User interface in Writer

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    This video shows an Overview of the Graphic User Interface (GUI, UI for short) in LibreOffice and how to customize it to your needs.

    Link to the Video

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

    Benutzeroberfläche - LibreOffice

    The UI

    The settings start with the selection of the user interface (UI) in LibreOffice.

    You can make the settings in the Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw Components.

    In this description we choose the way with the help of Writer.

    Open Writer

    Select user interface variant

    Select View ▸ User Interface… ( UI ) from the menu, with the goal of selecting the user interface of your choice the first time you launch LibreOffice.

    The "Choose your preferred user interface" dialog appears.

    You now have the option to choose from several user interface variants.

    The selection is made on the left in the dialog.

    On the right side of the dialog there is a preview and below it an explanation of the variant.

    "Choose your preferred user interface" dialog

    Standard Toolbar

    The "Standard Toolbar" variant is the default setting after installing LibreOffice.

    The "Standard" user interface with menu, toolbar and collapsed sidebar.

    For users familiar with the classic interface.


    The user interface "Tabbet" is most similar to the ribbon bars used in Microsoft Offfice.

    It organizes the functions in tabs and makes the menu obsolete.

    Single Toolbar

    The user interface "Single Toolbar" is similar to "Standard", but comes with a single toolbar.

    Intended for use on small screens.


    Corresponds to the user interface Standard with extended "Sidebar".

    Suitable for experienced users who want to quickly change many different properties.

    Tabbed Compact

    The "Tabbed Compact" variant is based on the Microsoft Office interface, but takes up less space for smaller screens.

    Groupedbar Compact

    The "Groupedbar Compact" interface provides access to functions in groups, with icons for the most frequently used functions and drop-down menus for others.

    This compact variant prefers vertical space.

    Contextual Single

    The "Contextual Single" interface displays functions in a single-line toolbar with context-dependent content.

    Note pin.svg

    The further description refers to the user interfaces variant "Standard Toolbar".

    Return to Standard Toolbar

    Return from Tabbet and Tabbet Compact

    In the top bar on the far left, select the "Menubar" icon if it is not visible.

    Select View ▸ User Interface… from the menu.

    Click "Standard Toolbar" and e.g., Apply to Writer.

    Return from Single Toolbar, Sidebar and Contextual Single

    Choose View ▸ User Interface… from the menu.

    Click "Standard Toolbar" and e.g., Apply to Writer.

    Return from Groupedbar Compact

    On the top right hand side is the "Menu" selection.

    Click on the small black arrow to the right of it and select View ▸ User Interface….

    Click "Standard Toolbar" and e.g., Apply to Writer.

    Menu in Writer

    Writer Menu

    As in almost every program, you will find a menu in Writer.

    It is located at the very top just below the display of the document name and type.

    This is also called the "Mainmenu" or just "Menu".

    When you click on a menu item in the menu, a drop-down menu opens with several menu items to choose from.

    Click File here, for example, and the File menu will open.

    Only the submenu items that are possible in the current state of the document are offered for execution.

    Submenu items that cannot be used in the current situation are grayed out.

    In the upper menu bar, each menu item has a corresponding submenu.

    The menu is always present in the "Toolbars" user interface variant.

    Except in the state, View ▸ Full Screen ( Ctrl + ⇧ Shift + J ).

    Switching the Menubar on/off

    In order to be able to switch the Menubar on and off, the "Standard" toolbar must first be adapted.

    Select Tools ▸ Customise… from the menu.

    In the "Customise" dialog, enter "Menubar" in the search field.

    "Target" should be set to "Standard".

    Under "Available Commands" you will now see the icon "Menubar".

    Highlight the entry and select the right arrow so that the entry is transferred to the list of "Assigned Commands".

    You can use the up and down arrows to move the icon in the list to a convenient place.

    The small box in front of the icon should have a tick in it.

    Click on OK.

    The "MenuBar" icon should now be present in the "Standard" toolbar.

    The "Menubar" icon acts like a toggle switch, you can use it to switch the Menubar on or off.

    Toolbars in general

    Writer offers toolbars for different purposes.

    Some of them are already switched on the screen by default.

    It starts with the "Standard" toolbar, which can be used to select the frequently used commands.

    The toolbars for "Formatting" and "Drawing" are usually also enabled or can be enabled.

    All toolbars can be selected manually from the menu, View ▸ Toolbars and thus enabled or disabled.

    Toolbars are also automatically turned on or off depending on the situation (context sensitive) and they are placed differently when called.

    You can dock and undock toolbars and lock or unlock toolbars.

    If you move the mouse over a symbol of a toolbar, in most cases a "Help text" appears. ( Example: "Save" ) and thus explains the function of the symbol.

    Toolbars can be displayed in three different states.

    Toolbar in free space

    Toolbars in free space are not docked to any of the four sides and have a label bar at the top that contains the name of the toolbar

    Toolbar docked with handle

    Toolbars can be docked to any of the four edges.

    You can dock a toolbar by left-clicking-hold-dragging it to one of the four edges in free space until a gray frame becomes visible.

    Now release the mouse button.

    The toolbar now has a so-called handle at the front end, which visually consists of six small vertical points.

    If you move the mouse over the handle, the cursor changes its shape to an arrow cross. Vierrichtungspfeil.png

    If you click on the handle, you can also position the toolbar as desired or tear it off again into the free space.

    Toolbar locked

    You can also lock a docked toolbar.

    To do this, right-click on the toolbar and select "Lock Toolbar Position" from the drop-down menu.

    The handle is no longer visible and the toolbar is now locked in place.

    Toolbar drop-down menus

    With a right mouse click in a toolbar the corresponding Drop-Down-Menu appears. ( Example: "Standard" ).

    There you can see the name of the respective toolbar and there are possibilities to customize the toolbar.

    Status bar

    "Status Bar"

    The "Status Bar" is located at the bottom.

    It can be switched on and off via View ▸ Status Bar.

    Now look at the status bar from left to right.

    It starts with the Document storage status.

    Followed by the "Page" and "Page number" display.

    The "Word and Character count" follows.

    With a left-click here the dialog "Word Count" can be opened.

    The "Page template" is also displayed.

    Here you can right-click to select a template from a "Drop-down menu".

    Left-click to open the "Page template" dialog.

    The "Text language" follows.

    Right- or left-click to select the "Text Language".

    In the next field the "Overwrite Mode" can be switched ON or OFF.

    • ON = Insert mode
    • OFF = Overwrite mode.

    This is followed by the "Selection".

    Further on the selection of a "Digital signature".

    Then the selection of "Page view".

    • Single page view
    • Multiple pages view
    • Book view

    Next to it a "Zoom bar" followed by a "Zoom factor" display.

    A left-click on the "Zoom factor" display shows the "Zoom and View Layout" dialog.

    Right-click on the display shows the drop-down menu, "Zoom factor" Drop-down menu.

    Some of the status bar functions can be selected with the right and/or left mouse button.

    "Zoom bar" and "Scale in %"

    See also: Zoom functions


    If the "Sidebar", docked by default on the right margin, is not present, it can be turned on with View ▸ Sidebar ( Ctrl + F5 ) to turn it on - or can also be switched off (toggle function).

    The sidebar is adapted to the current context.

    Sidebar functions

    On the right side of the sidebar are "Icons" for different functions.

    It starts at the top right with the "Sidebar settings" (Hamburger menu).

    These settings basically correspond to the icons below.

    The next icon shows the "Properties" that adapt to the corresponding situation.

    In the simplest case, the properties and choices for the text are displayed.

    Depending on what is currently being edited, properties of e.g. objects and images are displayed.

    The next icon on the sidebar selects the "Styles", e.g. paragraph styles for text bodies and headings.

    The icon below it selects the "Gallery".

    This can be used to insert ready-made images into the document, e.g. for use for the background.

    The next icon calls up the "Navigator".

    Below that is the "Page" icon, which shows the settings from the Format ▸ Page menu.

    And below that, a "Style Inspector" icon.

    Styles selection and view

    You can select the selection view for the respective Styles at the bottom of the Sidebar at Styles.

    The following options are available:

    • Hierarchical
    • All Styles
    • Hidden Styles
    • Applies Styles
    • Costum Styles
    • Automatic
    • Text Styles
    • Chapter Styles
    • List Styles
    • Index Styles
    • Special Styles
    • HTML Styles
    • Conditional Styles

    Show previews

    Also at the bottom of the sidebar, you can set a tick for "Show previews".

    If the tick is set, the names of the Styles are displayed in font size and shape.

    If the tick is not set, the names are all displayed in uniform font and size.

    Undock sidebar

    The sidebar can be undocked.

    Click-hold-drag the sidebar with the left mouse button.

    The sidebar is then free floating and can be placed anywhere on the screen.

    The sidebar can be terminated while undocked by clicking on the cross in the upper right corner.

    Dock sidebar

    The sidebar can be docked again with dragging to the left or right edge.

    You may need to drag the sidebar slightly beyond the right or left edge.

    When a gray frame appears, release the mouse button.

    Docking can also be done with Ctrl + ⇧ Shift + F10.

    Note: If you are using a laptop, you may also need to press the Fn - key.

    Hamburger menu

    When you click on the "Hamburger Menu" icon, a drop-down menu opens.

    Here you can also select the functions located under this icon.

    In the drop-down menu you can also undock the sidebar ( Ctrl + ⇧ Shift + F10 ).

    Or close the sidebar.

    With the menu item "Customisation" you can deactivate or activate functions.

    Further Informations

    Documentation / Manuals

    Here you will find the Documentation / Manuals:

    Documentation / Manuals

    Any questions?

    For questions on this topic go to:


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