Impress Guide

Chapter 4
Adding and Formatting Pictures


This document is Copyright © 2005–2011 by its contributors as listed below. You may distribute it and/or modify it under the terms of either the GNU General Public License (, version 3 or later, or the Creative Commons Attribution License (, version 3.0 or later.

All trademarks within this guide belong to their legitimate owners.


Michele Zarri T. Elliot Turner
Jean Hollis Weber


Please direct any comments or suggestions about this document to:


This chapter is based on Chapter 4 of the 3.3 Impress Guide. The contributors to that chapter are:

Nicole Cairns Peter Hillier-Brook Jean Hollis Weber
Claire Wood Michele Zarri

Publication date and software version

Published 31 July 2011. Based on LibreOffice 3.3.3.

Note for Mac users

Some keystrokes and menu items are different on a Mac from those used in Windows and Linux. The table below gives some common substitutions for the instructions in this chapter. For a more detailed list, see the application Help.


Mac equivalent


Tools > Options menu selection

LibreOffice > Preferences

Access setup options



Open context menu

Ctrl (Control)

z (Command)

Used with other keys



Open the Navigator



Open Styles and Formatting window


Copyright 2

Note for Mac users 2

Introduction 4

Inserting pictures 4

Inserting a picture from a file 4

Inserting a picture from a scanner 5

Inserting a picture from the Gallery 6

Positioning the Gallery 6

Managing the Gallery themes 7

Adding images to the Gallery 7

Deleting images from the Gallery 7

Adding a new theme to the Gallery 8

Formatting pictures 8

Moving a picture 8

Resizing a picture 9

Rotating a picture 9

Formatting using the Picture toolbar 10

Applying filters 10

Changing the graphics mode 11

Adjusting the color 11

Setting the object transparency 12

Adjusting the line, area and shadow settings 12

Cropping pictures 12

Deleting a picture 13

Creating an image map 13


Pictures are often used in presentations as they can convey a large amount of information more quickly than the written word. They can also give the presentation a professional look by adding a company logo. You may also want to use Impress to create a presentation consisting only of pictures, such as a slideshow of holiday snapshots to share with friends.

This chapter describes how to insert and format pictures.

Inserting pictures

This section describes several ways to insert a picture from an external source into the presentation. Once the picture has been inserted, it can be formatted extensively as explained later in this chapter.

Inserting a picture from a file

Inserting a picture from a file is quick and easy. First choose the slide layout, as described in Chapter 1, Introducing Impress. Most layouts include an set of icons for inserting objects, but you can insert a picture into any slide.


Whether you are using an AutoLayout for the placement of the picture, or you are just inserting a picture, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Insert Picture icon or choose Insert > Picture > From file from the menu bar.

  2. In the Insert picture dialog box, navigate to the directory containing the desired picture.

  3. Select the file. LibreOffice recognizes a large number of image types. If the Preview option (in the lower left-hand area) is selected, a thumbnail of the selected file will be displayed in the preview pane on the right (not shown below).

  4. Click Open to place the picture on the current (selected) slide. The picture is now displayed on the slide with green resizing handles around it.


Notice in the Insert picture dialog box the two options Link and Preview. Their position is determined by the operating system, but they are normally in the bottom-left part of the dialog box.

Select the Link option to insert the picture as a link to the file rather than embedding the file itself. In general it is preferable to embed images so that the presentation can be copied to other computers; however, on some occasions it makes sense to link the image rather than embed it. These include:

Inserting a picture from a scanner

Inserting an image from a scanner is normally fairly straightforward. Make sure that the scanner is supported by the SANE system if you are running the Linux (or other UNIX-like) operating system, or TWAIN if you are using a Windows version, and that it is already configured on the machine on which LibreOffice is running. In case more than one scanner or equivalent devices are present, select the source from Insert > Picture > Scan > Select Source.

To insert an image from the scanner:

  1. Prepare the image in the scanner and make sure that the scanner is ready.

  2. Choose Insert > Picture > Scan > Request.

  3. The rest of the procedure depends on the scanner driver and interface. You will normally be required to specify the resolution, a scan window and other parameters. Consult the scanner’s documentation for more information.

  4. When the image is ready, Impress places it in the slide. At this point it can be edited as any other image.

Inserting a picture from the Gallery

The Gallery contains a collection of images that you can use in a presentation. You can also add your own images to the Gallery, making it an essential tool for creating presentations quickly and with a consistent look. The Gallery is available in all components of LibreOffice. For an introduction to the Gallery, see Chapter 11, Graphics, the Gallery, and Fontwork, in the Getting Started guide.

Choose Tools > Gallery or click the Gallery icon on the Drawing toolbar.

The Gallery displays categories of themes with images stored under each category. Select a theme from the left pane and then scroll as necessary through the right pane to find a suitable image. Click on the image and drag it onto the workspace. Figure 3 shows an example.


At this point the image will be in your slide, but may not be of a satisfactory size; if necessary, resize it as described in “Resizing a picture” on page 9.

Positioning the Gallery

To expand the Gallery, position the pointer over the line that divides it from the top of the workspace. When the pointer changes to parallel lines with arrows, click and drag downward. The workspace will resize in response.

By default, the Gallery is docked above the Impress workspace. To undock it , hold down the Control key and double-click on the upper part of the Gallery next to the View icons. Double-click in the same area to dock it again (restore it to its position over the workspace).

When the Gallery is docked, to hide it and view the full Impress workspace, click the Hide/Show button in the middle of the thin bar separating the Gallery from the workspace (see Figure 4). The Hide/Show button lets you keep the Gallery open for quick access while you create your slide show, yet out of the way when you need it to be.


Managing the Gallery themes

Graphics in the Gallery are grouped by themes, such as Bullets, Rulers, and 3D Effects. The box on the left of the gallery window lists the available themes. Click on a theme to see its graphics displayed in the Gallery window.

The default themes are locked; no items can be added or deleted from these themes. The locked themes are easily recognizable by right-clicking on them; the only available option in the pop-up menu is Properties.

In a default installation, only the My themes theme is customizable: you can add your own graphics to this gallery or add new themes as explained on page 8.

Adding images to the Gallery

You can add new images to themes which you created, or to themes like My themes that can be edited:

  1. Right-click on the theme name in the list of themes and choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

  2. Click the Files tab, if necessary.

  3. Click Add.

  4. Select a file and click Open. The image is added to the theme.

Deleting images from the Gallery

To delete an image from a theme:

  1. Right-click on the image in the Gallery window.

  2. Choose Delete from the pop-up menu. A message appears, asking if you want to delete this object.

  3. Click Yes.


The image is deleted from the Gallery only. The original image file is not deleted.

All the images in a gallery are actually linked files. From time to time it is beneficial to update the gallery theme to make sure that all the files are still there. To do so, right-click on the theme where you added at least one file and then select Update from the pop-up menu.

Adding a new theme to the Gallery

  1. Click the New Theme button above the list of themes.

  2. Click the General tab and type a name for the new theme.

  3. Click the Files tab (Figure 5).

  4. Click Find Files. The Select Path dialog box opens. Navigate to the folder that contains the image files for the new theme and click Select.

  5. Back on the Files tab, either click on Add All to install all of the files in the selected folder, or use File Type and/or select one or more files from the displayed list, and click on Add to install a selection of files to the new theme.

  6. Click OK when finished.

  7. The new theme will now be displayed on the list of themes in the Gallery, under the name New Theme. You will have to rename it manually by right-clicking the theme name and selecting Rename.


Formatting pictures

This section discusses the formatting of pictures inserted with one of the methods explained in “Inserting pictures” on page 4.

Moving a picture

  1. Click the picture, if necessary, to show the green resizing handles.

  2. Move the pointer over the picture until the pointer changes shape. On most operating systems, the cursor associated with moving objects is a four headed arrow, but it may also be a hand or some other symbol.

  3. Click and drag the picture to the desired position.

  4. Release the mouse button.

For a more accurate placement of the picture, use the Position and Size dialog box described in Chapter 6, Formatting Graphic Objects.

Resizing a picture

  1. Click the picture to show the green resizing handles.

  2. Position the pointer over one of the green resizing handles. The pointer changes shape giving a graphical representation of the direction of the resizing.

  3. Click and drag to resize the picture.

  4. Release the mouse button when satisfied with the new size.

The corner handles resize both the width and the height of the graphic object simultaneously, while the other four handles only resize one dimension at a time.


To retain the original proportions of the graphic, Shift+click one of the corner handles, then drag. Be sure to release the mouse button before releasing the Shift key.

For more accurate resizing of the graphic object, use the Position and Size dialog box described in Chapter 6, Formatting Graphic Objects.


Be aware that re-sizing a bit-mapped (raster) image will adversely affect the resolution, causing some degree of blurring. It is better to use a specialized graphics manipulation program to correctly scale the picture to the desired size before inserting it into your presentation. We recommend you use a tool such as Gimp (

Rotating a picture

As with the position of the image on the page, rotation of a picture can be done manually or using a dedicated dialog box. The Rotation dialog box is described in Chapter 6, Formatting Graphic Objects. To rotate a picture manually, do as follows:

  1. Select the picture if necessary so that the green handles around it show.


  1. Click the Rotate button on the Drawing toolbar. This toolbar is usually located at the bottom the screen, but it can be undocked and used as a floating toolbar. If the toolbar is not showing, select View > Toolbars > Drawing. The Drawing toolbar is discussed in detail in Chapter 5, Managing Graphic Objects.

At this stage a black crosshair with a circle appears in the middle of the picture: this represents the pivot point for the rotation. Normally the center of the picture will be just fine, but on some occasions you may wish to rotate around a corner or even around a point outside the picture; to do this, click on the crosshair and drag it to the desired position before applying the rotation, as shown in Figure 6.


The icons representing the functions in the toolbars are different, depending on the operating system used and on whether LibreOffice has been customized for the Linux distribution in use or not. When in doubt, hover the mouse over the icons and wait for the tooltip to appear showing the name of the button.

  1. Eight red circular handles replace the green square handles, as shown in Figure 6. Move the mouse over one of the corner handles and the mouse cursor shape will change. Click the mouse and move in the direction in which you want to rotate the picture.

  2. When satisfied, release the mouse button.

To restrict the rotation angles to multiples of 15 degrees, press the Shift key while rotating the graphic. This is very handy to rotate pictures of right angles, for example from portrait to landscape or vice versa.

Formatting using the Picture toolbar

When a picture is selected, the Picture toolbar becomes available. This toolbar provides a number of formatting options which are described in this section. If the picture toolbar does not appear when an image is selected, display it by selecting View > Toolbars > Picture from the menu bar.


Applying filters

Figure 8: The graphic filters available in Impress

Use the icon on the toolbar to apply various filters to the selected picture. The best way to judge if a filter works for your picture is to try it. To apply a filter:

  1. Select the image so that the green handles around it are displayed.

  2. Click on the icon in the Picture toolbar. The toolbar will expand to show the icons in Figure 8.

  3. Select the filter you wish to apply. To show the name of the filter, hover the mouse pointer over the icon and wait for the tooltip to appear.

If you are not satisfied with the effect obtained or you want to try a different one, before doing anything else click the Undo button or select Edit > Undo: Bitmap Graphic Filter from the menu bar or press Control+Z.

Table 1 describes briefly each of the available graphic filters and their effects. See the Draw Guide for examples of the effects.

Table 1: Graphic filters and their effects





Inverts the color values of a color image, or the brightness values of a grayscale image.


Softens the contrast of an image.


Increases the contrast of an image.

Remove noise

Removes single pixels from an image.


Mimics the effects of too much light in a picture. A further dialog box opens to adjust the parameters.


Simulates the effects of time on a picture. Can be applied several times. A further dialog box will open to adjust the aging level.


Makes a picture appear like a painting by reducing the number of colors used.

Pop Art

Modifies the picture dramatically.


Displays the image as a charcoal sketch.


A dialog box is displayed to adjust the light source that in turn will create the shadow and hence the relief effect.


Joins groups of pixels into a single area of one color.

Changing the graphics mode

Use the graphics mode drop-down list in the Picture toolbar to change the mode of the image. Choose between:

Figure 9: The color adjustment dialog box

Adjusting the color

Clicking the color adjustment button on the Picture toolbar opens the color adjustment dialog box.

Use this dialog box to modify the individual color components of the image (red, green, blue) as well as the brightness, contrast, and gamma of the image. If the result is not satisfactory, press Control+Z to restore the default values.

Increasing the gamma value of a picture makes it more suitable to be used as a background or watermark as it will interfere less with a dark text.

Setting the object transparency

Modify the percentage value in the Transparency box on the Picture toolbar to make the image more transparent. Note that this is different from the transparency settings for a line or a shape (described in Chapter 5). As with the gamma value, increasing the transparency of a picture makes the picture blend more smoothly in the background, making the overlay text easier to read.

Adjusting the line, area and shadow settings

These settings are not very commonly used for images, with the exception of the shadow setting, which applies a shadow to the image.

Cropping pictures

Impress provides two ways to crop a picture: interactively or using a dialog box. The interactive method is easier to use, but the dialog box provides more precise control. You can use both methods: first cropping interactively, then using the dialog box to fine tune the result.

To crop a selected picture interactively, click the Crop icon on the Picture toolbar (Figure 7). A set of crop marks appears around the picture (see Figure 10).


When you place the cursor over any of the crop marks, the cursor changes shape. Drag the mark to crop the picture. Click outside the picture to deactivate cropping mode.

Press the Shift button while working on the crop marks to produce the following effects:

The interactive crop mode operates in Keep Scale mode (see below).

To crop using the dialog box, right-click a selected picture and choose Crop Picture (or choose Format > Crop Picture from the menu bar).

The Crop dialog box (Error: Reference source not found) has the following options:


Note that the Width and Height fields change as you enter the values when in this mode. Use the thumbnail next to these fields to determine the correct amount by which to crop.

Deleting a picture

  1. Click on the picture, if necessary, to show the green resizing handles.

  2. Press Delete.

Creating an image map

An image map defines areas of the image (called hotspots) associated with a URL (a web address or a file on the computer). Hotspots are the graphic equivalent of text hyperlinks. Clicking on a hotspot causes Impress to open the linked page in the appropriate program (for example, the default browser for an HTML page; LibreOffice Writer for a .ODT file; a PDF viewer for a PDF file). You can create hotspots of various shapes, and include several hotspots in the same image.

To use the image map tool:

  1. Select the picture where the hotspots will be defined.

  2. Choose Edit > ImageMap from the menu bar. The ImageMap Editor dialog box opens. The main part of the dialog box shows the image on which the hotspots will be defined. On this image an active hotspot is indicated by a white shading, while an inactive hotspot is identified by a red border but no shading.

  3. Use the tools and fields in the dialog box to define the hotspots and links necessary.

  4. Click the Apply icon to apply the settings.

  5. When done, click the Save icon to save the imagemap to a file, then click the X in the upper right corner to close the dialog box.


The top part of the dialog box contains the following tools:

Below the toolbar, specify for the selected hotspot:


The value _self for the target frame will work just fine in the vast majority of the occasions. It is therefore not recommended to use the other values unless absolutely necessary.