LibreOffice Impress: Moving Around

Version 4.3

When you open up LibreOffice Impress you have five main areas on the screen you need to pay attention to:

  1. The Slides Pane – This is a display of your slides in the order they will appear. By scrolling up and down you can quickly go to a particular slide, click on it, and it will appear in the Workspace. You can also hide slides here so they don’t appear in the presentation, add, delete, and move slides, etc.
  2. Workspace – This is where you can work on each slide individually to edit and add content.
  3. Sidebar – This has seven sections, and each section has an icon on the far right of the screen. They are:
    1. Properties – This lets you choose from the various slide layouts available.
    2. Master Pages – This lets you select a visual template for your presentation that incorporates colors and graphics.
    3. Custom Animation – This controls the behavior of elements within a slide and lets you animate them.
    4. Slide Transition – This sets how slides transition from one slide to the next.
    5. Styles and Formatting – As you might expect, this lets you apply Styles to elements of the slide for a consistent look. Note that if like me you have anchored your Styles and Formatting Window as we have discussed previously, it will be already open and anchored to the left of the Workspace.
    6. Gallery – Let’s you add other objects to the slides as either copies or links. A copy is static, while a link will update the object if the original changes.
    7. Navigator – If you have “marked” important points in your Presentation by naming key slides this can help you to quickly jump to those spots.

    Note that when you select one of these 7 icons in the Sidebar, a pane right next to it will display the contents for that selection. So if you want to change the type of slide from the standard bullet point slide to a side-by-side layout, for instance, you would first select Properties to bring up all of your slide layout options, and then click on the one you want to use. Similarly, if you wanted to apply a Master Page, you would click that icon, then make your selection.

    Navigator is the last of the items you can select on the Sidebar. If you have created a long presentation and have not done anything to identify individual key slides it will bring up a list that says “Slide 1, Slide 2, Slide 3…” which is not terribly helpful.¬†You may not want to name each and every slide (though you could), but it might make sense to name some key slides so you can jump to them quickly. You can do this in the Slide sorter discussed below.

  4. Toolbars – Mostly on the top of the screen, these give you access to frequently used features. You can add or remove toolbars as needed. But the Drawing toolbar is on the bottom of the screen.
  5. Status Bar – This contains a number of useful items such as the Information Area, the Cursor position, the Slide number, and the Zoom control.


This is where you will probably spend most of your time since it is the main space for creating and editing slides. Whichever slide you have selected in the Slides pane will be in the Workspace ready for you to edit or add content. You have a number of ways to view and work with your slide show here, by selecting form the tabs across the top:

  1. Normal – This is the most often used option, as it is where you add content to slides and edit them individually. To add a slide to this area from the ones already created, either click on the slide in the Slide pane, or double-click in the Navigator. Among your options here are adding text, graphics, and animation effects. To add a New slide click the Slide button on top.
    Button for creating a new slide

    Button for creating a new slide

    If you want to change the slide layout from the default, click the Properties button on the far right in the Sidebar, then click on the layout you want to use. Note that these layouts are only a starting point, and you can modify them if they are not exactly what you need; however you cannot save a modified layout for future use.

  2. Outline – This is covered in more depth in the next Tutorial, but in brief this allows you to create a slide show by making an Outline. Note that you can switch back and forth between Normal and Outline any time it suits you. It is one Presentation, but you have two ways of looking at it.
  3. Notes – This lets you add speaker notes to each slide, which will not be displayed on the projector, but which you can see on your laptop. Using Notes effectively is a very important technique. Recall from our initial tutorial that a Presentation slide deck should support what you are saying but not take the place of it. This is a way you can get reminders of what you intend to say when each slide comes up without actually putting it on the slide for everyone to see.
  4. Handout – Often you want to have a printed handout to accompany your presentation. This is where you can set up and format the handout. Note that this option works with the Properties button on the right-hand Sidebar, so when you select Handout make sure you also select Properties. This lets you specify how many slides will be on each printed page, add a Header, Footer, Date, and Page Number, and whether or not to create a notes area for each slide. I usually use the Notes area option since my audience may want to take notes as I go through the presentation and this makes it easy for them.
  5. Slide Sorter – This lets you drag-and-drop slides to rearrange the order, either individually or as a group, but you can do more on this screen if you want to, The key is to right-click on a slide, and you will get a menu of options:
    • New Slide – Will add a new slide after the current one.
    • Duplicate Slide – Makes a duplicate and places it right after the currently selected slide. You can then drag-and-drop to move the duplicate to another part of the Presentation.
    • Delete Slide – Does what it says.
    • Rename Slide – Naming is very helpful for using the Navigator.
    • Slide Layout – Lets you change the layout of the selected slide.
    • Slide Transition – Let’s you set the transition either for one slide individually or for a group of slides if you selected multiple slides.
    • Hide Slide – Any slide that is Hidden will not show up on your laptop or on the Projected slide show. But you will see it grayed out on the Slide Sorter page. You can always “unhide” the slide(s) later by right-clicking and the option will now read Show Slide.
    • Cut, Copy, Paste – These operate on Slides, so Cut would remove the slide and place it on the Clipboard, Copy would leave it in place and also put in the Clipboard, and Paste would insert a copy of the slide from the Clipboard.

Now that you know how to work with the interface and get around, our next tutorial will get started with creating a Presentation!

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

 Save as PDF