Formatting of pasted text in Writer

After the last update (from 7.0 to, when I paste plain text onto a portion of selected text, the resulting text does not receive the formatting of the selected text, but rather that of the surrounding text, or a mix of both.
For example, suppose I have something like this:

[boldface text][underlined text][italic text]

if I select the first part, in boldface, and then paste some plain text over it, the result is:

[boldface underlined pasted text][underlined text][italic text]

instead of

[boldface pasted text][underlined text][italic text]

which, as I understand, is the normal behaviour in other word processors and in previous versions of LO. Is that a bug, or has it been changed on purpose? Can I change that behaviour in the options?


To correctly answer your question, more information is needed. How do you “decorate” (bold, underline, italic, …) your text? With toolbar buttons or their equivalent keyboard shortcuts? Or with Character styles?

Writer is built around styles and offers direct formatting only to cope with routine forced by other document processors and also to allow for quick and dirty experimentation. Pasting over direct formatting always adds difficulties to the usual “surprises” of direct formatting.

What you experience depends not only on the current formatting context at both ends of the selected areas but also on the type of text you paste. It is plain text only if it comes from a basic text editor. Anything else, including what is copied from websites, has some kind of formatting annotation which adds to the “surprises”.

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Thank you for the response!
The issue happens with direct formatting, either by clicking on the toolbar or via keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+B for bold &c.). And I always make sure I am pasting really pure, unformatted text, either by using “Special Paste” or by first pasting the text into a pure text area, such as the browser’s address bar or a simple text editor (such as Bluefish), then copying again and pasting into the document.
By the way, I’m on linux (Debian, latest version).

Here is a video I made, showing the issue in a recent version of LO, and, for comparison, what happens in a different word processor - in this case, Google Docs - , which is what has always been the normal behaviour as far as I can tell.

I first paste unformatted text onto each section (boldface, regular text, italic); after that, I copy the whole formatted text and paste it right after the original text.

Unfortunately your video is of little help. It could have a slightly higher value if you had turned on View>Formatting Marks to have an idea of the “environment”.

However, I think that the behaviour is the expecting one according to Writer rules (remember Writer is not a Word clone and has different founding pronciples).

When you paste unformatted text over a sequence of character, the applied formatting attributes are those in effect at beginning (left) of the sequence. Therefore when you paste over the middle sequence, you inherit attributes set at end of the left sequence, and so on.

There is no cure to close up on your expectation. Learn to work with styles, particularly character styles which doesn’t exist in Word. Styles provide a much more predictable and reliable formatting, provided you don’t overlay direct formatting. Mastering direct formatting, contrary to common belief, requires expert skills.

So, that’s what I was afraid of, it is not a bug. :confused:
But that is so weird, I’ve been working with word processors for over twenty years and the normal behaviour has always been to keep the formatting of the selected text, which seems just obvious and rational to me. I mean, if I have selected that specific text, it means I want to use the attributes of that specific portion of text, not those of any other part of the text that I have not selected. (always pasting unformatted text, as explained before; the formatting hell that results from pasting formatted text was one of the first things I learnt back then when I started using computers :sweat_smile:)

I know about styles and such, but I’m talking about very simple things, like copying a sentence (from the same document, usually even the same paragraph) where a verb has its ending highlighted, then changing only the stem or the ending of that verb to change the tense or the meaning of the sentence (I work mostly with language learning materials, such as grammars, manuals, lessons and exercises).

Btw, the last time I touched MS Word was over fifteen years ago :rofl:
The only thing I remember from it is the pain :weary:

What can be seen in the video 00:00 to 0:35 is the normal procedure in Writer.
The selected area continues to write with the formatting that is present before the selection.
I don’t remember it being any different.