Border splitted with bullets and numbering


I have a strange behavior on Writer and I would like to know how to properly do it.

Thing to note: It’s the same behavior on Microsoft Word.

In a Writer document, the border is splitted if there are bullets.
Steps to reproduce:

  • Create a new Writer document
  • Add text and insert a bullet list
  • Select all the text > right click > Paragraph > Border
  • Add a border

The border of the bullet list is not aligned with the border of the paragraph.
I join a screenshot on LibreOffice and a screenshot on Microsoft Word.

I know I can combine both of the paragraph with the ruler but then I loose the bullet indentation.
How can I do it ?

Jean-Sébastien Bevilacqua

LibreOffice screenshot

MSWord screenshot

I tried @ajlittoz’s answer, and it seems somewhat limiting, because it requires the indentation of the bullets to be the same as that of the regular text.

This is true for any solution relying on paragraph borders: the left indentation must be the same for LO to merge the paragraphs. Whether you use a paragraph style, list style, or manual formatting is irrelevant.

I’d like to suggest an alternative, which is to create either (1) a single cell table, or (2) an in-line text frame, set the border as you please, and put all of the text content inside. Then, you can freely manipulate both the left indent of the table or frame as well as its contents (not to mention the spacing to the right margin).

This approach has its downsides as well, and the downsides vary depending on whether you go with a table or text frame. Which is best depends on what you are trying to do.

(Edit: expanded answer for completeness.)

I didn’t mention the frame solution (which seems a bit too quickly simpler) because it disrupts text flow, is limited to one page (or does not split at end of page, cause an undesirable page break) and, later, needs much more work for document maintenance. It is however perfectly adequate for side comments (refer to built-in style Marginalia).

Yes, the page break problem is definitely a potential downside. And I’m not a huge fan of text frames myself. I guess it depends on what the OP is trying to do.

When several paragraphs sharing the same style follow each other, their borders collapse into a single border around the group.

Now, what is identical styles needs to be defined. As long as you use paragraph styles from your collections, it is easy to tell whether two styles are the same: the name is the same.

However, things become nasty when you tweak the paragraph with direct formatting, i.e. you modify attributes with the menus or toolbar buttons. This defines something like an “anonymous” style despite the fact that the displayed name remains the same, but internally LO handles it as a new independent style.

Borders do not collapse between different styles.

Nevertheless, I found a solution based on style hierarchy (one style inherits from another). Styles are available in the style side panel (F11).

If your text is not entirely boxed, created a new paragraph style as a “child” of Body Text. Right-click on Body Text and choose New. In the Organizer tab, call it Boxed text and make it depend on Body Text. Add borders to this style. Click OK.

Give style Boxed Text to all paragraphs you want surrounded by a border.

For the bulleted list, customize buil-in style List 1. Right-click on List 1 and choose Modify. In the Organiser tab, make it depend on Boxed text. This is the crucial part of the procedure.. Go to the Outline & Numbering tab and select style List 1 from the Numbering drop-down menu. (This turns paragraph style List 1 into a style-for-making-lists.) Click OK

Note: Confusingly, the List 1 paragraph style and the List 1 selected from the drop-down menu are two different styles. They bear the same name because they are frequently paired, but this is not mandatory.

Give your item paragraphs List 1 style. Borders merge!

Important: before applying this procedure, remove all direct formatting with Ctrl+M.

If you want to change indents or spacing above/below for your boxed paragraphs, do that only on Boxed Text. Never change these attributes in List 1 otherwise you’ll lose the inheritance and your issue will reappear.

In case you’re bothered by left indent between the bullet and list item text, this indent can be tuned by modifying list style List 1 (not paragraph style!!). Click on the on the fifth icon in the style pane toolbar to access list styles. Right-click on List 1 and go to Position tab. Write identical values in Tab at and Indent at to change the left list indent.

You(re encouraged to read the chapters devoted to styles in the various manuals.

If this answer helped you, please accept it by clicking the check mark to the left and, karma permitting, upvote it. If this is what you expected, close the question, that will help other people with the same question.

While it wasn’t clear just from reading this answer, after trying it myself it seems like the only thing that matters is whether the bullets have the same indentation as the plain body text. It doesn’t matter you use a paragraph style linked to the list style, use the non-indented list style directly, or just de-indent the list manually.

@khanson679: yes, the key-point is the indents identity. Using linked paragraph styles is a way to guarantee that any modification to Boxed Text will smoothly propagate and keep the expected presentation.


Not sure to understand well, but if so it’s very simple see my answer to this same question…

Sorry if not…


@PYS: Very simple, indeed!

But, does it create a very subtle direct formatting hard to diagnose later?

Hi @ajlittoz - IMHO The list styles are not direct formatting…


Your answer there states explicitly that direct formatting is the problem and list styles are a solution. But this is not true: what matters is that the left indentation is made the same. The fact that the built-in list styles do this is a coincidence.

@khanson679 - You did not understand me. I know the problem comes from indent and I do not say otherwise. Purpose of OP seems to be inserting a bullet list. Indentation is not explicitly intended (see steps to reproduce), it is generated by the bullet insertion by button (direct formatting). So… applying list style is a solution : quick application & no border problem.

@khanson679: No, this is not a coincidence. Applying a list style to an existing paragraph does not change the paragraph style. This is why it works. But despite @PYS’s answer, I feel is very close to direct formatting (though it is not cleared by Ctrl+M) and may potentially cause subtle problems (not completely checked yet).

Thanks @PYS for this solution. It partially works for me because I want to keep the bullet indentation. I’m looking for the others solutions.

@PYS Apologies, I got one of the other answers mixed up with yours in my head when I wrote that.

@ajlittoz The coincidence I’m referring to is that the default list styles have no indentation. If you use a list style with a different indentation, the paragraphs will still get separate borders. Even with the same paragraph style (which is assumed in the context of his solution).

@khanson679: there is an ambiguity in LO dialogs wording. The list style trick will work if Indent Before text in paragraph style is equal to Aligned at in list style. In list style, Indent has another meaning and can be chosen freely. Because of this ambiguity, I prefer to design a dedicated paragraph style (with list style) for lists to avoid the difficulty. I think it is safer and more in the LO style philosophy which encourages semantic markup instead of graphical effect markup.