LibreOffice can migrate legacy graphic formats into open ones

Incorporating images in documents is commonplace in modern office work. Most office-suite applications can easily import an image from a hard drive into a document and integrate it into a paragraph, so the text wraps around it.

Both LibreOffice and Microsoft Office 2016 have had this capability for a long time. They can import common bitmap and vector formats. These formats can be produced by graphics creation and photo manipulation programs, such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Some of these common formats are:

  • JPG
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • SVG
  • GIF

LibreOffice and Office can import these and integrate them into a document, where paragraphs wrap around them. There are other formats that are not listed above.

However, LibreOffice has and advantage over Word with file formats because it can import many more formats than Word. It also can import graphics that are created in the native formats of popular graphics programs. Many of these applications have been discontinued.

A few formats are as follows:

  • PSD – Photoshop (not discontinued)
  • CorelDraw
  • Adobe Freehand

The Document Foundation, creator of LibreOffice, has a manifesto, in which one of its focuses is on users retaining “intellectual property in documents they create.” They do this by promoting open formats and open standards.

Another way they do this is by giving users access to as many legacy formats as possible. There is a list of formats for word processors, spreadsheet applications, and presentation applications that are no longer being developed.

They also made LibreOffice for graphics designers who have been in the profession for many years. Since computers were used for design, there have been numerous programs that have come and gone. Many time documents created with them are in unique file formats, and many designers have not converted them to an open and current format.

LibreOffice will open graphics in these formats in its vector drawing application, Draw. These can be saved as an Open Drawing Format (odg), or it can be exported into a common bitmap or vector graphics format.

The graphics must be converted into one of the common formats, in order to insert them into a document created by a word processor, spreadsheet, or presentation application. They may need to be cropped so there is not white space around the graphic.

Many people, who have worked in graphics design, have a collection of artwork in legacy formats that they have created stored in their hard drives or external media. While Microsoft has dominated the office productivity application market for several decades, there has been competition in the graphics design field over the past 10 years or so. Macromedia and Adobe were major competitors until Adobe purchased the design software company in 2005. Corel has made CorelDraw for decades, and it is still used by many designers.

Adobe currently is the suite of choice for many graphics artist and design shops. Most schools teach it to their design majors. Books and other tutorials about photograph manipulation and graphic design typically cover Adobe applications. This may mean that competitors, like Corel, may not be able to keep releasing new versions of their software, and their formats will become obsolete.

Also, there is no guarantee that Adobe will exist forever or not change its file formats. This is why The Document Foundation and other organizations that back open-source software will promote open formats and open standards.

Software and file formats may change, but the importance of intellectual property rights will not.

Conclusion

For digitally preserving current and legacy documents and graphics, LibreOffice is an indispensable tool. Graphic designers may not stop using Microsoft Office for LibreOffice. They most likely are required to use Office to some extent. However, they may want to use it alongside Office.

The open-source suite can be used to convert graphics and documents into open formats. They can use with other open-source applications that are design software. Some examples are:

These can also open the proprietary formats mentioned in this article and convert them to open formats.

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