Adding images

Graphics in Writer are of three basic types:

  • Image files, including photos, drawings, scanned images, and others
  • Diagrams created using Writer’s drawing tools
  • Charts created using OpenOffice.org’s Chart facility

This chapter covers the first two types of graphic illustrations.

More detailed descriptions on working with drawing tools can be found in the Draw Guide and Impress Guide. Instructions on how to create charts are given in the Calc Guide.

Image creation and editing

Images (also called ‘pictures’ in OpenOffice.org and in this book) can be taken from a variety of sources. They may be downloaded from the Internet (if you have permission to use them), scanned, or created with a graphics program; or they may be photos taken with a digital camera.

To edit photos and other bitmap images, use a bitmap editor. For line drawings, use a vector drawing program, when possible, as the results will be crisper. You do not need to buy expensive tools like the Adobe products (Illustrator and Photoshop); open-source (and no-cost) tools like The Gimp (bitmap editor) and Inkscape or OpenOffice.org Draw (vector drawing programs) are excellent — and have the added advantage of working on Linux and Macintosh OS X operating systems as well as Windows.

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

Use a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) for photos and 600 dpi for line drawings. Higher resolution won’t improve image quality on POD printers. Be careful with artwork downloaded from the Web, which is often at 72 dpi—suitable for display on a screen but not for printing. Save images in a suitable format.

For best results:

  • Create images to the exact dimensions required in the document, or use an appropriate graphic package to scale photographs and large drawings to the required dimensions. Do not scale images within Writer, even though Writer includes the tools to do this, as the results often do not print as clearly as you would like for a professional-looking book.
  • Do any other required image manipulation (brightness and contrast, color balance, cropping, and so on) in a graphics package, not in Writer, even though Writer has the tools to do a lot of simple changes.
  • If the book will be printed in black and white, convert all color images into grayscale (for bitmaps) or black-and-white (line drawings and vector images) before creating the PDF of the book. Be sure to check your POD printer’s requirements: they may insist on any images being converted, rather than printing from a PDF containing color. To convert images to grayscale within Writer, use the Graphics Mode list on the Picture toolbar, as described here.

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.

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


Drawing printed in grayscale

Drawing printed in grayscale

If the book will be available in print only, a better result can often be obtained by choosing grayscale fills rather than colors—and you don’t have to guess and test to see if you’ve made good choices.

For photographs, Writer includes some tools to make minor changes in brightness and contrast, but you may need to use a photo editor to improve contrast in the picture before adding it to the Writer file.

Lastly, make sure the text does not refer to colors in the images.

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

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