Homogenizing Paragraph Style Without Altering Text

Good afternoon. I’m using LibreOffice Writer on Windows 10.

I have compiled and meticulously laid out 32 pages of text from several other .ODT documents. This was to create a single unified document (“Document X”) that can simply be pasted into the body of other company .ODT files. However, various pages and paragraphs of Document X change bizarrely (massive font size, different font, paragraph spacing changes etc) once pasted into another .ODT file.

I’ve only just figured out the culprit must be all the different paragraph styles of the source .ODT documents I was compiling that seem to clash and unpredictably transmute, but only once pasted to a different .ODT document.

Is there a way to either
A.) paste Document X without the bizarre text transmutations, or
B.) somehow homogenize the paragraph styles of Document X without altering the careful layout (font, font size, emboldening)?

Or am I doomed to simply reset paragraph style to “Default Style” and recreate Document X’s entire 32-page layout?

Any guidance would help this novice out tremendously. (Also, thank you for being here in the first place.)

EDIT: clarity and correction of misused jargon

A.) paste Document X without the bizarre text transmutations, or

Paste special > Unformatted text. Is that what you want?

Or am I doomed to simply reset paragraph style to “Default Style” and recreate Document X’s entire 32-page layout?

I wouldn’t confirm your choice of words, but in the end it makes sense to reformat your document using only styles. See my comment below for a link that will help you with the redesign.

It boils down to deleting direct formatting throughout the text (or see also @gabix) and then applying styles to headings and text body.

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“I wouldn’t confirm your choice of words”

I admire your optimism, and hope you’ll forgive me taking poetic license :wink:

SOLUTION (what worked best for me anyways): select all text and go to Styles → New Style

This gave all text in my massive document a single homogenized paragraph style AND did not change bolding, font, or font size. This has allowed me to paste the entire text into other documents without the various paragraph styles (artifacts from the many sources of the document’s text) clashing and bizarrely changing themselves.

New people, always remember to cntrl+alt+shift+v to paste without formatting!

Thank you very much to everybody that replied and helped me out. You’re all very kind, and I believe model people for donating your time to making open source the far superior choice :slight_smile:

I have compiled and meticulously laid out 32 pages of text from disparate sources.

Taking over formats from other sources can always lead to unexpected results. From my point of view, this is not recommended.

Unfortunately, you do not reveal how you made your meticulous layout settings. I don’t see any way to verify your document at the moment.

In the end it is always better to insert text from other sources as unformatted text and then use existing or own styles in LibreOffice

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Good evening @Hrbrgr. Agreed on your first and third points; I’ve quite learned my lesson.

“Unfortunately, you do not reveal how you made your meticulous layout settings.” Line-by-line I’m afraid: manually changing font size to ensure text fits where it must, bolding important points where necessary etc.

“I don’t see any way to verify your document at the moment.” What sharing method would be most convenient for you? I should ask permission, but I’m sure I’ll be cleared to share at least a few pages.

An abbreviated and anonymized document, in which your statements can be reproduced, would be helpful.

To upload:
Click on the three dots ( … ) directly below your initial question.
Then click the pencil icon to edit your question.
In question edit mode, select the upload icon.
Select your file and click the Upload button.

I’ll try it in my words, when you edit “manually line by line” you mean direct formatting. E.g. the font and -size, bold, italic, underline symbols in the “Standard” toolbar.
If this is the case I would definitely advise against direct formatting. Direct formatting seems to be an easy choice at first. However, it makes it difficult to work professionally when you need to make changes. You then have to edit all the lines manually again and that is just annoying.
The king discipline is called formatting with styles. You will need a little more time to get used to it at first and eventually to create your own styles. After you have worked with it for some time, you will learn to appreciate it.

Read here how to apply styles:
Professional text composition with Writer

I wish you much success!


Quick and dirty recipe assuming a text with one title or more levels of headings:
How to apply a paragraph style: Use the box on the formatting toolbar or hit F11 for the stylist window. The first button in the top row of that window lists paragraph styles. The list box at the bottom of that window selects different views. I recommend “Hierarchical” for now.

  1. Check menu:View>Formatting Marks… in order to see your actual text including all line breaks and paragraph breaks.
  2. Select all text (Ctrl+A) and delete all hard formatting menu:Format>“Clear hard formatting” (Ctrl+M).
  3. Delete empty lines for consistent spacing between paragraphs. menu:Find&Replace… [Other Options], check “Regular Expressions”, Search for ^$ and replace with nothing.
  4. Select all text (Ctrl+A), apply paragraph style “Text body” to all of the text. Don’t care about the actual look right now. We do some “semantic formatting” for the moment. At least you should have uniform paragraphs with spacing.
  5. Click anywhere in the title and apply paragraph style “Title”.
  6. Select (multiple) paragraphs with first level headings (Ctrl+Dbl-Click words for multiple selection) and apply paragraph style “Heading 1”.
  7. Do the same as in 5) with any subheadings and “Heading 2” etc.

This should take less time than writing this instruction and makes everything a lot more easier since every paragraph has a semantic context now.

If you want to modify the text body, open the stylist window (F11), select named “Text body”, right-click>Modify… and change the formatting of all text bodies in one go. In the same way you modify any formatting attribute of any other style. The change applies to all paragraphs having the respective style.
In order to format snippets of selected text within paragraphs, click the second button in the stylist and have a look at character styles.

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We can’t emphasise enough that “standard” discourse should be formatted Text Body. Don’t use Default Paragraph Style as you would under M$ Word. @Villeroy only skims the subject by recommending to view the style collection as Hierarchical. In this mode, you see explicitly that Default Paragraph Style is the ancestor of all other styles. Any change you apply to it will forward to others. This is a convenient way to set common defaults for all styles but this confuses newbies in the beginning.

So use styles further down in the hierarchy to avoid cross interferences, like Heading n and Text Body.

When you have time, read the Writer Guide for an introduction to styles.

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This is a goldmine. Thank you, Villeroy!

First, welcome. In LibreOffice parlance, a template is a special document with a set of carefully configured styles, and possibly some default text or hints where certain text can be entered (like: Enter your title here, on a line formatted as Title). It’s not a catalog of formats for use in totally different documents.
I’ve done some stuff with copying various content from the Internet, and that invariably results in a mess. I’m not the only one. The same works, of course, when you paste content from other LibO documents with different formatting, possibly, to make things worse, with direct formatting as well.
So, what do you want? If you want a template for consistent formatting of letters, reports, memos and whatever else your office uses, you are really much better off with separate templates for each kind of document. But if you are talking about a catalog of standard texts that you need a lot, you should use the autotext feature of LibreOffice.


Thank you Floris, it’s very pleasant to be here.

Forgive me misusing “template”. I did not mean it in the technical sense you detailed, only that this .ODT document would be copy and pasted to many other .ODT documents.

“So, what do you want?”
For the contents of this .ODT document to have their paragraph style reset or somehow homogenized into a single style without altering the font, font size, or bold.

Thank you very much for your time, and for sharing your knowledge.

No problem, and I didn’t mean to scold you. It’s just that you get a lot of confusion when people use the same words with different meanings.
If you used the formatting toolbar, like @Hrbrgr suggested, you will definitely get the kind of problems that you describe.

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Once you have worked out some paragraph styles and general design decisions, you get a real template like this:
Save your document.
Delete all text except maybe some dummy text (placeholders ), date fields, page fields and content that should be present right from the start of a new document. Do NOT save this document yet. Save the document via menu:File>Template>Save… assign a template category and a name. Close the document.
From now on you simply call menu:File>New>Template… [Ctrl+Shift+N] and pick your template in order to get a new, unsaved document with all the prepared styles and contents. A template always generates a new instance of itself when you open it without being modified. In order to modify the template itself, you open it via menu:File>Template>Edit Template…