Can't find curves toolbar

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Can't find curves toolbar

Postby helpmeplease » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:50 pm

I'm trying to do curved text. In the help for 'drawing curves', it says "On the Drawing toolbar, open the Curves toolbar and select the Curve".

I see the drawing toolbar, but the 'curves' toolbar is MIA. I know this is possibly a context sensitive issue, but I can't seem to find the curves toolbar no matter what I do to the document.

I've never done curved text before, I want to put my text between two circles, and I think I have to create the text first and then shape it to a particular curve by moving Bezier points associated with the text.

I'm running LibreOffice 3.5.4.2, Build ID: 350m1(Build:2) on an Ubuntu system.

Would like to know how to make the toolbar/cutves toolbar visible.

TIA

Art
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Re: can't find curves toolbar

Postby acknak » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:20 pm

It's not really a toolbar, it's more of a pop-up tool menu. It's just to the right of the "T" (text) tool on my LibO Draw.

Another resource for text on a curve: viewtopic.php?f=74&t=13811
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Re: can't find curves toolbar

Postby helpmeplease » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:02 pm

I've been trying to make sense of this particular post for days now....

Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
viewtopic.php?f=74&t=13811


The help file (for curves;drawing) makes no mention of 'fontwork' or 'fontwork gallery'.

And, the post you mentioned indicates that the 'fontwork' menu has been eliminated, or that it will be eliminated soon and it's currently unsupported.

So, the help file infers that I should not use the fontwork menu. Is the fontwork menu the same thing as the curves menu???

Do I need to use the method in the post your refer to, or should I use the method outlined in the current help file????

I'M confused and torn::>

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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby helpmeplease » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:10 pm

For the moment I set aside the attempt to add 'curves' to the drawing menu. I'm still not sure why the help file says I need to use it.

But, I am able to see the fontwork (not fontwork gallery) on the drawing menu now. The forntwork item IS NOT available unless a fontwork item is created from the fontwork gallery. As soon as a fontwork item is created on the document page, the slanted/sideways A appears in the drawing toolbar.

So the issue of finding the fontwork icon on the drawing menu has been solved-the short answer is that it context sensitive and that it appears automatically once a fontwork item is created on the Draw document.

Will continue trying to figure out how to created the curved text I need.

More later, if needed::>
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby acknak » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:30 pm

Sorry you're having so much trouble; this IS harder than it should be. The online help is not a great place to start: it's more of a reference than a "how-to". The OOo User Guides are better, but even those are not really task-oriented. This situation is why we support people through the forum, where you can just ask directly about what you need to do.

If I understand what you've said, you seem to be conflating two different operations: creating a curve (a graphic object), vs. creating curved text, or "text on a curve". The help file topic "curves;drawing" only tells how to create and edit a curve object; it has no bearing on creating curved text.

The tutorial post describes how to make curved text. The curved text may be made from a curve object, but it can also be made from other graphics objects.

The "fontwork" thing is yet another different feature, and, yes, the terminology is confusing. The fontwork feature is meant for making fancy artistic/poster-style text. The fontwork gallery is a collection of pre-defined fontwork objects and can be opened from the Drawing toolbar; the button looks like a picture frame with the letter "A" in it.

If you want plain text that follows an arbitrary shape, you need to first create a curve object.

If you want plain text that follows a simple arc or circle, you can use a straight line, or any simple graphic object. You don't even need the curve tool.

It might help if you could tell us more specifically what it is you need to do.
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby helpmeplease » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:30 am

Thanks so much for the overview. Yes, I think I got off on the wrong tangent and perhaps I need a suggestion as to HOW I should proceed.

I am trying to create an official seal that is scaleable in size. It will be used as a watermark on official stationary and for other purposes related to the business.

I have the seal designed, and just need to add the text. I never imagined it would be so complicated::>

I have attached a file with text placed in a similar manner as the text I'd like to have on my project. I need to know how to place the text between 2 different sized circles with the same center point.

Have a look at the attached document.

TIA.

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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby acknak » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:31 am

Ok, that's helpful, I think. This is one of the easier layouts to get, anyway.

First, you will need the "fontwork" dialog button. This is described in the "curved text tutorial".

If you have trouble with that, or prefer to get right to it, you can skip the toolbar configuration if you create the curved text in Writer:
1) File > New > Text Document
2) View > Toolbars > Drawing
3) Use the Drawing toolbar (below editing area) to draw a rectangle. Any size will do; make sure you use the "simple" rectangle tool, near the left end of the Drawing toolbar.
4) Type in your text (just type--if the rectangle is selected, the text will be added to it. If that isn't working, press F2 to get into text mode)
5) Press Escape to end. The rectangle should still be selected.
6) Menu: Format > Object > Fontwork
7) On the fontwork dialog window, click on the "upper semicircle" arc shape at the top left. The text should warp to that shape.

That's basically it. You can copy/paste that object into Draw. If you want to change it's settings, though, you have to have the fontwork dialog.

If you already have the fontwork button (tilted "A") in Draw, just skip steps 1 & 2, and press the fontwork button instead of step 6.

Hopefully that will get you started.

However, all that aside, this may not be the best way to go for this task, depending on where you're going to use the logo and how close you need to get to the "official" graphic. You'll see if you work with it for a while, that getting a precise match of all the spacing and layout is difficult if not impossible. If you need a precise graphic, it gets a lot harder.

Here's my 5-minute swipe at it:
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby acknak » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:43 am

PS: I meant to add:

I suspect that the best way to handle this is actually to make a high-quality scan of the logo (the image in your file might be good enough) and then use a "trace" tool to convert to outlines. The outline can then be tweaked/tidied up if necessary.

OOo Draw can do that, although I've never gotten great results with it, and just now I can't remember how to do it. It could be as simple as selecting the image and doing Modify > Convert > To Curve.
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby helpmeplease » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:30 pm

The image I sent you is not the exact image I need to use, it was an example of something similar I found in google images. So, I can't use the image file included in the example document I posted previously.

The company started using Adobe Pagemaker, but they lost the original and throughout the years it degraded slowly as they foolishly tried to use a copy of a copy everytime they needed a different sized logo. I'm trying to do a logo that will be mastered in OO, so it won't degrade and each time they need a different sized logo, they can modify the original file, then print it.

So, I'd like to avoid giving them an image based file if possible.

I'll have a go at it using the instructions you sent. Thanks so much for the guidance.

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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby helpmeplease » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:40 pm

I can't vary the size of the type, I need my type to be .25 inches high. Even if i force the size of the font to change before I invoke fontwork, the end product comes out with text that is the wrong size. I did one set of curved text with a font size of 8, and another with a font 28. After transferring them to the DRAW document and stretching them to fit in the allocated space, both font sizes are identical.

How do I change the size of the text?

Also, there don't seem to be enough points on the text, so I can't make it centered within the 2 circles. So, it looks like heck. If there were more points, I could move the text exactly as needed with trial and error (by hand).

I attached a document showing how the text can't be properly aligned to fit within the 2 circles.

Is this sort of operation within Draws capability??
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby acknak » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:17 pm

helpmeplease wrote:I can't vary the size of the type, I need my type to be .25 inches high. ... How do I change the size of the text?

72 pt/in x 0.25" = 18 pt ... as a ballpark: the exact size of the printed characters will depend on the font face you're using.

The default setting is for OOo to automatically adjust the character size to fill the curve; the set font size is ignored.

If you want characters of a specific size, I think you have to turn off the auto-size mode. In the fontwork dialog window, select a specific alignment (left/center/right) instead of the auto-size mode.

... it looks like heck. ... Is this sort of operation within Draws capability??

That's consistently been my experience with OOo's curved text: for simple, undemanding tasks, it's fine. For anything that requires good quality or exact layout, it falls far short.

Maybe other graphics software would be good enough, I don't know. I think, if you want good results in Draw, you'd have to rotate & position each character manually.
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby helpmeplease » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:05 am

72 pt/in x 0.25" = 18 pt ... as a ballpark: the exact size of the printed characters will depend on the font face you're using.

The default setting is for OOo to automatically adjust the character size to fill the curve; the set font size is ignored.

If you want characters of a specific size, I think you have to turn off the auto-size mode. In the fontwork dialog window, select a specific alignment (left/center/right) instead of the auto-size mode.


OK, I measured the height of the text while it was still in the WRITER document (before invoking fontwork), 17 point text was about the size I needed.

But, as soon as I hit the fontwork button the sizing went out the window as soon as I stretch the text to make it into the circular shape I needed. Whether I start with size = 17 or size = 8, they both end up being the exact same size by the time they are adjusted to the arc size and shape I needed. Having the autosize set to off makes sense!!! I'll try it.



That's consistently been my experience with OOo's curved text: for simple, undemanding tasks, it's fine. For anything that requires good quality or exact layout, it falls far short.

Maybe other graphics software would be good enough, I don't know. I think, if you want good results in Draw, you'd have to rotate & position each character manually.


It's a shame the circular text isn't quite as good as it could be. OO does so well with lines and other graphics!!!!!

I did try doing it by hand, it's tedious and time consuming. I placed each letter manually, but didn't rotate them (each letter needs to be inline with the center of the circle, so each letter needs to be tilted at a custom angle), so it looked funny.

Isn't there a way to make more points along the arc so that fine(r) adjustments could be done????

I wonder if the letter spacing in the arc could be done by making a ring of smaller circles within the space between the 2 circles that confine the text. Then, the letter could be centered within the smaller circles and each letter could be rotated as needed to make the text come out correctly.

I'll try a test document and see if it works.

Regards,

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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby acknak » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:16 am

If you want finer control over the shape the letters align to, you need a curve (or polygon) object (as shown in the tutorial). As you edit the shape of the curve, the letters will automatically rotate to stay perpendicular to the local curve.

Draw has a circular arc tool that draws a portion of a circle; you can do curved text on that and easily adjut the end points to adjust where on the circle the text lies. You could use a separate arc for each word--as long as the arcs are all share the same center & radius, the letters should form a nice circle. That will allow simple adjustment of the word spacing, but I still don't see any way to manage the spacing between characters.

 Edit: PS: 
Duh. You could always use separate curves for each character or group of characters.
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby acknak » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:49 am

One way to increase the spacing between characters is to insert spacer characters, Unicode U+2000 .. U+200A contains various wide & narrow space characters.

No way to condense spacing that I can think of: the regular character spacing adjustments are ignored in the fontwork object.

As mentioned in the tutorial, I believe Inkscape does a better job with curved text. I don't know whether it has the spacing adjustments but I expect it does. If you can't make headway with Draw, you may want to consider changing horses.
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby helpmeplease » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:00 pm

I did complete the job, the results were perfect alignment of the text.

I did it by laying out 2 circles, one to represent the outer diameter and one to represent the upper diameter (the text should be centered between the 2 circles). I then laid out lines originating from the center of the circles using the angle tool. I used a spreadsheet to calculate the x and y points for the center of each individual letter and placed each letter using F4 (position and size dialogue) to place the letters in the right location and to slant each letter appropriately with the 'rotation' tab.

Although the process is cumbersome and is slow, it does produce perfect end results.

But, with everything grouped together, the scaling of the text isn't right when the drawing is changed to a different size by using the resize command (with the shift key held down).

Do I have to select the entire item, and save it as an object or as a .bmp in order to resize the text and the graphics without distorting the text?

TY.

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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby acknak » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:05 am

Good work! Thanks for the follow-up.

Yes, the lack of text scaling in OOo Draw is a big drawback. But there are workarounds for most situations; they all involve getting the drawing object into some other, scalable form.

The ones I usually fall back to are:
a) copy/paste special, as GDI metafile.
b) Insert > Object > OLE Object > From file (select .odg file); Link: YES

These are both scalable objects and the text scales along with the rest. Both should render at high-quality (vector formats).

The metafile is simpler and (may) work in other applications, but sometimes the conversion isn't quite perfect. The OLE object is difficult to use but is more reliable.

You may still find that some aspects of the graphics don't scale properly, or that perfect scaling doesn't give good appearance--for example, line thicknesses don't always scale as expected, or if they do scale, they become too thin compared to the rest of the graphic.

Of course you can always export an image--this is the simplest option of all. The quality may be adequate for some uses (presentations, for example) but will be lacking for most printed documents unless you export a high-resolution image, and then the large image file size may be a problem.

The most robust solution is probably to convert everything in the graphic to simple closed/filled curves, rather than depending on font-based text and graphic objects (lines, circles). The filled curves will almost always scale & render well. You lose some flexibility in editing the object, but editing doesn't happen often with something static like a logo, and you can always go back to the object-based graphic for editing.
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby alg » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:29 pm

Another possibility (to set text or anything else to curve):
- Open Draw
- Type the text you need (one line, but more lines works, too)
- Convert to curve (context menu)
- Use from the drawing toolbar in the Effects group the 'set to circle (slant)' or 'set to circle (perspective)' command
- Modify shape using bottom-right handle
Also play with the other tools in the effects group, this opens interesting possibilities ;-)

One more possibility for text:
- Open draw/Impress
- Open FontWork Gallery (button in drawing toolbar), opens a dialog
- Use one of the curved shapes (e.g. favorite28)
- Double-click, enter your text
- manipulate as needed
You may convert this to Polygon for further faster processing...
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Re: Can't find curves toolbar

Postby SaraMarie » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:23 am

Acknak, thank you for a succinct explanation of making text curve on an arc.
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