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OpenOffice.org: A Text Box With a Slightly Different Shape

As I’ve worked with OpenOffice.org programs over the last year I’ve had many instances of things I wish it would do, as well as many moments of pleasant surprise when I found it would allow me to do something unexpected.

Today I’d like to share an interesting thing that I stumbled across with playing with the drawing tools in OpenOffice.org – specifically, I’d like to show you what I found when I was exploring the options for a text box.

To begin we’ll need to be sure that your Drawing toolbar is displayed. You can display them by clicking the Draw Functions button located on the Standard toolbar


…or use the View menu, Toolbars sub-menu, Drawing.

Next, I drew a text box and then selected it.

It was at this point that I noticed the Points tool.


Microsoft has one of those so, I thought I’d check it out and see if it worked the same.

Yeah, not so much.

The Points tool for OpenOffice.org did give me access to the points around the text box that create the shape, but they didn’t behave the same when I started moving them.

In the MS programs, if you grab a point and move it the movement only affects the two sides attached to it, resulting in a strange shape.

In OpenOffice.org, the moving of a single point simply moves the entire side of the shape making the box either bigger or smaller.

Nothing exciting there, but I happened to notice that in the upper left-hand corner there was an additional point – which showed up as a larger box around the usual point.


When I hovered the mouse over it I got a hand symbol instead of the usual arrow of some sort.

Thinking that it was a rotating handle, I grabbed and dragged it to double check my assumption.

Well, it turns out that it’s not a rotating handle at all… instead it will round out your corners turning a rectangle into anything between the rectangle and an oval that keeps the same width and height of the original text box.


Not really an exciting find, unless you’re like me – I will often used border lines around my text boxes – with that quick and simple change I can have the benefits of a text box with a more engaging (at least in my opinion) shape.

If you sometimes outline text boxes to make them stand out in your document then I definitely recommend that you give this one a try. You may just find it a good way to spice things up.

~ April