display areas/regions with associated style names and/or areas of direct formatting

Normally it is enough to solely rely on visual display and actual appearance of regions such as paragraphs, words, frames for a user to discern which styles are applied and where because styles are usually named with inherent properties. For example, you can quickly see that a red/bold style may be applied for items items which appear as red/bold…

However in normal editing you it seems it is not possible to easily see which regions have which style names applied to them (at a glance) or easily discern whether similar small sections of font have a specific style applied or which have direct formatting applied instead of style bearing similar properties. It is easy enough to individually select the region and reconcile this manually.

Assuming such an ability is not available in LibreOffice, this could help users develop style consistency throughout their documents to more easily recognise areas with direct formatting and reconcile them to styles, for example doing a search and replace (alternative) based on formatting then applying a similar newly created style to that selection.

This is also useful in large documents where very similar styles are not easily discernable and it can be difficult to concisely and accurately reflect style properties in is name.

So to break this down a bit I pose two questions.

Are there any methods, comments, or guidance on how visually locate areas/regions of:

  • direct formatting
  • areas/regions of document identified with their respective styles listed on the page.

There is no way to highlight or otherwise select direct formatted areas. On elaborate, long term documents or any “professional” papers, direct formatting must absolutely be proscribed. It will always play tricks on your back, even when you are aware of its presence.

Direct formatting is only tolerable for experimenting feature effects or one-shot expendable documents.

The only known workaround is to manually select a portion of a document and Ctrl+M to see if something changes (and Ctrl+Z to revert to initial state). And even this workaround does not guarantee the presence/absence of direct formatting.

For paragraph/character style usage, the usage trick is to temporarily change some attribute(s) in the Font Effects and/or Background tab of the definition: Blinking is the most noticeable of all. When you’re done locating or changing the occurrences, reset the style to its original definition.

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“For paragraph/character style usage, the usage trick is to temporarily change some attribute(s) in the Font Effects and/or Background tab of the definition”.
I apply this.

There is a proposal for a style inspector, but it will take time to be implemented.

You can use the search & replace tool to look for text with manually applied properties: open the tool with Ctrl H, write .* in “search,” under “more options” select “regular expressions” and then click in the “Attributes” button. For each attribute you select, the tool will search any text where that attribute was manually changed (styles will be ignored). Notice that it’s convenient to select just one option as a time, because otherwise the “attributes” tool will search for all instances where selected options were applied simultaneously. Finally, click in “find all.”

The Style Inspector has been merged. It should be available in LO 7.1

Have a look to the author’s blog here: