Using OpenOffice Draw to Add Callouts

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Once you've located a sample image from a FamilySearch Historical Records article that you are able to translate, follow the instructions below to add callouts of the genealogical data in English.

  1. Open a new Draw document.

  2. Go to Format on the toolbar; click on "Page."

  3. Click the drop-down arrow next to "Format" and change the size to "Tabloid" (11" x 17"). This larger page size will allow you to retain most of the image's quality and visibility.

  4. Select Portrait or Landscape orientation depending on the orientation of the image you will edit.

  5. Change the margins to .25" all around.

    Note: Changing the margins to .25” will allow more space to work with.

  6. Go to Insert, select "Picture," and click "From File..."; find the image on your computer and click "Open."

  7. Save the file type as a Draw file (.odg) using the same file name as the image. At the end of this tutorial, you should have two files for this one image: the image file (.jpeg/.jpg) you saved to your computer and the Draw file (.odg). Saving this Draw file allows you to come back later to make any other changes or edits to the callouts.

  8. Resize and align the image to allow space on the page for the callouts and image to fit within the margins.

  9. Once the image is set on the page, you are ready to insert callouts. To the right-hand side of the program is a Properties pane. By default, the functions for inserting shapes, “Insert Shapes,” are showing.

    These same functions are available on the Draw toolbar at the bottom of the program:

  10. In this toolbar (shown above), you can find the callout. The default callout shape is the “rounded rectangular,” which is the one we want.

  11. Once selected, you can click and drag anywhere on the page to create the shape.

    Note: As you place callouts, try to keep them off of the text of the record as much as possible. You may use the blank spaces of the record to place callouts.

Guidelines for callouts:

  • The outline weight (thickness) must be at least 1.5 pt and not greater than 2.25 pt (="Line Width" in Draw; see image to the right)
  • The outline must be black (="Line Color" in Draw)
  • Set the background color to white (="Fill Color" in Draw)
  • Use black text

12. Once you create the shape, the formatting options will appear on the right-hand side pane underneath the “Insert Shapes” functions. Use the guidelines above to format the callout.


Hint: If you create one and format the text, size, margins, color, and outline weight, you can copy and paste to create more without having to reformat the shape each time you create one.

13. Start typing inside the newly inserted callouts. You may keep the text simple by merely typing "Birth name," "Mother's name," "Place of death," etc.

14. Resize the callouts if necessary by using your cursor to adjust the small bubbles that appear around the callout.

15. When you’re finished adding all of the callouts necessary, save the file.

16. Now export the file as an image file (JPEG) by doing the following:

  • Click File and select “Export…”
  • Select the same folder location where you saved the image from the FamilySearch article
  • In the drop-down menu next to “Save as type:”, select JPEG
  • Use the same file name
  • When a dialog box appears asking if you want to replace the existing file of the same file name, select "Yes"

17. Email the Draw (.odg) file and image (.jpeg) file to

Thank you for your help!