Layer Functions in Draw

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    Welcome to the LibreOffice Draw Help

    This video shows how "Layer Functions in Draw - LibreOffice" can be applied and links to this page here, which offers further information and details.

    This discription is based on the LibreOffice online help:

    Welcome to the LibreOffice Draw Help

    Type "Layers" in the search bar to see the topics related to Layers.

    Link to the Video

    Link to the Video (in German [DE]):

    Ebenen Funktionen in Draw - LibreOffice

    Layer Functions

    The Layers selection is located at the bottom

    Layers in Draw allow great management even for more complex drawings.

    Layers allow you to arrange related elements on a page.

    For example, you can divide your drawing details according to whether or not you want them to be printed later.

    You can make individual Layers invisible if too many details bother you when drawing.

    And you can lock Layers so you don't accidentally edit objects you didn't want to.


    LibreOffice Draw uses Layers to support you for your drawings.

    Note pin.svg

    The terms "Plane", "Layer", "Register" and "Tab" are sometimes used analogously.

    The Layer selection is located below the plan window.

    The areas on a Layer that do not contain objects are transparent.

    Each Layer contains a so-called Drawing Layer.

    The respective layer can be imagined as a transparent slide or drawing surface.

    If you place several Layers on top of each other, the objects contained in them are displayed (prerequisite: the Layer is switched to visible).

    Note pin.svg

    Objects in one Layer, can cover objects in a Layer below.

    The three Layers "Layout", "Controls" and "Dimension Lines", are always provided in Draw.

    The Layout Layer is the default workspace.

    The Controls Layer is for buttons that have been assigned an action and should not be printed.

    Deactivate the "Printable" property of the Layer.

    Note pin.svg

    The objects on the "Controls" layer are always in front of the objects on other Layers.

    The Dimension Lines layer is used to draw dimension lines.

    By changing the Layer, you can easily turn these lines on and off to hide or show them.

    Note pin.svg

    The default Layers cannot be deleted or renamed.

    Select Insert Layer to add your own Layers.

    Select a Layer

    Select a Layer by clicking the tab with the Layer name at the bottom.

    Stacking order

    Except for the Controls Layer, which always comes before other Layers, Layers do not affect the stacking order of objects on a page.

    The stacking order of objects on your slide is determined by the order in which you add the objects.

    Choose Shape ▸ Arrange from the menu to change the stacking order of objects.

    Context menu of the Layer

    Layer Context menu

    Right-click on the tab of a Layer or left-click in the free area next to the last tab of the selected Layer to open the Layer Context menu.

    Insert Layer

    "Insert Layer" Dialog

    In the Context menu, select Insert Layer….

    The "Insert Layer" dialog opens.

    In the "Name" field, type a name for the new Layer.

    In the "Title" field, you can add a title.

    In the "Description" field, write what purpose this layer should serve for you.

    Below that, set the "Visible", "Printable" and "Locked" properties of the Layer.

    Click OK.

    The new Layer is automatically the active Layer.

    Modify Layer

    "Modify Layer" dialog

    Select in the Context menu Modify Layer….

    The "Modify Layer" dialog opens.

    Write the desired modifications in the "Name", "Title" or "Description" fields or change the "Visible", "Printable" and "Locked" properties of the Layer.

    Click OK.

    The Layer automatically remains the active Layer.

    The Layers properties

    • Visible - shows or hides the content of the selected Layer.
    • Printable - allows printing the Layer or not.
    • Locked - locks the content of the selected Layer or not, i.e. editing the Layer is possible or not.

    Possible representations of the Layer labels

    The combinations of Layers properties leads to different display of layer labels.

    Set the properties of a Layer via the Context menu

    Each Layer has a Layer Context menu.

    Right-click on the Layer name to open the menu, or to modify the properties of a Layer, click on the tab with the Layer name and then choose Format ▸ Layer… from the menu.

    Selecting Modify Layer… brings up the "Modify Layer" dialog.

    The properties "Visible", "Printable" and "Locked" can be selected or deselected.

    The combination of these three possibilities results in the respective overall state of a Layer.

    Possible representations of the layer labels - Visible
    1. 2. 3.
    Visible Visible Visible
    Printable Printable Not Printable
    Unlocked Locked Unlocked
    Possible representations of the layer labels - Hidden
    4. 5. 6.
    Hidden Hidden Hidden
    Printable Printable Not Printable
    Unlocked Locked Unlocked

    Set properties of Layers via keyboard shortcuts

    Keyboard shortcuts

    The settings of the "Visible", "Printable" and "Locked" properties of the Layers can also be changed quickly with keyboard shortcuts without menu selection.

    To toggle the Layer between Visible / Hidden, press: ⇧ Shift + Click

    To toggle the Layer between Locked / Unlocked, press: Ctrl + Click

    To toggle the Layer between Printable / Not printable, press: Ctrl + ⇧ Shift + Click

    Delete Layer

    If you select "Delete Layer", the selected Layer will be deleted.

    Rename Layer

    If you select "Rename Layer", the tab label will be selected.

    Write the new name of the Layer.

    You can change the name only of the Layers you created yourself.

    Move objects to another layer

    You can move one or more objects in Draw to another layer.

    Select the objects you want to move.

    Click-hold the objects with the mouse until the cursor changes shape.

    Then drag the objects to the tab of the layer you want to move them to.

    Example: Move object quadrilateral from layer 4 to layer 5:

    Application example "Dummy cemetery"

    File-Image Friedhof Dummy
    File-Image Arbeitsdatei - Beispiel Feld 02-1
    File-Image Friedhof Dummy neu

    By means of this example, the layer functions are described and treated.

    There are two files available for this:

    Friedhof Dummy.odg (1)
    Arbeitsdatei - Beispiel Feld 02-1.pdf (2)

    - See: Work files -

    File 1 contains a grave field that is to be renewed.

    File 2 is a plan of a cemetery gardener, showing how the grave field should be renewed.

    As the person responsible for file 1, you should now modify file 1 so that it corresponds to the plan of the cemetery gardener.

    Clean up the tomb field in file 1

    The individual layers are still locked.

    Unlock the layer "GrabstellenNrn" ( Ctrl + Click on the layer label ).

    Highlight the grave numbers and press Del.

    Lock the "GrabstellenNrn" layer ( Ctrl + Click ).

    Unlock the "Grabstellen" layer ( Ctrl + Click ).

    Select the grave locations and press the Del key.

    Lock the "Grabstellen" layer ( Ctrl + Click ).

    Insert file 2

    Make the "Layout" layer visible ( ⇧ Shift + Click on the layer label ).

    And unlock the "Layout" layer ( Ctrl + Click ).

    Drag the file 2 (PDF) to the "Layout" layer.

    The following actions are performed with the PDF-Plan:

    Rotate plan ( 350 degrees ).

    Layout, all the way to the back.

    Adjust plan size to grave field size.

    Lock the "Layout" layer ( Ctrl + Click ).

    Redraw grave locations and numbers in the grave field

    Unlock the "Grabstellen" layer ( Ctrl + Click ).

    Zoom to 65% and position the grave field approximately in the center.

    Use the basic shapes to draw the grave sites and adjust them to the plan behind.

    Then label the grave sites.

    Note the formatting with Styles.

    Since the graves are initially unoccupied, they will all be formatted in green.

    When you have created all the graves and labels, lock the layers.

    Finally, make the "Layout" layer invisible ( ⇧ Shift + Click ).

    Further Informations

    LibreOffice online help about Layers

    About Layers

    Insert Layers

    Modify Layer

    Working with Layers

    Moving Objects to a Different Layer

    Work files

    "Friedhof Dummy.odg"

    "Friedhof Dummy - in work 3.odg"

    "Arbeitsdatei - Beispiel Feld 02-1.pdf"

    Documentation / Manuals

    Here you will find the Documentation / Manuals:

    Documentation / Manuals

    Any questions?

    For questions on this topic go to:


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