Modifying an image

When you insert a new image, you may need to modify it to make it more suitable for fitting into the document. The placement of the picture relative to the text is discussed in section Positioning images within the text.

Although Writer provides many tools for working with images, for best results it is generally better to use an image manipulation program such as GIMP1, to modify images (for example, to crop, resize, rotate, and change color values) and then insert the result into Writer.

Using the Picture toolbar

When you insert an image or select one already present in the document, the Picture toolbar appears. This toolbar can be either floating or docked. Two other toolbars can be opened from this one: the Graphic Filter toolbar, which can be torn off and placed elsewhere on the window, and the Color toolbar, which opens as a separate floating toolbar.

Picture toolbar

From these toolbars, you can apply small corrections to the graphic or obtain special effects. We’ll mention only a few of them here. See the Writer Guide for descriptions of the others.

Transparency Transparency
Don’t use this for print-on-demand books, as the printing service may not accept the resulting PDF.

Graphics mode Graphics mode
Some POD printers want all graphics to be in grayscale, if the book is to be printed in black-and-white. To change color to grayscale, select the image, and then select Grayscale from the Graphics mode list.

Flip vertically or horizontally Flip vertically or horizontally

To flip an image vertically or horizontally, select the image, and then click the relevant icon.

Using the Object toolbar and right-click menu

When you insert an image or select one already present in the document, the Object toolbar appears. This toolbar is usually docked just below the main toolbar, but it can be made to float.

The Object toolbar for images provides icons for basic wrapping, alignment, anchoring, borders, and other functions.

Right-clicking on an image pops up a menu of functions similar to those on the Object toolbar.

Using the Picture dialog

The Picture dialog provides a wide range of facilities, including cropping and more control over borders, wrapping, and other functions. It is described in detail in the Writer Guide; here we’ll look at only one function: cropping.

When you are interested in only a section of the image for the purpose of your document, you may wish to crop (cut off) parts of it. To start cropping the image, right-click on it and select Picture from the pop-up menu. In the Picture dialog, select the Crop tab.

The options available when cropping a picture

The options available when cropping a picture

You can control the following parameters:

  • Keep scale / Keep image size options: when Keep scale is selected (default), cropping the image does not change the scale of the picture. When Keep image size is selected, cropping produces enlargement (for positive cropping values), shrinking (for negative cropping values), or distortion of the image so that the image size remains constant.
  • Left, Right, Top, and Bottom: the function of these boxes changes according to the choice made between Keep scale and Keep image size. In both cases, when a value is entered in one of these boxes, the image is cropped by that amount. For example, a value of 3cm in the Left box will cut 3 cm from the left side of the picture.
  • When Keep scale is selected, the size of the image also changes, so in this example the width will be reduced by 3 cm. If Keep image size is selected instead, the remaining part of the image is enlarged (positive values for cropping) or shrunk (negative values for cropping) so that the width and height of the image remains unchanged.
  • Note that the Width and Height fields change as you enter the values when in this mode. Use the thumbnail next to these fields to determine the correct amount by which to crop.

Rotating a picture

Writer does not provide a tool for rotating a picture. However, there is a simple workaround: use a drawing or graphics program to rotate the image before adding it to the Writer document. Here is how to do it in Draw or Impress.

  1. Open a new Draw or Impress document.
  2. Insert the image you want to rotate.
  3. Select the image, then in the Drawing toolbar (shown by default at the bottom of the window in Impress and Draw), select the Rotate icon Rotate icon.
  4. Rotate the image as desired. Use the red handles at the corners of the picture and move the mouse in the direction you wish to rotate. By default the picture rotates around its center (indicated by a black crosshair), but you can change the pivot point by moving the black crosshair to the desired rotation center.
  5. Select the rotated picture by pressing Ctrl+A, then copy the image to the clipboard with Ctrl+C.
  6. Finish by going back to the location of the Writer document where the image is to be inserted and pressing Ctrl+V.

To restrict the rotation angle to multiples of 15 degrees keep the Shift key pressed while rotating the image.

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

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