LibreOffice Impress: Creating A Template for Hacker Public Radio


The idea in this tutorial is to tie together some of the concepts developed in the previous tutorials to create a Master Page, or Template, or Slide Master. (They all mean the same thing, but within Impress they are shown on the Sidebar as Master Pages, so I will stick with that terminology here.) I say we will use some of these concepts because trying to put everything into one Master Page would create a hideous end result. And since it helps to have a definite objective in mind I have decided to create one for Hacker Public Radio, where I record these tutorials as podcasts for the Internet.

The first thing I did was download the HPR logo from the HPR website. That was just a right-click, save image as operation, pretty standard. The image is called hpr_logo.png, and is a rectangular black-and-white image:

Hacker Public Radio Logo

Hacker Public Radio Logo






Now, this is a good thing to add to a Master Page, but there is an issue. The logo is done with a white background, so if added to a slide with a colored background you would get a white rectangle on the colored background. So that limits my options a little, though I should point out that I am not an artist and someone who actually had design talent might solve this in a different way. In this case, I am going to start out with a blank presentation in black-and-white, and add the logo to it.

I start by opening my blank presentation, then start off by saving it as a Template. I use the Save As option, and select for File type “ODF Presentation Template (.otp)”. While you could do this at the end, that is not the smart thing to do. If you go to Tools–>Options–>Load/Save–>General, you can set the Autosave and Recovery options. I set mine to save the recovery information and do a file save every 3 minutes, and it has paid off more than once. Just yesterday I was in the middle of a long documentation project for LibreOffice (I am a volunteer on the documentation team) and LibreOffice crashed after I was two-thirds of the way through the project. But I lost nothing from my hours of work because it was all saved. BTW, this setting applies to all of LibreOffice, so just do this once and your Writer documents, Calc spreadsheets, and everything else will be protected.

With that out of the way, I then go to View –> Master –> Slide Master. This opens up the Master editing, and as I mentioned Slide Master, Master Page, or Template all mean the same thing. When this opens you see a slightly different view in the central Workspace.

Slide Master

Slide Master








There are several things we can easily do here. First, we can add text that will appear on every slide. Now, that is not usually a good idea for the slide title or the slide body. But we can modify, if we wish, the Styles that control the appearance of the slide title and body text. The text you see on the slide is helping you in that respect because it is telling you which Styles are controlling each element. Make sure you have the Styles and Formatting window open and docked on the side if you like that, but this window is now included in the Side Bar on the right. This is a great convenience, and I am glad they did it. So find the icon on the far right for Styles and Formatting, click on it, and you will see the familiar Styles and Formatting window.

Click on any text element and you will see the Style that governs this element highlighted. So if you click on the Title box, you will the Title style highlighted on the right. Right-click on it and you will see that you can Modify the style or Hide it. Remember that you can never create new Presentation styles, and you can never delete them. But Modify is a useful option when you are creating a Master Page. So let’s do just that. For the Title style I will set the Font to Liberation Sans because I like free fonts. The Liberation fonts are provided by Red Hat, and are completely free to use. But if you want more, may I suggest you visit the Open Font Library at This site offers fonts licensed under licenses such as Apache 2.0, Creative Commons, GPL, Open Font License, and so on. When you go to the catalog and select a font, you can view the license it is offered under.

I will stick with Liberation, though, because it is pretty widely available. I could download and use a different font, but when I make this Template available to everyone I want to make it easy for everyone to use.

Then I go through the Outline styles, and make sure all of them are also Liberation Sans. You get a better result in general if you have uniformity in fonts. The main difference in the Outline fonts is that the font size goes down with each level.

The other thing we could do is assign color to the fonts, but that is something we will come back to if necessary once we settle on a color scheme. I always leave that to last. In this case, I selected a slide background that is mostly white because of the HPR logo, so I ended up leaving the text black for ease of reading.

Now I want to put in the HPR logo. I want it on the top, and that means moving my Title block a little. I click on the border until I see the 8 “handles”, and drag the right-hand border to the left to make space for the logo image. I go to Insert–>Image–>From file, and select the logo file, and move it to the top right next to the smaller Title block.

The last thing I want to do is add a little bit of color. Since the logo image is white, I don’t want a color on the very top. I tried the built-in backgrounds, but I didn’t like any of them. So I did an online search for slide backgrounds, and found on that had color on the left but otherwise white. To make this a background, open the Slide Master, go to Insert–>Image–>From file, and select it. In this case, I had to use the handles to stretch the image to fit the whole slide. This will cover up everything on the slide, though, so you need to right-click on the image, select Arrange, and then Send to back. This will make the image a background, and all of the Slide Master text will pop back on top. So then I saved the file in File–>Templates as described in the previous tutorial

If you wish to download and use this Template, you can download it from Hacker Public Radio Template, and then use the directions in LibreOffice Impress: Templates and Master Pages to make it available as a Template for future use.


When you are making a presentation you will want  to look at the Footer fields on the bottom. There are three of these fields. On the left is a Date/Time field, in the middle is Footer, which is a free text area, and on the right is Number. To insert your footers, go to the Insert menu, and select either Date and Time or Page Number. Either one will give you the same window (Note that in LibreOffice 5.0 they added a menu option in the Insert menu for Header and Footer, which makes more sense).

Footer window

Footer window








On the first tab, Slide, you can configure the Footer areas as you wish. You put a check mark in the box for each area to have it appear on each slide. For Date and Time, you put in the check mark, then choose how you want it to show. You can put in a fixed date, such as the date you prepared it, or the date you plan to present the presentation. But if you select Variable it will insert the current date every time it is opened. That means that if you use this for a presentation it will put in the current data automatically when you give the presentation as long as your computer has the right date.

For Footer a good idea is to put in the title of the presentation. Put in the checkmark to show it, then type in the text you want displayed.

Finally, put in a slide number. But it makes no sense to put in a number on the title slide, so put a check mark on “Do not show on the first slide”.

Listen to the audio version of this post on Hacker Public Radio!

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