Creating List Formats

So I guess a simple list with bullets is called an unordered list. We can go to Format>Bullets and Numbering. There, we can create a custom list with a custom bullet.

However, there are multiple problems.

First, we cannot create and save a list that appears under the Unordered list view.

Second, we cannot change all levels at once under Customize.

This issue becomes a huge problem because of the convoluted manner in which Writer is designed to created check boxes. One must use Customize, select Number>Bullet (bizarre as that is), then Character Style>Bullet, then Charter and spend the rest of your day looking for the symbol you wish to use.

If you ever find the correct one, you may then select OK. But you are far from done. Now you must do the same thing for each level of the list.

And still there is more. Once applied to the document, you will be able to have a check box, but you still have no way to check or uncheck the box, nor any way to X-out a box. That would require a whole other list to be supplanted into that space in the list.

If you find a corresponding character for a box with a check or one with an X, you may very well find that they are in a different size which does not match the rest of the text size.

Next, start all over.

The icing on the cake is that the character search dialog box does not have any way to search across font sets nor show the relative sizes of those found or best fit the primary font used in the document.

Does anyone know a solution to these built-in problems?

I am using Debian 10. Version: / LibreOffice Community
Build ID: 85569322deea74ec9134968a29af2df5663baa21
CPU threads: 4; OS: Linux 5.10; UI render: default; VCL: gtk3
Locale: en-US (en_US.UTF-8); UI: en-US
Calc: threaded
Format = ODT

List, no form.

What is an active checkbox?

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What exactly do you want to achieve?
Are there active checkboxes that you are missing?
Do you want to create a form?

In order to be able to help you, we need to know your operating system and the LibreOffice version (four-digit, e.g.
Please also state the file type in which you have saved your file.

All important information about your initial question should be present in the initial question box, otherwise edit and complete it., to do it.

Please do not use answers (solutions) or comments for this.


Please see edit as requested.

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What is an active checkbox?

Content Controls in Writer

Thank you. However, that would not work in a check list. First, it is an X and not a check. Second, it only gives a choice between two states instead of three.

have a look at

Sorry, but I do not understand the context nor the mechanism used.

I think the thing is Not to use the icon on the Standard Toolbar, it applies direct formatting which adds load to the document and is not easy to re-use.

There is already an unordered list Style with outline setting.

Make a list and select all entries, e.g.

Open the Sidebar and click the Styles icon, at the top of the Styles pane, click the 5th icon with tooltip List Styles. Double-click the 5th entry in the Bullet list, Bullet ➢and you will have a bullet list with each entry preceded by ➢. Click immediately before Two and press the Tab key, the entry will be demoted and the bullet will change to a right pointing arrow. Press Tab to demote again or Shift+Tab to promote.

From your question you probably want to use different characters as bullets. You could create your own style based on this by clicking the top right icon in Styles pane with tooltip New style from selection, give it a name and OK. Now you have your own List Style you can right-click it and select Modify. To change the bullet characters click the Customise tab and select the level you want to change (select 1-10 if you want the same bullet for all levels). Click the Select button to select a different character, if you know the name of the character start typing it into the Search box. Any changes you make will be made to your new style after you click OK.

There a style Bullet ☑ which is intended to be used as a check box. Click just at the beginning of an item in that list and press tab to demote to unticked. This style could be used as a basis for a new style for a list with unticked, ticked, crossed boxes.

If you save the document as a template, those styles will be available to future documents.
You can copy a style to another document by simply copying a list entry to another document and the style will be visible in the second document.

Sample of both lists
CreatingListStyles.odt (15.4 KB)

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Thank you for that very detailed explanation.

I believe you understand the frustration that this program causes. It is such a large number of steps.

It appears that what a person must do to get the results I wish to have, is to follow these steps:

  1. Select the bullet style with the checked box and select the icon on the far right of the button bar, and pull down and select New Style from Selection.
  2. Give the title the name of Box with Check. Do it twice more and name them Box without Check, and then Box with X.
  3. Go to each one in turn and select Customize.
  4. For the last two, find the appropriate symbol to replace the check box.
  5. The even harder problem is to colorize the check in green and the X in red.

When you create a list and an item is to be checked off, you will have to figure a way to stop the list and start with a different list.

I don’t even know if this is possible.

(BTW, even this editor window can’t create a list as the button shows.)

In the list style dialog, Customize tab, there is a Character style drop-down menu. This character style applies to the bullet. Choose an ad-hoc character style (or create one before hand) with the desired colour set in Font Effects. The colour will apply to the bullet icon as a whole. If you prefer a multi-coloured icon (black box and check/X with a different colour), use a different kind of list style: in Number menu, select Graphics where you can define your bullet as any drawing (graphics file) instead of a Unicode character.

I am not sure I understand your procedure. It looks like you define three list styles (creating in fact 3 semantic different lists) whereas you can play with levels. You set your unchecked box at level one, checked box at level 2 and X-box at level 3.
Switching from one bullet to the other is simply a matter of pressing Tab at start of list item or Shift+Tab. Of course you set the indents the same on all 3 levels.
This is somehow an abuse of the feature but I consider it legitimate here. You’ll get into less trouble than changing the list style.

Start a paragraph with a hyphen - or an asterisk *.

Thanks for that.

Firstly, I did not see that when I was choosing and creating the style, and I cannot find your reference.

Second, yes I wish to have three different level 1 boxes.

Third, if you must start with a hyphen or asterisk, then why the buttons?

The button inserts a dummy list item, but the selection includes the asterisk. When you start to type, the asterisk is erased. It is as simple to type the asterisk/hyphen (or “1.” for numbered list) and you don’t leave the keyboard for the mouse.

Which reference? The Character style drop-down menu? It is in the Customize tab.

Mmmh … If your bullet is “variable” (I mean you change the state of the item), then logically (from a semantic point of view), you have only one list. In Writer, a style is the “signature” for a specific significance. With list style, you designate different purpose list.
If I understand your need, your list item is “fixed” or “frozen” and its state is shown by the bullet. In this case you have a single logical list and the trick with the level is IMHO preferable. As I briefly mentioned, you can configure the list style so that there is no difference in item formatting across the levels. Only the bullet will change.

Oh. That’s a neat idea. I’ll give that a try.

Yes, that’s what I cannot find.

As to the list in this editor, it does not work like other forum editors. What normally happens is that the button starts a list, and then pressing Enter at the end of a line creates the next bullet or number in the list. The user should never need to do anything to continue.

In addition to @ajlittoz ,

Right-click for “Modify”:

87152 HB Screenshot 2023-01-30 191635

Both those look the same to me. What am I missing?

Okay, I see you changed the pictures.

And I got part of it. One must first select the different character on each line, such as a box, then a box with check mark and then a box with an X (all from Symbola). Then the user must select the Position tab and make the first three levels the same. At this point, pressing tab at each level changes the bullet.

However, I cannot see how to colorize the bullets.

By choosing a Character Style.
If there is no suitable Character Style, you must create one with the desired colour before.

That sounds like creating a font. I have no idea how to do that.

Heck, I can’t even seem to save my bullet style. It disappears from the list it is created in. I would have thought it would hang around.

But a Character Style also offers the possibility to change the Font effects and this includes the Colour of the font.
Perhaps you should first learn the basics before you continue to poke around in the fog here.

English documentation

Yours is an interesting but unhelpful viewpoint.

To anyone with an answer; is there more than one place to set Character Style of the bullet? As I pointed out before, I cannot find the one that satisfies this idea: “But a Character Style also offers the possibility to change the Font effects and this includes the Colour of the font.” (Perhaps the program is different in British English than American English. I’m using the latter.)

That works very well in normal document text, but appears not to for bullet characters when creating a bulleted list.

BTW, it appears that one cannot set different font effects for different levels.