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How to create a LibreOffice template

Simplify your daily workflow with LibreOffice templates, so you don't have to re-create the same document over and over.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
Woman working on a laptop
Westend61/Getty Images

LibreOffice has been my office suite of choice for a very long time. This open-source office suite has been a part of every book I've written over the years, and it's never failed to serve. 

One way I use LibreOffice for that workflow is by way of templates. I work with a few different templates (such as the pre-formatted paperback book interior template that I depend on) and LibreOffice makes creating and using them a breeze. 

Also: How to add a drop down list in Google Sheets

If you've never worked with a template before, let me explain its purpose. Basically, a template is either a pre-formatted or pre-written document that you create, use, and reuse to keep you from having to either go through the time-consuming process of formatting a document to spec or simply writing the same boilerplate over and over. Instead, you simply open the template and start adding the necessary content or details. 

Also: For a better document collaboration experience, try these tips

Anyone who has ever worked in an office has most likely used a template. Here's how to create a template in Google Docs, for example.

So, how can you create your own templates in the LibreOffice open-source office suite? Let me show you how.

Creating a LibreOffice template


To successfully create and use a template, the only thing you'll need is a running instance of LibreOffice. It doesn't matter which version of LibreOffice you are using (although I do suggest you always update to the latest version), nor does it matter what operating system you use. For my demonstration, I'll use LibreOffice running on Pop!_OS Linux.

With the office suite installed and ready, let's get to the templates.

1. Open LibreOffice

From your desktop menu, dock, or desktop icon, open LibreOffice and create a new Writer Document from the left sidebar. This can be found under Create.

The LibreOffice Start Center.

Creating a new document from the LibreOffice Start Center.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Create the document

With Writer open, create the template as needed. You can either write a generic document that you'll later use, add boilerplate text (such as Lorem Ipsum), and format it as required, or copy and paste whatever it is you need in the template. 

Also: How to password-protect a document with LibreOffice

If the template is to serve as a form letter, you might consider adding fields, so things like dates automatically update as the template is used. Take all the time you need to create the template exactly as you need. By doing this, you'll only have to make minor changes (if any) each time you use the template.

3. Save the template

Once you've created the template exactly as needed, click File > Template > Save As Template. In the resulting pop-up, give the template a name, select a category for it to be filed under, and click Save. If this will be the primary template you'll use, you can set it as the default template. 

I would recommend against doing this, as the default template is used every time Writer is opened. So, unless you want to use that same template every time you open Writer, don't check that box. Instead, leave it as is, so when you open LibreOffice Writer, you are presented with an empty document to use.

The LibreOffice File menu.

Saving a document as a template in LibreOffice.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Using your new template

There are two ways to use your new template. If you already have Writer open, click File > New > Templates. Select the template you just created from the Templates gallery and click Open. A new document will be created, using the selected template.

The LibreOffice Templates gallery.

Selecting a template from the Templates gallery.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

You can also use your template by opening the LibreOffice Start Center (which will be called something like LibreOffice 7.5) in your desktop menu. 

Also: How to configure LibreOffice to default to MS Office file formats 

From that window, click Templates in the left sidebar and double-click the newly created template to open a new document. You can now start creating the new document, based on the template, in the resulting window.

The Start Center Template section.

Selecting a template from the LibreOffice Start Center.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

And that, my friends, is all there is to creating LibreOffice templates. Create as many of these as needed to help make your workflow more efficient.

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