Creating List Formats

Your worst enemy in Writer is direct formatting because it overrides everything else. So you must get familiar with styles, all styles categories (paragraph, character, page and list, to a lesser extent frame), because they each play a specific role and act on different parameters. Check no direct formatting is in effect near or over your list items. The simplest way is to select all text and Ctrl+M. If this removes italics, bold and others, then you didn’t use character styles where they are needed.
Styles guarantee predictable, reliable and stable formatting plus other powerful functions.

Format>Bullets & Numbering is never saved because it is a form of direct formatting. Only a “real” list style can be saved.

For better analysis, attach a reduced version of your document.

You can, but it is tricky (guru skill level).

Not really. It was far quicker to create the lists than to recreate a second time to write the explanation and a third time to check the steps. Reusing a list style in a template or even ad hoc copying is the opposite of frustration.

To get the green Ballot box with check and the red Ballot box with X you just need two character styles based on Numbering Symbols.
Choose Character styles in the Styles pane, right click on Numbering Symbols and select New. In the dialogue that opens, in the Organiser tab name it NumberingGreen or similar. Select the Font Effects tab, change the colour to green and OK out. Do the same again but NumberingRed with colour red.

Now you can go to MyCheckBox list style, right-click it and select Modify. In the tab Customise, select Level 2 (the Ballot box with check) and change the field Charcter Style to NumberingGreen. Repeat for level 5 & 8. Then change levels 3, 6 and 9 to character style NumberingRed. OK

CreatingListStyles2.odt (20.1 KB)

If you want to use Symbola font then right click character style Numbering Symbols and change font to Symbola, the two other subsidiary styles will get the change in font name from Numbering Symbols

1 Like

Non-wysiwyg word processors make me angry. We should be so past the archaic methods by now. Linux needs one desperately.

As requested, attached is a sample document.

Sample bullet list.odt (10.7 KB)

Your sample file is OK. Character style for bullet is Bullets on all three levels. Follow @EarnestAl’s recipe to colour differently levels.

""WYSIWYG-only apps are limited in automation. IMHO Writer is a good trade-off between full-script live TEX and full direct format like antiquated MacWrite. In fact, Writer is really WYSIWYG, the triggers being styles. And styles are more complex than elementary bold, italics, … Styles bring a tremendous power and versatility to Writer.

EDIT 2023-01-31

Writer is indeed WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get): what is displayed on screen is the same as what is printed.

I think there is a misuse of word “WYSIWYG”. In fact, you think “formatting by point-and-click”. This is a different thing. M$ Word has accustomed us with this approach (tools displayed in a ribbon). You can do it in Writer: display as many toolbars as you need and use the formatting buttons. Unfortunately, such an approach prevents any formatting automation (nowadays, documents are frequently sent overseas where stationery size is different; what happens to your carefully mnually tuned layout when printed on a different sized paper?). Writer has replaced buttons (and equivalent keyboard shortcuts) by styles.

You can still “point-and-format” but instead of clicking on buttons, you click (or double-click) on style names in the toolbar dropdown menu or the style side pane. You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to your most frequently used styles and you’re back to what you request: easy formatting with keyboard.

1 Like

Okay, that got it. Thanks much. What a work around. Is it saved? Can I use it in other docs?

Yes, that process does appear to work.

Before microsoft “invested” in the reprogramming of WordPerfect by corel, we had true wysiwyg all the way back to DOS.

You can.

  • Ad hoc. You could just copy a full paragraph from the list, the paragraph with “Five” in it is shortest, and paste it into another document. You will see the styles it needs displayed in the appropriate places in the style pane in the new document.
  • Systematic. You could create a template including the styles and use that for when you want check lists
  • Default. Set a template to be default so the styles are available to every blank document created by File > New > Text Document

Why isn’t it automatic?

Because just as I don’t know what you really want, nor does the computer. At some stage you have to do some work, make choices, etc. Anyway, what is not automatic about copying the paragraph into another document and creating a new list using the MyCheckBox style that magically appears in that document?

Then you’re inferring that it is saved somewhere automatically? Does it appear as a style?

Did you try it out and then check?
No, or you wouldn’t have asked the question that I had already stated would happen.

Or do you mean available to all documents part and present? Of course not, you don’t want a load of conflicting styles cluttering up every document

1 Like

Did you copy the complete paragraph?

God forbid, no! How many different but same named Text Body styles are you going to get flooded with?

“Same named”? What are you meaning? Every macro, list or style I’ve ever created has a unique name.

@Jonny ,

I also see only three possibilities.

  1. you live with the program and the programming that is there in Writer. They try to understand what the programmers, partly already decades ago have thought.
    That is exactly what the users here who want to help you, try to convey - how does what is there.
  2. you have great ideas to improve the program or Writer. You should submit any suggestions for improvement on Bugzilla. And describe your ideas in a way that the developers can understand and implement it.
  3. buy somewhere a program that meets all your requirements.

    And please stop crying and whining and badmouthing things.
    It will only get better if you follow point 2. Thanks a lot.
1 Like

What is intuition? It is only a mask-word for “routine” and refusal of change.

You are totally wrong. It really helps to learn common English:


[ in-too-i-tiv, -tyoo- ]


perceiving directly by without rational thought, as a person or the mind.

perceived by, resulting from, or involving intuition: intuitive knowledge.

having or possessing intuition: an intuitive person.

capable of being perceived or known by intuition.

easy to understand or operate without explicit instruction: an intuitive design;an intuitive interface.

Do you really think computers are “natural” things whose operation is innate? There is always initial instruction with them. Consequently they aren’t “intuitive”. You may call an interface “intuitive” if it is a direct descendant of the interface through which you received your intial computer training.

Remember that any new tool requires a change of mind and a period of learning its specificities. You don’t drive a drive like you ride a horse. When you switch from nails to screws, you must drop your hammer and use an adapted tool, i.e. a screwdriver. Same with computers. You’re discovering Writer. Take time to read its manual.

Again, thank you for your view of things. However, those of us who have greater experience understand things differently. I would never speak of something I know nothing about. I have seen the difference. Once you understand the reason for graphical user interfaces and the need to improve them, you can then perhaps begin to understand how it works.

You will please note that I was not referencing to the basic understanding of how to use a tool or the computer. Rather I was referring to the software that runs upon the computer which is there to do a job and make thing easier for the user. Without that, the computer is worthless. Imagine that a user must become an expert on every one of the tens of thousands of software programs out there. That is ludicrous.

I am glad that there is no manual to use a hammer or screwdriver.

I have no desire to learn the programming idiosyncrasies of any program, or to start with machine code or to reinvent the wheel; only to improve it.

If you want to help, and you are an expert in the program, then write a better manual; since the one I read is junk.

Luckily, I have found a better program. So thanks anyway.

Thank youuu. This post helped a lot my project!

Feed back and thanks are always appreciated. However site rules state that answers are reserved, well, for solutions to the initial problem. Please, repost as comment and delete your “non-answer”. This will help future visitors looking for a “real” solution.