Modifying an image

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When you insert a new image, you may need to modify it to make it more suitable for fitting into the document. The placement of the picture relative to the text is discussed in Positioning graphics within the text. This section describes the use of the Picture toolbar, resizing, and cropping, as well as a workaround to rotate a picture.

Writer provides many tools for working with images. These tools are sufficient for most people’s everyday requirements. However, for professional results it is generally better to use an image manipulation program such as GIMP to modify images (for example, to crop, resize, rotate, and change color values) and then insert the result into OOo. GIMP is an open-source graphics program that can be downloaded from

Using the picture toolbar

When you insert an image or select one already present in the document, the Picture toolbar appears. You can set it to always be present (View > Toolbars > Picture). Picture control buttons from the Picture toolbar can also be added to the Standard Toolbar. See Customizing Writer for more information.

This toolbar can be either floating or docked. The figure below shows what the Picture toolbar looks like when it is floating. Two other toolbars can be opened from this one: the Graphic Filter toolbar, which can be torn off and placed elsewhere on the window, and the Color toolbar, which opens as a separate floating toolbar. From these three toolbars, you can apply small corrections to the graphic or obtain special effects.

Graphics Mode

You can change color images to grayscale by selecting the image and then selecting Grayscale from the Graphics mode list CH8 GraphicsModeList.png.

Flip Vertically or Horizontally

To flip an image vertically or horizontally, select the image, and then click the relevant icon CH8 FlipVerticallyHorizontally.png.

1 From File | 2 Filter | 3 Graphics mode | 4 Color | 5 Transparency | 6 Flip Horizontally | 7 Flip Vertically | 8 Graphics Properties | 9 Invert | 10 Smooth | 11 Solarization | 12 Aging | 13 Charcoal Sketch | 14 Relief | 15 Mosaic | 16 Posterize | 17 Pop Art | 18 Sharpen | 19 Remove Noise | 20 Red | 21 Green | 22 Blue | 23 Brightness | 24 Contrast | 25 Gamma

(Above) Picture toolbar plus tear-off Graphic Filter toolbar and floating Color toolbar. Graphics mode (3) can be Default, Grayscale, Black/White, or Watermark.


Use this toolbar to modify the individual RGB 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, you can press Control+Z to restore the default values.


Table 1 provides a short description of the available filters, however the best way to understand them is to see them in action. Feel free to experiment with the different filters and filters settings. remembering that you can undo all the changes by pressing Ctrl+Z or Alt+Backspace or by selecting Edit > Undo.

The figure below shows examples of some of the changes available on the Picture toolbar.

Original Image Flipped Vertically Flipped Horizontally Light 50%
Pic1.png Pic2.png Pic3.png Pic4.png
Contrast 50% Red 50% Green 50% Blue 50%
Pic5.png Pic6.png Pic7.png Pic8.png

Some graphic effects available from the Picture toolbar.

Table 1: Graphic filters and their effects

Icon Name Effect
Invert.png Invert Inverts the color values of a color image or the brightness values of a grayscale image.
Smooth.png Smooth Softens the contrast of an image.
Sharpen.png Sharpen Increases the contrast of an image.
Remnoise.png Remove noise Removes single pixels from an image.
Solarize.png Solarization Mimics the effects of too much light in a picture. A further dialog box opens to adjust the parameters.
Aging.png Aging Simulates the effects of time on a picture. Can be applied several times. A further dialog box opens to adjust the aging level.
Posterize.png Posterize Makes a picture appear like a painting by reducing the number of colors used.
Popart.png Pop Art Modifies the picture dramatically.
Charcoal.png Charcoal Displays the image as a charcoal sketch.
Relief.png Relief A dialog box is displayed to adjust the light source that will create the shadow and, hence, the relief effect.
Mosaic.png Mosaic Joins groups of pixels into a single area of one color.


Modify the percentage value in the Transparency box CH8 TransparencyBox.png on the Picture toolbar to make the image more transparent. This is particularly useful when creating a watermark or when wrapping the image in the background.

Using the formatting toolbar and picture dialog

When an image is selected, you can customize some aspects of its appearance using the tools available on the Formatting toolbar as well as in the dialog that is shown by right-clicking on the image and selecting Picture. You can, for example, create a border around the image, selecting style and color; or you can (in the Borders page of the Picture dialog) add a shadow to the image.

Content on this page is licensed under the Creative Common Attribution 3.0 license (CC-BY).
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