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How to customize the formatting of LibreOffice comments for easier collaboration

This is the way to make your comments stand out from others.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
People working on laptops
blueringmedia/Getty Images

LibreOffice makes collaborating on documents fairly straightforward. But if you'd like to differentiate the comments you add from others, there's a way to do that.

As I writer, I collaborate with numerous people on documents, whether it's readers, editors, or formatters. When I do, I like to ensure my comments stand out, so there's no mistaking who's making an initial comment or replying to a comment.

Also: How to install the latest version of the free LibreOffice office suite

By default, LibreOffice uses a different comment background color for each commenter. But sometimes that's not enough. I've also experienced a few instances when the comment background color somehow ends up the same as mine, which leads to confusion all around. To make matters worse, if someone hasn't added their name to the LibreOffice User Data section in Options, things can get even more confusing.

That's why I often customize the formatting of my comments, so everyone involved knows exactly who's commenting.

Let me show you how this is done.

How to customize the comment formatting

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need for this feature is the LibreOffice office suite installed on your desktop or laptop. Make sure you're running the latest version ( 

One thing to keep in mind is that when you customize the formatting, you're changing it for all comments and not just yours. If you wait until other people have commented on the document, you'll change the formatting of all comments -- even those you didn't make. Because of that issue, I complete my document, add my comments, and then customize the formatting.  

Also: How to set the next style in LibreOffice and why you should

Of course, if someone else opens your document, and changes the formatting of the comments, your comments will be reformatted as well. One thing I do wish the LibreOffice developers would add is the ability to format comments by user, which would mean every collaborator could format their own comments and not worry about changing the formatting of other users.

That, however, is not currently an option. I have submitted a request for this feature, so hopefully the Document Foundation will find the request viable.

But for now, let me show you how to customize the formatting of comments in LibreOffice.

1. Open a LibreOffice document

The first thing you must do is open a LibreOffice document that either contains comments you've already added or requires comments from you. Again, make sure you are the only user who has added comments to the document so far.

2. Open the formatting window

Either locate or add a comment to the document. Then click the drop-down arrow at the bottom-right corner of the comment. From the resulting menu, click Format All Comments.

The LibreOffice comment drop-down menu.

You can access the Format All Comments from any comment in the document.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Customize the formatting

In the Character formatting window, customize the comment formatting to your specifications. You can change the font family, style, size, language, color text decoration, effects, position, scaling, spacing, and highlighting. You can go as wild as you need with your comments to make them really stand out.

Also: How to customize the LibreOffice UI to best fit your style

Once you've made your formatting changes, click OK to dismiss the Character formatting window. You should immediately see all of your comments reflect the attributes you've changed.

The LibreOffice Character settings window.

You can customize any number of options for your comments.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Adding your name

As I mentioned earlier, one of the most important changes you can make to boost collaboration is to add your name to LibreOffice. 

By doing this task, all comments will display your name, which will go a long way to ensure collaborators know which comment was made by you.

Also: How to use different languages in LibreOffice

To add this feature, click Tools > Options. In the Options window, expand the LibreOffice section and then click User Data. Make sure to add your first and last name, and then click OK.

The LibreOffice Options window.

You can also add your address and email address, if you choose.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

And that's all there is to making your LibreOffice comments stand out from your collaborators.

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