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bullet lists problem

asked 2015-06-01 05:10:54 +0200

ChipW gravatar image

updated 2015-08-22 09:11:27 +0200

Alex Kemp gravatar image

Writer v. 4.4.3.2 English on Win7

First, I just installed LibreOffice this evening. I have been fighting with MS Office for weeks with the bullet list features, it is just so frustrating, that pOc just can't get such a simple thing right.

So, now in Writer, I am up against some stupid bullet list problems again. What I want is so simple and basic, yet why is it so difficult to get right?

My document has a bunch of English quizzes for my students. Every quiz has 10 questions, each question has 3 answer choices. Simple - Give numbers to the questions ( 1 thru 10) and give letters to the answer choices ( A, B, C ). That's it. That's all there is to it. Simple.

So why is the program changing the numbers to letters when I apply the letter format to the answer choices? Not every time, just seems to be random. And I can't get it to allow me to change it back to the way I want it. I'm completely frustrated with bullet lists!

Also,

I go into Tools/Options/Compatibility and un-select the options that add space anywhere around the paragraph. If I want space before or after the paragraph I will put it there myself, I don't want the app doing that for me. And in the bullet list More Numbering... windows I make changes to the Position and Spacing numbers. Then I re-apply the bullet list, and for crying out loud, nothing I changed is changed in the document! What gives?

Why is it so difficult for the word processor apps to make a simple bullet list?

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answered 2015-06-01 10:29:25 +0200

ajlittoz gravatar image

There is also another solution which might be simpler (I agree that nested bullet lists may become nightmares -- in EVERY document processor!).

From your requirement, it looks like you have a semantic hierarchy of paragraphs: questions and possible answers depending on questions.

You could then give your questions paragraph style "Title 1" and the answers "Title 2". According to the properties of "Title x" styles, numbering is automatically reset when you change upper level.

Then you play with style definitions to tune spacing before and after paragraph, numbering styles, ...

PS: Your original post is not clear about your procedure. If you ever applied "manual" style changes to your text, then trying to reapply a modified style has no effect until your "clear direct formatting" from the Format menu.

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answered 2015-06-01 08:26:09 +0200

Alex Kemp gravatar image

updated 2015-06-01 11:59:00 +0200

Yes, I've a few bruises on my forehead due to bullet lists. Here are a few basics (not in the manual, as I recall) to possibly help smooth your way:-

There are 2 control codes that can cause lines to become paragraphs; LO/OO treat them differently:-

  1. NL (U+000A) (Shift-Return) (seen by LO as NOT a new paragraph/new bullet)
  2. CR (U+000D) (Return/Enter) (seen by LO as a new paragraph/new bullet)
  3. (for completeness, Ctrl-Return will give a new page)

Each of the above will cause a newline, but only the second (CR) will cause a new bullet-point or increment in the number. That also explains the mystery of how to get an 'unnumbered entry' from the keyboard (use Shift-Return). It also explains why the entire paragraph that the cursor is in will become a bullet if you click on "Bullets and Numbering Toolbar"|"Bullets on/off (Shift-F12)".

Now to finally tackle your questions:-

ChipW: Every quiz has 10 questions, each question has 3 answer choices.

This is easy enough to do, as long as you remember that computers are fast idiots. The toolbar mentioned earlier will help (view|toolbars):-

  1. Start on an empty paragraph
  2. Start numbering (F12)
  3. Write the first question
  4. Press Enter for a new number (we now need to persuade the computer that you have started a new list)
  5. Press Indent or Demote (your choice)
  6. Click on the numbering drop-down and change style (say, alpha)
  7. Enter the 3 answer choices
  8. Press Enter yet again (you get a 4th option)
  9. Press Decrease Indent or Promote (opposite to above)
  10. Enter next question + continue.

On the little test that I did as I wrote the above it has worked perfectly. If you suffer any problems, then play with Restart Numbering. It is also possible to do that from the numbering drop-down (Options Tab|Start at).

ChipW: (make changes) re-apply the bullet list ... nothing is changed

You weren't listening. Computers are fast idiots. Changes in format begin at the place that you make them. If you wish to apply such changes to a block of text, then you need to pre-select that block before making the change.

HTH

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Asked: 2015-06-01 05:10:54 +0200

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Last updated: Jun 01 '15