How to Design a Button using Open Office

Free Design Software!

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Need to design a button? Don’t have photoshop or illustrator or corel draw? No problem! Just download OpenOffice for free and get started using Draw!! If you find Draw to be useful for you (especially if you’re in business using it), please consider making a donation to OpenOffice.org. Thanks!!

Take a look at this video tutorial for help.

The video is based on a 2-1/4 inch button design, but you can use Draw for any size. Below is a list of button sizes cut line diameters and face line diameters:

7/8 inch –
Cut Line: 1.2″ Face Line: 0.875″

1 inch –
Cut Line: 1.31″ Face Line: 1″

1-1/4 inch –
Cut Line: 1.63″ Face Line: 1.25″

1-1/2 inch –
Cut Line: 1.84″ Face Line: 1.5″

1-3/4 inch –
Cut Line: 2.01″ Face Line: 1.75″

2 inch –
Cut Line: 2.42″ Face Line: 2″

2-1/4 inch –
Cut Line: 2.63″ Face Line: 2.25″

2-1/2 inch –
Cut Line: 2.92″ Face Line: 2.5″

3 inch –
Cut Line: 3.45″ Face Line: 3″

3-1/2 inch –
Cut Line: 4″ Face Line: 3.5″

6 inch –
Cut Line: 6.66″ Face Line: 6″

Oval –
Cut Line: 2.33″ x 3.25″ Face Line: 1.75″ x 2.75″

1-1/2 Square –
Cut Line: 2.2″ x 2.2″ Face Line: 1.5″ x 1.5″

2×3 Rectangle –
Cut Line: 2.77″ x 3.77″ Face Line: 2″x3″

45 Responses to How to Design a Button using Open Office

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have GIMP!

    how do I design the buttons with GIMP?

  2. ButtonMakers says:

    Hi Anonymous,

    The GIMP tutorial is located here:




  3. Jenny Love says:

    Thanks, Rebecca! You rock! xo Jenny Love

  4. elysabeth says:

    Great information. I am going to attempt to make some buttons for our marching band competition where all we have to do is put them together. Thank you for the tutorial. I will let you know how it turns out – lol – E :)

  5. elysabeth says:

    I should have marked it to get followup comments – lol – E :)

  6. Amalia Pearl says:

    Thank you. This has been sooooo helpful!!

  7. Kitty says:

    thank you so much for this. i have been wondering how to make buttons!

  8. Emily says:

    What is a faceline? I see it on the tutorial for different size buttons, but I don't see a place to enter it in the Drawing resize option.

    My goal is to make 1" graphics for bottle caps & scrapbooking.

    Can I use this same tutorial and still get the right sizes? I'm pretty new at this, but want to learn.

  9. ButtonMakers says:

    Hi Emily,

    When making buttons with a button machine, you have an area of your graphic that shows up on the face or the front of the button. However, you need some excess graphic area to wrap around the sides and back of the button.

    The face line indicates the area of the face graphic on the button.

    If you are just making graphics for scrapbooking, you probably don't need a bleed area on your graphics.

    You would just need to make a circle and set the size to 1".

    Make sense?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am an art teacher and have acquired a very old and industrial looking button maker. No instructions, no markings or identifying labels… There are 4 circular pieces that rotate on a stationary plate. Two of the pieces are stamped back, two stamped shell. I've tried a few configurations without any luck. I'd like to figure out how to use this, anyone?

  11. ButtonMakers says:

    Hi Anonymous,

    Do you see a photo of your machine at the URL below?


    If so, that will help. If it's not pictured, I would really appreciate it if you could send a photo to info@buttonmakers.net.

    It's hard to say what could be going on with your machine from your description.


  12. Lucas says:

    hey, this was a great tutorial! The only problem I had was that any images I put in have a white box around them, and so I can't put them on the button.

  13. ButtonMakers says:

    Hi Lucas,

    Yes, that's correct. All computer graphics are square or rectangular. So if you have a round area of color, you'll invariably have white around the edges to make it rectangular.

    Only certain file types support transparent backgrounds. Those file types are GIF, TIF, and PNG and you have to save them in a specific way to make them transparent. This process probably warrants a whole new tutorial.

    Most people just deal with the white edges in their button designs. For example, you could enlarge the image so it goes outside of your cut line circle. That way when you cut out your graphic the image will fill the circular button area.

    Let me know if you have additional questions!!


    • Toni says:

      Hi Rebecca fantastic tutorial the only problem is when i have all of my settings exactly like yours my circle is so much smaller then the one your doing the tutorial on that I can hardley see the middle circle let alone put writing in it, I dont know what im doing ive put all the right information into the temple when changing the area: 0.00 -0.22 2.625 – which changes to 2.63 2.625 to 2.63
      would do you know why your circle is so much bigger then mine thanks for your help

  14. Karen says:

    I have watched the video four times. I am having trouble putting the fontwork text on the smaller face line circle. The text and the graphic slide under the smaller circle and I cannot bring them forward! Also, how is the face line circle removed when the design is finished?

  15. dayna from beacon hill says:

    What a great tutorial! Thanks! The only thing I struggled with is being able to select-all to copy/paste, but I suspect that's a problem with my open office version (I use open office regularly and probably need to update my version). So glad to see you guys using open source stuff too!

    • admin says:

      Hi Dayna,

      It’s probably more likely that you’re not selecting all the drawing elements and grouping them together properly. It can get pretty tricky especially if your drawing objects are all different sizes and half hidden behind each other. That’s why I recommend that you “Select All” or “CTRL/CMD A” on your keyboard to get everything selected, then group.

      Let me know if you have any questions!!


  16. flee61255 says:

    Great job, clear instructions, and thanks for making the video downloadable, that is way more convenient and clearer than watching some YouTube video.
    I surveyed all the internet button machine companies on the web, and you-all provide the best support and go the extra mile in communicating with your customers. When I finally got my machine (from Button Makers), I took one look at the 1960s-style industrial instructions, blew that off and watched an instructional video on your site!



  17. Anonymous says:

    that was a great help!


  18. Edie says:

    I’m having trouble copying, but I also want to be able to copy part of the graphics, then add text to each one. Can’t figure out how to do that. Is there a copy and paste option, rather than the group option which won’t let me add to each one? For instance, I want to make name buttons for about 30 different people.


    • admin says:

      Hi Edie,

      Thanks for posting. I’m assuming that you have one uniform design in mind, and text that is formatted the same (same font, size, etc) but the type itself is different on each image. (If my assumption is incorrect, please let me know). Here’s what I would recommend. Get your design all completed with dummy type. Group the image and copy/paste it, one at a time, in rows on the page. — Do not make multiple button graphics into a group. Copy/paste each button one at a time. Also make sure your graphics are positioned perfectly before you do any editing. You’ll have to ungroup in the next step, so moving the graphics around later won’t be as easy.

      Next click on a single grouped button graphic, right-click, and select “Ungroup”. Make the necessary modifications to the text, and save.

      Move to the next graphic and repeat until you’ve modified all your buttons.

  19. leeanne says:

    Hi,I downloaded gimp for mac and when i couldnt figure that out, open office 3 for mac and thats not the same as the tutorial either. I dont expect you to do a new tutorial everytime they make a new version lol but do you have any advice on what I should do? thank you!!!

    • admin says:

      Hi Leanne,

      Thanks for posting. There is very little that is different in Open Office version 3. All the tools I use for buttons, like the Ellipse and Fontwork Gallery are all in the same place. Most of the options in the dialog boxes are the same too. Maybe you could be a little more specific about where you are getting stuck.

      Also, feel free to call me at 1-800-927-8330 for help.


  20. shannon says:

    can anyone tell me the make/model for button maker nbr 7 at the site listed on this thread?

  21. Nancy says:

    I know this might be too much to ask for but would you happen to know how to make this template for Sumo paint?

    • admin says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for asking! I just checked out Sumo Paint, the free version, and unfortunately I don’t think it will work for buttons at all. It’s really only made for on-computer graphics.

      There is no way to set the size parameters other than in pixels using Sumo Paint. Pixels aren’t the same as inches. You can fit many hundreds or thousands of pixels in ever inch. In order to make a physical button that is the correct size, you need more than control over the pixels you need to be able to tell the program what SIZE in inches or centimeters or in physical terms you need the drawing to be.

      If you are using the paid version of Sumo Paint and it has size parameters, please let me know and I can probably walk you through creating your own template for it.


  22. LINDA says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You answered all of my questions, and your tutorial was so easy to follow! I bought me supplies from y’all, and I’ll be back!

  23. Andrea says:

    Is there any tutorial that design buttons with Paint.NET?

    • admin says:

      Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for writing. I’ve looked at Paint.NET before and found it rather cumbersome. I think the way I would work it is to make your design in Paint and then take it into Open Office Draw to size it correctly and lay it out in page form.

      You are also welcome to call me at 1-800-927-8330. I might be able to walk you through it.


  24. Charlotte says:

    Hello, thanks so much, I didn’t know how to make button sheets before (and I don’t have photoshop) so this really helps. BUT:

    I downloaded the software and and it seemed fine, but then when I entered the measurements for a 1″ button (Cut Line: 1.31″ Face Line: 1″), the program changed the measurements to centimetres (width: 3.33cm, Height: 2.54cm).
    I thought nothing of it and clicked enter.

    The circle changed into an oval and doesn’t look right at all. I tried flipping the same measurements (Width: 2.54cm Height: 3.33cm) but obviously either way you still get an oval, I know that something is wrong here but I don’t know how to fix it.

    I’m not using a Mac (if that’s important) just a normal acer laptop.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. If you can give me measurements in centimetres for a 1″ button then that would be great ^^.

    kind regards,

    • admin says:

      Hi Charlotte,

      1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
      1.3 inches = 3.33 centimeters

      For a perfect circle both width and height need to be the same. So the Face Line would be:

      Height: 2.54cm
      Width: 2.54cm

      And the Cut Line would be:

      Height: 3.33cm
      Width: 3.33cm

      Let me know if you have any questions!


  25. grip says:

    I have made my template and have a image selected. The problem is i have a square photo over my circular template. Can you help me erase the excess on the outside of the circle so i can save ink?
    Thank you for all the help!

    • admin says:

      Hi Grip,

      Open Office isn’t really an image editing program. The easiest thing to do would be to take it into an image editor like paint or something and cut the excess pixels (turning the background white.) You can sort of fake this effect in Open Office by creating a donut style drawing object that is totally white and placing it over your template.

      Good Luck!!

  26. Sweethaven Arts says:

    Can you use open office to put in perimeter text ie the text that would be on the edge of a button? If so how?

    • admin says:

      Hi Sweethaven Arts,

      Yes, you totally can put perimeter text into your template. You might have to play with the placement and size a bit. If you tell me what size you are working on, I might be able to make one for you.


      • Sweethaven Arts says:

        didn’t see that there was a reply for this… I’m trying to get perimeter text for a 1.5 inch button. THANKS!

  27. Sharon says:

    I have wanted a button maker for years; my daughter bought me one for Christmas. I wrassled with Word to make my first simple text button just to make sure the machine was working properly, but I knew I’d need something else to do the buttons of my dreams. You are amazing – this is the is the best tutorial I’ve followed in years. I took notes while watching – that was helpful. And I had to jump in one more time to watch reshaping text object. But I’m off and running now! My daughters tell me I’m dangerous…:-) Thank you so much. Sharon

  28. Dawna says:

    Great, great video…thank you! Question; Did you print the photos on plain paper or on photo paper? Thank you once more for the great video!!!

  29. Terry says:

    I am new to button making and looking at the accent rings to add to 2.25″ buttons.

    Can you tell me how this would alter the template and where the face line would sit.


  30. admin says:

    Hi Dawna,

    Thanks for posting. We print on Epson Presentation Paper using Epson printers:

    http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/ProductMediaSpec.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&infoType=Overview&oid=-17122&category=Paper & Media#order

    It’s thin and inexpensive and still yields optimum resolution and color.

  31. admin says:

    Hi Terry,

    Thanks for posting. If you are using Accent Rings, you’ll want the face line to be a 1.847×1.847 circle in the middle of the template. The cut line stays 2.629 inches.


  32. Nikki says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! One question- when I went to fill the circles with the color, it only put the color between the outside line and the face line. I had to go and color the rest of the design separately. Could you clarify how you did it in the video?

  33. admin says:

    Hi Nikki,

    It sounds like maybe your “face line” circle had a background color, perhaps white. You should check the properties on your face line to make sure it doesn’t have a fill color.