LibreOffice Draw introduction


Most office suites do not have a vector drawing program that is part of their standard packages. LibreOffice has Draw, a program that allows you to do things like create flow charts and complex sketches.

Microsoft Word and PowerPoint have some drawing features and tools. However to create complex flow charts, you need to use Visio, which is not part of 365 or its standard installs.

The application needs to be purchased separately as a one-time installation or as a download for an annual or monthly fee.

LibreOffice Draw has many of the flowchart and diagram features that Visio has, plus it can do many of the things that a professional vector art program, like Adobe Illustrator, can do. There have been several plugins that enhance Draw.

The open-source application is mainly designed to work with the other applications in the suite. It can create diagrams and other artwork that can be used in Impress slides and documents created in Writer. It also can be used to modify graphs and charts generated by Calc.

In addition to accompanying other LibreOffice applications, it also can create artwork that can be exported as documents in the SVG (Standard Vector Graphics) format. Documents also can be exported as PDF, JPG, GIF, WMF (Windows Metafile), and other formats. They only can be saved as ODG documents, ODF Drawing.

This section of the Website has articles and videos about Draw. They cover the menus, toolbars, functions, and features of the application. There will be articles and videos that cover how Draw interacts with the other applications in the LibreOffice suite.
This page gives an overview of the history of Draw, the menus, and toolbars.

History

Draw was first part of StarOffice 2.0 that was released in 1994 for Windows 3.1. It carried over to OpenOffice, the open-source version of StarOffice, that was released shortly after Sun Microsystems purchased the office suite’s parent company, StarDivision. It was purchased in 1999, and the first release of OpenOffice 1.0 was in 2002. Sun Microsystems produced StarOffice and OpenOffice.org until they were bought by Oracle Corporation in 2010. It transitioned StarOffice to Open Office 3.3, which is a different product than OpenOffice 3.3.

The Document Foundation continued to offer Draw in all of its releases of LibreOffice in 2011. The first LibreOffice release was 3.3. There were not any significant changes to Draw in this version. In subsequent versions, more and more tools were added and various changes were made. Many of the changes that were made to Impress also affected Draw.

Menus and toolbars

Since the vector drawing program was designed to mainly accompany Impress, Writer, and Calc, it only has one unique drop-down menu and toolbar.

Menus

  • File
  • Edit
  • View
  • Insert
  • Format

…………

  • Tools
  • Window
  • Help

Modify is the unique menu.This has items that allow you to change a shape, move it, group and ungroup shapes as well as insert them.

Toolbars

The unique toolbar is Arrows. This just contains icons of different arrows that can be clicked on, then drawn on your canvas.
Many of its other toolbars it shares with Impress:

  • Edit Points: The Edit Points Bar appears when you select a polygon object and click Edit Points. This works when converting 2D Objects to Curves, Polygons, and 3D Objects.
    • Edit Points: The Edit Points icon allows you to activate or deactivate the edit mode for Bézier objects. In the edit mode, individual points of the drawing object can be selected.
    • Move Points: Activates a mode in which you can move points. The mouse pointer displays a small empty square when resting on a point. Drag that point to another location. The curve on both sides of the point follows the movement; the section of the curve between the next points changes shape.Point at the curve between two points or within a closed curve and drag the mouse to shift the entire curve without distorting the form.
    • Insert Points: Activates the insert mode. This mode allows you to insert points. You can also move points, just as in the move mode. If, however, you click at the curve between two points and move the mouse a little while holding down the mouse button you insert a new point. The point is a smooth point, and the lines to the control points are parallel and remain so when moved.If you wish to create a corner point you must first insert either a smooth or a symmetrical point which is then converted to a corner point by using Corner Point.
    • Delete Points: Use the Delete Points icon to delete one or several selected points. If you wish to select several points click the appropriate points while holding down the Shift key.First select the points to be deleted, and then click this icon, or press Del.
    • Split Curve: The Split Curve icon splits a curve. Select the point or points where you want to split the curve, then click the icon.
    • Convert to Curve: Converts a curve into a straight line or converts a straight line into a curve. If you select a single point, the curve before the point will be converted. If two points are selected, the curve between both points will be converted. If you select more than two points, each time you click this icon, a different portion of the curve will be converted. If necessary, round points are converted into corner points and corner points are converted into round points.If a certain section of the curve is straight, the end points of the line have a maximum of one control point each. They cannot be modified to round points unless the straight line is converted back to a curve.
    • Corner Points: Converts the selected point or points into corner points. Corner points have two movable control points, which are independent from each other. A curved line, therefore, does not go straight through a corner point, but forms a corner.
    • Smooth Transition: Converts a corner point or symmetrical point into a smooth point. Both control points of the corner point are aligned in parallel, and can only be moved simultaneously. The control points may differentiate in length, allowing you to vary the degree of curvature.
    • Symmetric Transition: This icon converts a corner point or a smooth point into a symmetrical point. Both control points of the corner point are aligned in parallel and have the same length. They can only be moved simultaneously and the degree of curvature is the same in both directions.
    • Close Bezier: Closes a line or a curve. A line is closed by connecting the last point with the first point, indicated by an enlarged square.
    • Eliminate Points: Marks the current point or the selected points for deletion. This happens in the event that the point is located on a straight line. If you convert a curve or a polygon with the Convert to Curve icon into a straight line or you change a curve with the mouse so that a point lies on the straight line, it is removed. The angle from which the point reduction is to take place When in Draw: can be set by choosing LibreOffice Draw – Grid in the Options dialog boxWhen in Impress: can be set by choosing LibreOffice Impress – Grid in the Options dialog boxis 15° by default.
  • Gluepoints: Gluepoints are points that you can insert inside shapes and other objects in Impress and Draw. You can draw connectors from a gluepoint in one object to a gluepoint in another object. When you move or resize one object, the connector remains connected to that glupoint.
    • Insert Glue Point: Inserts a gluepoint where you click in an object.
    • Exit Direction Left: Connector attaches to the left edge of the selected gluepoint.
    • Exit Direction Top: Connector attaches to the top edge of the selected gluepoint.
    • Exit Direction Right: Connector attaches to the right edge of the selected gluepoint.
    • Exit Direction Bottom: Connector attaches to the bottom edge of the selected gluepoint.
    • Glue Point Relative: Maintains the relative position of a selected gluepoint when you resize an object.
    • Glue Point Horizontal Left: This icon becomes active when the Glue Point Relative becomes deselected. When the object is resized, the current gluepoint remains fixed to the left edge of the object.
    • Glue Point Horizontal Center: This icon becomes active when the Glue Point Relative becomes deselected. When the object is resized, the current gluepoint remains fixed to the center of the object.
    • Glue Point Horizontal Right: This icon becomes active when the Glue Point Relative becomes deselected. When the object is resized, the current gluepoint remains fixed to the right edge of the object.
    • Glue Point Vertical Top: This icon becomes active when the Glue Point Relative becomes deselected. When the object is resized, the current gluepoint remains fixed to the top edge of the object.
    • Glue Point Vertical Center: This icon becomes active when the Glue Point Relative becomes deselected. When the object is resized, the current gluepoint remains fixed to the vertical center of the object.
    • Glue Point Vertical Bottom: This icon becomes active when the Glue Point Relative becomes deselected. When the object is resized, the current gluepoint remains fixed to the bottom edge of the object.
  • Legacy Circles and Ovals: This toolbar has several ovals, ellipses, and arcs that you can insert into a document.
  • Line and Filling: This toolbar allows you to insert a line into a document, set its color, thickness, and style. It also allows you add arrows at the end of lines.
  • Text Formatting: This toolbar allows you to adjust the font, font size, and other features of the selected text. It also allows you to put text into bulleted and numbered list styles.
  • Zoom: This toolbar has various icons that allow you to zoom in and out on a document.
  • Color Bar: This is a toolbar that gives you quick access to various colors for shapes and text.
  • Legacy Rectangles: This toolbar has several rectangles that you insert into a document.