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OpenOffice is an excellent program for office, available for all operating systems. In this article we deal with OpenOffice Base, a form of OpenOffice for creating relational databases.

We will see how to create a phone book, and will be much easier than you might expect.

Opening OpenOffice Base then you'll see the interactive wizard for creating the database.

Once the wizard we will be asked where to save the database. Save and start to create the first tables.

This will be the screen that we will find after opening the database.

At this point we select the button “Table” and the respective entry “Create Table in Design View“, with the following screen.

Space “Name field” will be inserted (coincidentally) the name you want to assign to the field, eg “name“, “surname“, “phone number“, and so on. Space “Type field” you will see a drop-down menu from which we can choose different types. For a database as simple as a phone book we will use only types “Text [VARCHAR]” and “Whole [INTEGER]“.

The first field in the table will be called “id“, each character stored in the phonebook will be assigned a unique number, in order to differentiate it from other.

We pay attention to the field “id“. The id is a unique identifier that we (compilers address book) we can not change. Sarà un Automatic incremental assigned directly by the computer. To assign these settings to field modify the parameters shown in the space below. “AutoValue” – “Yes“, and click on gray square the corresponding row (you will see a key) thus assigning a primary key field.

  Print in a series of addresses from a database with OpenOffice Writer and Base

Once all the necessary fields and set the key to the first field “id” we just have to create a “outline view” for the insertion of data. Click on “Form” – “Use Wizard to create forms“.

Since we are interested all selectable fields, we import them in bulk. The wizard guides you through the possible configurations. The only trick I recommend is to point “5“, the voice “Arrangement of the main form” recommend choosing “In column – Fixed text to the left“. At the end of the wizard, this should be the result.

It might be handy to have a single window, as well as to the screen for data entry, also a rapid data visualization included. By clicking on “Show” – “Data Source” we are given this opportunity.

To search for a particular record, simply click on the appropriate button () and type the text to search.

Clearly there are many other ways to keep track of contacts, from the files in CSV format (Comma Separated Value), to the directories integrated into the mail programs (Thunderbird, Outlook, Evolution, etc..), to the directories integrated into the online services (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! mail, etc..). An address book with OpenOffice Base is interesting primarily for the standard language the database (SQL), secondly to educational purposes. And’ much easier to understand in a practical way the operation of a database, rather than learning theory.


I keep this blog as a hobby by 2009. I am passionate about graphic, technology, software Open Source. Among my articles will be easy to find music, and some personal thoughts, but I prefer the direct line of the blog mainly to technology. For more information contact me.


TheJoe · 9 March 2013 at 5:35 PM

Ciao Max, we have bad news.
The section help of LibreOffice shows very clearly “You can import text documents, spreadsheets and address book only in read-only mode“.
I do not know the reason for this choice, but the good news is that by changing the spreadsheet will also change the information in the database. The downside is that you will not have to delete the spreadsheet, but if you move it you will need to indicate the location of new base. In practice the data are not imported, but only connected to be read.

Max · 23 February 2013 at 11:05 AM

Thanks for the fast reply. It, the box “Open the database for editing” is checked. In practice, it all works, I can also place the boxes at my leisure. The problem is that I can not edit or modify the data.

TheJoe · 23 February 2013 at 12:53 AM

Ciao Max, thanks for the comment and for giving me intrigued about Dorando Pietri, a curiosity sports which I was not really aware. I tried to recreate your working conditions and I have a question that perhaps will solve the situation.
When you import the excel file in OpenOffice Base must interact with a start dialog (even before the actual Basic) where you select the sheet you want to retrieve records. On the third point “Saves and procedures” there is a check box “Open the database for editing”. And’ checked?

Max · 22 February 2013 at 10:36 AM

Ciao TheJoe. Thank you for the tutorial. Could you help me with this problem: I imported the data from an excel file in OpenOffice Base. I created a form with the wizard. In doing so I have setup a secondary table. So everything is right. The problem is that when viewing the table, does not allow me to change anything, ie the cursor is blinking in the box but I can not type anything. Also, if I run the secondary table, the primary one remains fixed on the first line. I feel like Dorando Pietri, who faints upon arrival of the marathon a few steps before the finish line…I do not mind being disqualified, but I need a little help to get. Thanks

Valentina · 7 February 2013 at 4:57 PM

How do I create a drop down menu, such as choosing the date for a calendar showing date of birth?


    TheJoe · 7 February 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Hello Valentina, and thanks for the comment.
    I do not think you can configure a drop-down calendar libreoffice type / openoffice. Or to create a drop down menu from which to choose from a list of values ​​must go on “Data” – “Validity” and choose “Area celle” (there is also the choice in the list “data”, but it is not what you expect).

    I'm sorry not to be able to be of help.

Dida · 24 May 2011 at 11:03 AM

hello…but with this process then you can extract a. CSV file or Calc? because an address book so I would be very useful…against but I also need to import a table then everything in Sendblaster that only accepts csv….

TheJoe · 14 January 2011 at 9:40 PM

You should be a little’ more specific.. a database to do what? that face what? amount of data? If you give me some more information I'll help you gladly.

Vito · 14 January 2011 at 9:34 PM

Hello, for reasons of job change should create a database, if I send you the details, could help in its realization?

Would you do me a very big pleasure

TheJoe · 12 October 2010 at 12:54 PM

Hello again,
then let's see if I can help.

Once you have completed the wizard of the research (which we will call “ricerca_contatti”) you will need to create another form, based on the data contained in “ricerca_contatti”. Lathes of “Form” and use the wizard. At the first screen you will be asked whether to use “Tables or Searches” and you choose “Research”.

The rest you already know, selection fields, set the style and you're done. At the end you will see all contacts in alphabetical order depending on how you've set “ricerca_contatti”.

Lisa · 11 October 2010 at 7:16 PM

Ciao TheJoe,
with some tips,
but being a new user of OpenOffice Base I have difficulty.
I try to explain :
I followed step by step your tutorial and I made a few changes on characters, formats, buttons etc... Now as I said earlier I wanted to enter a search string in order to view the contact you want.
But after doing the wizard of “search” are not able to complete my task…
I ask your help!
😉 grazie

TheJoe · 9 October 2010 at 5:10 PM

Ciao Lisa, and thanks for the compliments.

For database searches, OpenOffice provides a convenient interface for creating searches “Custom”. Opening OpenOffice Base in the left menu you will find among other, the icon “Research”.
From here you can use the wizard to create the search page, exactly as you created the page of entries.

Again, thank you for visiting, if you need more details ask away.

Lisa · 9 October 2010 at 4:46 PM

Meanwhile THANKS! excellent tutorial!
but if you want to add a field for research and after pressing the enter key to go on the record sought?
you know how I can do?

thanks in advance

voucher · 4 May 2010 at 7:22 PM

antonella?? -_-‘

TheJoe · 3 May 2010 at 12:30 PM

Wow, glad to be useful. XD

voucher · 3 May 2010 at 11:02 AM

Look I think that this tutorial will help me!
do I need to work for months to address book! 😉

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