OOo Off the Wall: My Objects All Sublime


All of the contents in an Writer document is one of three things: text characters, fields or objects. Objects is a large category that includes formulas, drawing objects and so-called OLE Objects, but it is represented most often by graphics. All objects are added to Writer using a frame, and most of the time, it is the frame that you are editing. The object itself sits sublimely above your changes, its appearance in the document altering but not the object itself.

Many settings for displaying objects can be preset using frame styles. In fact, most of Writer's default frame styles are ones that the program uses automatically whenever an object is added. The preset options include text wraps, borders, backgrounds and the macros that run when an object is selected in an on-line document. These options are discussed in "Getting in the Frame".

Other options can be set only when a graphic is added to the document. They include:

  • linking or embedding a graphic

  • scanning graphics

  • adjusting the display size

  • cropping the display

  • anchoring objects

  • arranging objects

  • adding captions

  • adding an image map

  • hiding graphics

Many of these actions can be performed by right-clicking on an object and making a selection from the pop-up menu. The most useful selection is Graphics or Object, which opens a tabbed window of options. Other options are available elsewhere in the editing window.

Adding Objects

Objects are added from Writer's Insert menu. Depending on the type of object, you either can create a new object of a type listed or add an object from an existing file, such as a graphic or a pre-existing OOo file.

Graphics, the most common type of objects, can be either embedded or linked. The decision comes down to whether the Link box is checked when you select Insert -> Graphics -> From File, but the choice has a great affect on how you work.

Figure 1. The Insert Graphics Window

An embedded graphic becomes part of the document and is added to its file size. By contrast, a linked graphic remains separate from the document. Only a small pointer is added to the file, indicating the path to the document. Whether a graphic is embedded or linked, it can be viewed in the document. On slower machines, though, you may notice a delay before a linked graphic is visible when you are scrolling. Both types of graphics also are listed on the Navigator, with no distinction made between them. Unless you specifically check the Link box on the Insert Graphics screen, graphics are embedded by default in Writer. Once the Link box is checked, all graphics are linked until the box is de-selected.

Both embedding and linking graphics have advantages and disadvantages. To help you decide which to use, here's a list of the advantages and disadvantages of both methods:

Embedding Linking
Makes for larger file sizes. On older machines or ones with less memory, larger file sizes may slow reaction time or even cause to crash. Keeps document sizes small. Only the path to the graphic is added to the document. Easier to handle on older machines or ones with less memory.
More work to update a graphic. Graphics must be added one at a time, with the document open.Easy to update. If you replace a graphic with another of the same name, and then the new graphic is used the next time you open the document that uses the graphic. Using a file manager, you can replace multiple graphics at the same time.
Can move or send the document without worrying about a lot of different files.Graphics must be moved with the document or they do not display. Usually, this is easiest if graphics are stored in a sub-directory of the directory where the document is.
Can be stored or backed up easily. If the document is not used for a long time, there is no need to remember where the graphics are, or to move them to the correct location.Care must be taken when backing up to include the graphics. If the document is not used for a long time, you may have forgotten where the graphics are or need to move them to the correct location.
Converting to linked graphics must be done manually.Converting to embedded graphics is easy. Select Edit -> Links, highlighting all the links, and then click the Break Link button.

For other objects, users have no choice. OLE Objects, by definition, are linked. Other objects, such as drawing objects, formulas or scanned objects, are embedded.


-- Bruce Byfield (nanday)


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OpenOffice.Org and Graphics in Writer

Anonymous's picture

Interesting and informative article.

I have been using SO 5.2, and OO on occasion as I prefer SO 5.2's front end. I do a lot of 2 column work for a magazine I print, and I find that the automatic sizing of graphics brilliant. It saves an immense amount of time for this sort of work. Using the % ratios to size the graphic is also very good in normal single column work. When I go back to try it in Word I get so frustrated with it not automatic sizing. Therefore the reader should be aware that each contributor has their own way of using a program, and what is frustrating for one is another person's greatest time saver.

I use Window's versions still, as I make use of a free software program called Irfanview to handle the Graphics files. Cropping, cut and paste into the document is a breeze. For those who still have a version of Windows on their computers try the program out. It is small and fast with a heap of features. If Open Source can get this transferred over to Linux with the same performance and features, it would be tremendous. I showed the combination off to a professional in the business and he said that the "combination did most of what he did on 3 seriousy expensive programs" on his Apple set up.

So come on you Open Source programmers do a Linux version.

»Programming« documents within OOo through ponto

Anonymous's picture

If you are really interested in programming documents, you may take a look at ponto.

There are two localized versions, namely one german and one english version.

Dr. L. Humbert

where can i find english vers

Anonymous's picture

where can i find english version?