of using paragraph and character styles rather than in-line formatting whenever possible, I should be able to modify all of the spell, inventory, and beast form sheets in less than an hour.

Naturally, my chronic pain issues limit how much of that kind of intensive computer work I can do at a time, but I hope to have the new sheets uploaded in less than a day, keep your eyes peeled here for the announcement.


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