Lesson 2: Formatting objects and lines and the fill area (chapter 1)

Formatting objects

This chapter describes how to format the graphic objects created with the available drawing tools.

The format of each graphic object, in addition to its size, rotation and position on the slide, is determined by a number of attributes that define the line, text and area fill of each object. These attributes (among others) also contribute to a graphics style. Although this chapter discusses mainly the manual formatting of objects, it concludes by showing how to create, apply, modify and delete graphics styles.


Formatting lines

In Openoffice.org the term line indicates both a freestanding segment and the outer edge of a shape. In most cases the properties of the line you can modify are its style (solid, dashed, invisible, and so on), its width and its color. All these options can be applied with a few clicks of the mouse. Select the line you need to format and then use the controls on the Line and Filling toolbar to select your desired options.


Figure : Common line options (style, width, color) highlighted


If you need to fine tune the appearance of a line, choose Format > Line from the menu bar, or right-click on the line and select Line from the pop-up menu, or select the Line icon from the Line and Filling toolbar. These methods open the Line dialog box shown in , where you can set all the properties of the line at once.

The dialog box consists of four pages: Line, Line Styles, Shadow, and Arrow Styles.

General line settings

The Line tab is where you can set the basic parameters of the line and is subdivided into four parts:

The Line Properties section (left side) is the most important. It includes the following parameters:

  • Line style: a variety of line styles is available in the drop-down list, but more can be defined if needed.
  • Color: choose among the predefined colors or refer to “” on page to create a new one.
  • Width: specifies the thickness of the line.


Figure : Main line formatting dialog box


  • Transparency: sets the transparency value of the line, a useful property when you do not want to hide the background completely. illustrates the effects on a line of different degrees of transparency.

The Arrow styles section of this page is only applicable to line segments; it has no effect on the line that forms the border of a shape or of a polygon. Use this section to set the styles of the two ends of the segment. You can configure the two ends independently, selecting for each of them the arrow shape (Style drop-down menu), the Width, and the termination style (Center option). Selecting the Center option moves the center of the arrowheads to the end point of the line. shows  the effects of selecting this option. To make the two ends  identical, select the Synchronize ends option. To create new arrowheads, use the Arrow styles page, as described in the following section.


Figure : Default arrowheads (left) vs centered arrowheads (right)


The Corner style section of this page determines how the connection between two segments should look. There are four available options in the drop‑down menu. To appreciate the difference between corner styles, choose a thick line style and observe how the preview changes.

The bottom part of the page previews the applied style for a single line and  two different corners so that the corner style choice can be quickly evaluated.

A faster way to set the arrowheads for a selected line is to click on the Arrow Style  icon in the Line and Filling toolbar (). This opens the Arrowheads menu, where you can choose one of the many predefined arrowhead styles for the start and termination of the selected segment.


Figure : Arrowheads menu


Creating line styles

Use the Line Styles page of the Line dialog box to create new line styles as well as to load previously saved line styles. Normally it is not a good practice to modify the predefined styles; instead, create new ones when necessary.


Figure : Advanced options for creating line styles


To create a new line style:

  • Choose Format > Line from the menu bar.
  • Click on the Line Styles tab.
  • Select from the Line style drop‑down menu a style similar to the desired one.
  • Click Add. On the pop-up dialog box, type a name for the new line style and click OK.
  • Now define the new style. Start by selecting the line type for the new style. To alternate two line types (for example, dashes and dots) within a single line, select different types in the two Type boxes.
  • Specify the number and length (not available for dot style) of each of the types of line selected, set the spacing between the various elements, and decide if the style should fit to the line width (length).

The new line style is available only in the current document. If you want to reuse the line style in other presentations, click the Save Line Styles icon  and type a memorable name. This saves all of the line styles in this presentation. (Saved styles have a file extension of .sod.)

To make previously saved line styles available in the current presentation, click the Load Line Styles icon, select the saved list of styles, and click Open.

Use the Modify button to change the name of the style.

Creating arrow styles

Use the third page of the Line dialog box to create new arrow styles such as the ones in the figure below, to modify existing arrow styles, or load previously saved arrow styles.


  • First draw a curve with the shape you want for the arrowhead.


The arrowhead must be a curve. A curveis something you could draw without lifting a pencil. For example, is a curve but is not a curve. You can however draw shapes which are not curves and then at the end convert them to a curve.

The top part of the shape will point in the direction of the line. In the corner at the top of the shape will point towards the “outside” of the line.


Figure : To create your own arrowhead, first draw a curve.


  • Select the curve. With the resizing handles showing, select Format > Line from the menu bar, or right-click and choose Line from the pop-up menu.
  • Go to the Arrow styles page (), click the Add button, type a name for the new arrow style, and click OK.
  • Now you can access the new style from the Arrow style list. When you select the name of the new style, it is shown at the bottom of the dialog box.

Line shadow

Use the Shadow page of the Line dialog to add and format the line shadow. The settings on this page are the same as those for shadows applied to other objects and are described in “” on page .

A faster way to apply a shadow to the line is using the last button of the Line and Filling toolbar of . The main disadvantage of using the toolbar button is that the shadow appearance will constrained by the shadow settings of the default graphics style.


Figure : Advanced options for creating arrow styles

Formatting the fill area

The term area fill refers to the inside of an object, which can be a uniform color, a gradient, a hatching pattern, or an image. An area fill can be made partly or wholly transparent and can throw a shadow.


Figure : Different types of area fill

The Line and Filling toolbar has the majority of the tools normally used to format graphic objects. If this toolbar is not showing, choose View > Toolbars >Line and Filling from the menu bar. You can also use the Area dialog box, described on page .


Figure : Common fill options


To format the area of an object, select it so that the green resizing handles show. A wide number of default fillings are readily available from the Line and Filling toolbar. Select first from the pull-down menu to the right of the paint can icon the type of fill. If you want no fill at all, select Invisible.


Once you have decided on a predefined or custom fill, you can further refine it by adding a shadow or transparency.

Uniform color

Select the object you wish to edit. On the Line and Filling toolbar, select Color on the pull down list at the right of the paint can, and then choose a color from the drop-down menu.


Figure : Filling with a color


Fill with a gradient

A gradient fill provides a smooth transition from one color to another. The transition pattern may vary from a simple linear transition to a more complex radial transition.

Select the object you wish to edit. On the Line and Filling toolbar, select Gradient and then choose a gradient from the drop-down menu.


Figure : Filling with a gradient


Fill with a line pattern (hatching)

Select the object you wish to edit. On the Line and Filling toolbar, select Hatching and then choose a hatching fill from the drop-down menu. A hatching fill is applied throughout the area.


Figure : Filling with a line pattern


Fill with an image

You can fill an object only with a bitmap image (as opposed to a vector graphic image). Select the object you wish to edit. On the Line and Filling toolbar, select Bitmap and then choose a bitmap fill from the drop-down menu.


Figure : Filling with an image


Using the Area dialog box

In addition to using the Line and Filling toolbar, you can use the Area dialog box to apply existing fills and create your own. To open it, choose Format > Area from the menu bar, or click on the paint bucket icon on the Line and Filling toolbar, or right-click on the object and select Area.


Figure : Area page of the area formatting dialog box


Use the Area tab to apply predefined fills, both those supplied with OpenOffice.org and those you create yourself. Use the Colors, Gradients, Hatching, and Bitmaps tabs to define new fills, as described in “” on page . The Transparency tab is discussed on page . To make the object cast a shadow, see page .

To apply an area fill, first select in the top left drop-down list the required fill type. The page changes to show in the middle section the list of predefined styles for that fill type.


In the Area dialog box, the choice for no fill is None rather than Invisible.

When using the Area tab of the Area dialog box, some additional options may become available once you have selected the fill type and one of the available fill styles.

  • For gradient fills, you can override the number of steps (increments) that should be applied to the transition from one color to the other. To do so, select Gradient on the Area tab and deselect the Automatic option under Increments. Then enter the number of steps required in the box to the right.


  • For hatching, you can apply a different background color by selecting the Background color option and choosing a color from the drop‑down list.


  • For bitmaps, you can customize a large number of parameters. Refer to “” on page for additional information.



Source: Internet