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I want to set an image as a background for the page in LibreOffice Writer 5. I found plenty of articles on the web, including in the LibreOffice documentation, however, they are not helpful, because apparently that whole area of the application was reworked in the 4.3/4.4 timeframe, and the menus mentioned in the documentation simply don't exist anymore. I even found one comment claiming it is impossible.

LibreOffice Writer 5 clearly does still support background images, since I can open existing documents with background images just fine, I just can't find a way to create new ones.

I found a menu that lets me choose between a predefined set of existing background images in Format→Page→Area→Bitmap. However, I want to use my own background image.

I found an article that says I have to first open LibreOffice Draw and add my background image to the Gallery there, then I can use it in LibreOffice Writer, however even after adding my image to the Background section in LibreOffice Draw (and restarting LibreOffice, just to be safe), it still doesn't show up amongst the backgrounds in the dropdown list in LibreOffice Writer.

So, how can I set the background to a user-defined image? Or is it really impossible?

  • Thank you for asking this question - it helped me find the right menus. But my answer is the simplest by far. It is very easy. – SDsolar Mar 14 '17 at 17:29
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How do I set a page background image to a customised bitmap?

The missing step in your question is importing the bitmap using Draw

  1. Import the bitmap to the "Fill" list using Draw (this step is not required in Libreoffice 5.0.1.2)
  2. Set the page background image using Writer

Note:

  • The lastest version of Libreoffice 5.0.1.2 has an additional "Import Graphic" button on the "Area" > "Bitmaps" dialog so step 1 above can be omitted.

Import the bitmap to the "Fill" list

  • Close Writer
  • Open Draw
  • Menu "Format" > "Area"
  • Select "Bitmaps" tab
  • Click "Import"
  • Choose a bitmap
  • Give the bitmap a name
  • Press OK
  • Press OK again

    enter image description here

  • Here I have added a bitmap named "Desktop Background"

  • Close Draw

Set the page background image

  • Open Writer
  • Menu "Format" > "Page"
  • Select "Area" tab
  • Set "Fill" to "Bitmap"

    • Press "Import Graphic" (Libreoffice 5.0.1.2)
  • Select a bitmap
  • Press OK

    Libreoffice 5.0.1.2:

    enter image description here

    Libreoffice 5.0.0.5 (Note missing "Import Graphic" button)

    enter image description here

  • Here I have selected the bitmap "Desktop Background" added previously

    enter image description here

  • Does Rube Goldberg do UX design for LibreOffice now? :-D Thanks, this solves my problem! The only mention of this I found on the web said to add the image to the gallery, not to the page style menu. Note: I will accept @Alfabravo's answer instead if I can reproduce it with 5.0.1, since it is much simpler. (So simple that, if the button had existed in my version, I would never have had to ask this question in the first place.) – Jörg W Mittag Sep 12 '15 at 9:37
  • Yes, I missed the import graphics as well. I was first trying the older version and upgraded and didn't notice the button ... :/ I will update my answer – DavidPostill Sep 12 '15 at 10:10
  • 1
    What about using a vector image rather than a bitmap as a background? This works (using WMF/EMF files) in OpenOffice and NeoOffice, as well as in LibreOffice Calc (5.0.3.2, where the background-settings pane is still called “Background” and not “Area” and there is a choice called “Graphic,” not “Bitmap”). – Otto G Dec 6 '15 at 12:27
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    This works great for filling the text area, but is there any way to set the entire page background in a similar manner? – cjstehno Feb 1 '18 at 13:11
  • A solution that accounts for the full page (including margin area) without having to remove margins, would be great. – Clarus Dignus Mar 24 '18 at 23:35
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If you open Format --> Page in Libreoffice Writer 5 and go to Area tab, clicking on Import Graphic button allows you to choose your own image.

enter image description here

You can set size, position and tiling (repeat it multiple times in background)

Then, it will be your page background.

enter image description here

UPDATE: To address Jorg comment, this was made with LO v5.0.1.2.0

enter image description here

  • I'm on 5.0.0.5, and the dialog looks exactly like yours, except it is missing the Import Graphic… button. I will update to 5.0.1 sometime during the next days and see if I can reproduce your answer. – Jörg W Mittag Sep 12 '15 at 9:32
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The above approaches, using page format, only will fill within the page margins. For an edge-to-edge "bleeding" image, follow this approach from user cloph: https://ask.libreoffice.org/en/question/4683/full-a4-background-image-in-writer/

  • insert the graphic into the document,
  • choose Anchor|To Page from the context menu
  • choose Wrap|In Background from the context menu
  • Thanks! This is going to be really helpful if I ever need to do something like this again. – Jörg W Mittag Mar 26 '17 at 12:31
  • Does this not have to be performed for each page? – Clarus Dignus Mar 24 '18 at 23:40
  • not if you do it in a header/footer – djsadinoff Mar 26 '18 at 2:52
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It is much easier than the previous answers make it look.

Here is how you do it:

Menu: Format, Page

Click on Area tab, then on Fill

Use the Import Graphic button on the right bottom

Find your image for the background in your file system
It can be any JPG or whatever.

Click on Apply.

And you're done.

  • AFAICS, this answer is the same as @Alfabravo's answer, except without the graphics. But the whole point of my question was that, at least when I asked it one and a half years ago, the dialog in my version of LO looked exactly like that, except it didn't have the Import Graphic button. – Jörg W Mittag Mar 14 '17 at 22:48

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