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6 How to Use LibreOffice

Chapter 6, How to Use LibreOffice, includes the following four sections:

6.1 Create Custom Colors & Gradients
6.2 Use Libre Draw to Create a Custom Diagram
6.3 Use Libre Calc to create a chart
6.4 Use Libre Impress to make a slide presentation
Our next mission is to create a Slide Presentation with LibreOffice Impress similar to the following slide.


The most impressive feature of Libre Office Impress is the ability to define a variety of custom background colors and effects. To open LibreOffice Impress from the Writer Menu, click on the Blue box below the Edit Menu item.


Then click on Presentation:


Change the Presentation to a 16x9 Ratio

Click Format Page. Then click on the Page Tab.


By default, the slide presentation is set for a 4 to 3 screen ratio. This ratio is generally for very old computers. If we want to create a slide presentation to match our Acer C910 screen, or to use in a full screen video presentation, we should change this to a 16 to 9 ratio. This is often called a Wide Screen Format. This 16 to 9 ratio is now the best ratio for a presentation that will be posted to Youtube. 16 x 9 is also a better ratio for posting a slideshow on the Home page of a website because screen height on the home page initial display is pretty limited. After selecting 16 x 9 ratio, the width will remain 11 inches but the height will be reduced to 6.2 inches. Click OK.

Access Default Background Designs
Click on Format, Slide Design and you will see that there is only one design to choose from.

Having spent many years making hundreds of charts and teaching others how to make charts, and having spent the past five years dealing with the ridiculous process used by the Office 2010 and Office 2013 Excel Chart Wizard, I am extremely impressed by the LibreOffice Chart Wizard. It is a much more logical process than the new Office chart wizard. To open Libre Office Calc from the Writer Menu, click on File, New, Spreadsheet.

This will bring up the Calc Window. We will begin by deleting a few of the icons on the standard tool bar in order to see the chart creation icon.

We will convert the following table to a chart:

Windows Version

Recommended Space

on Hard Drive (MB)

Windows 3.1


Windows 95


Windows 98


Windows ME


Windows XP


Windows VS


Windows 7


Windows 8


Windows 10 + MS Office


Copy and paste this simple table into the Calc table and save as “Windows OS File Size Increase over Time”:

Select the data cells, then click on the Three bar “Chart” Icon in the top menu. This creates a chart:


It also brings up a chart editing screen:


Click on Bar to turn the chart into a bar chart:

There are a couple of drawbacks to LibreOffice. The first is that it does not come with as detailed of a color selector as MS Office. The second is that it does not come with a Gradient Background selector. In this article, we will review how to fix both of these problems.

How to Add Colors to LibreOffice
If you open a LibreWriter or Libre Draw document, then click on the font color selector, you will see the default color options.


You can slide down the scroll bar to reveal more color options.


You can also click on Custom Color to bring up a color selection tool.


Finally, you can click on the drop down arrow to the right of the default palette to change the color options.

LibreDraw is a function that is completely missing in MS Office. While we can make simpe diagrams just using the drawing functions of Libre Writer, using Libre Draw gives us much more flexibility. We can create a Libre Draw document for every one of our complex diagrams and then copy the image to our Libre Writer documents. Then if we need to modify the diagram, we can go back into the Libre Draw original document, make the needed changes and copy another image into our Libre Writer document. The Libre Draw diagrams can also be created using a different page background from our Libre Writer document helping to set off the diagram from the rest of the text.

To open a new Libre Draw document, click File, New, Drawing. The document will look something like a Libre Writer document.


Click File Save As and give the diagram a name. We will first choose a background color for the entire page by going to Format Page, click on the Background tab and click on the dropdown to choose Gradient, then pick a gradient color then click OK.


We will next give the diagram a title in a rounded box. Because the standard tool bar and text formatting tool bar appear on the same row, in order to make room for a few text formatting tools, I unchecked most of the standard tool bar icons.


Select the title box to give it a different background color using the Fill Color icon in the left menu.


The line color just above the fill color and give the border a color. But to set the width of the border requires a right click after selecting the title box.


Add a Flow Chart with the Default Libre Draw Function
There are a couple of ways we can add flow charts. The first way is to use the default Libre Draw Flow Chart Icon. This icon is in the left side menu near the bottom.