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Book Excerpts: OOo Draw Documents with Imagination 102

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the roblimo-book-worm dept.
As many of you know one of our own, Robin 'Roblimo' Miller, recently had his book "Point & Click OpenOffice.org" published. Below is an excerpt from the book. In addition to this teaser chapter you can also find related videos over at Newsforge and if your are so inclined you can also snag a copy direct from Robin.
Chapter 4

OOo Draw Documents with Imagination

OOo Draw is a simple program, not really suited for professional graphics people. But it's good enough for at least 90% of the photo manipulation and drawing most of us do most of the time when we're preparing text documents, slide presentations, and other basic "ofce" jobs that graphics can enliven.

This chapter covers some of the simplest and most popular OOo Draw features. Chapter 7, "Draw: Not Your Father's Drawing Board," covers advanced Draw techniques and tricks, including some you wouldn't expect to nd in an Ofce program--especially one that's free.

Terri the Guard Dog is shown here taking a break from work. It's a passable picture, but for publication you would need to make it smaller and cut out most of the background. You open the photo the same way you open any other le with OOo--by selecting File > Open and highlighting the desired le.

*

You'll see that the photo opens as part of a slide or text page, not on its own.

*

OOo displays pictures as part of something else, not all by themselves. To isolate the image so that you can work with it, click it so that it grows little "handles" at its edges.

*

*

As long as you see those handles, you are working only on the material inside them. In this case, you will make the photo smaller so that it takes up less space on the printed page.

There are several ways you can do this. The most obvious is to put the cursor on one of the corner handles and move it toward the opposite corner while holding down the left mouse button. The only problem with this method is that it can distort the photo if you aren't careful.

*

This can be a fun "effect" if you do it on purpose, but this time you'll press Ctrl-Z or select Edit > Undo to take you back to where you were. Now you'll resize the photo correctly by right-clicking it and choosing Position and Size (the third menu choice from the top). You see the Position and Size dialog box.

We can do a number of things in this dialog box, but rst you'll make the photo smaller. You can decide what size you want, in inches or pixels. If you check the Keep Ratio box, the program automatically keeps the photo the right shape if you change either its horizontal or vertical dimension.

*

You can also ip or rotate photos with OOo Draw. There are several ways to do this. One is to use the Rotation tab in the Position and Size dialog box. Either click one of the preset sideways, upside-down, or 45-degree angle choices, or use the little window to the left of the "big" choices there to select your rotation angle in 15-degree increments. If that isn't enough choices, you can go to the menu at the top of the OOo window, choose Modify > Rotate, and use the corner handles on the picture to turn it. You can try various angles until you nd one you like.

*

You may think this looks silly. No problem; you can undo the change by pressing Ctrl-Z or by selecting Edit > Undo. You can place your dog at any angle you want.

Making (or Altering) Pictures with OOo Draw Drawing Tools



To create your own art, start with a blank drawing slate, which you get by selecting File > New. Then choose Drawing from the "What kind of new work?" choices that show up to the right of the main menu when the cursor is over (or to the right of) the word New. This gives you tools along the bottom of the work area in addition to the ones along the top that you got when you opened a Text Document window.

*

You see a number of icons, starting with a pointer at the left. Each drawing icon has a little down-pointing arrow next to it. Click the arrow next to the Callout icon--the one that looks like a cartoon speech balloon. You see a menu that gives you several different "cartoon balloon" styles.

*

Select a callout--or any other drawing shape tool--by clicking it. Then choose a point in your picture where you want to insert it, and click and hold down the left mouse button while you move the mouse diagonally until the shape is the size you want it.

Don't worry if you don't get the size or alignment exactly right or if you want to rotate your newly-added bit of art in one direction or the other. You can use the same Size and Rotation tools you used on Terri's picture. You can move it around by clicking it and moving the little cross that this action turns the cursor into. You can even change the shape of your shape with the little handles on the edge of the graphics square that contains it. *

*

The rest of the shape icons work exactly the same as the callout one. You can move the mouse over each one and read the little text box that pops up. It will take you only a few seconds to try each one and see what it does. Mistakes are ne. If you don't save your work after you practice, no one will know you made them. So please experiment freely. All pixels (the little dots that make up pictures on the screen) created with OOo Draw are fully recyclable; no precious resources or landll space are used by your self-training sessions.

Adding Text to Drawings



The Text Draw icon needs additional explanation but is useful enough for nongraphics people to make its way into this chapter instead of being reserved for Chapter 7, which goes into advanced Draw tricks. To use this icon, click it, and then drag the little cross that the cursor becomes to where you want to type your text.

*

Type it in, alter the font and text size exactly the same way as when you're creating a text document, and you have text.

This example changes the callout size and shape to t around the text.


*

Saving Image Files



This is where things get a little tricky. Remember when I said that OOo treats images as part of a page or presentation? That's how it likes to save them, too. If you select File > Save As while you're working with an image le, you'll end up with a le type that works only with OpenOfce.org, not an image le that can be opened by all kinds of picture-editing software. So, being a bit tricky yourself, if you plan to use an image le in anything other than an OOo document or presentation, you export it to the le format you want. Instead of choosing Save As when you want to save your graphics le all by itself instead of as part of something else, select File > Export. This brings up the Export dialog box and a list of graphics le format choices.

*

*

If you're an experienced artist or Web designer, you'll see most of your favorites here--even Macromedia Flash. If you don't know one graphics le format from another, the safest choice is JPEG. This is the format used by most digital cameras. Virtually all known graphics programs and Web browsers, for all operating systems, can read JPEG pictures.

*

You need to select only two more options if you decide to save your image in JPEG format: Quality and Color Resolution. The default quality is 75%, which is good enough for Web publishing, but unless you're sure this is all you'll do with this graphic, it's probably better to choose 100%. You can always lower the quality later, but after you've lowered the quality, you cannot raise it.

In the Grayscale versus True Colors choice, it's better to choose True Colors for much the same reason: You can always turn a color image into a black-and-white one later, but you can't add color into an image you've saved in black and white.

*

All you need to do now is pick a name for your le, decide which directory and folder are the best place to put it, and click Save. Your picture is now ready to liven up your next text document, slide presentation, spreadsheet, or Web page.
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Book Excerpts: OOo Draw Documents with Imagination

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  • Buy it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:55PM (#14439703) Homepage Journal

    That's not the Open Source way!

    Make a downloadable PDF and a PayPal donation page. After all, the people who did all the work actually writing OOo are giving it away.
    • "Make a downloadable PDF"

      You misspelled "LaTEX."
      • Don't you mean LaTeX?

        • Re:Buy it? (Score:2, Interesting)

          Actually the correct spelling and orthagraphy for the name of Dr. Knuth's typsetting application and its derivatives cannot be correctly represented in the /. comments section.

          The "e" in "TeX" should be descended, so that its lateral mid-point is located at the basline for the other glyphs. This was a "Gosh, Wow" for Knuth - a visual pun, and a demonstration of capability. Earlier computer text and type processors were incapable of even correctly rendering the name of his successor.

          Without the application
    • Re:Buy it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JourneymanMereel (191114) <jake@bugz[ ]a.org ['ill' in gap]> on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @05:23PM (#14439959) Homepage Journal
      I can certainly see your point, but I also think that getting it on the shelves at a book store is really important. Especially if it come with a CD that contains the installation files. As strange as it may seem, I think more people would be willing to grab a book and office suite for $50 and actually use them then a book and operating system (also including the same office suite) for that same $50. I'd imagine that many people would find something like this on the shelf and Barnes and Noble (or whatever bookstore) that would never think to go to openoffice.org [openoffice.org] or even so much as search google for free office suite [google.com].
      • Re:Buy it? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AeroIllini (726211) <aeroillini@gmail . c om> on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @07:01PM (#14441141)
        I think it would be extremely beneficial for OpenOffice to start showing up in all the various places people buy software, too, like Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, and the ilk.

        Here's what I propose:
        OOo puts together a CD containing a Windows build, a couple of popular Linux builds (including Darwin, if they have it), the source code, and a million and one references to visit the website. Then they slap a pretty label on the CD, package it in a bright colorful box extolling the virtues of the program and how it can do everything Microsoft Office can do including open Microsoft documents, include a quickstart manual with links to the website for more information, toss it onto the software shelf next to all the other Office Productivity software, and charge $5 for it. That would pay for the CD printing and packaging costs. Perhaps Best Buy marks it up to $10 or $15. But how many newbie people, when buying a computer at Best Buy, will see OpenOffice on the shelf and say, "$15?! That's way better than the $200 Microsoft is charging! And look! It can do things that cost extra with Microsoft!"

        Sure it's not beer free to the end user, but sometimes costs are incurred. I see this as a gain all around. Best Buy sells lots of these things, the customer gets warm fuzzies because they saved $185, the whole world starts to step out of the Microsoft cave and blink in the light, and OpenOffice gets to keep their souls.
        • Then they slap a pretty label on the CD, package it in a bright colorful box extolling the virtues of the program and how it can do everything Microsoft Office can do including open Microsoft documents, include a quickstart manual with links to the website for more information, toss it onto the software shelf next to all the other Office Productivity software, and charge $5 for it.

          Maybe you should be discussing your ideas with these guys;
          http://www.sun.com/software/star/staroffice/index . jsp [sun.com]
      • Quite true. In fact, while some things are very easy to give people for free (like beer, and with some people, software) there are some customers that are more likely be interested in something if they have to pay for it. If you put on a free concert (like a play or something) some people will assume it would be amateur (which it is if the performers are not paid) and by implication poor quality (which is not necessarily the case). Charge five dollars and you can get a crowd.
        Cost is assumed to imply qualit
    • and a PayPal donation page.
      http://www.paypalsucks.com/ [paypalsucks.com]

      Do you want people to lose money that bad?
    • Sure, thats great because:

      1. Authors don't need to eat anymore
      2. The people that need a tutorial for writing "I need a hug" on a picture of a dog already know how to search for tutorials on the web instead of finding books on their local Borders.
    • Having a book on the shelf helps add to the validity of OpenOffice for some people - some people just don't get that something as great as OpenOffice can be given away for free - they just don't get open source. Having a book about it somehow says to them, "Oh, someone is selling a book about it, I didn't know it was real." It's reaching another group. And that's a good thing. Besides, just because it's about Open Source doesn't mean it should be free.
  • Imagine a drawing of a beowulf cluster....
  • Daaaamn... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MaestroSartori (146297) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:56PM (#14439715) Homepage
    ...if the quality of the images in the sample there are anything to go by, I'll avoid using OO.o to do anything like that in future.

    I'm not talking about content, just quality - the "Note" ovals are shockingly bad-looking. Maybe it's just a poor export or conversion.
    • If you view the images by themselves (not in a web page) they look alright. Slashdot for some reason shrinks them so they look horrible and pixelated, and gives them useless alt text. :(
      • Re:Daaaamn... (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's the web browser. When Mozilla (and I suspect IE) shrinks an image, it uses nearest-neighbor interpolation without bothering to low-pass filter the image first. It's where those characteristic "ringing" artifacts (which translates into missing lines in text) come from.

        It's best to shrink it yourself first with decent image editing software than let the web browser handle it. That way you don't give up presentation control, and the image is smaller to download in the first place.

        I suspect you already kne
    • just right click and open the image in a new window/tab to view it at actual size. they're not bad, then.
  • And not OOo for linux for the screenshots of the book ? It would have been better to do some advertisement for our favorite OS :)
    • by rebug (520669)
      Why present beginner-level information to people using pictures from an OS that only 100% of the population is going to recognize?
    • I had that thought, too... then I realized that this was really targeted at Windows users who are open to a free office suite. I mean, the average Linux user wouldn't need a CD with openoffice on it because it came pre-installed on their distro. And the power linux user downloaded the source, modified it, then compiled it. So it just makes sense to show pictures that the majority of the books readers are going to be seeing.
    • Especially since, for some reason, the book's title page shows a penguin [roblimo.com]...

  • I think this'll be a good book. Point and Click Linux just didn't work for me. The problem is that "Linux" means different things to different people, and changes. With OpenOffice.Org, the playing field is level. Things are always found in the same place, and it's a GUI app by design.

    While I liked Point and Click Linux for the fun of it, I couldn't imagine giving it to friends who really wanted to learn the OS. I think Point and Click OOo will be something I can buy as a gift.
  • No offense or anything but you should resize the photos and the Notes balloons in the article so they are more readable. I am having a hard time making out the text.
  • Picture Quality (Score:5, Informative)

    by RickPartin (892479) * on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @05:02PM (#14439759) Homepage
    The pictures in this article look bad because they resized them using HTML instead of just changing the JPGs themselves. Look at this picture as an example. http://images.slashdot.org/articles/05/12/Miller_c h04_img_10.jpg [slashdot.org]
    • I see, right click -> view image.

      That helps but the typos make for a painful read;

      ...You open the photo the same way you open any other le with OOo--by selecting File > Open and highlighting the desired le.
      I assume this is the result of translation from the original to HTML.

      Not to be overly negative, this does look to be a good howto, but as a first impression I do have to question the quality.

      • The error you pointed out would be due to straight copy-and-paste from whatever format the book was in. Using proper typography, the word "file" would be written with a "fi" ligature (U+FB01) which didn't survive the copy-and-paste process.

        By the way, would anything speak against allowing &#1234;-type entities in comments?

    • they resized them using HTML instead of just changing the JPGs themselves

      I read somewhere that there's a program that lets you do stuff like that... Can't think of the name right now, though.
    • While I agree that this is bad form by the article author, it would help if FireFox (in my case) used a decent scaling algorithm. Do any browsers handle resizing more gracefully?
    • Argh, one of my biggest web pet-peeves.

      The other probably being sites that require 'www' [no-www.org].
    • This kind of scares me off OpenOffice:

      There are several ways you can do this. The most obvious is to put the cursor on one of the corner handles and move it toward the opposite corner while holding down the left mouse button. The only problem with this method is that it can distort the photo if you aren't careful.

      This can be a fun "effect" if you do it on purpose, but this time you'll press Ctrl-Z or select Edit > Undo to take you back to where you were. Now you'll resize the photo correctly by right-cli
    • The pictures in this article look bad because they resized them using HTML

      Damn, and here I thought they looked bad because they were grabbed from an XP machine...

      Live and learn, I suppose. Live and learn...

  • ironic? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by revery (456516)
    I think it might qualify as ironic that for the first few minutes after the article for a Slashdot editor's book appeared, I kept getting Move along, nothing to see here when I clicked on the "Read More" link...

    But then, I am a bit jaded.

  • by Lifewish (724999) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @05:10PM (#14439836) Homepage Journal
    I think you need to sue your proofreader, mate...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Looks like all the ligatures like "fi" and "fl" have been stripped out - "ofce", "nd", "ip", "le". It's (at least partly) careless copying-and-pasting, rather than a problem with the book.
    • I think you need to sue your proofreader, mate...

      That's not the open-source way.

      If you think it's rediculous, go jump in a lake. That's the open-source way.

      (For the sig-impaired: the speeling si intenshonal.)
  • Uh-oh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by techstar25 (556988)
    After this story, I think we're going to need another "On the Matter of Slashdot Story Selection".
  • fi?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JourneymanMereel (191114) <jake@bugz[ ]a.org ['ill' in gap]> on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @05:13PM (#14439872) Homepage Journal
    I haven't read the while thing yet, but in the first few paragraphs I seem to be noticing that the "fi" pattern is missing.... words like "ofce" (office) and "nd" (find) seem to appear more than once... at least I noticed ofce twice ;).
    • Also, fl (as in flip) is missing, at least once. And the fi is missing from "file" quite a number of times. Is this some weird DOS-ASCII vs. Unix-ASCII deal?

      • Re:fi?? (Score:3, Informative)

        by tehshen (794722)
        The story was probably typed up using some silly word processor that converts fi and fl at the beginning of words to their appropriate ligature characters, which were then filtered out (no idea why) so they show up as blank spaces.

        See Wikipedia for examples: Ligature (typography) [wikipedia.org]
      • Looking through the entire text of the submission, my guess would be that the text was scanned from the paper book and then used some bundled OCR software to convert it to text. OCR programs have been known to make mistakes like those.
      • As I read the rest of the article I noticed that there those things, too... In fact, doing a search on "fi" only yeilded a couple of hits in the blurb, the 'File' (with a capital F), and then comments... so ya, definately all the cases of 'fi' in the book excerpt are MIA.
    • Re:fi?? (Score:1, Informative)

      by dot.solipsist (895369)

      It's just a hunch, but I am guessing that the ligature features of the font used in publication didn't make it into the HTML version.

    • Re:fi?? (Score:3, Informative)

      by gblues (90260)
      The article text was probably copy/pasted from a PDF. The lower-case "fi" is a pretty common ligature; my guess is that when the text was copy/pasted, it pasted the ligature instead of transforming it into the letters "fi". The HTML editor didn't know what do do with the ligature, and junked it.

      Nathan
      • Either that, or there's some bizarre plot against Finland afoot...

        Hmm, I think i'll go with your explanation.

        Jedidiah.
  • At first, I thought that it was just horribly mis-typed, but the errors are all cases of lower-case "fi" missing. What gives?
  • Why are all the 'fi's missing from TFA?
    • LaTeX uses special ligatures for certain letter combinations, including "fi". If the text was selected-then-cut-then-paste from the generated PDF, then it's likely the ligatures would not be present in the font on /.

      Just one possible explanation.
  • If he used OpenOffice.org for text composition, with the character replacement table enabled, then "fi", "fl", "ffi", and "ffl" were replaced with their ligature equivalents. Whatever editor(s) he used for the copy-paste into Slashdot, weren't Unicode-enabled.

    Just a guess, but based on experience.

  • Repeat after me:

    Anti-aliased fonts are harder to read.

    Then repeat this:

    Rasterize fonts before resizing images.

    • The images haven't been resized, which is part of the problem. It's your browser that's doing the resize. /. just did a normal tag and fixed the width/height to be smaller than the source image (in response to complaints that they were too big above?).
  • Features (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wayward (770747) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @05:29PM (#14440032)
    Overall, it seems like a positive thing. However, a few things concerned me. The article showed how a writer could add a talking balloon to a photo of a dog. This generally isn't something you'll want to do to images. Cropping and adjusting levels are a lot more common, though it wasn't entirely clear from the article how much functionality in these areas is available. It's quite possible that these things are supported, though, since the editing bar seemed to have a lot of tools. Of course, I wonder if the sheer number of these might be daunting to a non-graphics person. Still, the learning curve here shouldn't be as steep as it would be with GIMP or Photoshop.
    • I agree. Draw is *much* more powerful than he gives it credit or than most people realize. His first paragraph:

      "OOo Draw is a simple program, not really suited for professional graphics people. But it's good enough for at least 90%"

      That is just plain *WRONG* and written by (apparently) someone that has no idea what you can really do with OO Draw. OO Draw can do most everything that you can do in CorelDraw, it is a very powerful vector editing system, not just a way to insert photos and add stupid callout
      • Exactly: I found it very useful to make complex diagrams and schematics. I wouldn't even have thought to use it as a photo editor. For that I have The Gimp, for vector oriented I either use OOo Draw or Inkscape (but I find the latter a bit odd to use... must be me)
  • OpenOffice used to strike me as something deliberately and carefully modeled around MS Office, helping the Linux world out by making MS users more comfortable migrating to Linux. Now, from what I've seen on both sides and this article as well, it is clear that OO is leading the way in innovation.

    I guess they threw in the towel on copying Clippy... :)

  • by biscon (942763)
    The dog is ugly! - Whale biologist

    Nah seems like a great gift along with an installation of OOo for my mother, personally I don't need a book for figuring out an office suite. But then again sometimes excel doesn't make sense (which I am being forced to use for almost everything at work.. either VBA or an arcane mainframe language known as Mark IV).
  • I don't want to ame, but the "fi" and "fl" ligatures have been stripped from the text, making it agrantly hard to read. I hope they x it soon. What a asco!
  • from TFA:
    Start using Firefox--the safest, most secure Web browser available for Windows!
    Filter out junk mail with Thunderbird and say goodbye to Outlook Express.

    why does he cover that in this book?

  • You open the photo the same way you open any other le with OOo--by selecting File > Open and highlighting the desired le.


    If you select File > Save As while you're working with an image le, you'll end up with a le type that works only with OpenOfce.org, not an image le that can be opened by all kinds of picture-editing software. So, being a bit tricky yourself, if you plan to use an image le in anything other than an OOo document or presentation, you export it to the le format you want. Instead of

    • I'm guessing somebody did a global search & replace or a spelling check that was screwed up.

      You can also ip or rotate photos with OOo Draw. There are several ways to do this. One is to use the Rotation tab in the Position and Size dialog box. Either click one of the preset sideways, upside-down, or 45-degree angle choices, or use the little window to the left of the "big" choices there to select your rotation angle in 15-degree increments. If that isn't enough choices, you can go to the menu at the top

  • Some asshat like me shoudl probably say something, and I will.

    It is perfect fine for them to post their own shit! it is their site :-) Sounds like a jolly good book that will help the innocent masses. Probably slashdot isn't the best advertising forum for 1st stop sales, but will generate word of mouth.

    quick someone post a hacked torrent link with all the text in rot13 for us in the one thousand three hundred and thirty seven club.

    "And behold, a multitude of geeks shall enter Borders (OMG TM R LOL) and shal
  • Dept (Score:1, Offtopic)

    From the blatant advertisement dept
  • how many of the chapters are dupes?
  • I'm sorry, but this is SO far behind Office 12, it's ridiculous. When that comes out, no one will care if OOo is offered for free. Because OOo will look retarded and you'd need to pay people to get them to use it. This is not a troll. Microsoft has really nailed the UI (as well as some other things) in Office 12.
  • Anyone else read the title as someone who's inspired in awe?

    "ooOOOoooooo, draw documents with imagination. Ooooooo! Ahhhhhhh."
  • I used it to make a poster i needed to to for a psychology convention in september. To all you bashers here (i am no techno freak) the learning curve was absolutely great, the results more than pleasing (i printed on A0) and i will return to Draw whenever the chance...oh and i almost lol'ed here: it costs nada. Sure it won't compete with professional editing, but 95% of the sample here is no professional editor. So it kinda suits....

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