It's a gorgeous morning, I'm sitting in my office drinking some damn fine Constant Comment (milk, two sugars), the sun is starting to shine through the clouds, and I'm listening to NPR and Scott Simon. Bush's approval ratings are at an all-time low. My cat Winston is sitting on a corner of my desk, not on my Esc key. Life is good.
What better time to indulge myself and talk about my favorite part of OpenOffice.org, Draw?
Don't get me wrong; the others are nice. I like to drag formulas down through cells and see the right numbers pop up, and I like to Paste Special more than just about anyone you know.
But Draw...with Draw I could spend a weekend and not notice the time pass.
I've gotten a lot of questions lately about Draw, and I haven't covered it much so far on this blog, so this week and perhaps this month :> will be Solveig's Draw Series.
Other upcoming topics will be hardcore, or at least medium core, UML diagrams; and using Draw and Draw features with Writer.
2.0 Prefab Shapes
I touched on this a bit on my post on the new 2.0 features. Here's a more detailed look, including the flow chart shapes which I often forget are there but which are going to be great for, well, flow charts and other diagrams.
All of the following are on the Drawing toolbar at the bottom; if you don't have it, choose View > Toolbars > Drawing. If you can't get to some of the shapes I show here, click on the small black triangle at the right side of the toolbar, choose Visible Buttons, and select anything without a checkmark by it.
Here are the new Basic Shapes. For whatever reason, they're separate from the also-available Rectangle and Ellipse shapes, so this isn't your only source for the ultra-basic shapes.
Here are the new Symbol Shapes--moons, stars, flowers, etc. Stuff that was a little hard to draw before, no matter how much you like Bezier curves.
The Block Arrow shapes should come in handy for various diagrams, or signs.
And here are the fabulous flow-chart shapes.
Here are the callout shapes, making cartoons and much more a lot easier.
And finally, for teachers and anyone else who needs lots of stars and ribbons and award-looking graphics, here are the star shapes.
If there are shapes you need that you don't see, go to www.openoffice.org and submit a request for the next version. Or for a more immediate result, find the shape you need in another document or on the internet, and use the Gallery to store it and keep it on hand. (Tools > Gallery, click new Theme, click the Files tab and point to any graphics file on your computer. When you have shapes there, you can drag them into your document.)
Drawing Your Own Shapes and Closing the Shape So You Can Fill It
There are infiniate shapes, so you might not see everything you need there. If you draw your own shape with the freeform line tool or Bezier tool, one thing you'll probably want to do is to close it up so you can color it blue, or fill it with a gradient. Otherwise it's just a line with no ends. Here's how to do it.
1. Draw your shape
and make sure it's closed.
2. Click the Points icon on the Drawing object bar. (If you don't see the toolbar, choose View > Toolbars, Drawing.)
3. Be sure that the
shape is selected. In the toolbar that appears, click the Close
4. Select the shape again if necessary and select a fill from the dropdown list at the top of the work area.
In another blog, I'll go through how to make your own shapes for arrows and other shapes at the ends of lines. Fairly useful for UML and other diagrams.