Is my default style corrupt? Text Body and Default Paragraph getting mixed together

If I open a new Writer document (default template) and start to type, the text goes in as Default Paragraph style. If I then insert a heading such as Heading 1 or Heading 2 etc, the follow-on style is Text Body, so the next paragraphs have that style instead. If I then do some cut and paste from before and after the heading, I get a right old mess of some paras Default Paragraph, some Text body.

The big question is how I can get either all Text Body or all Default Paragraph?

The simplest thing would be to modify the default template to start with a Text Body para, and I can do that, but it seems weird to need to modify the default template. Could it be corrupt? If so, where can I download a correct and where do I copy it to on my machine?

The problem is longstanding. I just installed LO and nothing any better. I don’t want to totally uninstall LO and re-install from zero.

A related question is how Default Paragraph and Text Body are related, and is it possible to make them automatically identical? They are very different. So it’s possible there is a corruption of default style from a long time ago, though I am also interested how they theoretically relate.

All suggestions appreciated!

Is my default style corrupt?

I don’t think so.

A related question is how Default Paragraph and Text Body are related,…

Professional text composition with Writer

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A few pointers, but please also read Hrbrgr’s post and the link in it.

  • The default template is just that: a template that you can use for a variety of documents. In some of them, you will start with a title, formatted as Heading 1 or Title, in others, you may want to start with plain text, formatted as Body Text. You decide! Therefore, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a template start with any fixed paragraph style.
  • When you copy formatted text from one paragraph to a blank paragraph, it will also copy the paragraph style that you copied from, IIRC. But you can, with Ctrl+0, apply the Text Body style.
  • All paragraph styles in LibreOffice are derived from Default Paragraph (except that one, of course), and modified according to need. For more about that, please read the link in Hrbrgr’s post.
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Thank you everyone. That’s solved the difficulty.

When Writer starts up under the default template (which is in fact empty!), it has absolutely no idea about what you want to do. Consequently, it enables the only paragraph style guaranteed to exist at this moment: Default Paragraph Style which inherits various attributes from Tools>Options, LibreOffice Writer>…

I admit this is not smart at all because Writer is already loaded from factory with numerous styles that developers thought were “universal”. However, they have nothing sacred and can be replaced with whatever configuration you want (apart from the fact that they have been flagged as not deletable).

As you point out, starting with Text Body would have been better from a user point of view. But Text Body is not hard-wired anywhere in the code.

Paragraph styles can be linked to each other through an attribute named Next Style. This is what happens when you use one of Heading n. Since their intended usage is heading and heading are usually a single paragraph, their Next Style property is set to Text Body for user convenience.

You have nevertheless a handy shortcut to force Text Body when you start typing in a blank document: Ctrl+0 (zero). And Heading 1 to 4 are hooked to Ctrl+1 to 4.

Paragraph styles can be derived from each other. A derived style inherits the attributes of its immediate ancestor and overrides only a few of them, so that when non-overridden attributes are changed higher in the inheritance line, this change is also propagated to the derived style(s).

Default Paragraph Style is the basic paragraph style, the ultimate ancestor of all other styles. It is used to set shared attributes. Modify it to set your own defaults, but never use it for typing any text.

Text Body is a direct descendant of Default Paragraph Style. Usually it differs from it by the spacing above and below distances, sometimes by the indents. Text Body has itself descendants, like Hanging Indent with a left indent and negative first line indent so that the first line extends left of paragraph body.

Yes and no. As already mentioned, Default Paragraph Style has a “technical” role of setting defaults for your documents. These defaults apply to all other styles (unless overridden specifically). So, it is not desirable to make Text Body an alias for Default Paragraph Style. This would break many internal mechanisms.

But, you can make them functionally equivalent by modifying Text Body. Open Text Body paragraph style configuration dialog and press Reset to Parent button in every tab. This will erase any override made in the style. But it will also impact all styles which are descendants of Text Body, notably the List family (List n and Numbering n).

To have an idea of the hierarchy between styles, select Hierarchical from the bottom drop-down menu in the side stylepane.


The best thing to do is to design your own default template.

Open a new document. Modify or create new styles as you like. [Don’t try to change the Default Paragraph Style however.] When setting up paragraph styles, be sure to set Next style in the Organizer tab to the style you want your next paragraph to be. For example, you would probably want a paragraph using a Text Body paragraph style to be followed by another paragraph using a Text Body paragraph style. You would probably want a Heading paragraph style to be followed by a paragraph using a Text Body paragraph style.

Once you’ve designed your styles, set the first line of your template to the style you want to use when starting your document such as a Title.

Then, instead of going to File>Save As, go to File>Templates>Save As Template. Give the template a name such as My Default Template. Choose a Template Category. Check the Set as default template checkbox. Click Save.

Now, when you open a new document it will be using the template you just designed.

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