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Naming CHAPTERS In A Master Document [closed]

asked 2013-04-26 02:15:44 +0200

hp111 gravatar image

updated 2015-11-02 03:32:11 +0200

Alex Kemp gravatar image

Millions of books are composed this way. Why is this so difficult? This is a more elaborate explanation of the question posed just above as "Problem with First Page header in Master." EVERY book author who uses LO asks this:

There seems to be no simple way to combine a bunch of separate chapters into a master document to be published as a book and then have the chapter names show in the first page header of each chapter.

Come on. There's got to be some SIMPLE way to do this. WORD has one. Its a little check box that allows a header to be "Same as Previous" or not.

You just type the chapter names into the master document 1st page headers of each chapter.

A better and more obvious solution would be if there was a way to take each of the file names of the subdocs that are being used as chapters and use those names, sans file extensions, as the chapter titles.

Let's remember that most popular fiction has either the name of the book or alternates the book name / author name on the non-chapter title first page headers.

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Closed for the following reason the question is answered, right answer was accepted by Alex Kemp
close date 2015-11-02 03:31:38.990427


If you persist in using hyperbole you are not going to get very far with this. I recommend you raise an enhancement request if you feel the present functionality is lacking. Please be as specific as you can though because you appear to require a particular behaviour. Report the bug number back in this thread as "fdo#123456". Thanks.

oweng gravatar imageoweng ( 2013-05-26 01:50:05 +0200 )edit

@oweng -- please turn your comment into an Answer so that we can resolve this question.


qubit gravatar imagequbit ( 2013-06-13 11:42:17 +0200 )edit

Thanks for the reminder. I have updated my answer below to include the required information.

oweng gravatar imageoweng ( 2013-06-13 12:24:09 +0200 )edit

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answered 2013-04-26 07:54:24 +0200

oweng gravatar image

updated 2013-06-13 12:23:22 +0200

What exactly are you wanting to include in the header? I don't mean some generic term like "chapter name". What does the term "chapter name" refer to? Do you mean the name of the sub-document file (i.e., document information) or do you mean the first Heading 1 entry in the sub-document (i.e., paragraph style) or do you mean a bookmark (i.e., cross-reference)? These are all different things. Writer can possibly do what you require, but you may not be used to using it and the more complex the layout the more page styles you will require e.g.,:

  • chapter title page (no head / foot)
  • chapter leading page (no foot / special head with title of chapter)
  • chapter subsequent page (foot with page number / head with book title)

Those are three different page styles. Page styles are how Writer handles difference in the head / foot area of a page. In Word you use sections. The Word file specification (OOXML) and OpenDocument specification (ODF) take quite different approaches in how to treat the page structure of a document.

There are also limitations that must be worked around. For example, all document information fields will pertain to the document being edited i.e., if you are editing the master document then the file name will be the name of the master document file, whereas if you are editing a sub-document then the file name will be the name of that file. For your purposes this makes it pointless pulling the "chapter name" from the name of the file. It needs to be the Heading 1 title at the beginning of the sub-document or a cross-reference to a bookmark or similar.

My answer here and the example I provide may also be of use.

If none of the above helps, and you feel the present functionality is lacking, please raise an enhancement request. Be as specific as you can in describing the particular behaviour you require. Don't forget to mark your bug as an 'enhancement'. The QA team will be happy to help you triage your feature request in the bugtracker.

Please post a link to any bugs you file in a comment below using the format "fdo#123456".


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answered 2013-05-26 16:22:12 +0200

mahfiaz gravatar image

Shame on you. I feel really frustrated after reading your three pages long nonsense about how important this feature is and how much every single person around the whole wide world is crying about this single missing feature which is industry standard and that any program you would even take into consideration for solving your computing issues must have this specific feature and how you don't care about even reading and trying out the answers kind people took time for to provide to you free of charge and how they are obliged to help you. And yes, I exaggerated, so did you.

Please, just cut the BS and show some respect.

Here is a stupid example which most likely does just what you keep whining about. Please rename the .odt file to .zip before extracting, the system does not allow uploading zip files: Master document

And as @oweng said, the easiest way to open the subdocument for editing is double click in the navigator (F5).

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@mahfiaz - thanks for the sample ODM - very helpful!

David gravatar imageDavid ( 2013-05-26 16:42:45 +0200 )edit

@David - Thanks :) I'm glad you found it useful.

mahfiaz gravatar imagemahfiaz ( 2013-05-26 21:25:11 +0200 )edit

answered 2013-08-11 01:19:49 +0200

hp111 gravatar image

updated 2013-08-11 19:36:10 +0200

Come on folks, forget all this "shame thing" and let's be HONEST about LO Master Document utility. It's broken. It doesn't work.

As one who has both: spent hours attempting to use LO, and, has paid other people to attempt use it, I speak here from experience. Chapter mis-numbering, page mis-numbering, etc. Honesty is the first step toward fault correction. Just own up to it, and then get it fixed.

Don't write back saying we don't know what we're doing, or don't know how to use the program. We do. We're professionals. Search the web. You'll find nothing but unanswered complaints.

We're back on Word 2001 now. Not the greatest--compared to the promise and hope of LO but at least it's workable. We're moving to InDesign.

We'd be happy to PAY for LO, IF IT ACTUALLY WORKED. Or to PAY a consultant to teach us how to use the program to get around it's errors and problems. NOBODY knows how.

This is the problem with "FREE" Free always costs double. At the very least.

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Well, to be fair, I think my answer above is a balanced one (I amended it a few times to make adjustments). I do agree that the master document facility in LO is a work in progress. I do not use it myself (like you) because of the current shortcomings. It can however be used, and effectively, by others. It would seem that at this point it cannot do what you require of it, which is a shame. The developers are working on improving it. As a user forum we can only offer assistance, not fix things.

oweng gravatar imageoweng ( 2013-08-12 01:40:09 +0200 )edit

answered 2013-05-02 02:00:33 +0200

hp111 gravatar image

updated 2013-05-02 06:04:50 +0200

Your answer is perfect -- as long as you don't mind double the work each time you change your chapter order. And it's perfect if you don't care whether your messy directory is in the same order your chapters appear in the present incarnation of your novel.

LO ought to let you insert a link -- the same link as calls the sub-doc -- into the header of that Master-Doc page.

Shame it doesn't. This is silly!

You have to change both the CHAPTER NAME and the HEADING1 name in the document -- after taking the time to open the sub-document of course. Imagine doing that many, many, many, many times, over and over and over.

I prefer the document update it's own heading whenever its FILE NAME is changed.

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answered 2013-04-26 17:05:47 +0200

hp111 gravatar image

This question is so simple. Apparently in LO the answer is not. The only work around I've found is to put the chapter names into the body at the beginning of each sub-document, then no info in first page headers.

You write: "What exactly are you wanting to include in the header? What does the term "chapter name" refer to? Do you mean the name of the sub-document file (i.e., document information)"


  1. Chapters in books are WRITTEN as short documents.

  2. Those documents are INSERTED into a master document.

  3. The FIRST PAGE HEADER OF EACH now SUB-document IN THE MASTER should be able to reproduce the sub-document FILE NAME. The NAME of the sub-document file.

  4. Subsequent pages of each sub-doc IN THE MASTER get the name of the book in their headers (ie master doc name) or, even better, alternate Right/left book-Name / author-Name.

That's all. This is industry standard.

What are the steps if this is indeed at all possible to do in LO?

If LO could do this and Bi-directional justification, millions more authors would use it, possibly even to publish with.

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Re-read my answer. You cannot embed file information from a sub-document (i.e., different file) into a master document. What you can do instead is use the leading Heading 1 field (i.e., chapter name). Rather than trying to use the product incorrectly, perhaps you should take time to learn the product as it is intended to be used. It CAN do what you require, you simply have not yet learned how this is accomplished.

oweng gravatar imageoweng ( 2013-04-27 02:40:30 +0200 )edit

There is no way I would use chapter names as filenames. It is SO much more sensible to use the H1 field. Really, if you like MS Word's ways, just use it! Or buy yourself a copy of Scrivener or something. Or you could learn LO's (quite sensible) conventions, and work with them. That's simple, isn't it?

David gravatar imageDavid ( 2013-05-26 16:40:56 +0200 )edit

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Asked: 2013-04-26 02:15:44 +0200

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Last updated: Aug 11 '13