Heading style levels

I need to set Heading 2 as a heading style for all chapters, but the outline level option is greyed out. My thesis is due for review this week, and don’t think I have enough time to learn how to create a style from scratch. If there is a way to unlock the greyed out option this would be a real life-saver. What I’m after is uniform level and sublevel headings, with the same style so I can just update the ToC. Oh and I’m interested to know why this is greyed out…Doesn’t make ANY SENSE AT ALL!
PS: I’m using LO on Windows 7

It’s a bit odd, but you don’t set the outline level in the paragraph style dialog window. Instead select Tools - Chapter Numbering and set it there.

I’m just wondering what you use Heading 1 for if not for a chapter heading, because it’s the default style for it.

You should use the style sheets / paragraph styles. It’s so easier on the fly. They are in the sidebar on the right. There are the paragraph templates heading 1-10.

Use paragraph templates: Place the cursor in the line containing e.g. Heading_2 and double click on the paragraph template “Heading_2”, etc.

Paragraph styles can also be changed: Right-click a paragraph’s root and select “Change …”. Change the paragraph template according to your wishes and save it with OK.

Here you can find the documentation for Writer:


As indicated by ebot and floris v, the outline numbering is set by using Tools → Chapter numbering. The fact that you see the level option in the “outline & numbering” tab of the paragraph style grayed out means that the level is already assigned in that menu.

The “level” option in the paragraph style can be used to set additional styles for each level. For example, if you want to create “appendixes” at the same level of chapters, but with different formatting and numbering.

The Heading n style family is a bit special. It is not made of “ordinary” paragraph styles. Internally LO Writer knows they are intended for outline headings. Note you can define your own paragraph styles to participate in outline numbering, but those are offered “out-of-the-box” for this purpose, without the need of defining ones.

Since they are a bit special, as mentioned above, LO Writer forbids to create a mess through the style settings. This explains why the Outline level is grayed out. The special aspect of the family is managed through Tools>Outline Numbering (or Chapter Numbering in recent versions) as a whole, i.e. you also set the relationship between levels here (mainly the number of components and the style of these in the numbering). Doing so in this specialised dialog avoids having to fiddle with the individual styles of the family, which is really inconvenient and not user-friendly if you revamp your numbering.

You have to go through this pain if you add your own outline styles, for example if you need different sequences like numbers for main text chapters and letters for appendices. But this is advance Writer use and I don’t think you’re presently ready for that.

As Writer is released, Heading 1 is intended for chapters (as @floris_v remarked) with the rest of the family for deeper headers (sub-chapters, sections, …). One reason I could see for Heading 2 as chapter style would be using Heading 1 for a more global structure than chapter, like “Book” in a complex document about various semi-independent topics. It would call for particular numbering structure but it is perfectly legitimate. All Heading n are collected to build the TOC and the layout for the levels in the TOC are controlled by Contents n style family. Thus Content 1 can be configured to center the heading of Heading 1 if it relates to a book and all other Content n left aligned for chapters and sections (Heading n n>1).

In your case, don’t mix document structure and appearance. Follow a strict organisation of ideas, topics or subjects giving the headings the correct Heading n: all Heading 2 are sub-parts of the preceding Heading 1, the same for 3 vs. 2, etc. If you want all headings look the same, edit the various paragraph styles so that they have the same characteristics. This way, if your reviewers ask for differentiation, you don’t need to restyle your headings, you only change the paragraph styles. It is fast, convenient and versatile.

A last remark: Heading n as built-in are not that great, yes, but provide a fair first step towards nice looking document, kind of trade-off between the diverging expectations of all LO users. Obtaining a breath-cutting look is a matter of style optimisation requiring artistic skills and this is usually not compatible with hot deadlines.

EDIT 2018-08-26 to answer questions in comment below

You don’t assign styles in Tools>Outline Numbering/Chapter Numbering because styles are already assigned: Heading 1 for level 1, Heading 2 for level 2, …

What you want, in fact, is to make the appearance (= how they display) “uniform”. Since I’m not sure what you mean with uniform, I’d interpret it as “consistent”, eventually i"identical" (though typographical tradition makes the font size decrease when level increases).

Display the styles side pane with F11. Right-click on the Heading n you want to customise and choose Modify from the pop-up menu. Make all the desired changes and click OK. Magically, the changes apply at once to all paragraphs used the style.

In case you want all Heading n identical, there is a trick to make Heading 2-10 all derive from Heading 1. If carefully done (no overriding property in any Heading 2-10), any change in Harding 1 automatically propagates to the others. It is not that difficult but I don’t think you’re ready yet for this power usage due to your hot deadline.

Thanks for all the replies.
Heading 1 is used for the main chapter titles from my school’s thesis template by default and Heading 2 for the subchapters, but as it is an engineering thesis it has to be uniform but not fancy.
In the Chapter Numbering menu I cannot assign any style to more than 1 level this time and at the 1-10 option I can’t even select styles but at least now it makes some sense.
How can I duplicate a style or how do I eventually create a style I can use for all levels?