Writer: Can the List styles be linked? [closed]

I am trying to base 'List 1 Start', '-Cont.' and '-End' on "List 1" definition so that I can experiment with the best-looking margins in my document. The styles are made 'linked' to "List 1" in the Organizer tab. It works as long as the subordinate styles are exact equivalent to "List 1".

Whenever any distance is changed in Indents & Spacing tab (e.g. "List 1 Cont." has no bullet and 'First line indent' set to 0), the subordinate styles seem to be de facto unlinked (they are still linked to "List 1", but any change in "List 1" does not propagate to the unmodified fields, e.g. 'Before text indent').

The same is true if I play with "Numbering 1".

Since the "List x" are standard built-in styles, is there any restriction on the linking relationship? Is it specific to the list style category?

I noticed in the XML, these styles have an attribute style:class="list".

If that can be a lead, I also noticed that eventhough a single parameter was changed, all parameters of the 'Indents & Spacing' tab are dumped in the <style:paragraph-properties> XML element.

Does it mean that the "cascading quantum" is a style definition tab, not the individual field?

How can I work around this shortcoming?

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Closed for the following reason the question is answered, right answer was accepted by Alex Kemp close date 2015-11-07 02:09:35.421922

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Ordered and unordered lists have about as many ways of setting them up as there are users of LO. Every person seems to have their own way of doing this, which is possibly related to the definitions of the default styles in LO being less than useful. To compound matters it is not uncommon for people to use toolbar functions in deference to styles. No doubt the toolbar vs styles debate (and the parallel styles vs styles debate) will go on for a long time.

Semantics of the "Cont." styles

This is my understanding of how lists can be defined. Naturally this can differ for others. If you want to use the default styles supplied with LO then you are going to have to make a choice about what the "Cont." styles mean. For some (such as yourself) this is a style with no leading identifier that is used as a way of continuing a single point e.g.,

* List 1 Start
List 1 Cont.
* List 1
* List 1 End


For others (and as indicated in the Writer Guide) the semantics of "Cont." is in reference to the list as a whole, thus:

* List 1 Start
* List 1 Cont.
* List 1 Cont.
* List 1 End


In this case, either a non-identified style (based on the List 1 paragraph style) needs to be separately defined to cater for the continuation of a single point, or you can use the related toolbar function as indicated in this thread.

Paragraph (list) style hierarchy

There is another entire side-discussion about whether or not the List 1 paragraph style should in fact serve as an underlying style for the List 1 Start, List 1 Cont., and List 1 End paragraph styles. I personally feel that this would be a good thing as it would make the list styles more hierarchical, but presently this is not how they are defined so we will leave this aside for now and deal with the duplicated effort required to change all the necessary list styles into something useful. To answer this part of your question though, you can probably link the paragraph styles in this hierarchical manner if desired, although as you indicate not all settings appear to link correctly.

One possible method

You can achieve what you require using styles (paragraph and list) but it is more difficult than necessary due to the dissociation (by default) of corresponding ...

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An excellent account; the discussion in @ajlittoz’s answer also helps much. This whole thread is helping me reflect on my personal use of those styles. What’s funny is that I remember reading somewhere, perhaps on (http://opendocument.xml.org), that the ODF 1.2 spec does not adequately allow use of user-defined paragraph styles inside list elements and that this should be improved in the next spec version, but in LibO there is already a plethora of redundant options, some hacky and others clean.

( 2013-08-20 17:42:21 +0200 )edit
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Thanks. There have been many discussions about para+list style on the OASIS mailing lists, such as here and here. The aspects are numerous but essentially relate to how paragraphs (and numbered paragraphs in particular) and list items are viewed. For me, the main issues are simplicity and compatibility (which is helped by the former).

( 2013-08-24 06:49:04 +0200 )edit

Thank you very much for this answer.

I agree with you that laying out text is a matter of personal taste and that a universal rule cannot be agreed upon. A word processor should give freedom to its user to typeset its document the way he intends.

You rightfully interpreted my desired effect. The procedure is clean and easy to follow (but I already knew it).

You seem to give a pointer to the Writer Guide for the semantics of the standard styles, notably Cont. and family. I went through the 4.0 Writer Guide and did not find this information. Is there another specific guide?

Having the bullet/number specification under user control is a very good thing. Giving the same name to list and bullet style (e.g. "List 1") may prove disturbing for a newbee, but I do not hesitate to associate "List 1" list with "List 2" bullet if I need it. What may be debatable is the default choice of associating "List 1" list with "none" bullet.

Further discussion

My purpose is related to documentation maintenance for an OSS project. I already have two 200+ page manuals, plus shorter minor manuals. Just like you define symbolic constants in code to ease software configuration, I am streamlining the styles used in the documentation with the hierarchical feature. The goal is to have as few "master" styles as possible so that the general graphical aspect (layout) of the document may be changed with only a handful of key parameters (duly commented in an auxiliary document).

This means the changes propagate down the hierarchy. It works fine, but for the ordered and unordered list styles. These styles have something special: during my experiments, when "List 1 Start" was linked to "List 1", clicking on "Standard" button reset indent parameters to values which were neither "List 1" nor "Default" ones.

Another anomaly (or a misunderstanding from me) is the 'Outline & Numbering' tab -> Line numbering -> 'Restart at this paragraph' check box for "Numbering 1 Start" style. I checked it and asked for a 'Start with' 10. Paragraph number was not restarted and kept running. Should I understand that this sub-tab relates only to [margin] line numbers?

Work arounf is, of course, right-clicking and selecting "Restart numbering", but it is not acceptable to track all "Numbering 1 Start" paragraphs in a 200-page manual.

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The (only) reference to the "Cont." style is made on p.186 of the Writer Guide v4.0. This page also states "the Numbering 1list style is associated with four paragraph styles: Numbering 1; Numbering 1 Cont.; Numbering 1 End; Numbering 1 Start" and yet this is not the case under v4.1.0.4. I concur with your efforts to produce a hierarchical style list with as few root styles as possible. There are (as you indicate) problems with doing this for paragraph styles of the list type.

( 2013-08-18 14:48:11 +0200 )edit

Thank you for the reference. It is very short and leaves semantics open to personal interpretation as you clearly showed in your answer. I'll have to check the differences with 4.1 (it is located in a different test partition, because I want to make sure all upgrades are compatible with the existing files, not only LO). From a very quick trial, I noted some minor changes in the Heading family (e.g. Center alignment instead of Left), needing careful check of all styles.

By the way, do you know of a means of printing the style catalog? This feature existed long ago in MS Word; I don't know if it is still present in nowadays versions.

( 2013-08-18 15:42:46 +0200 )edit

The centered heading alignment may have come from (or be related to) this recent mailing list thread. I know of no method for printing a list of styles (either applied or available). I would suggest raising a bug for both this feature (mark it "enhancement") and the problem with paragraph style inheretance, with respect to lists. If you do so, please report the bug number here.

( 2013-08-19 04:56:58 +0200 )edit

Following your suggestion, i filed bug #68263 for the inheritance problem and bug #68264 to request an enhancement to print the style catalog.

( 2013-08-19 11:22:00 +0200 )edit

Thanks. I have confirmed both bugs and provided an example file for the one dealing with the para/list styles problem. I will update my answer to include links to the bugs.

( 2013-08-20 03:33:30 +0200 )edit