Changing font in various styles doesn't change actual font in paragraphs

I’m in the late stages of formatting a 100k word novel for publication. The manuscript is in Libre Office Writer. At this point I’m developing the “book design” for the actual printed volume.

Most paragraphs in the book are in style “text body”. That style inherits from “Default Style”, which is the root of the text styles (doesn’t inherit from anything). The font attributes are not locally overridden; selecting all the text in the paragraph and applying “clear direct formatting” does not change the font or font size in the paragraphs.

But neither does changing the font specification in either of the styles.

(In the “front matter”, copyright page and such, where I’m not using “text body” style, changing font in the styles used does properly change the fonts displayed; this problem is “only” in the body; but the body is 99% of the text, of course.)

If I create a new document, type in some new content, and play with changing the font specification in the styles, everything works as I believe it should – local changes take precedence over settings in the style, “clear direct formatting” removes local changes, in the absence of local changes the “closest” definition in the style inheritance chain governs. So I think my expectations are in line with what LO actually offers, and there’s just something screwed up in my document somehow. (Interestingly, cutting and pasting sample text from my manuscript into a new document brings the problem with it.)

What I sometimes see described as “the nuclear option”, cutting and pasting the text through a plain-ascii editor (or just exporting the file as text and importing into a new document) is not really an option; that would lose all the italics, bold, and small-caps settings in the text, which would then have to be re-established manually – in other words, many dozens of hours of work, and a high probability of errors in the final result. And that kind of proof-reading, manually checking pages against each other word by word, is boring work to boot.

This is why I hate “what you see is all you get” text editing environments; it’s easy to get left in a situation where you can’t see the things that are causing your problem, and have no way to diagnose what’s going wrong. Any suggestions?

I have this problem also - the program just seems to not work

I have the same problem. “Clear formatting” does not seem to clear font size. No matter what I do, I cannot change the font size using styles.

As dd-b says, it is frustrating that there appears to be no way to figure out what is causing the problem.

I dearly miss the old days of Word Perfect when we could see all of the codes.

Sorry that I don’t have a solution. It would sure be great if someone did.

Can you reduce the size of the document to a sample (say less than a page) still exhibiting the situation? If so, manage to make it available and I (or others) will have a look at the underlying XML where all the formatting instructions are.

I haven’t had this problem for a while but appreciate the offer of ajlittoz to look over a file. I may well do that when it happens again. Those of you who help us are the greatest!

I wonder if you have any Character Styles set (not Paragraph Style). Can you please try setting “Character Style” to “Default”? If it works, then I write it as an answer. If this does not work, I would also like to see a document sample too. If you can reduce the document to a small sample with non-confidential information but that still exhibits the behavior it would be great to be able to take a look at the problem.

You have one (or both) of the situations below applied to your text:-

  1. Directly formatted text
  2. A Character Style also applied to the text

In the second situation, using “Clear direct formatting (Ctrl-M)” will NOT change the text. Changing the paragraph style will not affect either (a paragraph style is actually a joint paragraph+character style, but using a character style will over-ride any paragraph character settings).

Here is a small demonstration:

Build ID: 1:6.1.5-3+deb10u (Devuan-3)

This is writer setup with the similar Default Style (top) + Text Body (bottom) as described in the OP; the only difference between these two here is that the font is 12pt (instead of 10pt) and is bold+italic in Text Body:

Now 4 lines of text:

  1. Default Style text
  2. Text Body text directly formatted to look just like Default Style text
    (will not change if Style is changed)
  3. Text Body text
  4. Text Body text with an additional Character Style
    (will not change if paragraph Style is changed)