dashed lines between pages writer

We’re working in LibreOffice Writer 5.4, Windows 10, creating a file for output as a PDF for a book. Most pages have a JPG image as a background.

We are having an odd problem. After inserting an image on a page it will jump to the following page. Unfortunately, my girlfriend doesn’t recall exactly when it would jump but it was after the image had been inserted and another action or two had been taken. She thinks, as best as she recalls, that when she when to insert an image on the following page, page 5, for example, that the image from page 4 would jump to page 5.

She also noticed that a horizontal gray dashed line appears between pages except for the page that is the problem page and those adjacent to it. What do those lines mean? We wonder if that is a clue. I’ve illustrated where we see and don’t see this dashed line in the included image.

Any suggestions as to what the problem might be and how to fix it would be appreciated.

When you print or export the pages, are the lines still there??

We haven’t tried that but we would not expect them to export or print as they are just part of the user interface that would normally not export or print.

The dashed line starts beside the green little squares (handles). There is a green handle just above the right green handle, too. Is there any hidden image selected? Or malfunction? Could you upload a sample file on a file hoster for better checking your file?

The dashed line is a visual feedback to indicate the presence of a manual page break (inserted with Ctrl+Enter).

The reason why an image would jump to another page is related to text flow, mainly how the image is “anchored” to an object managed by text flow, usually a paragraph.

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For more accurate answer, edit your question or comment my answer to provide more technical details about the picture. Don’t use an answer which is reserved for solutions.

@mikekaganski: I just deleted a comment by @EmilyBrown who seems to be a spammer.

@ajlittoz: good; but I’m missing the context - had I made something here? (I don’t remember, sorry.)

@mikekaganski: no, you aren’t involved here. I just notified you because you seem to be one of the “bosses” for this site.

heh - no I’m not. I’m here completely as a volunteer, although I happen to know people who run this, and sometimes notify them on some problems (which is welcomed from everyone).

@mikekaganski: the most serious problem with this site is there doesn’t seem to be an official administrator who could handle all the problems and work out maintenance.

Out of the top 20 users, only manj_k qualifies as Administrator (but not seen since 2014) and qubit as Moderator. All others are mere Registered Users. So, from a novice point of view, nobody to report to!

Agree - and that’s sad.

Thank you. That sounds like it may be useful. I’m not sure I quite understand, however. You’ve mentioned some things that I think are above my pay grade.

You wrote “The reason why an image would jump to another page is related to text flow, mainly how the image is “anchored” to an object managed by text flow, usually a paragraph.” Anchoring is not something we have really thought about or done anything about, not intentionally, anyway. I opened a template document we use for projects like the book we are working on and inserted an image as we have been doing. Then I checked to see the default anchoring. It was anchored to paragraph.

What exactly about anchoring would cause an image to jump to the page after the one in was inserted into?

BTW, pretty much all we do is to insert images. create new pages by inserting page breaks, and add text boxes. Next, we don’t normally do anything about anchoring of text flow in terms of settings.

Thanks again.

Also, you wrote that the dashed line is evidence of the existence of a manual page break. Well, that’s the only way I know of to add pages to the document we’re working on. We have to place one on a page in order to create another page after it.

In the image I posted originally there is no dashed line under the left side page but there are several pages before and after it. Wouldn’t this mean that there has to be a page break on that page (the left hand page), and if there’s a page break shouldn’t there be a dashed line between the images on the left side? In other words, there has to be a page break on the page where my red text is or there couldn’t be any subsequent pages, and if there is a page break on that page then there should be a dashed line under it but there is none.

I’m not arguing with what you said, just trying to understand why there is no dashed line when there should be one. Program glitch?

To be honest I’m also puzzled by the dashed line only under the right-hand page. And it’s also the first time I see an image extending beyond the page limits (unless images for left-hand and right-hand pages are so carefully aligned and positioned that they look seamless).

To answer your question, combination of anchor and wrap mode may be such that you don’t need to insert page breaks to overflow to next page. Your book looks so much out of common paths that I’d like to have a technical look at it (at least a 4-5 pages sample), in addition to the fact that you don’t master the concept and follow pre-boiled in-house procedure.

It seems a case where page anchoring would be legitimate. This and your use of text boxes instead of frames or ordinary paragraphs probably indicate that your fit-for-the-task tool would rather be a desktop publishing app like Scribus (FOSS) or QuarkXPress (commercial).

What you see are two images on adjacent pages that were photographed as one then cropped exactly in half and placed on adjacent pages to form a two-page spread. Our images are made to the page dimensions, exactly.

I am posting with my MacBook but the book is being created on my girlfriend’s Windows machine so it would be quite a chore to get a file from that machine to you. I’m uncertain she would be willing as the book is proprietary, if that’s the right word.

I think we tried with frames and couldn’t make them work and others seem to poo-poo them. Our projects are very simple consisting of images and a little text. Buying a desktop publishing app is price prohibitive and would seem overkill for such a simple project. If Writer can’t handle something this simple I would wonder why it even exists. We made one book with it already. Except for it’s complexity, quirkiness and crashing it worked out so we will use it again.

The dashed lines have reappeared in the Writer file. Go figure.

Writer is made for formatting a lengthy text presenting ideas and arguments. The main thing is how the explanation or clarification of the discourse develop to build a consistent argument. This “flow” is then broken into pages because you can’t do otherwise when manufacturing the physical end-product. Pages exist only at the end of the process and are allocated on demand.

Your book is the opposite. It seems to be a collection of specific backgrounds above which a few blocks of text are positioned. There is no continuity of text between these blocks (if you enter text in one, it doesn’t overflow automatically into another one) at least between pages. The primary object is a page and you need to control precisely how they are allocated.

This paradigm is the definition of DTP processing.

Scribus is free and available on Windows, MacOS X and Linux. Of course, you’d need to learn its usage but have a try with it.

Your explanation is appreciated… a little too technical for me to grasp entirely, but I understand the Writer is not the best option for our purpose, perhaps. Maybe we will look at Scribus later but for now we will muddle along with Writer as we know the process and should be able to see our project through.

The disappearing and reappearing dashed lines and the images that jumped from one page to the next will remain a mystery for now, I suppose. At this point, since our book file seems to be behaving better it’s academic.

Thanks much for your help.

Technical clarification about Writer “objects”:

  • main text flow: the text you type “naturally” with Writer opens
  • frame: a secondary text flow inside a limited area, intended for side or margin note in the vicinity of a paragraph
  • text box: intended as a field in a form, very limited to no formatting, notably no style may be applied; difficult to “decorate” because it is outside text processing

No mystery here. Look at the screenshot:

The book view combined with manual page breaks create this. The dashed line appears above the hard page breaks, and in book view, it can’t appear between the two succeeding pages, because the page shown above this is not the one that immediately preceding. But note that page 4 has no hard page breaks, and was created by repeated normal paragraphs that flow from previous pages. Thus no dashed lined above it.