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Has anyone ever written a book with LibreOffice Writer?

asked 2020-05-03 21:36:01 +0200

oyvrem gravatar image

I'm thinking of writing a book, and wanted to choose the right tool the job. I presume Microsoft Office does the job well, but what about LibreOffice Writer?

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answered 2020-05-03 22:24:09 +0200

ajlittoz gravatar image

It depends on the job.

As a starter, a pen and a sheet of paper are excellent tools.

Now if you intend to review what you write, you'd better think about the structure and the content of your book.

As an author, you concentrate on the content and meaning, leaving aside the appearance. You should try to completely separate these two aspects. But this separation should not prevent a somewhat automatic and easing formatting of your work.

You didn't say is the book is fiction, art or technical. Anyway, what you write is not a sequence of unrelated tasteless bits.

There are headings, arguments, developments of ideas, assertions, comments, etc. Independent of the actual content, these abstract components constitute the skeleton upon which you will put flesh. This skeleton must be reflected in some kind of semantic markup.

This markup translates into paragraph styles for the major components and into character styles for the secondary components (such as emphasis of a word, quoted group of words, foreign insertions, etc.).

Your role as an author is to transfer this structure along what you write.

If your markup is consistently done, formatting the book is just child play. You will define typographic attributes for the styles: font face, size, colour, indents and spacing above and below, language, alignment, ... Magically your book will gain personality.

In this job (markup with styles), LO Writer is superior to M$ Word because it has finer distinctions in markup (more categories than Word).

However going beyond dumb typewriter usage is not immediate. You must understand the concepts. I recommend the Writer Guide as an initiation and then the excellent Bruce Byfield's Designing with LibreOffice.

To answer your question, I already wrote several technical and scientific books with very complex structure. Once the tools are ready (styles and templates), you only concentrate on the content and let Writer do the formatting. But this has a cost: learn how to use the tool for one's needs and configure it accordingly. This is not a matter of minutes. You need training and acceptance of the concepts which are not always the same as the competition.

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Thank you very much for your detailed answer. I may have been lacking a motivation in the question I asked. Perhaps I wanted it to be open minded.

I was simply looking to see if LibreOffice Writer would handle the amount of text and characters required to write a fully length novel. I'm not looking to format or make the document look pretty, just enough to have an editor go through it and give me a review.

Suppose I should have asked: Has anyone written a or several documents that would resemble the size of a book?

Thanks again.

oyvrem gravatar imageoyvrem ( 2020-05-03 23:19:54 +0200 )edit

A novel is the simplest case: a handful of paragraph styles, 5 or so character styles, a couple of page styles. No problem In Writer for hundreds of pages.

But, if you really don't care for formatting your book and your publisher takes care for that (he has his own graphical chart and also you may not have his preferred expensive professional fonts), use a text editor (no formatting at all, i.e. plain text, typewriter-like): you just type a linebreak from time to time to denote a paragraph break. No learning curve. Minimal size on disk.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2020-05-04 07:53:38 +0200 )edit

@oyvrem I have written several books, 4 of which are over 500 pages in LO. It is quite up to the task. However, I would suggest you get thoroughly familiar with the User's Guide paying particular attention to Master Documents and Templates.

doktoroblivion gravatar imagedoktoroblivion ( 2020-05-05 11:24:35 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2020-05-03 21:36:01 +0200

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