North Idaho Linux Users Group




Creating a Newsletter with LibreOffice

Many people believe that if they are going to create a specialized document, they need to use a desktop publishing program such as Scribus or Microsoft Publisher. This is not true, as most modern word processors are as capable as desktop publishers.

In this article, we will show how to create a typical newsletter using LibreOffice Write, the word processor that is a part of that office suite.

The major capabilities that allow us to do all this with Writer are the page layout (especially columns layout), tables, image frames, fixed frames and floating frames. In this example, we will make use of several of these.

Laying out the Newsletter Format

Before we do any word processing, we need to have a general idea of what the newsletter should look like. You can do this in many ways, including drawing a page outline on paper or doing one with a graphics program. Here is a general idea of what the front page of our newsletter should look like:

Figure 1. Newsletter Layout

Note that since this is the front page, it has no header. It does have a footer, though. Also note that the title, contents and next meeting info are in frames with borders, and that the general meeting info is in a frame without a border. Also note that the rest of the pages are in two-column format.

Also note that you should save your work as you go along.

Title Page

Since the title page has no header, we need to insert a special title page. Click on Format | Title Page, then select 'Insert new title pages' with one title page.

Figure 2. Title Page Dialog

We should now format the title page. Anywhere on the title page, right-click and click on Page. Make the following changes in the Page Style dialog, then click Ok.

Following Pages

We should now format all the following pages. Go to the page following title page, right-click on it and clock on Page. Make the following changes in the Page Style Dialog, then click Ok.

Setting Text Styles

We must set the text styles for the newsletter now. The default style is an 11 point serif font. To set this, press the F11 key, then right-click on the Default Style and click on Modify. The Paragraph Style dialog will be displayed. Select the Font tab and change the font size to 11pt, then click on Ok. Do the same thing for the Heading 3 style and change it to 12pt, then select the Font Effect tab and change the Font color to Automatic. Click on Ok to apply those changes.

Adding Newsletter Title

We will now add the head section to the newsletter. Go back to the title page and place the text cursor in it. Then click on the Insert | Frame menu item. In the Type tab, set the width to 7.5" and the Height to 2.28".

Figure 3. Frame | Type Dialog

Select the Borders tab. Set the border to be all around the frame, 1.75pt, and color it Light blue. Click on Ok to set the frame in the title page.

Figure 4. Frame | Borders Dialog

Move the frame into its correct position, then click outside the frame, then inside the frame. You should see a text cursor in the frame. Put the title information in the title frame. For our example, it is

The title frame should now look like this:

Figure 5. Partial Title Frame

Our final enhancement to the title frame is to put a picture in it on the left hand side. Click the Insert | Image | From File in the menu, then select the image you want to add. The image will be placed in the frame in its full size. Right-click on the image and click on Picture. On the Type tab, click on the Keep ratio check box. Enter 2.75" for width. Click Ok. Now click on the picture and drag it into position in the upper-left corner of the frame. Here's what will result:

Figure 6. Full Title Frame

Adding General Meeting Info frame.

To add a frame for the general meeting information, click in the title page, then click on the Insert | Frame menu item. Change the following:

Click Ok, then move the frame into its proper position. Click on the title page, then inside the new frame to get a text cursor in the frame. Select center, serif font, bold 12pt., then enter the following text:

Adding Table of Contents

Our small table of contents frame goes directly below the general meeting info frame, on the left. Click on the title page, then click on the Insert | Frame menu item. Change the following

Click Ok, then move the frame into its proper position. Click on the title page, then click inside the new frame. Set centered, bold, serif 12pt., then type 'Contents' and Enter. Reset to left, not-bold, serif 10pt., then type 'Meeting Information.....1'. Add to this frame as we add more stuff to the newsletter.

Adding This Month's Meeting Information

The frame for this month's meeting minutes goeas right next to the table of contents frame. Click on the title page, then click on the Insert | Frame menu item. Change the following

Click Ok. Move the resulting frame to the right, so it is aligned with the margin and the table of contents frame. Click on the title page, then inside the new frame. Set the font to centered, serif, bold, 12pt., then insert the following:

This is the final result:

Figure 7. Final Title Area

Add Articles

We will add any articles to the 2-column page directly, instead of using frames.

Select an article from a text file and copy it to the clipboard. Paste the unformatted text to the newsletter, then clean up what you pasted.

If you have any pictures you want to include, select Insert | Image | From File and select the image. Right-click on the image and click on Picture. Check Keep ratio in the Type tab, then change the width to the size you want. Click on the Wrap tab and click on Parallel. Change all the Spacing to .10". Click Ok, then move the image where you want it. Here is a sample:

Figure 8. Wrapped Image

Adding the Header and Footer

Adding a header and a footer is fairly easy. Go to a non-title page and click in the Header area. Select a font size of 9pt, then enter 'Lake City Rockhound News'. Hit the Tab key twice, then enter the month and year. You have now completed the header, which will be shown on all pages except the title page.

To add the footer, click in the Footer area. Change the font to 9pt., then click on Center text. Enter 'Page ' (don't forget the trailing space). Click on the Insert | Fields | Page Number menu entry. The page number will appear. Note: you need to do this for both the title page and a single follow-on page.


Although the newsletter is not completed, we are going to stop here. We leave the rest of the newsletter as an exercise for the student.