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Creating Diagrams using OpenOffice and LibreOffice

Using the OpenOffice Drawing Module

If you need to create a flowchart or diagram involving shapes and text, then the application you need to use is the OpenOffice Drawing module. The Windows equivalent of this would be Visio. You can invoke it from:

ApplicationsGraphicsOpenOffice.org Drawing :

Open Office Draw Menu

For Unity users, just click the LibreOffice Draw icon in the Launcher:

Unity Launcher LibreOffice Draw Icon

For Fedora users, search for "libre" in the Applications area:

Fedora Applications Area for LibreOffice

Note: you may have to search for "Draw" using the Unity Search facility to locate it, as it is not listed in the Unity Launcher by default.

This should bring up a window that should look familiar to users of the other OpenOffice modules:

Draw Main Window

At the top is the familiar list of menus (File, Edit, View, etc), under which is a user-configurable list of shortcut icons (-all of which can be reached via a menu option if desired), including the current line and text style, font and text size. To the left is the preview/thumbnail window and underneath are all the drawing tools.

This layout is very similar to that of the Presentation module; this may be because the Drawing module appears to be a sub-component of this.


Creating a Diagram using OpenOffice

Let's attempt to create a simple flowchart using the drawing module. Assuming you are now have the blank Drawing module screen in front of you, click the down arrow by the greyed out rectangle and pick the “Rectangle, Rounded” icon:

Select Rounded Rectangle

Now move to the main window, left click and drag within the pane, until the correct size of box is created, then release the mouse button:

Created Rectangle

Double click the box you created and type “START”:

Adding Text to the box

Select the whole box (-instead of just the text) by clicking on it, then use CTRL+C (-or Edit → Copy) to copy the shape and then CTRL+V (-or Edit → Paste) to paste a copy of the shape to the window. Move the copy slightly to one side (-by click-dragging it) so you can see the clone:

Adding Text to the box

Double click the clone and type “STOP”; click away from the clone (-to deselect it) then click back on it to select the shape: drag it to it's final destination:

Adding the STOP Box

Now go back to the icon drop downs at the bottom of the screen and again click the down arrow for the “Basic Shapes” (-grey rectangle). This time, pick the “Diamond” shape:

Selecting the Diamond Shape

Move back to the main window and click-drag until you get a diamond shape of the desired size, then release the mouse button:

Resizing the Diamond Shape

Double click the diamond and type “Do I want to use Linux?”:

Added Text to the Diamond Shape

Again, let's create a clone of this decision box and click away from the diamond, then back on it, to select the whole shape. Type CTRL+C followed by CTRL+V, to create the clone, then click-drag the clone to be level with the “STOP” box:

Cloning a Decision Box

Double click on the clone and overtype the text to read: “Are you mad?”(-you can probably see where we are going with this one):

Adding Text to the Cloned Decision Box

Now go back to the icon drop downs at the bottom of the screen one last time and click the down arrow for the “Basic Shapes” (-grey rectangle). This time, pick the “Rectangle” shape (-the first icon)

Picking the Rectangle Shape

Go back to the main window and click-drag until you get a rectangle shape of the desired size in line with the “START” lozenge, then release the mouse button:

Adding and Sizing  the Rectangle Shape

Double click the rectangle and type “Install Linux”. Click away from the rectangle then back on it, to select the whole shape. Type CTRL+C followed by CTRL+V, to create the clone, then click-drag the clone to be level with the “STOP” box:

Adding another Rectangle Shape

Double click the cloned rectangle and overtype the text with “Seek professional help”.

Back in the icon line, click on the arrow icon (-we can use the default):

Selecting the Arrow Tool

Click drag from the “START” lozenge to the first decision box:

Joining one box to another

Continue to join up all the boxes in this way:

Joining up the remaining boxes

Double-click on the lines coming out of the decision boxes and type either “Yes”or “No”:

Added text to the joining lines

Hopefully, you'll end up with something like:

Labelled Diagram

Save your new diagram:

Saving the Diagram

Add the desired filename before clicking on the “Save”:

Specifying the Filename


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