Differing margins and page numbers

My wife and I both use LibreOffice, she uses it on Windows 10 and I on Ubuntu 17.04. We are sent .doc formatted documents regularly. When these are opened the appear and print differently from one another. For example, today we have received a tenancy agreement which on my wife’s machine is 2 pages long and mine runs to 2.5 pages, hers has lines of dots (to hand-write information on) where the dots end at the end of a line whereas mine has dots that run on to new lines, thus filling up the pages with extra lines.

Both of our machines claim to be using a standard A4 page with the margins set to the same sizes. Also the bulk of the document is typed in Calibri 11 (with some bold) which is a font that is common to both machines.

Basically my problem is that my Ubuntu 17.04 machine is not displaying or printing documents such as the one describe above as they are intended. Can somebody advise how I can configure my machine/LibreOffice install to correct this issue?

To the best of my knowledge, Calibri font is not (officially) available for Linux. There are only claimed metrics-compatible equivalent fonts, such as Google’s Carlito (see this question. Frequently, subtle differences in metrics remain in the table which result in the kind of behaviour you experience.

Check also that the replacement table in your Ubuntu does not force an alternate font for Calibri: see ToolsOptions..., Libre OfficeFonts.

There is also a difference in the way Word and Writer define the page header/footer (if you have one). In Word, header and footer are located outside the page text area (inside the margins); while in Writer header and footer lie in the page text area (margins are just what they are: empty areas where nothing is laid out). This could result in expanding the LO document.

Have you tried the other way out? I.e. sending an .odt document to the Windows machine (Word undertands this format, at least if the document does not use advanced ODF features) and see if differences persist.

What you tell about the line of dots strongly suggests metrics problems between the font version (see my first point). To avoid this, I usually set atab stop to the position where I want the leading line to end, so that I control accurately the position (it will no longer depend on character width). In the Tabs tab of the paragraph style, you choose the fill character for the leading. Use a period in your case, but you can also use an underscore to get a continuous line.

A word of caveat: if you choose the “tab-with-fill-character” solution, you better define specific paragraph styles so that you don’t mess the layout for "standard paragraphs. At least one style is needed if you can manage your manual entry paragraphs to look the same.

If this answer helped you, please accept it by clicking the check mark :heavy_check_mark: to the left and, karma permitting, upvote it. If this resolves your problem, close the question, that will help other people with the same question.


Wrt filling tabs:

I often cannot understand why don’t people use tables with proper number of cells and bordering to align their forms. It allows for exact alignment, and also for properly underlined text when filled in editor. Using underscores or dots for tabs filling doesn’t have this advantage, and is (undoubtedly) useful only when you do that just to “connect” one word with another (like in ToC).

Wrt headers: while it’s true that LO and Word differ in their definitions of margins, the conversion between a Word document and LO model should work to exclude the “This could result in expanding the LO document” result. If you see that, then it’s the bug, and you should file it to Bugzilla (with bug document attached).

@mikekaganski: wrt filling tabs
You’re absolutely correct, they are intended to"connect" distant items in one-line items (like in said ToC). If document is in fact a form, tables are adequate for this purpose since there is no “justification” or “flow” between cells. They have a well defined size and position within their table. My suggestion was only to avoid a full revision of the document (about which we have no description).

@ajlittoz, Thanks for the comprehensive response.

  • I’ve checked the replacement table and nothing is there, so assume that it isn’t being substituted.
  • My wife’s windows machine is also using LibreOffice and it is displaying the doc as the sender intended. So, I’m not sure that the header/footer suggestion is relevant.
  • Sending out isn’t really an issue although it does worry me that when I create a doc/docx/odt that the recipient isn’t getting it quite how I would like. tbc…

@ajlittoz, cont…

  • I totally agree with your’s and Mike Kaganski’s comments about using tables and tabs. People who don’t are a complete nightmare. However, when dealling with people you have to put up with their skill levels.

I think fundamentally you may have it the nail on the head with your observation regarding standard Linux fonts. Calibri was one that I imported and maybe it isn’t quite the same as the version on Windows.

@ajlittoz, Sorry to say this after you’ve been so helpful but this isn’t really a solution as I don’t want to reconfigure/restructure documents from 3rd parties just so that it looks OK on my machine when it is fine on my wife’s. I’m looking for a way to reconfigure LOW on Ubuntu 17.04 so that it displays the same doc in the same way as it does on LOW on Win10.

@Mitya: No offence, checking for identical configuration is also a must and I should have mentioned it.