Master documents in Writer

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The video "Arbeiten mit Globaldokumenten" links to this page here, which contains further information.

This description refers to the version LibreOffice 5.3.

Link to the Video

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

Arbeiten mit Globaldokumenten

What do I need a master document for?

The principle - Master document

Master documents are usually used to create long documents such as a book or documentation.

A master document is an ODM file and is a container for several text documents (ODT files).

The master document also includes formatting, tables of contents, bibliographies, indexes, and other enumerations.

 In short: A master document unites several text documents.

Scenario used

In order to Principle of a master document to explain here, we use the scenario here:

Several existing text documents (Chapter_01 - 05) are to be combined into one master document.

Styles in global- and sub-documents

An independent document (ODT) becomes a subdocument when it is integrated into a master document (ODM).

A subdocument can be included in different master documents.

Each master document (ODM) can have different definitions for style sheets, such as font, size, color, page size, margins, and so on.

These have an influence on the design of the final master document.

The individual documents (ODT) retain their own settings.

Relationships of the styles

Menu: File ▸ Send ▸ Create Master document
Menu: View ▸ Navigator
Dialog box: "Navigator"

The following relationships exist between the styles in a master document and its subdocuments:

  • Common styles that are used in subdocuments, such as paragraph formatting, are copied to master documents.
  • If more than one subdocument uses the same styles with the same names (for example: My Basic Text), only the style of the first subdocument is copied to the master document.
  • If a style with the same name exists in the master document and in the sub-documents (for example, Default), then the settings defined in the master document are applied.
  • The styles of the sub-documents are only changed in the master document. If you change a sub-document for editing, the formatting there is not affected.

Create Master document

For a master document, it is best to use "Chapter_01" as a template and change it.

We open the text document "Chapter_01".

Select the text it contains and replace it with an introductory text, for example:

"This master document combines the text documents Chapter_01 to _05".

We click on File ▸ Send ▸ Create Master Document.

We save the master document under the name, for example "Global".

If the Navigator is not visible, we open it with View ▸ Navigator ( F5 ).

In the top left corner of the Navigator you will find the "Switch Master View" icon.

We check whether the Master view is displayed, otherwise we click on the "Switch Master View" icon.

In the Navigator we click on Insert and File and select "Chapter_01" and click Open.

We repeat this until "Chapter_05".

The Navigator has the property that inserted documents are always inserted above the last selected file or "Text" (Introduction text in the master document).

We sort the file or "Text" (Introduction text in the master document) by clicking on it and moving it up or down using the arrow keys in the Navigator.

The sequence should look like this at the end:

  • Text (Introduction text in the master document)
  • Chapter_01
  • Chapter_02
  • Chapter_03
  • Chapter_04
  • Chapter_05

Save the master document.

Switch between portrait and landscape format in one document

If there is a desire to change the page format in a document from portrait to landscape or vice versa, the following should be taken into account.

If a document has been started with the page template "Standard", normally all text in the document is given this page template.

The division from portrait to landscape format, for example, is usually made after a manual page break.

However, if the "Standard" template is used, the page break does not contain any entry about which page template should be used.

In this case, the previous page template will continue to be used.

If the document is then inserted after a portrait page, it will still be portrait, if it is inserted after a landscape page, it will still be landscape.

However, if you use a self-defined page template (for example, one for portrait and one for landscape), this information is actually included in the page break and is therefore available in the master document without any changes.

With Insert ▸ manual pagination ▸ page break you insert a page break.

In addition, under the item "Style templates|Page templates" in the menu, you can select for Example landscape format for the page that comes after the page break.

In the same way, you can set the text back to portrait format.

Further Informations

Work files

Advanced topics

How do I insert a landscape formatted page in a document where other pages are portrait formatted?

Changing Page Orientation

Documentation / Manuals

Here you will find the Documentation / Manuals:

Documentation / Manuals

Any questions?

For questions on this topic go to:


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