Working with frames and sections on Writer

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Editing.png This page is in a DRAFT stage.


Inserting a Frame

Frames in Writer are similar to LaTeX "minipages". Basically, a frame is a small "floating page" on top of a real page. Frames accept any kind of content: text; pictures; tables... even other frames.

Frames are used extensively in Writer: each inserted picture, OLE object (Math objects, charts...), are inside a frame. When a caption is added to a picture, this picture, which is already inside a frame, will be automatically included on another frame that enclose the paragraph with the automatic numbering.

The sceenshot below shows the result of the menu command Insert → Frame. The purpose of the individual tabs will be discussed in the following sections.


Type Tab

This tap is used to describe the overall size od the frame, how it is anchored, and how it is positioned relativ to the anchoring method.


This section of the tab defins the overall size of the frame.

A spin box to set the width of the frame.
  • "Relative" 
    A Check Box that when checked means "Relative to the text area".
    A Check Box that when checked makes the frame grow with the content.
Hight(at least) 
A spin box to set the minimum hight of the frame.
  • "Relative" 
    A Check Box that when checked means "Relative to the text area".
    A Check Box that when checked makes the frame grow with the content.
"Keep ratio" forces width and height of the frame to grow proportionally.

This this section how the frame will be positioned from a reference point; that is the point at which the frame was inserted.

To page 
This associates the frame with the page on which it was inserted.
Documentation caution.png It is important to be careful with this option because the picture will remain on that page even if all the previous pages are empty.
To paragraph 
the default option. The picture will follow the paragraph in which it was inserted.
To character 
similar to the previous option, but considering the exact point inside the paragraph where the image was inserted.
As character 
the frame will move inside the text as if it were anothered to a character. This is the default option for frames associated with Math objects.

This section of tab defines the position options for the frame.

Documentation caution.png The available options will depend upon the selected anchoring: for example, selecting "As character" we lose the horizontal position options.

Two important options are "Mirror on even/odd pages" and "Follow text flow".

The mirror option will automatically change the frame position when we are on an odd or even page. For example, if we choose "Outside" will be positioned to the right on odd pages and to the left on even pages.

The option "Follow text flow" is useful to avoid the possibility of a frame going outside the limits of the text area on the page.

Options tab

AOO Frame Options Tab.png

As shown above, the Options tab allows the setting of various options for the frame.

  • Name
    • The unique name of the frame
      • This makes it simpler to identify on the Navigator.
      • Default is Framennn where nnn is an increasing number starting at 1.
  • Previous Link
    • The name of the previous frame in a linked set.
  • Next Link
    • The name of the next frame in a linked set.
Documentation note.png When linking two or more frames, the content of the one will be able to flow to the next. The frames can be on different pages: when the first one is full, the content will flow to the next.
  • Protect
    • This section allows you to protect various attributes of the frame.
  • Contents
    • When checked this option protects the contents of the frame from being changed.
  • Position
    • When checked this option protects the position of the frame from being changed.
  • Size
    • When checked this option protects the size of the frame from being changed.
  • Text Direction
    • This section sets the text direction for the frame. The options are as follows.
      • Left-to-right (horizontal)
        • Left justified text
      • Right-to-left (horizontal)
        • Right justified text
      • Left-to-right (vertical)
        • Vertical text aligned to the left margin
      • Use superordinate object settings
        • Use the default text flow settings for the page. This is the default.

Wrap tab

Here it is possible to define how the text and other content flow around the frame. For example, if the frame takes only a fraction of the page width it is possible to set the text to surround it: the option "Optimal" will be the more appropriate in this situation.

AOO Frame Wrap Tab.png

The screenshot above shows all the attributes that can be set on this tab.

  • Settings
    • None
      • No wrapping of text
    • Before
      • Text wraps before the frame only
    • After
      • Text wraps after the frame only
    • Parallel
      • Text wraps around the frame on all sides
    • Through
      • Frame is placed in front of text
    • Optimal
      • Automatically wraps text on all four sides of frame
Documentation note.png If the object is less than 2cm from the page margin the text is not wrapped
  • Spacing
    • Left
      • Space between text and left side of frame
    • Right
      • Space between text and right side of frame
    • Top
      • Space between text and top of frame
    • Bottom
      • Space between text and bottom of frame
  • Options
    • First paragraph
    • makes the selected wrap option valid only for the first paragraph: the following paragraphs will move to below the frame
    • In background
      • sends frame behind the content
Documentation note.png Valid only for the Through wrap setting.
Documentation note.png To select a frame set "in background", it is necessary to perform a  Ctrl +click over it.

Hyperlink Tab

AOO Frame Hyperlink Tab.png

This tab is used to associate a hyperlink to the frame. The file can be a local file on the computer or local network, or on the internet. The hyperlink will work with a  Ctrl +Click on the frame. The options for this screen are as follows.

  • Link To
    • URL
      • Complete path of file
    •  Browse 
      • Browse computer or local network for file
    • Name
      • Name for hyperlink
    • Frame
      • ID of frame to associate to.
  • Image Map
    • Server Side Image Map
      • Uses image map on remote server
    • Client Side Image Map
      • Uses client side image map

Borders tab

AOO Frame Border Tab.png

As the name implies, the function of this tab is to draw borders around the frame. The different options available will be discussed below.

Line Arrangement

This section of the tab is used to define the way the lines are arranged to form the border. It is further divided into Default and User Defined areas as defined below.

This area has five predefined border arrangements as defined below from left to right. They are activated by clicking on them with the mouse.
  • None
    • No border, this is the default setting.
  • Set All Four Borders
    • Creates border on all 4 sides
  • Set Left and Right Borders Only
    • Create border on left and right only
  • Set Top and Bottom Borders Only
    • Create border on the top and bottom only
  • Set Left Border Only
    • Create border on left side only
User Defined
This area is used to define a custom border arrangement. This is done by clicking the side (or sides) of the shaded area that you want the border on. For example if you wanted the border on the right and top of the frame you would click those sides of the area.
Tip.png Clicking the upper right corner of the area would select both sides with one click.


This section is used to define the attributes of the lines used to form the border. It is further divided into Style and Color areas as defined below.

  • Presents a list box with various styles of lines and thicknesses that can be used to form the borders.
    • Default single line of 0.05 points.
  • Presents a drop-down list of available colors for lines.
    • Default is Black

Spacing to Contents

Used to set the spacing between the edges of the border and the content. Each edge can be set individually or synchronized to the same distance.

  • Spin-box to set distance to left edge
  • Spin-box to set distance to right edge
  • Spin-box to set distance to top edge
  • Spin-box to set distance to bottom edge
  • Check box to synch all edges to identical value on entering it in one spin-box.
Documentation note.png Defaults for all the spacing parameters are dependent on the entry in the Line Arrangement section.

Shadow Style

This section allows the setting of a shadow detail to the border.

  • 5 click-able images that control shadow placement (defined below left to right)
  • No Shadow (Default)
  • Cast shadow to bottom right
  • Cast shadow to bottom left
  • Cast shadow to top right
  • Cast shadow to top left
  • Spin box to define the width of the shadow
  • Drop down list of available colors for shadow
Documentation note.png Defaults for Distance and Color parameters are dependent on the Position section as defined in the chart below.
Position Distance Color
No Shadow Inactive Inactive
All Other Position 0.07 Inches Gray 6

Background Tab

This tab is used to set a background for the frame. The background can be either a continuous color or an image. Each type will be described in a separate section.

Background Tab Color

AOO Frame Background Tab Color.png

The above illustration shows the tab set for the use of a continuous background color.

  • Drop down list specifying the type of background.
Background color
  • Palette of color choices.
    • Color chosen will appear in the box next to the palette and the name at the bottom of the palette.
Documentation note.png The No Fill selection specifies no background fill and is the default.
  • Spin box to set the transparency level of the background color.
    • Range is 0% (opaque) to 100% (completely transparent)
      • Default is 0%
Documentation note.png Increasing the transparency allows the underlying text or objects to become visible through the background.

Background Tab Graphic

AOO Frame Background Tab Graphic.png

The above illustration shows the tab set for the use of a graphic background.

  • Drop down list specifying type of background
  •  Browse 
    • Browse computer or local network for file
  • Link
    • Check-box to create a link to the graphic rather then embed it directly
      • Default is unchecked
  • Unlinked Graphic
    • Shows whether the graphic is unlinked or linked depending on the state of the Link check-box
      • Default is as shown
      • If linked will show the path to the file

Columns tab

AOO Frame Columns Tab.png

As shown above the columns tab is used to set-up the contents of the frame in a columnar fashion.

Macro tab

To associate a macro with the frame, in a way that the selected macro automatically activates when a selected event is verified, like a click on the frame or the introduction text on it.


It is possible to separate a Writer document into "blocks" that are more or less self-contained called "Sections". These sections can be as short as a paragraph, as long as several pages or can cover the whole document. Sections are useful: to have different number of columns on the same page; to insert an external document; as a whole block from the document that is hidden when a condition is fulfilled... This page shows how to use them.

Inserting a section

From the Insert → Section menu we will see


Section tab

Here it is possible to accomplish several tasks.

  • Give a name to the section, so it is easier to find on the Navigator.
    • Select the text listed in the box and type an appropriate name that describes the section.
  • Link the section with a different part of the document or with a different file, to show the linked content.
  • Protect the section content with a password, avoiding editing.
  • Set a condition to hide the section, making it invisible on the document. We will come back to this when discussing variables and fields.
  • Set the section to be editable even on read only documents, for example to build a form.

Columns tab

As with frames, it is possible to set the section to be separated in columns even if the page style over which the section flows do not have them. This is particularly useful to have a different number of columns on the same page, for example when creating a scientific paper where subject and abstract are on one column while the rest of the document is on two.

The option "Evenly distribute contents to all columns" makes the columns fill simultaneously when content is added: with the option set to off the left column will fill before the other ones.

Indents tab

To define a minimum space before and after a section.

Background tab

To set either a background color or a background image for the section.


To group the notes at the end of a section, restart the numbering, etc. We will come back to this topic later.

Editing Sections

To change the settings of an existing section go to Format → Sections.


On the left list is it possible to select the section to be modified. As can be seen in the screenshot the available options are the same as you get under the Section tab when a section is created. The other options are accessible from the  Options  button.

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