Opening a Writer .odt document on another computer

When I open a Writer .odt document on another computer, the formatting of paragraph styles applied to the text changes accordingly to the one of the paragraph styles (with the same name) set in the instance of Writer installed on that computer. How can I prevent that? In other words, how can I have an .odt (editable) document that looks the same on every computer? How can I have the “document paragraph styles” override the “default styles” with the same name? Thank you.

This can happen in two circumstances.

##Inconsistent direct formatting

You applied some manual formatting (direct formatting in LO parlance) over the built-in styles, e.g. you changed font face, and the necessary data is not present on the other computer (e.g. the font file is not installed and is substituted).

##Independent user defaults

With Tools>Options you can customise your LO copy. This customisation is stored in your user profile. If both are not the same you get different formatting. The parameters with the most visible effects are those in LibreOffice Writer>Basic Fonts (Western) which reconfigure some base paragraph styles on which others inherit.

You may also have changed the default templates and they are no longer identical on both computers. The default templates contain definitions for built-in styles.


  1. Make sure your computers have the same set of fonts
  2. Work exclusively with styles, prohibiting direct formatting
  3. Base your documents on your own template (where you store your style definitions)
  4. Save your template on both machines (whether you make default or not is up to you)

Point 1 is the most important.

Point 2 is a methodological advice. Styles may be built-in or custom ones. Custom styles are saved in the document.

Point 3 is a simplification advice: you don’t need to recreate your styles in every document, they are taken from the template.

Point 4 is the mandatory procedure to guarantee synchronisation between machines.

If you go for template(s), refrain from updating your styles in the document if you want the changes to be “universal” (= not only valid for a single document). It is a bit tedious but it is rewarding to see a collection of document always homogeneously formatted.

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@ajlittoz thank you for your exhaustive explanation. I’ll put your directions into practice and will edit my question in case I need clarification.