Make heading, promote demote

First question: I will make several new headings for myself. I do not care about existing headings as I will not use them. I figured out that I make a new style and assign it an outline level 1 for my own level 1 heading, assign outline level 2 for my own level 2 heading and so on… And then I will assign any formatting I want to those headings. Is this the way to do it? I want to make sure I will not disturb anything else.

Second question: Also, I figured that the promote and demote chapter simply moves the whole chapter up or down. But what is the use of promote or demote level? I mean for example let’s say we assigned our level 3 heading to a text. Then we promote level. so now it is the same as level 2 heading? Then why do we not assign level 2 to it instead of promote and demote? I mean it seems redundant to me, but probably I am missing a point…

Third question: Is there a way to make my new styles as buttons that I can place to toolbar for quick access later?

I assume your question(s) is (are) about Writer though you tagged it common but it does not make sense in other applications (Calc, Impress, Draw, Base and Math). So please, retag writer if I’m right. Type a space so that the cursor is not in or close to any tag and press Enter twice to exit from retag mode.

Question 1: custom outline styles

You are perfectly free to define your own paragraph styles to replace the Heading n family but be aware you won’t benefit of some special properties internally managed by Writer.

Assigning an outline level in Outline & Numbering is the only needed thing in order to make the paragraph recognized as part of the outline. This paragraph will be collected in the TOC.

This is the usual trick to add to the Heading n family, e.g. to have a different numbering (alphabetical in annexes vs. numeric in chapters).

Question 2: promote/demote

This is one of the features internally managed and won’t work with custom styles unless you reconfigure Tools>Chapter Numbering.

For promote/demote to work, Writer needs to know how styles are related, i.e. if they are part of a special family. When you create a user style, this new style is brand new and there is no reason for it to be made part of a “family”.

Tools>Chapter Numbering, Numbering tab, is the tool to define the outline “family”. Through it, Writer knows which style is at level n and can change the paragraph style for level n+1 or n-1.

If your custom styles are not listed in Tools>Chapter Numbering, promote/demote buttons have no effect.

But, there can be only one style defined at each level. Therefore you must choose whether you keep the built-in hierarchy (e.g. when you extend it) or replace it.

However, if your goal is to move a level and all its sub-levels to reorder your “chapters”, you can do it with the Navigator (F5). This works with built-in or custom styles because the only information needed is the outline level.

Question 3: style shortcuts

I don’t recommend toolbar buttons. A better solution is to assign a keyboard shortcut to your styles. You don’t leave the keyboard for the mouse, this is faster. Do it with Tools>Customize.

By default, Ctrl+1 to 5 are assigned to Heading 1 to Heading 5. Erase them before reusing for your styles in case you find this assignment mnemotechnic.

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