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You need to specify which operating system and Libreoffice version you are using. Running v6.x under Linux Mint my drop caps at the start of a chapter are retained, but not always showing on the screen. If you check highlight fields you get the grey background to the letter even if the graphic is not shown, and switching from one level of zoom to another will force the display to correct itself. Also, how are you setting drop caps? With a paragraph style or with direct formatting. As a novelist I use a template with a First Paragraph style which includes an initial dropped caps letter.