Inheritance in paragraph styles in Writer

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The video shows how the ″Inheritance in paragraph styles″ is designed.

The video links to this page here, which provides further information and details.

This description refers to the version LibreOffice 7.2 on Windows 10.

Link to the Video

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

Vererbung in Absatzvorlagen in Writer

Inheritance in paragraph styles

Sidebar Styles
Paragraph Style Dialog - give a name

Where can I find the paragraph styles?

Paragraph styles belong to the family of styles.

All styles in Writer can be accessed from the sidebar ( Ctrl + F5 ).

At the top of the sidebar, just after the heading, you will find the icons for the styles.

The left icon is for the paragraph styles 202110DE02 Seitenleiste Symbol Absatzvorlagen.png ( F11 ).

What does heredity mean

Many properties for text formatting can be set in a style:

  • Indents & spacing
  • Alignment
  • Text Flow
  • Font
  • Font Effects
  • Position
  • Highlighting
  • Tabs
  • Drop Caps
  • Area
  • Transparency
  • Borders
  • Outline & List
  • in the "Organiser" tab, for example, the name of the style is set.

The mother of all existing paragraph styles is the ″Default″ paragraph style.

If you want to create a new paragraph style, for example, right-click on "Default" in the sidebar and select New….

A "Paragraph Style ..." dialog opens in which you can assign a name for the new paragraph style.

If you now save the new paragraph style with OK, you will initially have a style in which all text formatting properties are identical to those in the "Default" paragraph style.

This is the inheritance.

Modify new paragraph style

However, this is not the purpose of a new paragraph style, but to change one or more properties.

Since the new paragraph style is now in the sidebar, right-click on the name and choose Modify….

In our example, modify the font and size to.

  • Font: Liberation Mono
  • Font size: 14 pt

Leave all other properties untouched.

 Once one or more properties have been changed in a child paragraph style (i.e., our new paragraph style),
 any changes you make to a parent style (e.g., "Default"), regarding those properties,
 will no longer affect that child paragraph style and its derived children.

State at delivery of LibreOffice

Inheritance disconnected

Since all paragraph styles are ultimately derived from the "Default" and modified in some properties, these properties can no longer be inherited in the subtemplates when they are modified in the "Default" template.

This is caused by the respective manual entry of properties in the subtemplates.

Example of paragraph style "Heading"

The "Heading" paragraph style is a child of the "Default" paragraph style, in which property changes were already made when it was delivered.

Overall, this still derives from the template "Default".

But an update, e.g. of the font in the "Default" paragraph style, no longer leads to inheritance to the "Heading" child style, because the "inheritance channel" has been interrupted by manual entries.

Undo manual entries

Just use the Reset to Parent button for the font properties of, for example, "Heading 1", and you will see that the values of the heading are applied, but not those of the "Default" paragraph style.

Basic Fonts

Language Settings
Basic Font (Western)

Text taken from: Online-Help - latest EN

You can customize the Basic Fonts for the predefined document templates in LibreOffice to suit your needs.

You can change the Basic Fonts for Asian languages and languages with complex text layout if you have enabled the corresponding support in the Tools ▸ Options ▸ Language Settings ▸ Languages menu.

These settings specify the Basic Fonts for the predefined document templates.

You can also change or customize the Default text document templates.

This is how you access these commands:

Basic Fonts (Western)

Open a text document, choose Tools ▸ Options ▸ LibreOffice Writer ▸ Basic Fonts (Western).


Sets the font for the "Default" paragraph style.

Since almost all of the supplied paragraph styles are based on the "Default" paragraph style, you also use this to set the font for almost any paragraph style if no font has been defined in the paragraph style.


Here you set the size of the font.


Here you set the font that will be used for headings.


Specifies the font and font size for the List paragraph format, which is inherited by all derived paragraph formats.

When you choose Format - Outline & List to format a paragraph with numbers or bullets in a text document, the program automatically assigns these paragraph formats.


Here you specify the font that will be used for the captions of images and tables.


Sets the base font for custom indexes, indexes, tables of contents, and any paragraph styles derived from them.

Button "Default"

Resets the values displayed in the dialog to the default values set up during installation.

Basic Font (CTL)
 There is no security prompt before restoring the default values.

Basic Fonts (CTL)

Open a text document, select Tools ▸ Options ▸ LibreOffice Writer ▸ Basic Fonts (CTL).

Support for Asian languages must be enabled.

Further Informations

Related topics

Professional text composition with Writer

Styles in Writer

Character Styles in Writer

Document templates Letter template in Writer

Documentation / Manuals

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Documentation / Manuals

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For questions on this topic go to:


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