How to overtype using a different color font

Hi, using Writer, I am creating typing practice documents. I have faint, grayed out text pasted in the document, and I want to overtype (insert key) using black text.

The problem is the font color changes back to the grayed out color automatically.

So far I’ve tried pasting the grayed out text, moving the cursor to the beginning of the doc, changing the font color, then typing. I’ve also tried adding some spaces to the beginning of the doc, changing the spaces to black font color, then typing. In this method, the text (that overwrites the spaces) DOES appear black, but then the font color changes back to gray automatically once the cursor reaches the gray text.

Any ideas? Thanks!

@windexian ,

Your description suggests that you use Writer like a typewriter.
However, you don’t describe how you try to color text, but I suspect you use direct formatting. This approach leads to some clutter and large documents (kB).

In order to format your text clearly, you should definitely use Styles.
With this the change of e.g. text color is an easy procedure.
For this it is however necessary that you deal with the topic format Styles or learn it.

Professional text composition with Writer

English documentation

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Thank you very much for your assistance.

I think using Insert is doomed to fail as it uses the existing text formatting.

You might do better with two identical frames side-by-side, one with the text to copy and one empty to fill. Missing or extra letters should change the flow making it easy to see a mistake. Incorrect letters could be checked by crossing your eyes until you see three frames, any differences should be seen as a shimmer at the error(s) in the middle frame.

I do these frequently, but there are many people that find this so difficult.
Although I thought that it is good not to look at the text writen but on the original.

I find no way to do that. Setting a space before the text in a character style, and in Insert mode, when do you type, the space remains as it was, also the text. The character style in the space do not extend to the following text.


Thank you @LeroyG for articulating what I could not!

Attached see my document for typing exercise.

When students do their typing exercise some of them prefer that kind of Writer document, others prefer Tipp10. It is easy to prepare documents for Writer as well as for Tipp10, but it takes some time… I always try to give them interesting themes and regularly don’t use given text templates. The attached English text was pretty difficult for the German students, despite it is a simple text and topic, but not for language learners on level B1 (minority B2).

HowTheFirTreeBecameTheChristmasTree_Concept.odt (31.9 KB)
HowTheFirTreeBecameTheChristmasTree_Exercise.odt (549.4 KB)

How-to: step by step

Text edition

  • Check the original text; if downloaded from the internet there could be some specific problems for spelling like quotation marks and inverted commas. Check as well hyphens and dashes.

  • Copy text as unformatted into a Writer document. If necessary change some glyphs as above mentioned. Consider to use or not Tools | AutoCorrect | [ ]While typing

  • Apply paragraph style Text body to the entire text. Alter Text body style: monospace font (like Courier New) regular; spacing below paragraph; text flow: hyphenation yes or no; monospace (German: dicktengleich) is better for counting line by line, if requested…

  • Create two frames, one for format information, one for character count. Anchor to page (or to paragraph or to paragraph in header); wrapping: through.

  • Upper frame: Apply Text body paragraph style. Write down format information, if required or necessary.

  • Frame on the right hand: Count the characters. Apply Text body paragraph style. Add LineFeeds and CarriageReturns as seen in the main text. Then successively select parts of the text (status bar shows amount of selected characters) and insert in right hand frame.

  • If necessary add Pilcrow glyph to the end of each paragraph ¶ (Unicode U+00b6). You may use FIND&REPLACE, regular expressions. FIND:.* REPLACE: $1¶

  • Now the edition of text and other information has ended.

  • Save the file. Don’t close.

Preparing the page background

  • Edit the paragraph style: Set font color to red (or other color).

  • Export page to PNG file: Menu File | Export… | png

  • While exporting you can alter the resolution to 300 dpi (eventually; if it fits better).

  • Edit the paragraph style: Set font color back to black/default.

  • Save the file, close it.

  • To diminish the file size of the png file reduce its colors to 8 (XnView, IrfanView, GIMP can do that).

Preparing the exercise file

  • Copy the Writer file and rename sensible.

  • Open this exercise file and delete the frames and erase the entire text.

  • Alter the paragraph style to BOLD font.

  • Import the png file: Menu Format | Page style | Area | Image | Image Add/Import | (saved PNG file) | Options: Stretched

  • LibreOffice 7.x version: Menu Format | Page style | Page | Layout settings | [x] Background covers margins.
    Note: LibreOffice up to 6.x can’t do that (easily) as well as OpenOffice. MS Word 10 cannot read the page background.

  • Save file. Now it is finished.

  • Open exercise file again and have a test.

Export options for Tipp10

If needed I can give some pieces of advice.

@Grantler your document is exactly what I want to make! May I ask how to create this?

Wow, thank you for typing all this for me! It’s perfect. Thank you so much!!

@Grantler I ran into a problem. When I export the text to PNG (under “Preparing the page background” section), the new PNG image has text as black color, rather than the red. I’m not sure why. I tried checking and unchecking various boxes like “Save transparency”, “Interlaced”, etc. but the same thing happens. Have you encountered this?

Sorry, I can’t confirm your proceeding’s results.
Download my sample file (now renamed as HowTheFirTreeBecameTheChristmasTree_Concept.odt); only alter the font color by using the Text body paragraph style (Styles → Paragraph styles → Text body → Modify → Font effects → Font color → alternate color → Apply → OK). Even without caching (saving) the file you may export this page into raster graphics like PNG or JPG. The text will have changed its color from black to alternate color.
I tried this on two machines on LinuxMint OS, versions 7.4.x, 7.3.x and 7.2.x.

If your LibreOffice can’t produce these colored exports so the remedies could be…:

  • try out in safe mode or rename/delete the current user profile
  • import the raster graphics in Draw and change there the color using menu Tools → color replacer. GIMP could do that as well.

For this purpose I don’t apply above mentioned properties.