How do I change default paper settings from "letter" to "A4"?

LIbreOffice came pre-installed on my Kingdel Ubuntu pc. I cannot find any settings to change the default paper size to the standard UK size, which is A4. I need all settings to be be set to UK norms as a default.
Please advise

I can’t believe this is still an issue. I’ve recently reinstalled. My locale is Ireland but LibreOffice still thinks I want to use Letter size paper. Yes, I can edit the template, but what’s the point of setting a locale if the program ignores it?

Create a new default template with an A4 page and save it.

From the AOO manual:

*Setting a default template

If you create a document by choosing File > New > Text Document from the main menu, Writer creates the document from the Default template for text documents. You can, however, set a custom template to be the default. You can reset the default later if you choose.

Setting a custom template as the default

You can set any template to be the default, as long as it is in one of the folders displayed in the Template Management dialog box. If necessary, you can add the template to a folder as described in “Importing a template” on page 300.

To set a custom template as the default:

  1. From the main menu, choose File > Templates > Organize. The Template Management dialog box (Figure 294) opens.
  2. In the box on the left, select the folder that contains the template that you want to set as the default, then select the template.
  3. Click the Commands button and choose Set as Default Template from the drop-down menu.

The next time that you create a document by choosing File > New > Text Document, the document will be created from this template.

Although many important settings can be changed in the Options dialog (see Chapter 2), for example default fonts and page size, more advanced settings (such as page margins) can only be changed by replacing the default template with a new one.

Resetting Writer’s Default template as the default

To re-enable Writer’s Default template as the default:

  1. In the Template Management dialog box (Figure 294), select any folder in the box on the left.
  2. Click the Commands button and choose Reset Default Template > Text Document from the drop-down menu.

The next time that you create a document by choosing File > New > Text Document, the document will be created from Writer’s Default template.*

@JohnHa: does not LO take its default paper size from the printer definition? In which case, changing the settings in the printer (OS-wide) will propagate to all apllications.

@ajlittoz: no; rather, it uses locale to decide on default paper size.

@mikekaganski: Thanls for the answer; locale is also an OS-wide parameter.

Perhaps LO changes its interface too often? This is less than a year after this post was written. There’s no link to the “AOO Manual” (what’s that?), so I can’t check to see if it has been updated.

  • There are no folders listed in the template management dialog box.
  • There’s no “Organize” under File > Templates. There is a “Manage Templates” option, but there aren’t any templates listed. I certainly saved my template in the wrong place, but I don’t have any way to know the right place.

@VinceAggrippino: Well, perhaps you were misinformed, and so made to believe into what is not correct.

The “AOO manual” is the manual for Apache OpenOffice, and it may well be out-of-date with LibreOffice interface for long ago. Still, the answer isn’t entirely useless, because even if some interface details might be wrong, the principle is clear, and is useful for those who are more accustomed to our interface, and may figure the correct UI from the loose description.

This process is not working on the recent LibreOffice. Why is there not a place to simpley choose default paper size, margins, etc.! Entered 2020-September.

Please check that you locale (Tools-Options-Language Settings-Languages) is set properly. E.g., for English (USA), the default page size if Letter, while for English (UK) it’s A4.

It’s worth doing this as an initial diagnostic step, but in my case, my locale settings are correct as checked from the command line and within Gnome 3. Other GUI applications under my desktop environment work correctly - the printer default is set correctly, and I can print, by default, in A4, from every application other than LibreOffice.

Under LibreOffice, the print dialogue to change the paper format is greyed out. I think this is a bug in LibreOffice.

Another option is that you could set a default template with defined page size.

Please notice that system printer settings shouldn’t mean anything to applications like Writer.

Note that the whole concept of default page sizes, just as default date settings, is broken in LibreOffice, just as it is in Linux, Android, and a host of other OS’s, applications, and printer drivers.
It is always assumed that paper sizes and date settings a user needs strictly follow from their choice of either location or language.
This is of course not always the case, and especially in case of “US English” this is /very often/ not the case, as many people [FUCK INSANE CHARACTER LIMITATION]

Note that the whole concept of expectation that any default page size not explicitly set by user could fit everyone, is broken in those who think that. And LibreOffice allows user to set the defaults explicitly - by using templates, or adjusting the locale settings in the application independently of system settings if user wants. It’s funny how some people make broad statements about something being broken.

My locale is set correctly (and is the same as when I installed), but I still get Letter size.

My locale is set correctly

… but I don’t tell you which is that, or which is my OS… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

See also FAQ.

The locale must be set to “English (UK)” not “Default - English(UK)”. I’ve set the user interface to the same, but not sure if that is necessary.

The proper way to set the paper size on Linux systems is to tell your system or user environment, not have workarounds in LibreOffice. The paper size is used that the command paperconf gives in the environment LibreOffice was started in.
man paperconf
man papersize
File /etc/papersize Contains the name of the system-wide default paper size to be used if the PAPERSIZE and PAPERCONF variables are not set.
Environment variable PAPERCONF Full path to a file containing the paper size to use.
Environment variable PAPERSIZE Paper size to use regardless of what the papersize file contains.
Environment variable LC_PAPER Locale’s paper size to use if none of the above, not even /etc/papersize, is set.