Maintain style between computers?

I have a desktop and laptop at home and a desktop at work with LibreOffice on all three (just updated all to v5). All three are Win 7 based computers. At any given time I may work on the same document on one of the three computers which is why I installed LO on all of them.

Up until now I’ve been doing brute force formatting so finally decided to look into styles/templates. I started working with them and found them extremely frustrating for a few reasons:
(1) It’s an arduous task to set up several specialized styles and templates, let alone one (I teach and need setups for handouts, assignments, labs, etc).
(2) Once a document is set up with a style, I haven’t figured out how to preserve a its style between different computers. Looks fine on one computer, totally different font types/sizes/attributes, line spacing, etc, on another (I have pretty much the same fonts on all three computers and generally stick to the mainstream ones.).

The last one is what drives me up a wall. I spend a lot of time setting up styles and templates on one computer - do I have to copy those over to the other two so when I open a document it looks the same on all three? Or is there a way to keep the style definitions with a document so it looks the same no matter what computer I open it on?

Copying templates between computers is a pain since a template is never perfectly designed and requires tweaks when something new is encountered. Every time something changes, I’d have to update all three computers.

Am I missing the boat here somewhere? Is there a simple way to preserve a document’s style between different computers?


Are you allowed to use a USB-Stick? If yes, then I would only work from stick. You can put LibreOffice on stick and your LibreOffice profile, and your document templates. Only fonts need to be installed on each PC, because font management is a task of the operating system. Even USB 2.0 is fast enough and I’ve seen 8GB for 3 Euro. I can help you set it up if needed.

Run LO from a usb stick? That’s not a reasonable solution. I don’t have to do that with all the other software I use, why should LO be different?

You may find the LibO HELP provides some assistance on the use of STYLES and TEMPLATES.
I personally find the LibO WRITER GUIDE an invaluable introduction, and you can download the relevant chapters, 6 & 7 for Styles, 10 for templates.

I do not have the same problems as you and I wondered on the differences. Styles need the use of Open Document Formats as supported by LibO and a number of other systems. You should store the Writer documents as .odt files (.ott for templates). If you save the file as .doc or .docx you will lose most styles.

It has been mentioned to keep the same fonts. I would also advise you to use logical spacing such as tabs and the paragraph and character styles to maintain consistency. Printers can vary as to their setup. Also provide your own style names and do not reuse the system defaults style names to make certain the names and definitions are consistent between machines. The custom styles are kept with the files and therefore should be the same on whichever machine you are using.

I agree with @Regina’s advice to use an USB stick if possible. I personally have to move files between countries and need different page styles to maintain the pagination between A4 and letter sized paper.

Hope this may help a little…Peter

Providing you can install LibreOffice on each machine you may not need an USB stick to move the documents around. Providing you use custom styles, the styles will remain with the documents. You do need the same fonts to provide the same look on each machine. This is the case whatever system you use. Once you learn and understand about styles and how simple they are, you may wonder how you did without them. I certainly could not manage without.

Using a usb stick is at beast a patch, not a solution. The basic issue is that setting up uniform styles & templates is a pain in the first place compounded when you want to maintain uniformity between multiple computers. New versions of LO keep coming out, but nothing is done to make styles & templates easier to use. I’ve been a supporter of LO (including financially) for quite a while, but this is enough to drive me back to commercial software.

Something must be wrong at your end. Working with styles and templates should prevent the kind of thing that you describe, unless you work with fonts that aren’t available on all of your computers and/or still have a lot of direct formatting in your files. Keep in mind that direct formatting takes precedence over styles, so if you started a file with direct formatting, you can apply as many styles over the direct formatting as you want, but it won’t go away.

First make your templates work one one computer, then copy them to the others. You can also copy the entire user profile from one computer to the others. Of course you should do that when LibreOffice isn’t running.

Cleap up your files as follows:

Copy the content of old files with mostly direct formatting to new, blank files based on your new templates. You can remove direct formatting from selected text by pressing Ctrl+M. Don’t do that for an entire document, for then you will lose formatting like single words in italics that you want to keep. Instead, start at the top of the document, select a block of text, check if there’s any formatting like words in italics or boldface that you want to keep, then press Ctrl+M, then restore any formatting you wanted to keep, then take on the next block, etc, until the end of the document.

It is probably due to missing fonts on one of the PCs.

Remember that the font displayed in the document’s Font selection box is the font the document is calling for at the cursor position. This may not be the font being used to display or print the document because, if you do not have the font being called for installed on your PC, Windows (or other operating system) will silently substitute an alternative, available font without telling you. This will almost certainly cause different line spills and page spills.

The Testfonts (for AOO) add-on is invaluable to check which fonts are being called for in a document, and which are missing and have therefore been substituted. Note that some fonts do not have a font file for, say, Italic; and in that case, when Italic is called for, Windows itself applies a slant to the font to simulate Italic.