Can't save custom styles

I want to establish a document or paragraph style, so that it is there for me to use for future documents. Mostly I just want my Arial 12pt font, each paragraph with hanging indent of 0.2", and single spacing.

I can click the text style “hanging indent” on the right of the window, and it applies these features:

  • before text: 0.39"
  • after text: 0"
  • first line: -0.2"
  • above paragraph: 0
  • below paragraph: 0.10"
  • line spacing : 1.15 lines

I don’t like those, so I edit this pre-defined style:

right click hanging indent, MODIFY:
then put in what I want:

  • before text: 0.2"
  • after text: 0"
  • first line: -0.2"
  • above paragraph: 0
  • below paragraph: 0
  • line spacing : 1.0 lines

Click Apply, OK, thinking that I have changed this predefined style.
But I close the program. Reload LO Writer, and double lick to apply this “hanging indent” style to my next document and I see that all the settings have reverted to their original - NONE of my entries were preserved.

so I try to create my OWN style
right click hanging indent style - click NEW, Go through all the same paragraph settings
with hanging indent of 0.2", single spaced, no spaces after paragraphs. Save it as “My Hanging Indent Style”.

Looks good, - it is listed right there in the styles list. See screen capture

But close the program, open it up again, and that style is GONE.


  1. Can I NOT save changes to these predefined styles, so they are changed for my future use?
  2. Is there not a way to define my own “style” and save it so it is there for all eternity for me to click and choose for my future documents?

It is torture having to re-define my hanging indented paragraphs, every time I start a new document. It’s a lot of key presses, for something I used to do in Word with a “CTRL-T”, and “CTRL-M”.

Thanks for anyone who can help!

Custom styles are saved in the current document. Consequently if you create a new document, you revert to the predefined styles.

What you want is called a custom document template (or template in short) in LO parlance.

Open a new document and make all modifications to styles (page format, paragraph styles and others). You can even type pre-filled text like location/date, address, formal salutation and signature for a letter. Add placeholders as reminders for data to be entered. The date itself may be a field so that it is automatically inserted when you open the template.

When this is done, File>Save As (not Save, to access extra options). You have in the lower right a drop down menu with All formats preselected. Click to choose ODF Text Document Template (.ott). Give it a name and save.

You can use your template double-clicking on it to create a new document based on it. But you can do even better, integrating your template into LO.

Go to File>Templates>Manage Templates. Click on Import button, select the category (a virtual folder to store your templates to your likings), usually My Templates is a good starting choice, and browse to the location where you previously stored your template.

When your custom template is integrated in the LO template machinery, you can File>New>Templates and select the desired template (letter, technical document, form, …). You can create as many templates as you need.

You don’t need to retype everything in alternate templates. Either Open>Templates>Open Template so that it is considered as a template not as a document based on this template, or create a new document as usual and import the styles from the template. In either case, save the new template as described above.


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That is fantastic ! thank you for your thorough explanation!
So I have made my own custom template containing my own paragraph styles.

Now if I’ve created a document, I can import those styles and have them available in the right sidebar.
If anyone else interested, to IMPORT styles from a template: instruction link

The bottom line is this:
F11 to view the stiles sidebar
click the A with a pencil on the right “new style from selection”
Load styles
select your template that contains the styles
click OK.

And the styles from that template are loaded into the right sidebar now.


If you need to import styles, you didn’t understand how to use templates. They are designed to avoid the import operation. Check your template has .ott extension. If this is not the case, change the extension from within your OS. Then you have two options:

  • double click on the template icon: a new untitled (doesn’t inherit the template name, that’s the trick) document opens with all template properties (styles et al.); if you hit Ctrl+S(or File>Save), a name will be asked, no risk to overwrite the template

  • with a template integrated in LO machinery, use File>New>Templates and select the appropriate one; the global effect is the same as above

An interesting feature comes with integrated templates. In case you change some aspects of your styles (say the “main” type face in Default Style or the indent in your Hanging Indent) in the template, next time you open a document using the template, you’ll be asked if you want to update to the new styles.

I’ve been struggling with disappearing custom styles for several days, now. Thank you for explaining how to preserve them for future documents.