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Combining Multiple Objects:
Title:
Combining Multiple Objects: 
Version:
1.0
First edition: November 2004
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Contents
Overview
..........................................................................................................................................ii
Copyright and trademark information
.........................................................................................ii
Feedback
.....................................................................................................................................ii
Acknowledgments
.......................................................................................................................ii
Modifications and updates
..........................................................................................................ii
Grouping and Combining Objects
...................................................................................................1
Grouping Functions
.....................................................................................................................1
Combination Functions
...............................................................................................................3
Shape Merge Functions
...............................................................................................................4
Aids for Object Positioning
.............................................................................................................8
Aligning Objects
.........................................................................................................................8
Distribution of Objects
..............................................................................................................10
Managing Object Arrangement
.................................................................................................12
Combining Multiple Objects
i
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Overview
Overview
This document describes the tools and functions that let you combine several objects together
so that changes can be carried out to the group, or new objects can be created from the group.
Copyright and trademark information
The contents of this Documentation are subject to the Public Documentation License,
Version 1.0 (the "License"); you may only use this Documentation if you comply with the
terms of this License. A copy of the License is available at:
http://www.openoffice.org/licenses/PDL.rtf
The Original Documentation is Combining Multiple Objects. The Initial Writer(s) of the
Original Documentation is/are Linda Worthington 
©
2004. All Rights Reserved. (Initial
Writer contact(s):lindaw@openoffice.org
. The Initial Writer contact(s) is to report  errors in
the documentation. For questions regarding how to use the software, subscribe to the Users
Mail List and post your question there: http://support.openoffice.org/index.html
.)
Portions created by: original French document written by Michel Pinquier, translated to
English by Alex Thurgood and previous content revised by Jim Taylor. All trademarks within
this guide belong to legitimate owners.
Feedback
Please direct any comments or suggestions about this document to:
authors@user-faq.openoffice.org
.
Acknowledgments
Thanks to Daniel Carrera, Carol Leather and Jean Hollis Weber for reviewing this chapter.
Modifications and updates
Version
Date
Description of Change
1.0
20 November 2004
First published edition
Combining Multiple Objects
ii
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Grouping and Combining Objects
Grouping and Combining Objects
Draw contains a number of mechanisms that let you combine several objects together so that
changes can be carried out to the group, or new objects can be created from the group 
Grouping lets you temporarily combine objects to carry out global changes to them. A group
can always be undone and the objects that make up the group can always be manipulated
separately.
A combination is a permanent fusion of objects leading to a new object. The initial objects
are no longer available as individual entities and the operation is therefore irreversible (unless
you use the Edit/Undo function which is dependent on the number of undo steps set under
Options).
Whatever you decide to do, several objects need to be selected for these functions to work.
Just a quick reminder on how to select multiple objects: click on each object while holding
down the Shift key or draw a rectangle around the objects that you wish to include in the
selection. 
Grouping Functions
Group by common selection
When several objects are selected, any operations you carry out are applied to all of the
objects. For example, you can rotate a group of objects in its entirety. Groups obtained
through common selection of several objects are undone as soon as you click outside the
group. However, there is also a way to group objects and keep those selected objects grouped
together.
Maintaining groups and group dissociation
To group selected objects, you can right-click and choose Group from the context menu.
You can also use the keyboard shortcut Control + Shift + G. It is also possible to go via the
main menu Modify > Group.
When objects are grouped, all of the editing operations carried out on that group are applied
to all members of the group. If you click on one of the members of the group, the whole of
the group will be selected. This method is thus safer than direct selection, which is best left to
simple drawings.
As indicated at the beginning of the chapter, the objects of a group maintain their
individuality and it is possible to undo a group via the context menu (Ungroup) or using the
keyboard shortcut Alt + Control + Shift + G or even the main menu Modify > Ungroup.
Editing individual objects in a group
The objects in a group keep all of their properties, and it is always possible to edit each object
individually without breaking the group. To do this, you need to use the function Enter
group  that is available through the right-click menu or the F3 key. You can also enter a
group by double-clicking on it, and then click on the desired individual object.
Combining Multiple Objects
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Grouping and Combining Objects
Once you have entered this mode, you can click on and edit each object separately.
To leave this mode, use the function Exit group or keyboard shortcut Control + F3. You can
also double-click anywhere outside of the group.
When you work inside a group, the objects that are not within the group can no longer be
selected  and appear grayed out.
Here's an example of the use of this function.
The 2D shapes above form part of a group. The 3D sphere is not part of the group. When the
group is selected (as above) and you press the F3 key, you get the following:
The sphere moves out of focus to indicate that it isn't part of the group and that you can't
select it. In this mode, you can select any one of the objects in the group and edit it
individually.
Combining Multiple Objects
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Grouping and Combining Objects
In the example given, we are going to rotate the straight rectangle. After you rotate the
rectangle,  you can press Control + F3 to leave the group, and the sphere will become
available for selection once again.
Notice that you can create nested groups, or groups of groups. In this case, OpenOffice.org
keeps the initial group hierarchy. If you ungroup a group made of other groups, you will be
left with individual groups that you can then ungroup further.
Combination Functions
In contrast to grouping functions, combinations create a new object. To use this function:
choose all of the objects that you want to combine, then right-click and choose the option
Combine from the context menu. The keyboard shortcut is Control + Shift + K. 
Combining Multiple Objects
3
Grouping and Combining Objects
The result of the combination is given in the following illustration:
At first glance, this can seem rather surprising. Fortunately, once you have understood the
rules governing combination in OpenOffice.org, it will become clear:
The attribute of the resulting object is the attribute of the object that is the furthest back
from the viewer. In our example, it is the circle. The resulting drawing has the same color,
line thickness, etc., as the circle.
The result of the combination is a Bezier curve.
Where the objects overlap, the overlapping zones will be represented as a filled or empty
zone depending on the number of overlaps. When there is an even number of overlaps,
you get an empty space (represented by a 'hole') in the drawing. When the overlaps are odd
in number, you get a filled area. In our example, we can count the number of
superpositions:
Shape Merge Functions
The functions Merge, Subtract, and Intersect, can be reached though the group's context
menu, under the heading Shapes.
Merge
The result of applying the Merge function to the shapes corresponds to the greatest surfaces
of the selected objects being merged into one object (also known as a union).
Combining Multiple Objects
4
1
1
1
3
2
2
2
Grouping and Combining Objects
Subtract
Subtraction will take away from the lowermost layered object the area corresponding to the
overlap from the uppermost object, and the uppermost object will disappear:
Combining Multiple Objects
5
Grouping and Combining Objects
Intersect
Intersecting two objects leads to an object that just represents the area of overlap between the
two selected objects.
Combining Multiple Objects
6
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