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write - bullet list not retaining chosen character

asked 2019-10-07 12:03:13 +0200

wizaxx gravatar image

updated 2019-10-07 19:28:35 +0200

I am using LO 6.3 installed on Ubuntu 18.4 I normally use DOCX for compatibility with the rest of the office staff (trying to persuade them to shift).

I have been using LO for just a few month since I switched to Linux. I found it very rich in features but very unstable. besides the continuous crashing, the most annoying issue is with bullet lists.

I finally figure it out to clear direct formatting before making a list. I am also ONLY using styles for my document and avoid direct formatting (old habit since MSoffice infancy), so I was rather surprised when I opened a document and found out that my simple bullet was changed to a "movielikeCIACKicon" of some sort.

Repeated the cleaning, changed font in my style, made sure my style is correct, and saved the document... but again, when opened it, I get the same odd-looking bullet.

In other words, I save the file, print and export to PDF looking like this:

image description

When I open the file again, i found it like this:

image description

I am almost sure that I am overlooking something really simple, but it keeps avoiding me....Any suggestion?

Thanks in advance! mZ

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Formatting list is the most difficult task in Writer. It needs an association between a paragraph style* (e.g. *List 1) and a list style (e.g. List 1, same name but they live in different namespaces). I strongly discourage creating a list with toolbar buttons because it leads to direct formatting and is harder to control.

When configuring the list style, you must refrain from using the Bullets, Numbering, Outline, Image tabs andPosition, Customize. The first four set various parameter in the last two, messing everything if you started by the last tabs.

I don't see what is the movielike icon. And I don't clearly grasp your configuration procedure. Consequently, the simplest way of elucidating is: attach your file to your edited question. While you're at it, mention your LO version and the Linux variant.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2019-10-07 13:18:11 +0200 )edit

Thanks for the prompt response and elaborated explanation, much appreciated. I have updated the question by including version and Linux variant and snaps showing the actual case.

What scares me though is the you must refrain from using the... and I question myself: why are they there is we must refrain from using them?... anyhow, I indeed set those and (luckily) I have perfectly functioning bullet list responding to my needs. It work perfectly and shows up exactly as intended, so the list style setting doesn't seem to be an issue in this case.

wizaxx gravatar imagewizaxx ( 2019-10-07 15:30:16 +0200 )edit

I normally use DOCX for compatibility

This may be the culprit. File formats ODF and DOCX have a non-void intersection but they differ substantially in non intersecting parts. I've experienced many surprises with bullet characters in this area. 100% compatibility can't be guaranteed because DOCX specification is not in the public domain.

Does your problem persist if you save .odt?

Saving in .docx and reopening involves two conversions!

Toolbar list buttons: they locally (this is where it becomes direct formatting) add list behaviour to an otherwise ordinary paragraph style. They apply a built-in list style controlled from Format>Bullets & Numbering. This means all lists share the same style. This is quite harmless for bulleted lists but becomes really problematic for numbered lists when you need several really independent lists. This is why I recommend to design dedicated list styles (which will never be used for "ordinary" not-list text).

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2019-10-07 16:12:23 +0200 )edit

This is why I recommend to design dedicated list styles (which will never be used for "ordinary" not-list text). Indeed, I have the habit of having Styles for everything so this cannot be the issue here.

OK, I think I now know that the problem is on loading the file back in LO. I have opened the file in MSoffice, SoftMaker office and OnlyOffice: they all open the file with the correct bullets. This means that LO saves to DOCX correctly, but then corrupts the file on open.

I guess that if OnlyOffice and SoftMaker can make it right should not be a problem for LO, is it?

wizaxx gravatar imagewizaxx ( 2019-10-07 17:23:27 +0200 )edit

I'm no developer, consequently I can't answer if it's a problem or not. I remember always having had issues when handing over translated .doc (which translates much better than .docx - have you tried this format?) on two topics: bullets and list numbering, including chapter numbering which uses the list mechanism. But document outline was very very complex. The same with Impress/Powerpoint.

Since M$ claims compatibility with ODF (and this is a lie because they have implemented a diverging "standard"), have you tried to exchange a .odt with your Word-colleagues? This would clear a possible corruption suspicion on LO.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2019-10-07 17:36:18 +0200 )edit

Thanks for the suggestion. Indeed the .odt file opens correctly in all the office suites I have at hand including LO itself.

That's a confirmation that LO somehow changes the DOCX on opening... as all other suites open correctly the DOCX saved by LO. The only suite that cannot open correctly the DOCX is LO itself even though it was saved by LO.

Quite a weird situation in my opinion, but one I will have to live with, I guess. So I should close this now, or is there somewhere I can report this as a bug?

@ajlittoz Thanks for the support, it was a very informative interaction.

wizaxx gravatar imagewizaxx ( 2019-10-07 19:23:36 +0200 )edit

You can report bugs on

Prepare a short and simple sample file to highlight the problem.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2019-10-07 19:31:34 +0200 )edit

1 Answer

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answered 2019-10-07 19:29:46 +0200

ajlittoz gravatar image

Saving documents in non-native formats is the "early bird" for future problems. In particular, Microsoft formats are not in the public domain and import/export filter have to make best guesses as how to translate formatting primitives.

To avoid problems (and put the blame on others), exchange your files in ODF format (.odt. for Writer, *.ods for Calc and .odp for Impress) and let the other suite take responsability for their own interpretation of this open standard.

For several years now, M$ has claimed compatibility with ODF (though they implemented a voluntarily diverging interpretation of this standard). Therefore, there is no excuse for not sharing ODF files.

To show the community your question has been answered, click the ✓ next to the correct answer, and "upvote" by clicking on the ^ arrow of any helpful answers. These are the mechanisms for communicating the quality of the Q&A on this site. Thanks!

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Asked: 2019-10-07 12:03:13 +0200

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Last updated: Oct 07