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How to edit a paragraph style in LibreOffice (and why you should)

LibreOffice makes it possible to edit paragraph styles. Find out why you might want to do this and how it's done.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Person using a laptop
Riska/Getty Images

As someone who writes words for a living, I have to make sure the tools I use work exactly how I need them to. Sometimes a tool works fine out of the box, while other times it might take a bit of tweaking to get it right.

LibreOffice, for example, allows you to edit the default styles, so they are exactly what you need. You might need to change the font of a style, the size of a font, the alignment, etc. 

Also: How to create a LibreOffice template

Here's one very simple example. For my fiction writing, the Heading 2 style needs to be centered, as that's what I use for chapter headings. Sure, I can use the default Heading 2, but every time I would have to then go back and not only center it but remove the indent. 

When you're cranking out a full-length novel, that's a bit too much extra work.

Therefore, I edit the style to make my workflow a bit easier. Let me show you how it's done.

How to edit a LibreOffice style

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need for this is LibreOffice installed. It doesn't matter which operating system you're using it on, as the process is the same regardless.

1. Open LibreOffice Writer

The first thing to do is open LibreOffice Writer. If you're using either MacOS or Windows, you'll first have to open the LibreOffice Control Center (labeled as just LibreOffice in your desktop menu). 

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

On Linux, you can directly open LibreOffice Writer from the desktop menu.

2. Select the style you want to edit

Next, select the style you want to edit. How you do this will depend on the UI you're using. For instance, if you use the Sidebar UI, click the Properties icon and then select the style to be edited from the Style dropdown.

The LibreOffice Sidebar UI.

I prefer the sidebar UI in LibreOffice because it better fits my workflow.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Open the Style Editor

Once you've selected the style, click Styles in the main menu and then select Edit Style.

The LibreOffice Style menu.

You can also select the style you want to use from this menu.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Edit the style

Let's stick with my example and edit the Heading 2 style, so it's centered with no indent. To do that, you'll configure the following in the Style Editor:

  • Alignment - Center
  • Indents (all) - 0.00

Of course, you can make whatever changes you want to the style. When you're done, click OK to save the new version of the style. Now, when you select Heading 2, it will be exactly as you need it.

The LibreOffice Style Editor.

Make as many changes to the style as you need.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

And that's all there is to edit a style in LibreOffice. By doing this, you can help make your work a bit more efficient. 

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

As someone who writes words for a living, I can vouch that this feature has helped my workflow, saving me time when I want to focus on the writing and not so much on the formatting.

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