How to Draw Network Shapes in OpenOffice

Written by tom kilmartin
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How to Draw Network Shapes in OpenOffice
Combine individual drawing objects into a shape. (pattern shapes image by Leslie Batchelder from

OpenOffice (formerly Star Office) is a set of free productivity software programs that you use to write, organise, draw, present and analyse. The drawing program is, appropriately enough, called Draw, and you'll use it to draw network shapes. Network shapes are comprised of individual graphical symbols, called drawing objects, that you add to your drawing, combine as a shape and connect together to form a schematic diagram of a computer network. The shapes you add and their interconnections vary, depending on the type of network you are illustrating.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • OpenOffice Draw

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  1. 1

    Start OpenOffice Draw.

  2. 2

    Click on "View," then "Toolbars," and then "Drawing." The Drawing toolbar will appear beneath Draw's canvas. Use the same procedure to make the "Standard" as well as the "Line" and "Filling" toolbars visible.

  3. 3

    Click on an icon in the "Drawing" toolbar to select the desired drawing element.

  4. 4

    Keep your left mouse button depressed, and then click on the canvas at the location where you wish to anchor the drawing element.

  5. 5

    Drag out to set the dimensions of the drawing object with the left mouse button still depressed, and then release. Adjust the line style, width and colour, and fill the drawing element with a colour, as desired.

  6. 6

    Continue to add drawing elements to the canvas.

  1. 1

    Click a drawing object on the canvas.

  2. 2

    Hold down the "Control" key on a PC or the "Command" key on the Mac, and click additional drawing objects to add to the selection.

  3. 3

    Choose "Modify," then "Shapes," and then "Merge" to create a shape comprised of all selected drawing objects; or "Modify," then "Shapes," and then "Subtract" to create a shape comprised of only the visible portion of the initially selected drawing object (underneath the obstructing drawing objects); or "Modify," then "Shapes," and then "Intersect" to create a shape of only the overlapping areas of all selected drawing objects.

Tips and warnings

  • An alternative to creating a networking shape from scratch is to leverage the efforts of fellow OpenOffice users. Templates capture the creative work of other users.
  • Click the link adjacent to Basic Network Shapes to download the template to your computer, and then double-click the template to open it in Draw.
  • When you click a shape's icon and then drag to set its dimensions on the canvas, ensure that the "Line Style" drop-down menu does not show "invisible"; otherwise, you won't be able to see the shape.

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