How to solve particular list need in style with features


I have a particular request for a problem that I would like to solve using the Libreoffice Writer features automatically, without making the repeated manual changes that a novice user would do.

I created a style called Summary. When I write within paragraphs associated to the Summary style I need that

  • every time I click the list button to create a new one it has a numbering 1,2,3 and has no horizontal indentation
  • each list must continue with the numbering concluded in the previous paragraph Summary
  • occasionally, I can manually change the numbering, for example although the previous paragraph Summary ended with an element that had the number 46, I can in the next paragraph restart (manually) from 49 instead of 47
  • all this must happen only within the Summary style

I hope I have explained well. Of course there are several possible ways, but I would like to know which is the best approach to take, that is the one that saves me time and does a job brilliantly.

Thank you very much

---- Edit Apr 11, 2021 ----

I have a new need.
I have written several acts from 1 to 36, all regularly in this sequence

[archival reference]
[act summary] (with style called Summary, automatically numbered)

Now I have to insert two acts that I need to (manually) enumerate 36A and 36B (or 36a and 36b) whose relevant contents must also appear in the alphabetical index (you can understand better by reading my other question alphabetical index referring to a different numbering than pages ).
Then I will restart with number 37.

What is the method that libreoffice offers me?

---- Edit Apr 12, 2021 —

Also consider that each act summary is level 3.
At the beginning of the book there is an index of acts (this is a TOC) in which I show all the summaries

1. [act 1 summary]
2. [act 2 summary]
36. [act 36 summary]
36A. [act 36A summary]

My need is to show the list as above. I tried to define a “Summary (2nd level)” style for the management of level 4 with numbering A, B, C … and then modified the aforementioned TOC so that it collects not only level 3, but also level 4. Very well, it works, but the problem is that in the summary after 36 appears A and not 36A. Are there other avenues that meet my need?

Here you can find a sample of my work. The book is written in italian, just go to Protocollo 1. Look at the sequence 1,2,3 (regular - “Sommario atto” style - level 3) and after A, B (“Sommario atto 2nd level” style - level 4). Then normally to act #4
sample for forum.odt

Thanks a lot

Since your design is a bit unconventional, attach a 1- or 2-page sample to your question (use the paperclip tool) so that I have a clear understanding of your styles and hierarchy… Getting 36A instead of A is a matter of tuning numbering, but I am a bit lost in your usage of levels.

just uploaded

Just quick preliminary observations before answering:

  • why did you use the toolbar button to create your numbered list? This direct formatting method has many defaults, notably in your case of non-contiguous list. Faultless funing formatting becomes more hazardous.

  • why did you use level 3 for the list items? They are not nested inside another list. Lists are totally independent from chapter numbering. Even if your “Protocollo 1” is a Heading 2, primary list items can (and should) be at list level 1 (because there is no relation between headings and lists).

Apparently, you messed the list hierarchy by assigning your “A” to level 1 while the “55” is at level 3.

In my book I used level 1 (Heading 1) for the book title. Level 2 (Heading 2) for chapters.
Some chapters (“Protocollo 1”, 2 and 3) contain the acts, which have an independent numbering, this is necessary to solve another aspect I’ve explained here alphabetical index referring to a different numbering than pages a-different-numbering-than-pages /

In the attachment I have reduced the text with the intention to semplify life for people have to help me. So act #55 became act #3. Acts #55a and #55b must become #3a and #3b. Then there will be act #4.

I would like to know what I did wrong, or what is the system to adopt.
Thanks again.

Unless you want the book title in the TOC, Heading 1 is intended for chapter headings. Book title has a dedicated paragraph style named Title.

Checking and debugging your sample file was quite long. See my (lengthy) answer and study the revised sample.

First of all, I thank you for the time you have dedicated to me, but I suggest you limit yourself to the problem I am presenting to you, don’t look at everything, it’s not necessary. Regarding the setting of the first page, for example, I’m not interested in defining a style that I use only once in all book, I do it manually without styles. Maybe some things I will understand in the future, I have only been using Writer for a few weeks.

I downloaded your attached file a few hours ago and I have to tell you that even now I don’t understand how you managed to create 4.A and 4.B after 3. I can’t reproduce it in my book.
Looking at my sample file, actually I need that after 3 there are 3.A and 3.B (not 4.A and 4.B), then start over from 4. Probably, your trick with the invisible paragraph (regesto invisible) is not needed because you are hiding 4, which I didn’t ask.

if you pay attention to my sample file, you will find that in your sample file there are things doesn’t work as I want…

I add this comment to clarify that I appreciate your help, but in my opinion you should review what you’ve done, because in my sample file (with poor settings but works for me) I’ve achieved results that I don’t intend to lose. Please, restart from my sample and solve only point 4, rest is ok.

Let’s go in order.

  1. In standard TOC called “Indice” you have entered the links that I don’t want.

  2. In TOC called “Indice dei regesti” I must have a trivial list made like this:

    1. summary act #1
    2. summary act #2

      (You have reviewed this TOC and introduced links that I don’t want)
  3. Each act description is preceded by a few lines with a gray border on the left. You have entered a space, the border isn’t continuous as before.

  4. I asked you to have act 3A and 3B (or 3.A and 3.B is fine) after act 3 and before act 4. Therefore I must have in sequence 1, 2, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5 but you created …3, 4A, 4B, 5

  5. Alphabetical index called “Indice dei luoghi” no longer works.

  1. I didn’t intentionally modified your “indice” TOC. This is likely the consequence of my investigation when I righ(-clicked on it to Edit Index. My default settings may have done this addition. Apologies.

  2. I did extensive changes in “Indice dei registri” and again I suppose my default settings came into play.

It is quite easy to fix: delete LS and LE in the structure lines.

However, are you sure you didn’t create the hyperlinks? I downloaded again the sample file and the hyperlinks are already there. This may be a by-product of the preparation of the sample file on your side.

Point 3

Border merging is quite erratic in Writer. It looks like border attributes are not well inherited by dependent styles (thanks for making me learn this aspect). The slightest difference in the settings causes the borders to be separated by a non configurable space.

I worked again on the styles and the issue is fixed. Due to this unspecified behaviour, you need to tune both Sommario regesto and Riferimento atto, though the latter is a descendant of the former (adjusting the border in the ancestor should be sufficient). I think this is a bug. I’ll report it when I have time to characterize it.

Point 4

Your specification was not clear on this requirement and I didn’t understand the act numbers. Your sample has an act 3 and requests creation of acts 55a and 55b.

Anyway, I just remove the dummy hidden paragraph and this should give what you intend.

By the way, enable View>Formatting Marks and Tools>Options, LibreOffice Writer>View Hidden text and Hidden Paragraphs in Display fields to be able to see on screen (it does not change printing) the tricky formatting if you haven’t yet enabled them.

Point 5

This is the most difficult issue. The changes I made to “normalize” formatting and act numbering removed Sommario regesto from Tools>Chapter Numbering and the act number could no longer be captured.

I modified Sommario regesto to set it under Tools>Chapter Numbering control (I assigned it to level 8, not knowing if you use levels 3+ for subchapters; it is easy to change). Unfortunately, unlike lists, you can’t assign the same paragraph style to several levels. I then recreated *Sommario regesto (2nd level) for the 9.Z acts and assigned it level 9.

But inserting your Sommario xx in the chapter numbering hierarchy has a bas consequence for you: you can’t uniquely number the acts. The number is reset whenever you switch to another chapter. As an example I added an act in “Protocollo 2”. Its automatic number is 1 because “Protocollo 2” is a Heading 2 which causes all higher Heading n to reset.

(to be continued)


The solution is perhaps to invert my initial proposal: keep your acts in Tools>Chapter Numbering, at levels 1 & 2, i.e. Heading 1 and Heading 2 now and use specific paragraph styles which an associated list style (Numbering 1) for your chapters and subchapters. These paragraph styles are assigned an outline level so that they are captured in the TOC.

Updated sample file (without this last proposal which implies a restyling of your chapter headings and a reconfiguration of your various TOCs – but this is quite fast).

I’m looking at your latest file, it’s almost perfect.
Hyperlinks can be handy, so I keep them, but I want to hide them because you don’t want to see any blue text or underlined text in the book. Therefore, I believe that the right solution is to change the style called Internet Link. Did I act correctly?
I have also modified the Indice dei regesti to match my tastes.
Look at my edits from your last file. sample for forum 2.odt

There is only one thing left to fix. The first act of Protocollo 2 must have the number 5 and must resume the numbering terminated in the previous chapter (Protocollo 1). Does your system allow me the opportunity to (manually) jump from act # 7 to act # 10? Or should I create them and make them invisible?


I don’t understand how the hyperlinks are highlighted. There is no such thing on my side. Maybe a screenshot may help

Continuous act numbering is possible but I need to think about it. The difficulty comes from the fact you are trying to use a single numbering sequence (Tools>Chapter Numbering) for 2 independent “collections”: chapters and acts. Formally two list styles are needed, but as you noticed there are “glitches”. If your alphabetical index only ever references act numbers and no chapter number at all, it is possible at the cost of a “dirty trick”. I experiment and report back here.

Autonumbering is continuous. You can’t have holes in the sequence. At best, you can restart at one. So, as you guessed, the solution is to insert hidden items. I hope you don’t need to jump from 12 to 345.

my new sample file

In my previous comment I wrote that the solution to be adopted for hyperlinks is to change the Internet Link style. I think I was wrong, because the solution to choose is to modify and edit the index and apply Default style to the entries (E).

I will create two alphabetical indexes (now you see only one) that collect different types of items, but both refer only to act numbers (I confirm) .

I configured the styles for your purpose but there is still a problem.

I removed Heading 1-3 from Tools>Chapter Numbering. It looks like you don’t use auto-numbering: Introduzione is not numbered and Protocolli are manually numbered. They are now at outline level Text Body. Since you “manually” collect your outline with Assign Styles, the main TOC is not changed.

Sommario xx are at chapter numbering 1 and 2. They are collected as “standard” TOC in “Indice dei regesti”. I took the liberty to slightly alter the structure and customised Contents 1 and Contents 2. CAUTION! these changes also apply to the main TOC. I suggest you assign separate styles to both TOCs so that you can tune one without messing the other.
Alphabetical index is unchanged.

The non-continuous numbering seems to be caused by some internal bookmark set by LO. I had to type a fresh #5 before the faulty 1 and delete it.

The remaining problem is the page header.

(to be continued)

[…] By exchanging the roles of Sommario xx and Heading n field Document>Chapter points now onto Sommario which is not what you want. If there are not too many chapters, you can create one page style per chapter so that you can have a different header content.

As you already manually force page breaks between chapters (instead of creating them automatically from Heading 2 paragraph style in Text Flow), I think it does not matter.

In order to insert a cross-reference to chapter heading, the heading must be numbered. Thus I associated Heading 1-2 with Numbering 123. The exact formatting of the list item is not important because it will not be displayed. Its character style os Invisibile. But the hidden attribute is not taken into account (perhaps yet another bug). So I set font size to 2 pt (the absolute minimum) and transparency to 100%. I needed to modify the main TOC structure line to avoid showing this number.

I inserted a cross-reference to “Protocollo 1” in …

… the first chapter and let you create the required pages styles for the other chapters.

Here is the revised sample file

I saw your latest file. Thank you for your latest technical explanations, but maybe some details I don’t even notice. What is important to me are two things.

  1. make the best use of the program’s features to meet my particular needs;
  2. once the book is printed (I can already see it in the print preview) it must look exactly how I want it.

So, let’s go to the last two problems (I hope) I’ve seen.

  1. I inserted some test acts and unfortunately I noticed that “Indice dei regesti” TOC also shows the acts to which I have assigned the invisible style. Therefore I guess the invisible style only works on the main text.
  2. In the header of the left page I have to show the book title and I am using the Title property, as you suggested. In the header of the right page I have to show the title of what I consider chapters, those that in your file reflect Numbering 123 (level 1), for example “Protocollo 1”. Before with the chapter field it was possible, now I don’t know how to do it.