Lost all pictures when saving a document as docx file. I was likely using libre writer

The Microsoft Office of my business laptop expired and someone recommend Libre, then I had a try. Recently I have to write a document with lots of pictures in it. I worked overtime in the hope of completing my task, with pictures inserted directly with screenshot feature of a software of my company or have it edited in MS paint then cut and paste it into the document. These pictures are not saved independently, just remain in my document for I hadn’t close it then. Finally I have it finished and saved it as a docx file, closing libre writer afterwards. Suddenly I recalled an earlier experience that my colleague was not able to open my .docx file created by libre writer with his own Microsoft Office, so I rushed to the document to save it as a .doc file. Then I was shocked by what I have seen. ALL pictures I have inserted were gone. ALL my efforts during working hour and overtime are forever lost. I was unproductive in the end just because I chose this freeware!!! If this software cannot save picture, then it should send some sort of warning before closing. Now deadline is almost there, I really want all my pictures back. Any ideas?

First, things to remember:

  1. NEVER work in a foreign file format! Only after you have finalized your work, export as necessary. Once again: NEVER!
  2. LibreOffice is free software (free as in freedom), not freeware.

Now, questions:

  1. Did you try print preview? Sometimes, pictures get hidden in the normal view mode but appear in the preview mode.
  2. Did you call up the navigator? Can you find images there?
  3. Can you share the file?

Okay woe is me. A MS office word file is the required format, then I just right clicked Windows Explorer and created a new docx file but opened and edited it with LibreWriter or Libre something instead.

  1. I haven’t tried print preview but since the saved file size is just less than 10 kilobytes, it is unlikely that it contains such massive number of pictures. 2. I have yet to know where to find the navigator. 3. I am afraid what I am working on is confidential for internal use only. Even my business laptop has no access to internet nor external storage device to prevent information leakage. LibreOffice was installed beforehand.

You get the Navigator with F5 if it is not already there in the right pane. Images, if any, are listed under Images. There is a small triangle to expand the list, but no triangle means no image.

@gabix’s advice no. 1 is safety, but I worked in .doc with pictures without problem. However, be extremely careful with .docx which is known to have severe compatibility problem (first because M$ does not seem to follow its own standards).

If your images are gone, there is something else you overlooked. Given the scarcity of information, we can’t easily diagnose what’s going on. At least, tell us OS and LO versions. Is your laptop a diskless system (i.e. all files are stored on the company file server)?

OS is Windows 10, not sure what exact version it is. LO was downloaded from official site a couple of weeks ago. The laptop has its own hard disk where I install my LO and store projects.

The docx file I saved was just smaller than 10kb, when the doc one was no larger than 30kb. Is there any hope my pictures could come back out of thin air?

If LO Writer Navigator lists no images, they are not in the file. Try to look in all your user directories.If you didn’t empty the trash, see there. As a last recourse, give undelete utilities a chance to find a previous version of your document.

I know zlib does a good job compressing files but 30 kB for a file “with lots of pictures” seems to me quite small.

Check in Tools>Options, LibreOffice Writer>View that Display Images & objects is checked. It is possible that in newer versions the box comes unchecked by default.

A MS office word file is the required format, then I just right clicked Windows Explorer and created a new docx file but opened and edited it with LibreWriter or Libre something instead.

This is tdf#120822. The empty file with .docx extension that is created using the mentioned procedure is not a valid DOCX. LibreOffice cannot detect it other than plain text. So when you save it, you are presented with a warning mentioning its type to be plain text. Ignoring this warning saying you may loose everything incompatible with chosen format means you get exactly what can be saved using Notepad.

My LibreWriter is and received no sign of warning. To verify this I created a new .docx file and open it with LibreWriter. After that I took a screenshot and pasted it into the file followed by saving using control+s. The final result was a 0 kb empty .docx file. Still no sign of warning when saving.

Now with almost all my progress lost, my supervisor was very angry about me. The deadline had to be extended, and I had to write a apology letter. On top of that I have to work overtime this weekend to recover my progress.

If you have no warning, it means that you have dismissed it before, unsetting “Ask when not saving in ODF or default format” checkbox. See the setting at OptionsLoad/SaveGeneral, [x] Warn when not saving in ODF or default format.

Unchecking “Ask when not saving in ODF or default format” in the warning disables the setting, and tells LibreOffice: “I know what I’m doing; don’t bother me”. At that point, you cannot blame it for any data you lost because you actually didn’t know what you are doing.