Libreoffice Draw: Introduction

Continuing with our basic learning of the most famous free office suite, today we are going to move away a little from the previous entries about Calc, in which I taught you import a data series and how create a scatter chartOn this occasion, we will take a little experienced look at the Draw graphics tool, which will allow us to create, for example, flowcharts.

By default, the Draw interface has the following sections:

  1. Toolbar: common to any Libreoffice program, with the typical file accesses, export, undo, help ...
  2. Styles and Formatting Bar - for quick access to line, character / text, and background style and color, as well as shadow, effects, alignment, and positioning options.
  3. View of pages where we obtain, at all times, a preview of the graphics made.
  4. Editor: main work area. It allows to superimpose layers, incorporating to each graphic the layers «Design», «Controls» and «Lines of dimensions» by default.
  5. Toolbar «Drawing».

Table of Contents

Drawing Bar

Collect the fundamental tools to work with diagrams. Note that all of them are available in any program of the LibreOffice suite, although for the reasons of each of them the graph will be treated in one way or another. For reasons of resolution and "dpi's", nothing better than using them directly in Draw. These are:

  • Selection.
  • Line.
  • Line with arrow at the end.
  • Rectangle.
  • Ellipse.
  • Text [F2].
  • "Curve" drop-down menu: with options curve, polygon and freehand line with or without fill.
  • "Connector" drop-down menu: with or without arrow, linear, direct ...
  • Drop-down menu «Lines and arrows»: line, dimension line, with arrow, circle and / or square.
  • Drop-down menu «Basic shapes»: rectangle, circle, polygons, sector, cylinder ...
  • Drop-down menu «Symbol shapes»: cloud, forbidden, smiley ...
  • Drop-down menu «Block arrows».
  • Drop-down menu «Flow diagram»: process, decision, AND, OR ...
  • Drop-down menu «Calls» («speech bubbles»).
  • Stars
  • Points [F8].
  • Bonding points: very useful in flow diagrams.
  • Gallery integrated and from archive.
  • Extrusion.

The use of these is very simple: we select the shape and create it with the mouse; if we click on it we can resize it, change the format ...; finally, if we double click, we can modify the inner text and its format.

Although there are common shapes, their operation varies according to their purpose. I have created basic rectangles ("Basic Shapes" menu) and processes ("Flowcharts" menu). When I want to draw a line with arrow, the behavior is somewhat different.

As can be seen in the screenshot, the margins of the "SETTINGS.DAT" rectangle show an "X" in the middle of each side, which is not the case in the rectangles on the left. This is because "SETTINGS.DAT" belongs to the flow chart, so it shows predefined "stick points". These points are easily modifiable, having available a "Points of Adhesion" menu within the "Drawing" bar.

When drawing, it will be helpful to have activated the "Show Grid" and "Align to Grid" options in the "View> Grid" menu. The operation of this alignment is very smooth, being preferable to use a lot of zoom for our greater comfort.


When decorating our graphic, we can select any shape and activate the "Extrusion" from the "Drawing" bar. We can adjust this box, once extruded, by means of new controls that will be displayed to the right of the «Extrude» button. These controls will allow us to rotate horizontally and vertically, increase the extrusion, undo it, modify its direction, lighting and surface or assign colors in 3D.

Finally, with a couple of clicks and a visit to the "Export" menu, a nice .png has been left.

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  1.   Roy Batty said

    It certainly seems simpler than MS Visio, which is as complete as it is complicated.

  2.   Teniazo. said

    I love this show. They asked us to make a poster (academic poster) for a psychiatry final, although they recommended programs with Adobe Illustrator, MS Publisher or Corel Draw ... this is the program with which I could do it and that I had never used it, almost nor seen, very simple.

  3.   Gaius baltar said

    Man, for more powerful vector drawings you would have to go to Inkscape 😉

  4.   Gaius baltar said

    No bitch, it's the first time I've made a diagram of these. Less common MS programs I only know about the Project and I no longer remember how to do anything with it. xD

  5.   Roy Batty said

    With Project you only do one thing, uninstall it ... # sembrandopolémica

  6.   Gaius baltar said

    Yes, it was a very profitable 1/4 of the subject… xDDDD

  7.   Teniazo. said

    I downloaded it to the Inkscape, but I didn't understand it! This one was easier and I only had to make an academic poster to take a final of the nursing degree! I'm a nurse, no, what do I know ... a social communicator who is more into those types of programs!

  8.   Gaius baltar said

    I understand 😀, that is why he spoke of "more powerful" vectors. To get out of the way there are always simple tools 😀

  9.   Daniel Bertúa said

    I have a mini press, which works EXCLUSIVELY with Free Software and Linux.
    Do you know which program I use the most?
    Yes, you got it right, LibreOffice DRAW

    I would say that 90% of the work I do with LibreOffice DRAW.
    For forms, ballots, flyers, cards and many etc. it is the ideal, especially when they are linear works or without CMYK decomposition
    LibreOffice DRAW is very fast and versatile and creating the PDF for prepress, to send to the company that will make the CTP plates, is as easy as clicking the PDF button and assigning it a name.

    Obviously not all jobs can come out with LibreOffice DRAW, and so for more complex jobs I use:

    Layout and assembly.
    The one that works the best CMYK color decomposition, generating a much more professional PDF.

    Vector drawing.
    Although with Scribus and Libre Office DRAW you can make simple vector graphics, when it comes to doing more complex work (transparencies, highlights, shadows, etc.), the best is INKSCAPE.

    - GIMP
    Bitmap editing.
    I have found that there is no need to generate CMYK graphics (necessary for printing, eg photos), which are not as well supported by GIMP yet.
    Therefore they can be worked in RGB and the decomposition in CMYK will be done by Scribus, when we publish as PDF «for printer».

    Linux Operating System
    I like KDE and I find it comfortable and intuitive.

    The combination of Free Software with Linux, is the ONLY thing that allows me to work HONESTLY, PROFESSIONAL and 100% LEGITIMATE, wherever, however, whenever, and for whatever I want.

    If you like, I invite you to the Facebook Group «Free Graphic Design .UY», where I have put several examples of concrete and real works, made EXCLUSIVELY with Free Software and Linux.

  10.   Gaius baltar said

    Bravo! 😀