Professional text composition with Writer

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The video shows how ″Professional work in Writer″ can be done under LibreOffice and links to this page here, which offers further information and details.

This description is not intended to be a step-by-step guide.

It is intended to show the interaction of the important tools in Writer to enable the most professional work possible.

This description refers to the LibreOffice 7.1 version on Windows 10.

This description is based on the Online help.

Link to the Video

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

Professionelle Arbeit in Writer – LibreOffice 7.1

Professional work in Writer

Direct Formatting

This type of formatting is strongly not recommended for large documents, such as novels, long letters, documentation, or the like.

When you format your documents without the help of styles, it is called direct or "hard" formatting. ( LibreOffice 7.1 Help )

For simple documents, it is usually sufficient to format the writing directly.

This is the modification of text or other objects, such as frames or tables, by assigning various attributes, such as "Bold", "Italic" or "Spacing" and "Font sizes".

These Formatting is done from the "Formatting" toolbar or from the sidebar ( Ctrl + F5 ) at "Properties". 74DE Writer Menü AnsichtEigenschaftenSymbol.png

Delete Direct Formatting

You can remove direct formatting from your document by selecting all the text ( Edit ▸ Select All menu, Ctrl + A )
and then choosing Format ▸ Delete Direct Formatting from the menu, ( Ctrl + M ).

What does professional work mean here?

The most important Styles
Sidebar Styles
Sidebar Styles and others

The importance here lies in the use of the tools provided by Writer.

These tools are essentially the Styles (Sidebar).

You don't do indirect or "soft" formatting to the text, but it is specified in the styles.

This means that you don't apply the formatting to the text, but define it in the styles and then apply it to the text.

To create good documents and work as quickly as possible, you should take enough time to create the necessary styles.

These are, for example, paragraph styles for headings and paragraphs.

When writing, the basis should initially be unformatted text or the paragraph style sheet should be assigned to "Body text".

When copying blocks of text from other sources, be sure to paste the text into Writer unformatted.

You can do this using the menu Edit ▸ Paste Special ▸ Paste Unformatted Text, ( Ctrl + Alt + ⇧ Shift + V ).

In the Sidebar ( View ▸ Sidebar menu, Ctrl + F5 ) at Styles, you will find the ones that are important for text formatting:

  • Character styles ( are applied to individual characters, words or parts of text )

To format the unformatted text you have created as quickly as possible and thus make it easy to read, use paragraph and character styles.

LibreOffice already comes with Paragraph and Character styles for the most common use cases.

These are, for example, the paragraph styles "Text Body" and "Heading n" and the Character styles "Emphasis" and "Strong Emphasis", for italic and bold.

You can also customize the existing style sheets.

Or create styles for your own needs.

In no case - do not change the "Default" paragraph style.

 All other paragraph styles are derived from the "Standard" paragraph style.
 You can also derive other paragraph styles from existing paragraph styles, such as "Body text".
 Paragraph styles are structured hierarchically and follow the doctrine of inheritance.
 Inheritance means that in a derived style sheet, all settings from the predecessor are initially adopted.
 Only the manually changed settings are different from those in the predecessor.

Derive your own styles from the default ones.

 Example - deriving a new paragraph style 
 To derive a new Paragraph style from the "Default Paragraph Style",
 right-click on the "Default Paragraph Style" and choose New….
 In the "Paragraph Style: xxxxx" dialog, enter a desired name in the Organiser tab.
 In all other tabs you can make changes for your requirements. Click OK.
 Right-click on the new Paragraph style and select Modify… to modify the Paragraph style at any time.

That is, prepare a document ( this can be a blank page ) in which you create all the required styles, if possible.

Then save your document as a document template and give it a memorable name.

The document template you created, with the styles you created, you can now open again and again via the File ▸ New ▸ Templates… menu for new documents and assign the styles for your text there.

Remember to save your new document.

Assign Styles to Text

Styles are Paragraph styles, Character styles and others.

To assign styles to the text, select the corresponding text or place the cursor there.

Now Double-click on the desired style.

For paragraph styles it is enough to place the cursor in the desired text before Double-clicking in the Paragraph, so that the cursor flashes within this text.

For Character Styles, you must select the desired text before Double-clicking on the Character Style, e.g. the group of letters, a word, a part of a sentence.

Remove Character Styles from text

To remove Character Styles assigned in text, select the text you want to handle.

Double-click the "No Character Style" Character Style.

Changing the Character Style of a text

To change assigned Character Styles for a text, select the text you want to change.

Double-click on the other desired Character Style.

Changing the Paragraph Style of a Paragraph

To change assigned Paragraph Styles for a Paragraph, place the cursor in the desired paragraph you want to change.

Double-click on the other desired Paragraph Style.

Advantages of formatting with styles in Writer

With the help of styles you can quickly create good-looking documents.

In a stylet/paragraph style you can adjust several properties for your needs at the same time.

For example, font, font size, font color, and much more.

If you apply styles to all paragraphs, they will inherit the properties defined in the paragraph style.

Now, at a later time, you remember that you want to change the text color.

Then you change the text color in the assigned paragraph style and all paragraphs immediately adopt the new color.

Mix direct formatting and style sheets?

Right off the bat, don't do it.

Some people talk about the hell of formatting in this case.

You can't tell from the text whether it has been formatted "soft" or "hard".

If you now want to change something, there is of course always the danger that a formatting has been used that is above the style you want, see Upper stings Lower.

Which Style is assigned to the text

To see which Style is assigned to the text, place the cursor in the text to be examined.

In the Sidebar at Styles, choose Paragraph Styles or Character Styles to see which Style is selected and thus assigned.

Or select the Styles Inspector for a more detailed view.

Styles Inspector

As of LibreOffice 7.1, the sidebar contains a Styles Inspector selection icon. 74DE Writer Symbol Vorlagenkontrolle.png

If you place the cursor at a position in the text, the Styles Inspector shows you which formatting has been applied at this position.

Upper stings Lower

We know this sentence from playing cards.

Here it means:

  • A paragraph style can be formatted differently by a character style.
  • A paragraph style and character style can be formatted differently by the direct formatting.

Conversely, it means:

  • A paragraph style cannot format text differently that has been handled by a character style or direct formatting.
  • Similarly, a character style cannot format text that has been treated with direct formatting.

Order, which formatting is above which?

  • Direct formatting ( Upper )
  • Character styles
  • Paragraph styles ( Lower )

Where can I find good documents for inspiration?

Samples for good documents are the manuals of LibreOffice

Documentation / Manuals

Save newly created documents

Always save documents created in Writer in ODF format (ODT).

See also:

How to open files from MS-Office 2007 or 2010 (.DOCX, .XLSX,...)?

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Further Informations

What is a paragraph?

A paragraph is always created when the ↵ Enter key is pressed while writing in the word processor.

The end of the paragraph is represented by the character ( "Pilcrow" ) 74 Writer Symbol FormatierungszeichenUmschaltenBlue.png.

The end of a paragraph is also the beginning of a new paragraph.

If the formatting characters are not visible, click on the symbol ( Pilcrow ) 74 Writer Symbol FormatierungszeichenUmschalten.png "Toggle formatting characters" (Ctrl+F10) in the "Standard" toolbar.

A paragraph (text) is thus delimited by a pilcrow at the beginning and at the end.

When you open Writer with an empty document, the first thing you see is a pilcrow, i.e. the end character of a paragraph.

The paragraph formatting character itself cannot be edited.

A heading is also only a paragraph.

So, for example, if you see a pilcrow at the end of the line above a heading and at the end of the heading, this heading represents a separate paragraph in a line.

If you need a line break within a paragraph, you should press ⇧ Shift + ↵ Enter. The line break is represented by a left arrow 74 Writer Symbol LinksPfeil.png.

 Paragraph switching with ↵ Enter
 Line feed with ⇧ Shift + ↵ Enter

Files used

Bauernbrot_DF.odt (in German [DE]) File is formatted directly

Bauernbrot_FF.odt (in German [DE]) File is formatted with Format styles

Chart Format styles EN.png Chart Format styles

Related topics

Styles in Writer

Inheritance in paragraph styles in Writer

Character Styles in Writer

Document templates Letter template in Writer

Transfer Styles in Writer

User interface in Writer

Documentation / Manuals

Here you will find the Documentation / Manuals:

Documentation / Manuals

Sources used

LibreOffice 7.1 Help


Why doesn't applying a style apply all aspects of it?

Quick and dirty recipe assuming a text with one title or more levels of headings

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