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Writer Guide 24.2

Chapter 11, Images and Graphics

Images, Drawing Tools, Gallery, Fontwork


This document is Copyright © 2024 by the LibreOffice Documentation Team. Contributors are listed below. This document may be distributed and/or modified under the terms of either the GNU General Public License (, version 3 or later, or the Creative Commons Attribution License (, version 4.0 or later. All trademarks within this guide belong to their legitimate owners.


To this edition

Jean Hollis Weber



To previous editions

Jean Hollis Weber

Kees Kriek

Bruce Byfield

Gillian Polack

Jamie Eby

Ron Faile Jr.

Barbara Duprey

Colleen Hayes

John A Smith


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Publication date and software version

Published February 2024. Based on LibreOffice 24.2 Community.Other versions of LibreOffice may differ in appearance and functionality.

Using LibreOffice on macOS

Some keystrokes and menu items are different on macOS from those used in Windows and Linux. The table below gives some common substitutions used in this document. For a detailed list, see LibreOffice Help.

Windows or Linux

macOS equivalent


Tools > Options menu selection

LibreOffice > Preferences

Access setup options


Control+click or right-click depending on computer setup

Open a context menu

Ctrl (Control)


Used with other keys


⌥ (Option) or Alt

Used with other keys



Open Styles deck in Sidebar


Graphic and image files, including photos, drawings, and scanned images, can be added to Writer documents. Writer can import various vector (line drawing) and raster (bitmap) file formats.

Images in Writer are of these basic types:

This chapter covers images, diagrams, and artwork. Instructions on how to create charts are given in Chapter 19, Spreadsheets, Charts, other Objects. For more detailed descriptions on working with drawing tools, see the Draw Guide. For more about charts, see the Calc Guide.

Creating and editing images

You might create images using a graphics program, scan them, or download them from the Internet (make sure you have permission to use them), or use photos taken with a digital camera. Writer can import various vector (line drawing) images, and can rotate and flip such images. Writer also supports raster (bitmap) file formats, the most common of which are GIF, JPG, PNG, and BMP. See the Help for a full list.

Writer can import SmartArt images from Microsoft Office files. It can also open a Microsoft Word file containing SmartArt and edit the images.

To edit photos and other bitmap images, use a bitmap editor. To edit line drawings, use a vector drawing program. For many graphics, LibreOffice Draw is sufficient. Open-source (and usually no‑cost) tools such as GIMP (bitmap editor) and Inkscape (vector drawing program) are excellent. These and many other programs work on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Some things to consider when choosing or creating images include image quality and whether the image will be printed in color or black-and-white (grayscale).

For best results:

Preparing images for black-and-white printing

If color images are to be printed in grayscale, check that any adjacent colors have good contrast and print dark enough. Test by printing on a black-and-white printer using a grayscale setting. Better still: change the “mode” of the image to grayscale, either in a photo editor or in Writer itself (see “Image mode” on page 1).

For example, the following diagram looks good in color. The circle is dark red and the square is dark blue. In grayscale, the difference between the two is not so clear. A third element in the diagram is a yellow arrow, which is almost invisible in grayscale.

Original drawing in color

Original drawing in color

Drawing printed in grayscale

Drawing printed in grayscale

Changing the colors of the circle and the arrow improves the contrast and visibility of the resulting grayscale image.

Original drawing in color

Original drawing in color 2

Drawing printed in grayscale

Drawing printed in grayscale 2

If the document will be available in black-and-white print only, a better result can often be obtained by choosing grayscale fills, not color fills.

Adding images to a document

Images can be added to a document in several ways: by inserting an image file stored on the computer or network, directly from a graphics program or a scanner, by dragging them from the clip art internal gallery, or by copying and pasting from a source being viewed on the computer.

Inserting an image file

When the image is in a file stored on the computer, insert it into a Writer document using any of the following methods.

Drag and drop

This method embeds (saves a copy of) the image file in the Writer document. To link the file instead of embedding it, hold down the Ctrl+Shift keys while dragging the image.

1)  Open a file browser window and locate the image to be inserted.

2)  Drag the image into the Writer document and drop it where you want it to appear. A faint vertical line marks where the image will be dropped.

Insert Image dialog

1)  Click in the Writer document where you want the image to appear.

2)  Choose Insert > Image on the Menu bar or click the Insert Image icon on the Standard toolbar.

3)  On the Insert Image dialog, navigate to the file to be inserted, and select it.

4)  At the bottom of the dialog (Figure 1) is a Link option; see “Linking an image file” on page 1. Select Preview to show a thumbnail of the selected image on the right, as in the example. Click Open.

Figure 1: Insert Image dialog

Insert Image dialog


If you choose the Link option, a message box appears when you click Open. It asks if you want to embed the image instead. Choose Keep Link or Embed Graphic. To prevent this message from appearing again, deselect the option Ask when linking a graphic at the bottom of the message.

Copy and paste

Using the clipboard, you can copy images into a LibreOffice document from another LibreOffice document and from other programs.

1)  Open both the source document or program and the target Writer document.

2)  In the source document, select the image to be copied.

3)  Copy the image to the clipboard.

4)  Switch to the target document.

5)  Click to place the cursor where the image is to be inserted.

6)  Press Ctrl+V (or right-click and select Paste in the context menu, or click the Paste icon on the Standard toolbar) to insert the image.


If the application from which the image was copied is closed before the image is pasted into the target, the image stored on the clipboard could be lost.

Linking an image file

If the Link option in the Insert Image dialog is selected, Writer creates a link to the file containing the image instead of saving a copy of the image in the document. The image is displayed in the document, but when the document is saved, it contains only a reference to the image file, not the image itself. The document and the image remain as two separate files, and they are merged together only when you open the document again.

Linking an image has two advantages and one disadvantage:


When inserting the same image several times in a document, LibreOffice embeds only one copy of the image file.

Embedding linked images

Linked images can easily be embedded later:

1)  Open the document in Writer and choose Edit > External Links on the Menu bar.

2)  The Edit Links dialog (Figure 2) shows all the linked files. In the Source file list, select the files to be changed from linked to embedded.

3)  Click the Break Link button and then click Yes to confirm embedding the image.

Figure 2: Edit Links dialog

Edit Links dialog

Linking an embedded image

To change an image from embedded to linked:

1)  Be sure you have the image as a separate file. If necessary, export (save) the embedded image as a file. See “Exporting (saving) images” on page 1.

2)  In the Writer document, select the embedded image. Right-click and choose Properties in the context menu.

3)  In the Image dialog, go to the Rotation tab (Figure 3). The Link File name field is empty for an embedded image.

4)  Click the Browse button to the right of the Link File name field. A file browser opens. Find and select the file to be linked, and then click Open. The path to the selected file now appears in the File name field.

5)  Click OK in the Image dialog. The embedded file is now replaced by a linked file.

Figure 3: Rotation tab of Image dialog, showing Link file name

Rotation tab of Image dialog, showing Link file name

Inserting an image using a scanner

If a scanner is connected to the computer, Writer can call the scanning application and insert the scanned image into a document.

1)  Choose Insert > Media > Scan > Select Source on the Menu bar and select the scan source from the list of available devices.

2)  Click in the document where the image is to be inserted.

3)  Choose Insert > Media > Scan > Request. The imaging software opens; adjust settings for image quality, size, and other attributes.

Although this practice is quick and easy, it is unlikely to result in a high-quality image of the correct size. You may get better results by scanning material into a graphics program and cleaning it up there before inserting the resulting image into Writer.

Inserting an image from the Gallery

The Gallery (Figure 4) provides a convenient way to group reusable objects such as graphics and sounds that can be inserted into documents. The Gallery is available in LibreOffice Writer, Calc, Impress, and Draw. You can copy or link an object from the Gallery into a document.

For more about the Gallery, see the Getting Started Guide.

Figure 4: The Gallery in the Sidebar

The Gallery in the Sidebar

To insert an object from the Gallery into a document:

1)  Click the Gallery icon on the Sidebar.

2)  Select a theme in the list provided.

3)  Select an object with a single click.

4)  Drag and drop the image into the document, or right-click the object and choose Insert in the context menu.

5)  Adjust the size of the image and position and anchor it as needed; see page 1.

Positioning images within the text

When you add an image to a text document, you need to choose how to position it with respect to the text and other images. Positioning is controlled by four settings:

The settings can be accessed in several ways, depending on the nature of the graphic:


While all the positioning techniques discussed in this section apply equally to frames, contour wrapping is not possible for frames.

Arranging images

Arranging an image means to determine its position relative to other images or text. Arranging is only relevant when objects are overlapping. You can choose between four common settings, plus a fifth special setting for drawing objects:

Bring to Front

Places the image on top of any other images or text.

Forward One

Brings the image one level up in the stack. Depending on the number of overlapping objects, you may need to apply this option several times to obtain the desired result.

Back One

Sends the image one level down in the object stack.

Send to Back

Sends the image to the bottom of the stack.

To Background / To Foreground

Only available for drawing objects; moves the drawing object behind or in front of the text respectively.


To select an object that is covered by other objects, press the Tab key to move through the objects until you reach the object you want.

Anchoring images

You can anchor images as a character or to a page, paragraph, or character. You can also place images in a frame and anchor the frame to a page, paragraph, or character. Which method you choose depends on what you are trying to achieve.

To Page (available only on Image dialog, not the toolbar or context menu)

The image keeps the same position in relation to the page margins. It does not move as you add or delete text or other images. This method is useful when producing newsletters or other documents that are very layout intensive, or for placing logos in letterheads. This anchor type is deprecated; you are advised to use one of the other anchor types.

To Paragraph

The image is associated with a paragraph and moves with the paragraph. It may be placed in the margin or another location. This method is useful as an alternative to a table for placing icons beside paragraphs.

To Character

The image is associated with a character but is not in the text sequence. It moves with the paragraph but may be placed in the margin or another location. This method is similar to anchoring to a paragraph.

As Character

The image is placed in the document like any other character and, therefore, affects the height of the text line and the line break. The image moves with the text as you add or delete text before the image. This method is useful for keeping screenshots in sequence in a procedure (by anchoring them as a character in a blank paragraph) or for adding a small (inline) icon in sequence in a sentence.

To Frame

If the image has been placed in a frame, you can anchor the image in a fixed position inside the frame. The frame can then be anchored to page, to paragraph, to character, or as character.


You can set a default anchor for images in Tools > Options > LibreOffice Writer > Formatting Aids (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Choices for setting a default image anchor

Choices for setting a default image anchor

Aligning images

After the anchor point of an image has been established, decide the position of the image relative to its anchor: this is called aligning the image. Choose from six options: three for aligning the image horizontally (left, center, right) and three for aligning the image vertically (top, middle, bottom). Horizontal alignment is not available for images anchored As Character.

For finer control of the alignment, use the Position options on the Position and Size page of the Image dialog, shown in Figure 6.

For both the horizontal and vertical position, start by picking the reference point in the right hand side drop-down menu, then select in the first drop-down menu among Left, Right, or Center for Horizontal or Top, Bottom, Center for Vertical. If you select From left or From top, you can specify the distance.

In the example in Figure 6, the image was anchored To Page; the upper-left corner of the image will be placed at 5 cm from the left edge of the page text area and 10 cm from the top edge of the entire page.

Figure 6: Fine tuning the alignment

Fine tuning the alignment

Wrapping text around images

The Wrap setting determines the relation between the text and the image. It is normally selected after anchoring and alignment of the image. Several choices are available in the context menu, depending on the anchoring selection, and additional choices (including spacing from text on one or more sides of the image) are on the Wrap tab of the Image dialog (Figure 7).

Wrap Off

Places the object on a separate line in the document. The text is placed above and below the image but not to either side of it.


Wraps text on the left side of the object if there is enough space.


Wraps text on the right side of the object if there is enough space.


Wraps text on all four sides of the border frame of the object.


Superimposes the image on the text. That is, the image is in front of the text. This option should be used with an image-transparency setting in order to make the text under the image visible.


The text flows around the image. Moving the image around the page causes the text to be rearranged to fill the space to the left and right of it. Optimal prevents text from being placed to the side of the image if the spacing between the image and the margin is less than 2 cm.

First paragraph

Starts a new paragraph after the image even if the text could still wrap around the image.

In Background

Similar to Through, but the image is placed behind the text so there may be no need to change the transparency to make the text visible. Best used only for images without a lot of contrast or different colors.


Wraps text around the shape of the object.

Outside only

Wraps text only around the contour of the object, but not in open areas within the object shape.

Allow overlap

Specifies whether the object is allowed to overlap another object. This option has no effect on wrap-through objects, which can always overlap.


When anchoring an image As character, you can adjust the distance between the image and the text, but no wrapping option is available.

On the Wrap tab of the Image dialog (Figure 7), use the Spacing section to adjust the spacing between the image and the text.

Figure 7: Options on the Wrap tab of the Image dialog

Options on the Wrap tab of the Image dialog

Editing the contour

To create a contour, select Contour on the Wrap tab for an image (not available when Through or Wrap Off is selected), or right-click on the image and select Wrap > Edit Contour in the context menu. To edit the contour, right-click the image and select Wrap > Edit Contour in the context menu, or select the image and choose Format > Wrap > Edit Contour on the Menu bar.

The Contour Editor (Figure 8) opens. Use the tools provided to draw the region of the image you do not want to be covered by the text; this area will be shaded.

Figure 8: The Contour Editor

The Contour Editor

The tools available in the Contour Editor include Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon, and AutoContour. Some familiarity with drawing tools is required to create complex contours; however, in most circumstances there is no need for high accuracy. To adjust the contour shape point by point, select the Edit Points button. See the Draw Guide for details.

Click the Apply button to save the contour.

Figure 9 shows contour wrapping and spacing around an image and a drawing object.

Figure 9: Image and drawing objects with contour wrapping

Image and drawing objects with contour wrapping

Adding captions to images

You can add captions to images in three ways: automatically, by using the Caption dialog, or manually.

Adding captions automatically

You can set up LibreOffice to add captions automatically whenever you insert an image, a table, or other objects into a document. You can choose which objects are captioned automatically, what the sequence name is for each caption (for example, Table or Figure), and the position of the caption.

To set up automatic captions, choose Tools > Options > LibreOffice Writer > AutoCaption. At the right of the dialog, choose which objects you want to be automatically captioned and specify the characteristics of the captions.

When you insert an image, if automatic captioning is enabled, the image is placed in a frame along with a caption containing the default sequence name for images. Position the cursor in the caption area and type the text for the caption. You can change the sequence name by selecting one in the drop-down Category list or by typing in your own.

Adding captions using the Caption dialog

To add captions using the Caption dialog:

1)  Insert the image, then either right-click it and select Insert Caption in the context menu, or select it and choose Insert > Caption on the Menu bar.

2)  Under Properties on the Insert Caption dialog (Figure 10), make selections for the Category, Numbering, and Before caption fields [Figure, Arabic (1 2 3), and a colon (:), respectively, for the example in Figure 10] and type the caption text in the Caption box at the top. The text entered for the caption appears in the box at the bottom, after the category name, number, and before-caption characters.

3)  Click OK. The image and its caption are placed in a frame.


In the Category box, you can type any name you want (for example, Photo) if the drop-down list does not include it. Writer will create a numbering sequence using that name, as it does when using the AutoCaption feature.

Figure 10: Defining the caption for an illustration

Defining the caption for an illustration

Numbering images by chapter

To display additional options for numbering captions, select the Options button in the Insert Caption dialog to open the Caption Options dialog (Figure 11). Some of these settings, which refer to the heading (outline) level, will have an effect only if outline level paragraph styles are used for the chapter headings within the document.

When heading numbering is set up, Writer will restart the caption numbering for each chapter it encounters. For example, if the last figure caption in chapter 1 is Figure 1.15, and the next figure caption is in chapter 2, the numbering will start over at Figure 2.1.

Options for chapter numbering of captions are:


Changes to Up to level or separator are also applied to any existing captions in the document.

Figure 11: Options for numbering figures

Options for numbering figures

Adding captions manually

If you save as or export to other formats, you may find that captions applied as described above (either automatically or using the Caption dialog) are lost during the export.

To avoid export problems, or as another way to put captions above images or below them (the usual case), you can add a caption manually, in either of two ways:

Place the image and its caption in separate paragraphs

Insert the image and anchor it to its paragraph as a character. Press Enter to create a new paragraph for the caption.

1)  In the caption paragraph, type, for example, Figure and add a space.

2)  To insert the figure number automatically, click Insert > Field > More Fields (Ctrl+F2) and select the Variables tab.

3)  Select Number range in the Type list. Select Figure in the Select list and choose (for example) Arabic (1 2 3) in the Format drop-down list. Click the Insert button.

4)  A number will appear after the word “Figure” in the caption. Now, type the text of the caption.


When manually adding captions to a lot of figures using this method, you might want to make an AutoText entry containing, for example, Figure and a space, the figure-number field, and an optional separator and a space after it.


To ensure the image and its caption stay together on the page, create a new paragraph style, for example Figure. If the image is going above the caption, define the text flow of the Figure paragraph style as Keep with next paragraph and the next style as Caption. If the caption is going above, define the Caption paragraph style as Keep with next paragraph and the next style as Figure.

Use a table

Create a one-column, two-row table. Place the image in one row and type the caption in the other row—or use two or more rows for the caption and other text. This method can be especially useful for images with numbered legends.

Modifying images

When inserting a new image, you may need to modify it to suit the document. The placement of the image relative to the text is discussed in “Positioning images within the text” on page 1. This section describes the use of the Image toolbar, resizing, cropping, and rotating an image.

Writer provides many tools for working with images. These tools are sufficient for most people’s everyday requirements. However, for professional results it is generally better to use an image manipulation program such as GIMP to modify images (for example, to crop, resize, rotate, and change color values) and then insert the result into Writer.

Using the Image toolbar

When you insert an image or select one already present in the document, the Image toolbar (Figure 12) appears.

Image toolbar plus Color toolbar and Image Filter toolbar






Charcoal Sketch


Image Mode






Crop Image






Flip Vertically






Flip Horizontally


Remove Noise




Rotate 90° Left






Rotate 90° Right














Pop Art



Figure 12: Image toolbar plus Color toolbar and Image Filter toolbar

You can set the Image toolbar to always be present (View > Toolbars > Image) and choose whether to float or dock it. Two other toolbars can be opened from this one: the Image Filter toolbar, which can be torn off and placed elsewhere on the window, and the Color toolbar, which opens as a separate floating toolbar.

From these three toolbars, you can apply small corrections to the image or obtain special effects: transparency, color adjustment, flipping and rotating, and applying special-effects filters.

Image filters

Table 1 provides a short description of the available filters. The best way to understand them is to see them in action. Experiment with the different filters and filter settings. To undo all the changes, press Ctrl+Z or Alt+Backspace or select Edit > Undo. See the Draw Guide for more about image filters.

Table 1: Image filters and their effects




Inverts the color values of a color image or the brightness values of a grayscale image.


Softens the contrast of an image.


Increases the contrast of an image.

Remove noise

Removes single pixels from an image.


Mimics the effects of too much light in an image. A further dialog opens to adjust the parameters.


Simulates the effects of time on an image. Can be applied several times. A further dialog opens to adjust the aging level.


Makes an image appear like a painting by reducing the number of colors used.

Pop Art

Modifies the image dramatically.

Charcoal Sketch

Displays the image as a charcoal sketch.


A dialog is displayed to adjust the light source that will create the shadow and, hence, the relief effect.


Joins groups of pixels into a single area of one color.

Image mode

You can change color images to grayscale, to black-and-white, or to a watermark by selecting the image and then selecting the relevant item from the Image Mode list.

Flip vertically, horizontally or in 90° rotations

To flip an image vertically, horizontally, or rotate it by ninety degrees, select the image, and then click the relevant button on the image toolbar.


Increase the percentage value in the Transparency box on the image toolbar to make the image more transparent. This is particularly useful when creating a watermark or when placing the image in the background.


Use this toolbar to modify the individual RGB color components of the image (red, green, blue) as well as the brightness, contrast, and gamma of the image. If the result is not satisfactory, you can press Ctrl+Z to restore the default values.

Using the Formatting toolbar and Image dialog

When an image is selected, you can customize some aspects of its appearance using the tools available on the Formatting toolbar and in the dialog opened by right-clicking on the image and selecting Properties. You can, for example, create a border around the image, selecting style and color; or you can (on the Borders tab of the Image dialog) add a shadow to the image.

Cropping images

When you are only interested in a section of the image for the purpose of your document, you may wish to crop (cut off) parts of it. Writer provides two ways to crop an image: the Crop tool and the Crop tab of the Image dialog. The Crop tool provides a quick and easy way to crop an image; but for more control, use the Image dialog.


If you crop an image in Writer, the image itself is not changed. Writer hides, not cuts off, part of the image. If you export the document to HTML, the original image is exported, not the cropped image. For exporting individual cropped images, see “Exporting (saving) images” on page 1.

Using the Crop tool

To use the Crop tool, right-click the image and select Crop in the context menu. Cropping handles appear at the corners and mid-points of the sides of the image (Figure 13). Drag a handle to cut off part of the image. Click outside the image to turn off cropping mode.

Figure 13: Cropping handles on an image

Cropping handles on an image

Using the Crop tab of the Image dialog

To crop an image using the Image dialog, right-click the image and select Properties in the context menu, then select the Crop tab of the Image dialog (Figure 14).

The units of measurement shown on the Crop tab are those set in Tools > Options > LibreOffice Writer > General.

Two options are available in the Crop section. Keep scale maintains the proportions of the image; Keep image size may result in distortion of the image.

As the values for Left, Right, Top, and Bottom are altered, the boundaries of the image in the preview box change to show the crop area on the image, and the Width and Height fields under either Scale or Image size change. This results in either an image size change (Figure 14) or a scale change for a fixed image size (Figure 15).

The original image size is indicated to the right of the Reset Crop button.

Figure 14: Result of cropping an image using the Keep Scale option

Result of cropping an image using the Keep Scale option

Figure 15: Result of cropping using the Keep image size option

Result of cropping using the Keep image size option

Resizing an image

To fit the image into the document, you may have to resize it.

A quick and easy way to resize is by dragging the image’s sizing handles:

1)  Click the image, if necessary, to show the sizing handles.

2)  Position the mouse pointer over one of the sizing handles. The pointer changes shape, giving a graphical representation of the direction of the resizing.

3)  Click and drag to resize the image.

4)  Release the mouse button when satisfied with the new size.


The corner handles resize both the width and the height of the image simultaneously, while the other four handles resize only one dimension at a time. To retain the original proportions of the image, hold down the Shift key while dragging one of these handles.

For more accurate resizing of images, use either the Crop tab (Figure 14) or the Position and Size tab (Figure 16) of the Image dialog.

On the Crop tab you can adjust the following settings:

On the Position and Size tab of the Image dialog (Figure 16), in the Size section, toggle the Relative to option to switch between percentage and actual dimension. For a symmetrical resizing, select the Keep ratio option. Clicking on the Original Size button restores the original image size, but the scale dimensions are altered if the image has been cropped.

Figure 16: Resizing by specifying a size on the Position and Size tab

Resizing by specifying a size on the Position and Size tab

Rotating or flipping an image

To quickly rotate an image 90 or 180 degrees, or flip it vertically or horizontally, right-click the image and select Rotate or Flip in the context menu, then choose the desired result.

To rotate images at any required angle, use either of these methods:

Figure 17: Quickly rotating or flipping an image

Quickly rotating or flipping an image

Figure 18: Use the Rotation tab of the Image dialog to flip, link, or rotate an image

Use the Rotation tab of the Image dialog to flip, link, or rotate an image

Image dialog options

The Image dialog has ten tabs, summarized here. For more information, refer to the Help.

Figure 19: Image dialog, Options tab

Image dialog, Options tab

Deleting an image

To delete an image, click it to show the resizing handles, then press the Delete key.

Exporting (saving) images

To make complex adjustments to the image in another program, or to save an image for use in another document, you can export it directly from the document. Right-click the image and choose Save in the context menu to open the Image Export dialog. Writer will let you save the image in several formats. Name the image, select the desired image format in the File type list, and click Save.

Before the image is saved another dialog opens, where you can choose various image size and format options. The content of this dialog depends on the output file type selected. If the image has been modified within Writer, you will see a confirmation dialog where you can choose to save the original version or the modified version of the image.

Compressing images

If you insert a large image in a document and resize it to fit into the layout of the page, the complete original image is stored in the document file to preserve its content, possibly resulting in a large document file to store or send by email.

If you can accept some loss of quality of the image rendering, you can compress or resize the image object to reduce its data volume while preserving its display in the page layout. You probably do not want to compress something that will be professionally printed.

Right-click to select the image and open the context menu. Then choose Compress to open the Compress Image dialog (Figure 20). Use the Calculate New Size button to update the image information on the dialog on each parameter set you change.

Click OK to apply the compression settings. If the resulting image is not acceptable, press Ctrl+Z to undo and choose another compression setting. For more information, see the Help.

Figure 20: Compressing an image

Compressing an image

Using Writer’s drawing tools

You can use Writer’s drawing tools to create graphics such as simple diagrams using rectangles, circles, lines, text, and other predefined shapes. You can also group several drawing objects to make sure they maintain their relative position and proportion.

You can place the drawing objects directly on a page in the document or insert them into a frame.

You can also use the drawing tools to annotate photographs, screen captures, or other illustrations produced by other programs, but this is not recommended because:

In general, if you need to create complex drawings, it is recommended you use LibreOffice Draw, which includes many more features such as layers and styles.

Creating drawing objects

To begin using the drawing tools, display the Drawing toolbar (Figure 21) by clicking View > Toolbars > Drawing or by clicking on the Show Draw Functions icon on the standard toolbar.

The Drawing toolbar may appear at the bottom or left side of the workspace. You can move it to another location and dock it, or float it and move it to a convenient place on the screen.

The Drawing toolbar






Right Triangle




Insert Line


Rectangle, Rounded


Basic Shapes




Lines and Arrows




Symbol Shapes


Insert Text Box


Curves & Polygons




Block Arrows


Insert Fontwork






Stars & Banners






Isosceles Triangle


Callout Shapes


Toggle Extrusion

Figure 21: The Drawing toolbar

To use a drawing tool:

1)  Click in the document where you want the drawing to be anchored. You can change the anchor later, if necessary.

2)  Select the tool on the Drawing toolbar (Figure 21). The cursor changes to a drawing-functions pointer and the normal Formatting toolbar changes to the Drawing Object Properties toolbar (Figure 22).

3)  Move the cross-hair pointer to the place in the document where you want the object to appear and then click-and-drag to create the drawing object. Release the mouse button. The selected drawing function remains active, so that you can draw another object of the same type.

4)  To cancel the selected drawing function, press the Esc key or click the Select icon (the arrow) on the Drawing toolbar.

5)  You can now change the properties (fill color, line type and weight, anchoring, and others) of the drawing object using either the Drawing Object Properties toolbar (Figure 22) or the choices and dialogs reached by right-clicking on the drawing object.

Drawing Object Properties toolbar


Select anchor


Align Objects


Select arrowheads




[Wrap] None


Bring to Front


Line Style




[Wrap] Parallel


Forward One


Line Width


Enter Group


[Wrap] Optimal


Back One


Line Color


Exit Group


[Wrap] Before


Send to Back


Area Style / Filling




[Wrap] After


To Foreground


Fill Color


Insert Caption


[Wrap] Through


To Background





Figure 22: Drawing Object Properties toolbar

Setting or changing properties for drawing objects

To set the properties for a drawing object before you draw it:

1)  On the Drawing toolbar (Figure 21), click the Select tool.

2)  On the Drawing Object Properties toolbar (Figure 22), click the icon for each property and select the value you want for that property.

3)  For more control, or to define new attributes, you can click the Area or Line icons on the toolbar to display detailed dialogs.

The default you set applies to the current document and session. It is not retained when you close the document or close Writer, and it does not apply to any other document you open. The defaults apply to all the drawing objects except text objects.

To change the properties for an existing drawing object, select the object, then continue as described above.

You can also specify the position and size, rotation, and slant and corner radius properties of the drawing object: right-click the drawing object and select Position and Size in the context menu. Choose any properties, as required.

Resizing a drawing object

To resize a drawing object, select the object, click one of the eight handles around it and drag it to its new size. The object will be scaled up or down.

When you grab an edge or corner handle of an object and drag it, LibreOffice will not keep the object’s proportions. If you also press the Shift key, the resizing will keep object proportions.

For more accurate control of the size of the object, right-click on the object and choose Position and Size in the context menu, or choose Format > Text Box and Shape > Position and Size on the Menu bar. Use the Position and Size tab to set the dimensions independently. If the Keep ratio option is selected, then the two dimensions change so that the proportion is maintained, resulting in a scaled resizing.

Grouping drawing objects

Grouping drawing objects makes it easier to handle several objects as a single entity, while preserving their relative sizes and positions. When objects are grouped, any editing operations carried out on that group are applied to all members of the group. If you click on one member of the group, the whole group is selected.

To group drawing objects:

1)  Select one object, then hold down the Shift key and select the others you want to include in the group. The bounding box expands to include all the selected objects.

2)  With the objects selected, hover the mouse pointer over one of the objects and choose Format > Group > Group on the Menu bar, or click the Group icon on the Drawing Object Properties toolbar, or right-click and choose Group in the context menu.


You cannot include an embedded or linked image in a group with drawing objects.

You can edit an individual member of a group without ungrouping or breaking the group. Select the group and then choose Format > Group > Enter Group on the Menu bar, or click the Enter Group icon on the Drawing Object Properties toolbar, or right-click and select Enter Group in the context menu.

When you have finished editing an individual member of a group, choose Format > Group > Exit Group on the Menu bar, or click the Exit Group icon on the Drawing Object Properties toolbar, or right-click and select Exit Group in the context menu.

To ungroup or break apart a group of objects, select the group and then choose Format > Group > Ungroup on the Menu bar, or click the Ungroup icon on the Drawing Object Properties toolbar, or right-click and select Ungroup in the context menu.

Rotating drawing objects

You can rotate a drawing object in a similar way to rotating images (page 1). To rotate a drawing object to any required angle, use either of these methods:


Of particular interest to Writer is the Text Box drawing object. Ordinary text can only be rotated to 90, 180, or 270 degrees, as described in Chapter 9, but a Text Box object can be rotated to any desired angle.

Figure 23: Position and Size dialog, Rotation tab

Position and Size dialog, Rotation tab

Creating an image map

An image map defines areas of an image (called hotspots) with hyperlinks to web addresses, other files on the computer, or parts of the same document. Hotspots are the graphic equivalent of text hyperlinks. Clicking on a hotspot causes LibreOffice to open the linked page in the appropriate program (for example, the default browser for an HTML page; LibreOffice Calc for a ODS file; a PDF viewer for a PDF). You can create hotspots of various shapes and include several hotspots in the same image.

Figure 24: The dialog to create or edit an image map

The dialog to create or edit an image map

To use the ImageMap Editor (Figure 24):

1)  In the Writer document, select the image in which you want to define the hotspots.

2)  Choose Tools > ImageMap on the Menu bar. The ImageMap Editor (Figure 24) opens.

3)  Use the tools and fields in the dialog (described below) to define the hotspots and links.

4)  Click the Apply icon to apply the settings.

4)  When done, click the Save icon to save the image map to a file, then close the dialog.

The main part of the dialog shows the image on which the hotspots are defined. A hotspot is identified by a line indicating its shape.

The toolbar at the top of the dialog contains the following tools:

Below the toolbar, specify for the selected hotspot:


The value _self for the target frame will work in the vast majority of occasions. It is therefore not recommended to use the other choices unless absolutely necessary.

Managing the LibreOffice Gallery

By default, the Gallery is opened in the Sidebar. You can let the Gallery float as you can other Sidebar decks. You can display the Gallery in Icon View (Figure 2) or Detailed View (Figure 25), and you can hide or show the Gallery by clicking on the Sidebar’s Hide button.

Figure 25: Gallery in Detailed View

Gallery in Detailed View

Graphics in the Gallery are grouped by themes, such as Arrows, Diagrams, and People. You can create other groups or themes and add your own images or find extensions containing more graphics. Click a theme to see its contents displayed in the Gallery window.


The default themes supplied with LibreOffice can not be customized, but new themes can be added. The locked themes are easily recognized by right-clicking on them; the only option in the context menu is Properties.

Adding a new theme to the Gallery

You may wish to add your own theme to the Gallery to hold any images or other objects that you use frequently, for example, a company logo. Or you may wish to add several themes, each holding images for a specific project.

To add a new theme to the Gallery:

1)  Click the New button below the list of themes (Figure 25).

2)  In the Properties of New Theme dialog, click the General tab and type a name for the new theme.

3)  Click the Files tab and add images to the theme, as described below.


You can also get more gallery themes from the LibreOffice extensions website at, including themes from previous versions of LibreOffice that are no longer installed with the program. Themes in extensions install automatically.

Adding objects to the Gallery

To add objects to a theme that you have created:

1)  Right-click the name of the theme and select Properties in the context menu.

2)  In the theme’s Properties dialog, click the Files tab (Figure 26).

Figure 26: Gallery Properties dialog

Gallery Properties dialog

To add several files at once:

1)  In the Properties dialog, click the Find Files button.

2)  The Select Path dialog (not shown) opens. You can enter the path for the file’s directory in the Path text box, or you can navigate to locate the file’s directory.

3)  Click the Select button to start the search. A list of files is then displayed in the Properties dialog. You can use the file type drop-down list to limit the files displayed.

4)  To add all of the files shown in the list, click Add All. Otherwise, select the files to add and then click Add (hold down either the Shift key or the Ctrl key while clicking on the files).

To add a single file:

1)  In the Properties dialog, click Add to open the Gallery dialog (a file browser).

2)  Use the navigation controls to locate the image to add to the theme. Select it and then click Open to add it to the theme.

3)  Click OK on the Properties dialog to close it.

Deleting images and themes from the Gallery

To delete an image from a theme, right-click on the name of the image file or its thumbnail in the Gallery, then click Delete in the context menu. A message appears, asking if you want to delete this object. Click Yes.


Deleting the name of a file from the list in the Gallery does not delete the file from the hard disk or other location.

To delete a theme from the Gallery, select it from the list of themes, right-click, then click Delete in the context menu. You cannot delete a theme supplied with LibreOffice.

Location of the Gallery and the objects in it

Graphics and other objects shown in the Gallery can be located anywhere on your computer’s hard disk, on a network drive, or other removable media. When you add graphics to the Gallery, the files are not moved or copied; the location of each new object is simply added as a reference.

In a workgroup, you may have access to a shared Gallery (where you cannot change the contents unless authorized to do so) and a user Gallery, where you can add, change, or delete objects.

The location of the user Gallery is specified in Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Paths. You can change this location, and you can copy your gallery files (SDV) to other computers. Gallery contents provided with LibreOffice are stored in a different location, which cannot be changed.


The locations of Gallery themes distributed through LibreOffice extensions are determined by the extensions’ settings.

Using Fontwork

With Fontwork you can create graphical text art objects to make your work more attractive. There are many different settings for text art objects (line, area, position, size, and more), so you have a large choice.

Creating a Fontwork object

1)  On the Fontwork toolbar (View > Toolbars > Fontwork) or the Drawing toolbar (View > Toolbars > Drawing), click the Insert Fontwork Text icon, or choose Insert > Fontwork on the Menu bar.

2)  In the Fontwork Gallery dialog (Figure 27), select a Fontwork style (scroll down to see more choices), then click OK.

Figure 27: The Fontwork Gallery

The Fontwork Gallery

3)  The Fontwork object will appear in the document. Notice the squares around the edge (indicating that the object is selected) and the differently colored dot; these are discussed in “Moving and resizing Fontwork objects” on page 1.

4)  Resize the object using one of the corner handles (hold down the Shift key to keep the sides proportional), or right-click and choose Position and Size in the context menu for more precise sizing.

5)  Double-click the object to edit the Fontwork text (Figure 28). Type your own text in place of the black text that appears over the object.

Figure 28: Editing Fontwork text

Editing Fontwork text

6)  Click anywhere in a free space or press Esc to apply the changes.

Editing a Fontwork object

Now that the Fontwork object is created, you can edit some of its attributes. To do this, you can use the Fontwork toolbar, the Fontwork panel on the Properties deck in the Sidebar, the Formatting toolbar, or menu options as described in this section. If the selected Fontwork object is a 3D object, you can also use the 3D-Settings toolbar.

Using the Fontwork toolbar

Make sure that the Fontwork toolbar (Figure 29) is visible. If you do not see it, go to View > Toolbars > Fontwork. Click the icons to edit Fontwork objects. Icons 2–6 also appear in the Fontwork panel on the Properties deck in the Sidebar.

Figure 29: The floating Fontwork toolbar

The floating Fontwork toolbar

1)  Fontwork Gallery: Opens the Fontwork Gallery ( Figure 27).

2)  Fontwork Shape: Edits the shape of the selected object. You can choose from a palette of shapes.

Figure 30: Fontwork Shapes

Fontwork Shapes

3)  Fontwork Same Letter Heights: Changes the height of characters in the object. Toggles between normal height (some characters taller than others, for example capital letters, d, h, l and others) and all letters the same height.

Figure 31: Left: normal letters; right: same letter heights

Left: normal letters; right: same letter heights

4)  Fontwork Alignment: Changes the alignment of characters. Choices are Align Left, Center, Align Right, and Stretch Justify. The effects of the text alignment can only be seen if the text spans over two or more lines. Stretch Justify fills all the lines completely.

Figure 32: Fontwork Alignment

Fontwork Alignment

5)  Fontwork Character Spacing: Changes the character spacing and kerning in the object. Choices are Very Tight, Tight, Normal, Loose, Very Loose, and Custom..., which opens a small dialog where you can specify a percentage.

Figure 33: Fontwork Character Spacing

Fontwork Character Spacing

6)  Toggle Extrusion: changes a 2D Fontwork object into a 3D object or a 3D object into a 2D object.

Using the Formatting toolbar

You can customize the Fontwork object with several more attributes. Click on the object; the Formatting toolbar changes to show the options for customizing the object. These choices are the same as the ones for other drawing objects, described earlier in this chapter. See also the Draw Guide for details.

Using menu options

You can use some the choices in the Format menu to anchor, align, arrange, and group selected Fontwork objects, wrap text around them, and flip them horizontally and vertically.

You can also right-click a Fontwork object and choose many of the same options in the context menu. The context menu also provides quick access to the Line, Area, and Position and Size dialogs. On the Position and Size dialog, you can enter precise values for size and position. For more information on all of these menu options, see the Draw Guide.

Using the 3D-Settings toolbar

If the selected Fontwork object is a 3D object, you can also use the options on the 3D-Settings toolbar. You can also change a 2D Fontwork object into a 3D object (or change a 3D object into a 2D object) by clicking the Toggle Extrusion icon on the Fontwork toolbar. For more information, see the Draw Guide.

Moving and resizing Fontwork objects

When you select a Fontwork object, eight squares (known as handles) appear around the edge of the object, as shown below. You can drag these handles to resize the object.

A dark or colored dot also appears on the object. This dot may be in the same place as a handle, or it may be somewhere else. If you hover the cursor over this dot, the cursor changes shape. You can drag the dot in different directions to distort the object.

Hovering the mouse pointer over other parts of the object turns the pointer into the usual symbol for dragging the object to another part of the page.

For precise control of the location and size of the object, and to rotate the object, use the Position and Size dialog (Figure 23 on page Figure 23).

Figure 34: Handles and distortion dot on Fontwork object

Handles and distortion dot on Fontwork object