How to delete multiple headers and footers in Libreoffice Writer

I have inherited a word.doc that I need to edit. The problem is that it has hundreds of different headers and footers. I want to get rid of them all so that I can apply one header and one footer to the whole document. How can I get rid of them without having to uncheck each individual in the insert–>header menu?

I tried just copying the entire document to the clipboard and pasting it into a new document, but that messes up all of the page and paragraph formatting.

Any suggestions appreciated.

M$ Word and LO Writer use different encodings to store documents. The file formats are based on different primitives. This means a conversion is necessary when reading the files and also when saving them in a foreign format.

If your goal is to change the footer/header and stay with .doc, give up. Word has no notion of page styles. When Writer sees a change in .doc header or footer, it creates a new page style even if the resulting one is strictly identical to a previous one. This can’t be done because the formatting in Word has no name and Writer can’t tell if this is an intentional reuse of a previous configuration or a new one, accidentally identical to the other. This sums up to one page style per page!

If you convert to .odt and work from there on in this native format, you may eventually fix the mess caused by .doc.

  • Start by creating your own page style or customize Default Page Style if you have only one page definition all over your document (header and footer are attributes of page styles).

  • Select the whole document. This step is important because the conversion process split it into several “independent” parts, each with its own page styles.

  • Apply the page style to the selection.

Save in .odt format otherwise you’ll have to periodically do the change again.

If you don’t know what a page style is and have no idea what it is used for, I recommend you read the Writer Guide, more specifically the chapters about styles.

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Oh, I am definitely converting to .odt! This will ultimately be exported as a .pdf.

I’m not sure what you mean by “apply the page style to the selection.” The first 2 pages are in the default style. When I selected the whole document and went to styles–>edit styles… and clicked “apply” nothing happened. i.e. the hundreds of headers and footers are still there.

Because Styles>Edit Style opens the configuration dialog for the currect paragraph style. Applying a page style is slightly different.

Display the style sidepane with F11 if not yet done. Click on the fourth icon from left in the style toolbar. This displays the page styles. For a general reset, double-click on Default Page Style.

This may not work because of “special” page breaks. If you meet this situation, you’ll have to reset every part (the group of pages under the same header/footer) one by one.

Then (or before page style reset), track the unintentional page breaks to remove them. By unintentional, I mean those created by the conversion process. Of course, keep those meaningful for you.

OK, I figured out how to do it. I just selected all the styles I didn’t want from the list and right-clicked to delete them. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Hello. I am attempted to also delete dozens of extra footer styles from a shared document. I can manually delete the footer from the document, but I can not delete the footer style. I have tried to right click and it asks me if I want to delete the footer, I say yes, but all it does it delete it from the page, not the style menu. I can see the styles in the F11 menu (but the individual footer styles are not there). I can see all the different footer styles in Insert> Header Footer> but can’t figure out how to delete them.

You don’t see paragraph styles here but page styles. When you click, you modify this page style configuration as if you had edited some tab in the style dialog.

I assume you’re talking about the paragraph style drop-down menu in the top toolbar. This menu is progressively populated with applied styles. You can’t act upon it directly. Removing styles from the document style dictionary is done in the side style pane (shown with F11 if not already visible). You can delete custom styles (built-in styles are protected) by right-clicking on the name and selecting the relevant item.

PS: I’m a bit surprised by “dozens of extra footer styles”. Do you really mean paragraph styles? This suggest a bad design in your document or a document originally created with M$ Word, stored as .doc(x), having gone through myriads of edit sessions with conversion to/from this alien format progressively damaging the structure.

If you can’t figure out how to fix your issue, attach a reduced sample file for analysis.

Your screenshot shows that your document has gone through myriads of conversion to/from DOCX and has been damaged beyond repair: each page has become independent with a hard page break at start to switch to a unique page style.

The only reliable cure to this is to copy the whole text and paste it as Unformatted Text in a blank document. After that, you restyle the text and you’re done.

Pasting as unformatted text worked. I will have to redo my bold text and such, but thank you.

While you redo the typographical variants, have a try to character styles such as Emphasis (italics) and Strong Emphasis (bold). This will give you a taste of “semantic styling” focusing on significance, not visual effect. Then if you thing that Emphasis should not be italic, but red underline, you only modify the character style to change every occurrence in the document. And word Emphasis is still logically relevant in your writing.

Display the style sidepane with F11 if not yet done. Click on the fourth icon from left in the style toolbar. This displays the page styles. Then use click and shift to highlight all the unwanted styles. Right click on the highlighted list to pop up a menu. Select “delete.”

Now all pages have the same header and footer.

Don’t delete the “unwanted” styles blindly. You might delete built-in styles you’d need to recreate. The stray “polluting” styles have a name like Converted123. You can delete these after resetting your headers/footers into Default Page Style. You should be left with ~10 styles. They don’t need a lot os space for their definition, so, keep them. The Converted123 indeed occupy a lot of space due to their number.

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