Document changes after saving

Dear readers,

I want to perform a simple job in Libre Writer: making a document with two columns, in the left column a Latin text and in the right column a translation. I thought it would simply be a matter of copying and pasting publicly available texts in Libre Writer and aligning both of the texts. The aligning took quite a while, because the document is just short of 300 pages and the texts are conversations, so there are a lot of white lines in the text.

The next day, when I opened the document again, it became evident that Libre Writer had decided to unilaterally improve my document by adding and deleting white lines here and there, sometimes in the left column, sometimes in the right column. Some of these white lines do not have the standard font size of 12, but of 9; making the job of aligning the texts again even more annoying and time-consuming.

I have tried all the different saving options, but with none of those options, Libre Writer is capable of performing this basic feature of the utmost importance correctly. I have removed Libre Writer and installed it anew, but the problem still exists. I also began completely anew with a html document, and naturally, I decided to reproduce only a fragment of the entire project. But here too, the document changes after being saved. It is clear that the problem isn’t related to the rather large number of pages.

I use one and the same computer. I don’t use any clouds.

I am not a frequent user of Libre Writer. Although I was amazed quite a few times about how the developers of Libre Writer were able to hide certain features in illogical places and excel in finding complicated, multi-step procedures for basic and straight-forward tasks, I haven’t really experienced a structural deficiency like the one I address here. The problem appears to be linked to the table. I did not import the table, I created it using ‘insert table’ in Libre Writer.

This saving problem really needs serious attention. Quite a few people have experienced it. I am lucky that I do not have to use Libre Writer for work or study. The document I want to produce is an amateur project. I can only imagine the sheer rage of one user of Libre Writer, who went to sleep exhausted and relieved, because he had finished his paper for some university course, only to find out the next morning that the layout of the document had significantly changed.

I can learn to live with idiosyncratic features of Libre Writer, but when I cannot trust Libre Writer to open a document exactly the same as it was saved, then Libre Writer is unfortunately useless for me. I do hope that a solution will be found for this serious problem.



Thank you for your response.

OS: Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon
LO: Version:

Format I saved my file in: I have tried all the different saving options: .odt, .fodt, .docx, .doc etc., but the problem arises in all of them.

I have tried the partial potential fix, but I am afraid it didn’t solve the problem.

I just began anew with one dialogue. These were my steps.

  • I opened a new html document in Libre Writer.

  • I changed the settings of auto-correction as proposed.

  • I inserted a table with one column and one row.

  • I copied the Latin text and I used ‘Special Paste’ / ‘Unformatted Text’ to paste it in the left column in the html document in Libre Writer.

  • I did the same with the translation in the right column.

  • I went to Format / Paragraph, and selected ‘don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style’.

  • I adjusted the width of the columns by moving the line that separates the two columns with my mouse (the translation tends to be longer, so the left column is a bit less wide than the right column).

  • I aligned the the texts. Sometimes this required two enters between the contributions in the left column and sometimes two enters in the right column.

  • When each of the contributions aligned with its translation, I went to File / Preview in Web Browser. In the preview in Firefox, the alignment is off.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the alignment goes off the rails, the first time the translation is a line longer than the Latin and I had to use two enters in the Latin column to align the next contribution with the corresponding translation.

The one extra enter in the left column in Libre Writer, creates two extra enters in the preview in Firefox. So the Latin contribution in the left column starts a line below the corresponding translation in the right column. When I delete the extra enter in the left corner, then obviously, the Latin text starts a line above the corresponding translation in Libre Writer, but in the preview, the Latin contribution begins a line above the corresponding translation.

I hope this information is of any help.

Thanks in advance,



I have purged LibreOffice from my Linux and installed, but the problem remains, also when I begin from scratch and use the auto-correction settings as proposed.

The source of the Latin texts and the translations cannot be the issue. I use ‘Paste Special’ in Libre Writer, with the right button of my mouse, and then select ‘Unformatted Text’. I also used Text Editor in Linux to get rid of formatting, just to make sure.

After I have special pasted the unformatted text in the left column and the translation in the right, I selected the two columns, and used Edit / ‘Search and Replace’, typed ^$ and I selected ‘Regular Expressions’ under ‘Other Options’. I also went to Format / Paragraph and selected ‘Dont add space between paragraphs of the same style’. This resulted in a text without white lines between the contributions. Because an abbreviation of the conversation partner is typed a line above each contribution, I could easily keep the contributions apart and I manually created a white line between each of the contributions using enter (there is probably a smarter way to accomplish this). When this didn’t solve the problem, I followed the same procedure again, but instead I used shift enter, but that didn’t solve the problem either.

Perhaps I am simple-minded to keep physical reality as my reference and as a guide in my expectations. When I use Libre Writer, I presume that the default style keeps things as simple and intuitively as possible, and my intuition in this regard is guided by physical paper. Let’s say I have a lined notebook and I write a Latin sentence on the first line of the left page and the translation on the first line of the right page. If the translation requires two lines, and I want a blank line between the next translation, I simply skip two lines on the left page to write down the next Latin sentence and that sentence on line 4 would be aligned with the translation on line 4. Whether a line is skipped or written on doesn’t change the properties of the line; the lines on the left page remain at the same level as the corresponding lines on the right page.

It is this that I try to achieve in Libre Writer, and I would love to see that in the default setting an enter would simply mean entering the next line and that a line is a line is a line, whether it begins after an enter or as a continuation of a sentence from the line above. The problem seems to be that Libre Writer does change the properties of a line depending on if the line was reached after an enter or as a continuation of a sentence from the line above. Hence, two enters do not correspond to a continuation and an enter. And when the translation requires an extra line here and there, then the alignment becomes a seemingly impossible task.

Thank you for the support and suggestions, but I will look for an alternative for Libre Writer. It was never really a happy marriage anyway. It is clear that Libre Writer isn’t geared to users who want a simple intuitive word processor with the option of using more complicated features if, and only if they desire so. Having to find out what happens and then find and select the option ‘Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style’ is the world turned upside down. If I want such counter intuitive stuff to happen, I would be aware of that desire and would be perfectly happy to find out how to accomplish that. All sorts of automatic styling happens. When I manually produce a short list using - on subsequent lines, Libre Writer decides that another bullet is preferred and also automatically adds a tab. If I desire that, then I will look for a way to accomplish that. If I want a capital, I type a capital, if I don’t want a capital, then I simply use a lower case. I don’t want Libre Writer to automatically change a lower case when it deems in its infinite wisdom that a capital is preferred. Here too, I first have to find out how to deselect a setting in order to let Libre Writer behave as intuitively and as basic as possible. And then the page numbering system!; perhaps the best proof that the Libre Writer developers and I live in different universes.



… and why do you tell this other users of LibreOffice instead of creating a bug report?

Your question clearly exposes your frustration but lacks totally technical facts. Elementary items to provide are:

  • OS name
  • LO version
  • format you save your file in (.doc(x) or *.odt)

No task in modern office suite is basic or straightforward.

You didn’t tell how you laid out your multi-column table (2-column page or table). I assume from a modest sentence it is a table. Describe the structure of this table. You should have one row per Latin paragraph, thus column alignment is automatic.

I bet you’re trying to align the columns with empty paragraphs. This is guaranteed to fail (and you noticed it).

Are you working with styles? Not only paragraph styles but also character styles. This will facilitate your task (once you have discovered what styles are).

Please do not use Add Answer but edit your original question to enhance the details of your question (answers are reserved for solutions to a problem on this Q&A site).

If you use ODT, and your document changes in any way after reload, this is a bug. You need to file it, making sure that you provide every small detail needed to reproduce the problem. E.g., you could provide a template ODF with empty 2-column table, and the exact text that one needs to copy and paste there; you need to tell exactly which copy/paste method you used (keyboard combination/menu item); which application was the source (e.g., specific version of a browser); your LibreOffice and OS versions (as you did in an edit of your question here).

And before all that, make sure that the problem exists in a current version of LibreOffice. Version 6.0 is much outdated, no matter if it’s some distro’s version. Try with 7.0 or 7.1 before filing the bug.


It is not clear from your update what the final destination is. It looks like you want to create HTML pages. This adds the HTML rendering rules in the way.

I seem to understand that your table cells contain several paragraphs. This is not the direction to guarantee alignment.

You’re likely using manual formatting instead of styles.

For further diagnostic, provide a 1-page sample file. Edit your question and use the “paperclip” tool to attach the file. You can’t attach to a comment.

What is “intuitive” in high-tech? This word has resulted in features you complaint about: the auto-correct device is one of them because it is requested by a vast majority of casual users. And it is basically wrong. I have fully disabled it.

You seem to not understand that HTML adds its own idiosyncrasies to Writer. When your document is displayed in a browser, spaces and returns are handled per HTML standard, i.e. consecutive ones are merged into a single occurrence.

To compensate this, I told you to create a multi-row table: one row per Latin paragraph (or sentence). This is the only way to guarantee alignment. It will behave like pencil-and-paper.

Also, make sure you don’t confuse paragraph break Enter and line break Shift+Enter. Only paragraph break could help you (provided HTML doesn’t play its own tricks afterwards).

While waiting for the necessary details, here is a partial potential fix for your unwanted changes.

Tools>AutoCorrect>AutoCorrect Options, Options tab contains a collection of automatic text transformations for the statistical most common “errors” or procedures coming from “bad” (i.e. inherited from other applications) habits.

Three are of interest in your case because you obviously don’t format with styles:

  • Delete spaces and tabs at beginning and end of paragraph
  • Delete spaces and tabs at end and start of line
  • Remove blank paragraphs

The latter may be responsible for your mis-alignment if you sync your columns with empty paragraphs.

Another one is of secondary interest: Combine single line paragraphs if length greater tan 50%.

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