Lesson 2: Creating new area fills (chapter 2)

Creating new area fills

The following sections describe how to create new fills and how to apply them.

Although you can change the characteristics of an existing fill and then click the Modify button, it is recommended that you create new fills or modify custom fills rather than  the predefined ones, as these may be reset when updating OpenOffice.org.

Adding custom colors

On the Colors page, shown in , you can modify existing colors or create your own.

You can specify a new color either as a combination of the three primary colors Red, Green, and Blue, (RGB notation) or by the percentage of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK notation).


Figure : A custom color has been added to the list


To create a new color:

  • Enter the name for the color in the Name box.
  • Select whether to define the color in RGB or CMYK. For RGB Specify the red, green and blue component on a 0 to 255 scale. For CMYK specify the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and black (K) components, from 0% to 100%.
  • Click the Add button. The color is now added to the list on the Area page.

To modify a color:

  • Select the color to modify from the list.
  • Enter the new values that define the color (if necessary change the settings between RGB and CMYK).
  • Modify the name as required.
  • Click the Modify button.

Alternatively, use the Edit button (this will open a new dialog box), modify the color components as required and click OK to exit the dialog box.

Use the Load and Save buttons in the dialog to use a different color palette or to save your own custom colors.


You can also add custom colorsusing Tools >Options >OpenOffice.org >Colors. This method makes the color available to all components of OpenOffice.org, whereas colors created using Format >Area >Colorsare only available for Impress.

Creating gradients

To create a new gradient or to modify an existing one, select the Gradients tab from the Area dialog box. Several types of gradients are predefined and in most cases changing the From and To colors will be sufficient to obtain the desired result.


Figure : The Gradients page of the Area dialog box


It is highly recommended that you create a new gradient even if you just want to change the two colors, rather than modifying the predefined ones, which should be used only as starting points.

To create a new gradient:

  • First choose the From and To colors.


Figure : Gradient transition color selection


  • Then choose a type of gradient from the list: Linear, Axial, Radial, Ellipsoid, Square or Rectangular.

A preview of the gradient type is shown under the available gradients list in the middle of the dialog box. shows an example.


Figure : Center option in a radial gradient

  • Depending on the chosen type some options will be grayed out. Set all the properties as desired (very often the default values will work well). The properties to set to create a gradient are summarized in .
  • Click the Add button to add the newly created gradient to the list.


The newly created gradients remain available to all the OpenOffice.org components and also for future presentations. It pays to give them memorable names.

Table : Gradient properties



Center X

For Radial, Ellipsoid, Square and Rectangular gradients, modify these values to set the horizontal offset of the gradient center.

Center Y

For Radial, Ellipsoid, Square and Rectangular gradients, modify these values to set the vertical offset of the gradient center.


For all the gradient types, specifies the angle of the gradient axis.


Increase this value to make the gradient start further away from the border of the shape.


The start color for the gradient. In the edit box below enter the intensity of the color: 0% corresponds to black, 100% to the full color.


The end color for the gradient. In the edit box below enter the intensity of the color: 0% corresponds to black, 100% to the full color.

Creating hatching patterns

You can create new hatching patterns or modify existing ones. Start by selecting the Hatching tab of the Area dialog box.


Figure : The Hatching tab of the Area fill dialog box


As with gradients and colors, it is better to create a new pattern rather than to modify a predefined one.

To do so:

  • Select as a starting point a pattern similar to the one that will be created..
  • Modify the properties of the lines forming the pattern. A preview is displayed in the window below the available patterns.
  • Click the Add button and choose a name for the newly created hatching.

The properties that can be set for a hatching pattern are shown in .

Table : Properties of hatching patterns




Determines the spacing between two lines of the pattern. As the value is changed the preview window is updated.


Use the mini map below the numerical value to quickly set the angle formed by the line to multiples of 45 degrees. If the required angle is not a multiple of 45 degrees, just enter the desired value in the edit box.

Line type

Set single, double or triple line for the style of the pattern.

Line color

Use the list to select the color of the lines that will form the pattern.

Working with bitmap fills

On the Area tab, chose Bitmap from the drop‑down list. Select from the list of bitmaps the one to be used to fill the area. Note that any imported bitmaps will become available in the list.

Set the size, position and offset parameters (as applicable) in the right hand side of the page, and then click OK to close the dialog box.

As shows, there are quite a number of parameters to be configured when using a bitmap fill. These are described in .


Figure : Advanced formatting for bitmap fill


Table : Bitmap fill properties



Size – Original

Select this box to retain the original size of the bitmap.

Size – Relative

To rescale the object, deselect the Original option and select this one. The Width and Height edit boxes are enabled.

Size – Width

When Relative is selected 100% means that the bitmap original width will be resized to occupy the whole fill area width, 50% means that the width of the bitmap will be half that of the fill area.

Size – Height

When Relative is selected 100% means that the bitmap original height will be resized to occupy the whole fill area height, 50% means that the height of the bitmap will be half that of the fill area.

Position – Anchor Map

Select from the map the place within the area to which the bitmap should be anchored.

Position – Tile

When this option is selected, the bitmap will be tiled to fill the area. The size of the bitmap used for the tiling is determined by the Size settings.

Position – X offset

When Tile is enabled, enter in this box the offset for the width of the bitmap in percentage values. 50% offset means that Impress will place the middle part of the bitmap at the anchor point and start tiling from there.

Position – Y offset

This will have a similar effect to the X offset, but will work on the height of the bitmap.

Position – Autofit

Stretches the bitmap to fill the whole area. Selecting this option disables all the size settings.

Offset – Row

If Tile is enabled, offsets the rows of tiled bitmaps by the percentage entered in the box so that two subsequent rows are not aligned.

Offset – Column

If Tile is enabled, offsets the columns of tiled bitmaps by the percentage entered in the box so that two subsequent columns of bitmaps are not aligned.

The best way to acquire understanding of these parameters is to use them. shows some examples of bitmap fills and the parameters used.


Figure : Examples of bitmap fill


Creating and importing bitmaps

You can add (import) new bitmap fills or create your own pattern on a 8x8 grid, using the Bitmaps tab of the Area dialog box (shown in ).

To create a bitmap fill:

  • Start with the Blank bitmap type on top of the list to activate the Pattern editor.
  • Select the Foreground and Background colors.
  • Start creating the pattern by clicking with the left mouse button the squares (pixels) that you want to be painted in the foreground color. Use the right mouse button to apply the background color. Check the preview window to see if the desired effect is achieved.
  • When done, click Add to save the pattern.


Figure : The Bitmaps page of the Area fill dialog box.


To import a bitmap created in Draw or another program:

  • Click the Import button.
  • A file picker dialog box is displayed. Browse to the directory containing the bitmap file and select it, then click Open.
  • Type a name for the imported bitmap and click OK.


Bitmaps generally have an extension .bmp or .png. To create a bitmap image with Draw, select File >Export, choose PNGfrom the pull-down list of file formats, give the file a name, and save it.

Formatting shadows

Shadowing can be applied to both lines and areas. To apply a shadow to an area, first select the object to which shadowing should be applied, then select Format > Area.

Shadows can also be applied to lines. One way is to click the Shadow icon  on the Line and Filling toolbar (the last tool on the right-hand end). The other way is to apply a style to the line that uses a shadow (see “” on page for additional information on using styles).

Using the first method, you cannot customize the shadow; it is applied according to the default settings. The second method offers the opportunity to configure the shadow properties.

The dialog box to customize a shadow is shown in .


Figure : Dialog box for customizing the shadowing of graphic objects

When the Use shadow option is selected, the following parameters can be set:

  • Position: the selected point in the mini map determines the direction in which the shadow is cast.
  • Distance: determines the distance between the object and the shadow.
  • Color: sets the color of the shadow.
  • Transparency: determines the amount of transparency for the shadow.


When the transparency value is set above 0%, the shadow does not completely hide the objects below. This produces a pleasant visual effect, as shown in .


Figure : Shadows with different levels of  transparency


Transparency formatting

Transparency is applicable to lines and areas as well as shadows. To apply transparency to lines, refer to “” on page ; for shadows, refer to “” above.

To apply transparency to areas, select Format > Area and then go to the Transparency page shown in .


Figure : Setting the object transparency

The two types of transparency are uniform transparency and gradient transparency. To obtain uniform transparency, select Transparency and then select the percentage of transparency required. For a gradient transparency (so that the area becomes gradually transparent) select Gradient and then set the parameters of the gradient. Refer to on page for a description of most of the settings. In the Transparency tab, specify the Start value and the End  value for the transparency gradient. 0% is fully opaque, 100% means fully transparent.

An example of gradient transparency is shown in .

More information on gradient transparency, including an example of combining color gradient with gradient transparency, can be found in “” on page .


Figure : Example of gradient transparency


Advanced gradient controls

As discussed in “” on page and “” on page , gradient properties can be configured using the parameters in on page .

Impress also provides a graphical interface for modifying the gradient parameters using only the mouse. To use these tools, click on the Transparency icon or the Gradient icon  in the Mode toolbar shown in .


Figure : The Mode toolbar

When an object with a gradient fill is selected, click on the Gradient icon to display a dashed line connecting two squares colored as the “From” color and the “To” color of the gradient, as shown in the examples below.


Figure : Green to magenta gradient


Figure : Transparency gradient (note how the background becomes visible close to the white square)


For linear gradients, move the square corresponding to the From color to change where the gradient starts (that is the Border property). Move the square corresponding to the To color to change the orientation (Angle property).

For axial gradients, you can move only the To color to change both the angle and the border properties of the gradient.

For radial gradients, move the From color to modify the border property (that is how “wide” the gradient circle is). Move the To color to change the point where the gradient ends (Center X and Center Y values).

For ellipsoid gradients, move the From color to modify the border property (the size of the gradient ellipsoid). Move the To color to change the angle of the ellipsoid axis and the axis itself.

For square and rectangular gradients, move the From color to modify the border (the size of the gradient square or rectangle) and the angle of the gradient shape. Move the To color to change the center of the gradient.

The same actions can be performed for transparency gradients, with the difference that the two squares activated by the Transparency icon represent the fully opaque point (black square) and the fully transparent point (white square).

These icons are grayed out by default and are only activated when an object with gradient filling, gradient transparency, or both is selected.

In both cases a dashed line connecting two small squares appears on top of the object. Click outside the object to set the gradient.


Moving the squares will have different effects depending on the type of gradient. For example, for a linear gradient, the start and end squares of the gradient will always be situated to either side of the center point of the object.

 Source: Internet