Efficient versioning in Libreoffice Writer?

I am looking for an efficient way to retain prior versions of Writer ODT documents. Currently I know to options:

For .odt files. The File > Versions feature allows storing, viewing, and comparing versions of a document. Downside: Each version is a complete copy of the file; if the file is 300 KB, every version increases the size by another 300 KB. This is unsustainable, especially for fine-grained versioning, and has many disadvantages over just keeping around old copies of the file.

For .fodt files. Being flat XML files, git can be used to version them efficiently. While short-term slightly larger (about factor 3 for me), it allows fine-grained versioning without too much wasted storage. Downside: Complete lack of integration with the GUI.

Is there some way to combine the benefits of both?

I have looked for a user-friendly solution to this for ages to no avail. Even the XML (*.fodt) + git idea is not practical because there are two layers in a Writer document: text + formatting and both interact in a non-orthogonal way (for example, styles are internally renumbered when some are added or deleted which changes visually the XML – internal reference id to styles – in many parts without a real change in semantics, leading to false patches in git).

And File>Versions has a prohibitory flaw for me: if you back up to a previous version, all versions after the one you backed up to are lost. So, if you did it only to check the state, you are in trouble.


@Villeroy: thanks for the link, but IMHO this doesn’t answer the question because it creates a full copy of the document each time.
I don’t know for @KlausB, I personally look for a procedure/system/application where I can manage documents the same as with git: possibility to create branches, merge branches, start from anywhere in the version tree, …

@ajlittoz That would be my approach too, mostly. For formal documents, I’d use LyX or plain LaTeX. But both are inconvenient for day-to-day note-taking, though LyX comes close. There are Markdown editors that come close (e.g. Typora), but they generally suffer from a lack of standardization of the language, inability to cross-reference content and bibliographies, etc. Additionally, generally pasting images is a pain; if the solution even supports it (LaTeX editors typically don’t), there is still the aspect of having to manually delete no-longer-needed content.

For the most part, a properly configured ODT file turns out better, but versioning is a sore point.

Well, that brings [Tutorial] Some useful hints on using images into my mind because of

  1. Always insert photos by Insert > Picture > From file …, or by dragging the photo JPG file from your PC (not from the web - see 13) into Writer.
    Never insert photos or JPG files by copy and paste. Never - not even once … but see below.

I’m not sure how many issues have been resolved in LibreOffice though.

Some need to be resolved on FF side :wink:

Not related. I was describing the issues of what does not make for a good workflow in LaTeX editors / LyX, pasting images works great in LibreOffice. It is one of the reasons I am using it for these tasks.