My Technical Notes

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Reasons to use LibreOffice/OpenOffice Draw for Diagramming

Reasons to use Draw

Draw is a great tool to draw diagrams in, and is in fact much better than Dia.

  1. It can handle the pasting of images (Dia can't).
  2. It has connectors, therefore you can move boxes around and the connectors will follow suit.
  3. You can label the connectors. This is a bit like a labelled-edge in graph theory. This is something that Dia can't do apparently, even though it is a specialist diagramming tool.
  4. It is free.

Reasons not to use Draw

  1. The placement of the labels of the connectors. If you draw a massive U-shaped edge, then the label will sit vertically in the middle of the U, whereas I would want it towards the bottom.
  2. In line with the above point, there is no way of moving the label of the edge, so in looping edges, you cannot visually marry the edge with the label.

Configuration

  1. Display the grid using `View` → `Grid` → `Display Grid`.
  2. Change the default formatting. Go to `Format` → `Styles and Formatting`. Right click on the `Default` style (should be at the top) and click `Modify`.
    • Go to the `Font` tab and change the size to 12px.
    • Go to the `Area` tab and change the fill color to White.
  3. Set the page properties. Go to `Format` → `Page`:
    1. Set the format to `A3`. This should be large enough.
    2. Set the orientation to landscape - my preferred page orientation for diagrams.
  4. Disable auto-capitalisation. Go to `Tools` → `AutoCorrect Options` → `Options tab` → `Uncheck` `Capitalise first letter of every sentence`
  5. Disable "Quick editing". Go to `Options` → `OpenOffice Draw` → `General` → Uncheck `Allow quick editing`.

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