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Creating Posters and Signs in LibreOffice.org

Creating large posters, signs, and banners can be a challenge if you do not have professional tools such as Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, or QuarkXpress. Many people on a budget cannot afford these software packages, especially if they will only get occasional use. There are alternatives, however, which work very well, and cost you nothing. One such alternative is LibreOffice.org. LibreOffice can be downloaded for Mac and PC. There is also NeoOffice, which available for Mac.

LibreOffice.org, at first glance, seems only to offer things like a word processor and spreadsheet. Word processors are wonderful tools, but they are not designed to make signs and posters. LibreOffice.org also includes a program called Draw. The advantage of this program is that it can create very large page sizes (even bigger than Microsoft Word). If you have a JPEG and simply wish to make it big and get it printed, then LibreOffice.org Draw is a very easy tool.

Another advantage of LibreOffice.org, is that it can export PDF files without installing any extra tools. This is important because Smartpress.com only accepts PDF files. LibreOffice.org Draw makes it very easy for you to create the right sized document and then size and position your pictures on the page. You can also draw simple objects, and create and position lines and blocks of text.

For this example, we will assume you want to create a 22×28″ poster, and that all you have for artwork is a JPEG taken with a digital camera. These are the steps you should follow:

  1. Launch OpenOffice.org. A Writer document will display. You can ignore or close it.
  2. Click File, New, Drawing.
  3. Click Format, Page…
  4. Set your Width and Height to the size of the poster you wish to order. In this case, 22 x 28.
  5. Place your picture by choosing Insert, Picture, From File…
  6. Locate your picture and click Open.Your picture will appear on your page.
  7. You can now move your picture by dragging it, and resize it by dragging the box handles on the sides and corners. You probably want to bleed your picture to the edge of your poster, so you should resize and position your picture so that it is slightly larger than your page size, and overlaps your page on all four sides. You can also crop your picture, by choosing the “Crop Picture” tool on the toolbar, or by choosing Format, Crop Picture…
  8. You can, if you wish, add blocks of text or other graphics objects.
  9. Making a PDF is simple, please read PDFs from LibreOffice for step-by-step instructions.

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