OOo Off the Wall: My Objects All Sublime
All of the contents in an OpenOffice.org 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
adjusting the display size
cropping the display
adding an image map
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.
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.
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:
|Makes for larger file sizes. On older machines or ones with less memory, larger file sizes may slow reaction time or even cause OpenOffice.org 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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