counter-intuitive behaviour: create docx file from context menu, simply saving does not preserve format, only "save as docx" does

asked 2021-01-05 20:06:25 +0200

westerngun gravatar image

updated 2021-01-05 23:13:02 +0200

EDIT: Just found the entry in context menu of "create" -> "DOCX" is added not by LO, but by old installation of WPS. Apparently WPS uninstallation did not remove them. After removing them no confusion anymore and it has nothing to do with LO. So my appologies and I close my question.

The steps for reproducing the bug is:

  1. Install LibreOffice latest version ( on Windows 10, including context menu feature
  2. Restart
  3. Right click on desktop, "new file" -> "DOCX document"
  4. Open the file, input some text, apply format(font size, bold, italic, whatever)
  5. Press "save" button and close
  6. Open the file again, the format is lost. I only see plain text.
  7. Apply some format again, save as DOCX, and close the file
  8. Reopen the file, the format is preserved.

My question is: if context menu allows me to create a file as DOCX, and "save as docx" option CAN perserve my format, why simply press "save" does not? Isn't "save" button here can just do the work of "save as docx", which is more reasonable?

Because when I create the file as docx and save, I naturally expect two things: first, all modifications, including format, can preserve after exit, and second, the file has extension of docx. I see now only 2nd is achieved, but 1st is not.

Or, at least when saving, taking into account this problem of not persisting the format, at least prompt for user extra attention, so that he/she always remember to "save as docx"; or all users will experience the same frustration all the time only when reopening the file, which is too late.

I see 3 options here:

  1. (workaround, temporal)Remove the "DOCX document" option in the context menu, only leaving ODT. So users wanting to use them in Word or WPS or whatever, will always remember to save as DOCX; because "save" button when format is docx does not do its job.
  2. (workaround, temporal)Add prompt when saving without preserving format. I observe the test docx file has a much smaller size in comparison with the real, usable DOCX file with "save as", so actually the app knows the format information is not saved in the file.
  3. (real solution)Make Save button work as "save as DOCX" when the original file is created with .docx as extension.
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Be aware that your "context menu" is a Window$ feature. The file is not created by LO nor by any application. The OS creates an empty file and gives it extension .docx. When LO opens a file, LO doesn't use the extension to determine which component to launch to process the file. Instead, it scans the file content and decides for a "type" (which means you could store a spreadsheet in an .odt file and perfectly manage it). Seeing an empty file surely has adverse side effects which are overcome the second time the file is saved (because it is no longer empty on second load).

A developer could certainly explain this behaviour.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2021-01-05 20:19:52 +0200 )edit

I'm not sure that (1) double click on the Writer icon to open Writer and (2) pressing Ctrl+N to start a blank document costs more time or actions than (1) right-click in the desktop, (2) select New docx file, (3) double click on the icon of the new file to open Writer with the new file. The old way has always worked without causing any problems, the new way always gave problems (in AOO it would start the document from a bad template file that blocked applying a language to your text).

Word processors save by default in their native file format. .docx is not the native format of LibreOffice. Therefore, LibreOffice will not save a docx file as docx unless you tell it to do so. Stop seeing LibreOffice as a free and 100 % compatible replacement of MS Office. It isn't.

floris v gravatar imagefloris v ( 2021-01-05 20:20:56 +0200 )edit

For me it takes less time with context menu to create a file anywhere in the file system and just start editing, although that can be debated. I guess the "new way" refers to context menu, and if that always brings trouble, I would remove the entry from Windows Explorer context menu to avoid more confusion. I see "docx" and "Open Document" are both added after installation, and just found WPS but not LO adds it, so it's WPS's fault. Will remove docx and preserve Open Document. Thanks for clarification about relationship between LO and MS Office. I think that helps.

westerngun gravatar imagewesterngun ( 2021-01-05 23:05:00 +0200 )edit

Note that this was changed in upcoming 7.1: see release notes. It was tdf#123476.

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2021-01-06 23:43:54 +0200 )edit