I am currently using Ubuntu, and am trying to write a book which is very heavy on graphics - a memory book like a high school year book. It is mostly photos, as many as 12 on a page.

I have to make each page with a separate file name as if I make a file with more than say 5 images in it, the program either runs very slowly, erratically or the OS stalls. I save each page completed page 3 ways, once as an odt.file, again as a pdf and then again as a jpeg, so I will have multiple options when it comes time to put it all together.

I bought a better computer with 16gb RAM which seems to help, but I am still seeing some of the slowness and stalling as on my old laptop. It is the worst while using Libre Office Writer, and better with Libre Office Impress. I am hoping to have a book with around 108 pages when I am finished, all of which have to be converted into one large pdf file for the printer.

Anyone have any idea what my problem is and do they have any suggestions on how I can work more efficiently and with fewer stalls? What if I am unable to make one large 108 page document with at least 1000 photos in it? I'd hate to do all this work (thousands of hours) only to not be able to actually get my work printed.


3 Answers 3


Change your document processing strategy. Do not "put" the images inside the document. Keep the images in a directory and build the document so it accesses those files when it is compiled.

My first thought was that you should use LaTeX for that, it is what I would do. If you are heading toward something you will show to other people, that's going to give publication quality output. If you want a nice, WYSIWYG processor for LaTeX documents you should use LyX which lets you layout the document by pointing and clicking and also gives you access to the full, more advanced potential of LaTeX should you need it in some (isolated) places.

But I expect most document systems can do it. You don't really need LaTeX. You just need some system that won't try to absorb all of the images into one gigantic file. Maybe others here can advise you on that.

I bet LibreOffice has a way to NOT "include" (embed?) the images within the master document, but rather just refer to them for compilation.

I'd be tempted to write this in HTML or a Markdown document, maybe.

Anything that does not absorb the separate image files will be much better,though.

  • 1
    Alternative you could use scribus, a mighty Open Source Publishing application.
    – ridgy
    Dec 4, 2016 at 18:36
  • Typical open source mentality right here - "Why are you using OpenOffice? Use LaTeX, it's way better!" Few people want to take the time to learn LaTeX when OpenOffice is supposed to Just Work. (This is also why there never was a Year of the Linux Desktop)
    – user253751
    Dec 4, 2016 at 21:17
  • Don't see where @immibis is going with that comment. What is suggested document preparation strategy? Nevermind. If you are still using LibreOffice, I checked on the menu option you need. When You choose "Insert" and then "Image', bottom left has "insert as link". This means the image will be included in the final result when you print it out or write as PDF, but your document itself will not become suffocated by a huge collection of embebedded images. I'd rather use LyX/LaTeX. If I had to be sure this would actually work, that's what I'd do.
    – pauljohn32
    Dec 5, 2016 at 2:58
  • @pauljohn32 This answer suggests that to avoid a bug in LibreOffice one should use LaTeX. That's like saying that to avoid a broken window you should live in a caravan.
    – user253751
    Dec 5, 2016 at 4:43
  • @immibis: There are capable WYSIWG editors or LaTeX documents, e. g. LyX. I think that aspect deserves more emphasis in the answer. Edit incoming… Dec 5, 2016 at 10:12

Improve LibreOffice' performance on large files & images

In LibreOffice, you can set memory options:

enter image description here

If you work with many images in your file, increasing memory per object and for LibreOffice in general should improve performance drastically.

Choose from the menu: Tools > Options, then LibreOffice > Memory to get there.


Work on heavy text files is always a pain, because the sole file handling steal a lot of processing time. Another solution could be to process it page by page, more or less, and have multiple pdf at the hand; complete the task merging all that pdfs with a tool like pdftk and it's done in just a matter of seconds.

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