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How to include EPS files with preview in OpenOffice.

CAIA Technical Report 040227D

Claudio Favi
February 27th, 2004

This report summarizes how to include eps files in OpenOffice so that a preview of the image is displayed.

Problem statement

When adding a graph or illustration to an OpenOffice (or any of word processor supporting EPS inclusion) the file is correctly imported but the content of the file is not displayed instead a red line of text containing the path to the file included is shown. This happens with gnuplot generated eps files, but file generated with other programs might have the same problem. Although the document will print correctly it would be useful to view the image directly on screen. The problem is that the EPS file doesn't contain a preview and OpenOffice can generate it on the fly.


In order to add a preview to an EPS file, a tool called epstool can be used. Install epstool from the ports tree or from packages ( pkg_add -r epstool under FreeBSD).

Run epstool in the following way to generate a color preview of your EPS file:

epstool -t6p input.eps output.eps
for a monochrome preview use the following command:
epstool -t4 input.eps output.eps
Read the help page that comes with epstool for more info on the switches. On FreeBSD 4.9 the help page can be found in /usr/local/share/doc/epstool/epstool.htm.

You can now import the new EPS files and see a preview of their content. Note that the preview slightly enlarges the file and that the quality of the preview is not very high.

Last Updated: Friday 27-Feb-2004 16:11:43 AEDT | No longer maintained. Pre-2018 was maintained and authorised by Grenville Armitage,