Inserting an image from a file

When the image is available in a file stored on the computer, you can immediately insert it into the Writer document. Writer can import various vector (line drawing) and raster (bitmap) file formats. The most common are GIF, JPEG or JPG, PNG, and BMP.

To insert a graphic (image) from a file:

  1. Place the cursor at the appropriate location in the document.
  2. On the main menu, select Insert > Picture > From File.
  3. On the Insert Picture dialog, navigate to the file to be inserted, select it, and click Open.
Insert picture dialog

Insert picture dialog

At the bottom of the Insert picture dialog are two checkboxes. Select the Preview to display the selected graphic file on the right, so you can verify that you have the correct file.

If Link is selected, Writer creates a link to the file containing the image, instead of saving a copy of the image in the document. The result is that 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.

The main advantage to linking pictures comes during the draft phase of writing and illustrating a book. If you change a picture but keep the same filename and location on your computer, then the next time you open the book file, the changed picture is included; you don’t have to remember to replace the earlier version with the revised picture.

The main disadvantage of linking comes if you send the file to someone else, or copy or move it to another computer or another location on the same computer. In these situations, you must be sure to send the image files as well, and the recipient must put them in the same relative location on the other computer. (Keeping all the files in one folder and sending the whole folder is the easiest way to make sure the files stay together.)

At any time, you can embed linked images into the main file. To do so:

  1. Open the document in Writer.
  2. Choose Edit > Links from the menu bar.
  3. The Edit Links dialog shows all the linked files. In the Source file list, select the files you want to change from linked to embedded.
  4. Click the Break Link button.
  5. Save the Writer document.
Edit Links dialog

Edit Links dialog

Note: Going the other way, from embedded to linked, is not so easy. You must delete and reinsert each image, one at a time, selecting the Link checkbox when you do so.

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This book is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 3.0.

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7 comments on “Inserting an image from a file
  1. gido says:


    is there a setting somewhere to make the break link a default? copying images from the internet and right away imbedding the images on libre office writer, instead needing to break the link everytime?.. thanks 🙂

  2. Kevin says:

    RTA again. If you don’t select “link”, the images is automatically embedded, no breaking needed.

  3. Grog says:


    In ‘open office:impress’ if you highlighted an existing image (clicked on it), then went to ‘insert-> picture -> from file’ then the new image would replace the existing, thereby keeping its size, location attributes….very handy ! In libre office 3.5:impress and younger, this trick does not work. The new picture is always placed on top of the existing and we now have two pictures …. is there a way to make libreoffice behave like the open office and replace the existing.

    I have looked at most menus…..

    Thanks in advance


  4. Phiri says:

    Is there an easier way to change file URLs for all iamges with links as opposed to doing it for individual images? I have a document with a number of linked images and I am trying to change the location for all the images.

  5. Phiri says:

    Never mind; managed to figure it out. Multiple selection of all images and clicking modify makes it possible to change image location for multiple links.

  6. robertjm says:

    Is there a way to insert images through a mail merge schema? I’m creating name tags, and would like to have unique photos on each name tag. Normally, I’d put the info into a record in the spreadsheet. Do you simply put a link in the .ods file?

  7. skanagoah says:

    In open writer, I cannot seem to insert an image from “my pictures” into my publication. I did the Insert>Picture>from file and then Open. All i get is a miniscule green dot. When I try to enlarge it it says Graphic cannot be displayed! The weird thing is that I have previously been able to insert numerous other graphics of the same type. (I have taken photos of pictures and documents and added them into “my pictures” and some will insert and others won’t but ALL are of the same kind. any easy suggestions? Am I missing something?