Getting Ready to Impress

After having worked with's Writer and Calc, you should feel right at home when it comes to using Impress. Working with menus, inserting text, spell checking, and customizing your environment all work in exactly the same way. The editing screen is probably more like Calc than Writer in some ways. The Impress work area has tabbed pages so you can easily jump from one part of the presentation to the other. Each page is referred to as a slide. Given the history of business presentationsspecifically, the making of these 35-mm slidesit's probably no wonder that we still use the same terms when creating presentations with software like Impress.

To start Impress, go to the Application menu on the top panel and select Impress from the Office submenu. You can also start a new presentation from any other application, such as Writer or Calc. Just click File on the menu bar, select New, and choose Presentation from the submenu.

When you start up Impress for the first time, the Presentation Wizard appears and you are presented with a number of choices. You can start with an empty presentation (see Figure 15-1), work from a template, or open an existing presentation. Incidentally, some earlier versions of started with a blank page. You have the opportunity to select this behavior by clicking the Do Not Show This Wizard Again check box.

Figure 15-1. Starting a new presentation with the Presentation Wizard.

Quick Tip

At the time of this writing, ships with only a couple of Impress templates. As I've mentioned before, one of the differences between and StarOffice (its commercial sibling) is that StarOffice comes with a number of templates. That said, you can still download some free templates from

The Presentation Wizard allows you to select from existing presentations, as well as templates. For the moment, I'm going to stick with the very basics. Leave Empty Presentation selected, and click Next. Essentially, this starts us off with a blank slide. Step 2 gives us the opportunity to select a slide design (see Figure 15-2). You may find a few options for slide design here (these would be your templates). Choose <Original>. Before you click Next, pause first and have a look at the options for output medium. By default, Impress creates presentations designed for the screen (or a projector connected to your PC).

Figure 15-2. Impress defaults to creating presentations designed for the screen.

Step 3 lets you define the default means for slide transition (see Figure 15-3). You've seen these transitions; as someone shows a presentation, slides dissolve to show the next one or fly in from the left or drop like a trap door closing. At this stage of the game, pick one of these effects from the Effect drop-down box, and then choose the Speed of that transition. On the right side, there is a preview window that shows you what the effect looks like when you select it.

Figure 15-3. Selecting slide transition effects.

Directly below the slide transition selection, you select the presentation type. Your choices are Default and Automatic. By default, transition from slide to slide is done by pressing a key, whether it is <Enter> or the spacebar (you can define this). Presentations can also run without any intervention from the person giving the presentation. By selecting Automatic, you can define the amount of time between slides or between presentations. Accept the default setting here and click Create to start building your presentation.

Now we have everything we need to start working on our presentation. Impress opens to a blank page that is divided into three main panes or frames (see Figure 15-4). On the left, small previews of all your slides are displayed (just a single blank one at this moment). If you chose a background, it is used in the slide previews. As you work, you can quickly move to any slide you want by scrolling down the lists and clicking the slide. Below each preview is the slide's title. By default, the title is Slide, followed by the slide's number in sequence. If you don't like this naming convention, you can easily override it by right-clicking the title and selecting Rename Slide.

Figure 15-4. Selecting your slide layout.

To the right, another pane is visible with a number of potential slide layouts having small preview images. This is the Tasks pane and it is further divided into four sections: Master Pages, Layouts, Custom Animation, and Slide Transition. By default, the Layouts section is open. From here, you can decide the appearance of the slide, the number of columns, title locations, and so on. If you pause over one of the images with your mouse cursor, a tooltip appears, telling you a little about the layout format.

Finally, there's a rather large central pane with five tabs labeled Normal, Outline, Notes, Handout, and Slide Sorter. The normal view is where you do most of your work, creating and editing slides. The Outline view is a kind of bird's eye overview of the whole presentation. You can reorder slides, change titles, and so on. The Notes view does pretty much what you expect; it provides an easy way to add notes to the slides. The Handout view is, I think, very handy. Sometimes, when you are doing a presentation, you are expected to provide printouts of the slides for those in attendance. With Handout, you can define how those printouts look and how many slides fit on a single page. Finally, we have the Slide Sorter, which is just a larger version of the Slides preview pane on the left. With a larger area, sorting slides is just that much easier. For now, we will be working with the Normal view.

You might notice that the various toolbars and menus have some resemblance to those of both Writer and Calc (discussed in the last two chapters). The menu bar sits just below the title bar, and the Standard bar is directly below that. Notice that the Formatting bar has a number of different options unique to working in the Impress environment. Along the bottom is the Drawing bar, which provides quick access to objects, drawing functions, 3D effects, and so on.

Let's jump right in and create a presentation. From the Tasks pane, select the Layouts section, if it isn't already open. Choose the Title, Clipart, Text layout by clicking it and it instantly appears in the main work area in the center (see Figure 15-5).

Figure 15-5. Having chosen a slide design, we are now ready to start editing that slide in the central work area.

At any point, you can start the slide show by clicking Slide Show on the menu bar and selecting Slide Show. Pressing <F5> has the same effect. There isn't much to see at this point, but you can do this from time to time to see how your presentation is coming along.

To start editing your slide, click (or double-click for images) the section you want to change. Make your changes by typing into that area. For the title, you might enter Introducing Linux! When you are happy with your changes, just click outside of the frame area. On the right, in the frame that says Click to Add an Outline, insert these bulleted points:

  • What is Linux?

  • Is Linux really free?

  • What can it do?

  • Advantages?

  • Disadvantages?

As you might have noticed, this outline serves as talking points that mirror the first chapter of this book. Now, on the left side, double-click the frame (as instructed on the default slide) and insert a graphic. The Insert Picture dialog appears, allowing you to navigate your folders and look for the perfect image (see Figure 15-6). Once again, this is a pretty standard GNOME file dialog. Take a look over on the lower left and you see a check box labeled Preview. Because you are looking for images, this is a good one to check on. The preview pane appears over on the right.

Figure 15-6. Inserting a picture into the presentation.

You can use any image you like here. For my image, I used Firefox to surf over to Larry Ewing's Web site (, where I picked up my Tux graphic from the source. (I'll tell you more about Tux at the end of this chapter.) You can choose another image if you prefer. When you have your image selected, click Open, and it replaces the default text in the left frame.

Quick Tip

Another option is to single-click the default image and press <Delete>. Then you can click Tools on the menu bar, select Gallery, and drag one of the included images onto your slide.

That's it. Your first slide is done. You might want to pause here and save your work before you move on. (Masterpieces must be protected.) Click File on the menu bar, select Save As, and then enter a filename for your presentation. I used Introducing Linux! as my title. Now click Save, and we'll continue building this presentation.

Inserting Slides

At the right end of the Standard bar, there's a button labeled Slide. Clicking this button inserts a new slide after whatever slide you happen to be working on. You can also click Insert on the menu bar and select Slide. Once again, you are presented with a blank slide, ready for your creative vision (as in Figure 15-4). In the left frame, a new blank slide appears below the preview of the completed first slide.

For this second slide, let's select a new slide design. Go back to the Layouts section of your Tasks frame and select the slide design called Title, Text (see Figure 15-7). This is the second design from the top in the lefthand column. Remember to pause over the layout styles and a tooltip identifies them.

Figure 15-7. With the addition of a second slide, our presentation is starting to take shape.

Because we had five points (after our introductory slide), let's do a quick add of the next four slides by just clicking the Slide button on the Standard bar. You should now have tabs labeled Slide 1 through Slide 6.

Okay, click the tab for Slide 2, then click the top frame where it says Click to Add Title. Enter the first bullet point from Slide 1. Then repeat the process for the next four slides, inserting the appropriate bullet point as the title.

Quick Tip

You can give those slide labels more useful names by right-clicking them and selecting Rename Slide.

As to what to enter in the text area of each slide, I leave that to either your imagination or your memory of Chapter 1. When you have finished entering all the information you want, save your work. I'm going to show you how to dress up those plain white slides.

Adding Color

Right-click your slide (not the text), and select Slide from the pop-up menu. Now click Page Setup (see Figure 15-8).

Figure 15-8. Modifying the page (slide) setup in preparation for color.

You see a two-tabbed window (one says Page and the other Background). Click the Background tab. Notice that it's a pretty boring page with nothing but a drop-down list labeled Fill, with None selected. Each item in the drop-down list provides an option for background selection, whether it is plain white, colors, gradients, hatching, or bitmaps. Click each to see the choices that they offer. The example in Figure 15-9 shows the Bitmap selection screen.

Figure 15-9. Selecting background decorations from the Impress page setup.

For example, you might choose the Linear blue/white gradient (a very business-looking background) or perhaps the Water bitmap. The choice is yours. When you click OK, you are asked whether you want this background setting to be for all slides. For now, click Yes.

All right. You've done a lot of work, so save your presentation. Click File on the menu bar and select Save (or Save As) from the menu. If you choose Save As, you have the opportunity to select the presentation format, whether native OpenDocument or Microsoft PowerPoint format.

Now, it's time to see the fruits of your labors. Click Slide Show on the menu bar and select Slide Show. You can also use the <F5> keyboard shortcut. The slides transition with a touch of the spacebar or a mouse click. You can exit the presentation at any time by pressing the <Esc> key.

Printing Your Presentation

As with the other applications, click File on the menu bar and select Print; you can also click the small printer icon on the Standard bar. The standard print dialog appears, from which you can select your printer of choice.

Moving to Ubuntu Linux
Moving to Ubuntu Linux
ISBN: 032142722X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 201

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