Please tell us easy way to set defaults in Writer

Why do NONE of the setting dialogue boxes have an option to "set as default’ in LibreOffice Writer? It takes an hour to paste a picture into a word processing document without the picture covering up the text, and / or slammed up against the text with no space around the picture. It is then necessary to go into the settings of each and every pasted object / picture etc and click off “allow overlap” and to add a fraction of centimeters of space around the picture so that the text is readable. NONE of these changes can be made permanent so that we have to re-do them every single time.
This is a carry over from Microsoft Word’s disastrous creation of “documents” based on abstractly conceived “templates”, rather than pieces of writing in which you could set things as you go along and make them permanently part of the program settings if you like them.
This word processor gave me SO much hope; but it is a disastrous frustrating horror once you begin trying to use it in the way people who teach or write need to.
I’ve saved and resaved the templates a thousand times, and yet it takes weeks of training to learn how to put today’s date in a document with a shortcut, and LO still gets it wrong most of the time, because an arcane incomprehensible language used by LO’s designers (and not by the rest of the humanity) renders the setting variable virtually impossible to intuit. They are all settings that exist ONLY in LibreOffice’s own private lingo. It’s a real shame that this opportunity has been lost.

_ Edit here_ Few days later, still having difficulty with setting dates on the default template. I’ll see tomorrow (or after midnight) if the change has taken or if it is still inserting the same date every time.
Also if people think it best, I may delete my question (or questions) unless it’s thought that the answers this community has provided are very helpful for others. That would be a very good reason for leaving the question up. The reason for not leaving it up would be that my tone is perceived as ranting, which is unpleasant. Late at night, working and becoming increasingly frustrated, and with all the external world’s pressures as well, the tone of distress can become strident, which is counterproductive. I have regrets on that score.

Ex.: Each time I set a format I have always used for the insertion of dates, LO reverted hundreds of times to its own proprietary formatting. Once I finally -after weeks of stress- got the format I wanted into the default “templates”, LO then always automatically inserted the WRONG date. Every new date was forced to be the SAME (every day is July 25th? etc). Heaven forbid you attempt to continue work on a document that previously began in a commercial word processor such MSW.because LO will fight you to the death to prevent that document from conforming to the defaults you want. Thus new “documents” are based on one template, and all your MS Word “documents” that you want to add to are based on a DIFFERENT template. Woe to thee, if you try to standardize it,so that all of your “documents” can begin from a standard template with the font, header & footer you want. Then when you try to paste in an image, it will overlap text by default! Why would anyone make covering the text th default?

I cannot reproduce the issues you rant about.

I created two wordprocessing files using the application defaults, one from Writer and one from Word.

Inserting an image into both of them, either by paste or menu Insert - Image, would insert an image anchored to paragraph, with no text coverup. Granted, the text line wrap is in some cases very close to image edge.

Without a sample “rogue” document to examine I can only guess. My guess is that your work is based on Word documents with some settings enabled which are not handled well by Writer. Word and Writer handle spacing differently, which sometimes will yield strange results.

Guessing is not my favorite strategy. For a better analysis we need something to analyze. If you will, edit your question and upload a sample document.

Thank you for your comment here and for trying to help us.
Please tell us how to permanently disable “allow overlap” which is the permanent default of every picture inserted into any Writer document, so that it does not occur again.
And please tell us how set the “insert date” format so that it is in the format we choose (in my case, “Friday, December 31, 1999”) instead of “12/31/99” which is the default no matter how many times I try to change it and save it as the default template in Writer in “my templates” or anywhere else LibreOffice wants me to save it.
Thank you for trying to help us.

p.s. I no longer have Word to use as an alternative, due to a Microsoft update attack against Windows 10 users which destroyed the operating system, forced us to reinstall everything on the computer, and will not allow us to reinstall Office despite our having all the necessary documentation. This means I can’t compare as you’ve done, although I wish I could!

Please tell us

Who is “us”?

@bwp123: Don’t delete your question, it is not off-topic.

Regarding your “ranting”, you recovered your temper and offered apologies. Thanks for that. I’kk give you an advice: when I bump into a dead-end, rather than persisting in randomly and blindly trying nonsensical (?) fixes, I stop working and go for another activity (walking, sport, bath or sleep, …). I try not to think to the issue. Tiredness is not a friend when facing a problem. Relaxing my mind makes the solution surface by itself.


By chance, have you downloaded and read the Writer Guide? A common mistake is to consider LO Writer is a drop-in replacement for M$ Word.

Writer is based on different principles. Styles are ubiquitous.

  • paragraph styles define the geometrical properties (indents, spacings, alignment, …) of a paragraph, the global typographic attributes (font face, weight, size, …) and some others (auto page break, outline level, …)

  • character styles define typographic attributes allowing to override those of a paragraph style for some words

  • page styles define paper size and orientation, presence of header/footer, number of columns and various constraints

  • frame styles define anchor properties (how it is positioned relative to the location where it is inserted, …), wrap mode, guard spacing around it, …

  • "list" styles define the properties of a numbering counter (alphabetic/numeric, position and alignment viz. text, formatting hierarchy, …)

  • (for the record, there are also “table styles” which are not styles but rather templates; from personal experience, you’d better forget about them)

Word only has a notion of paragraph styles. All the rest must be done manually. When switching to LO Writer, you must first get acquainted to the other categories and what they offer to you. There are built-in styles shipping out-of-the-box but they are rather “neutral” because there are as many preferred formatting as there are users. Consequently, you must customise them or create new ones to fit your needs.

In your question about picture, the solution is to define/customise a frame style. Then, you just select the picture and double-click on the frame style name to apply it to the picture. All settings are transferred to the picture.

All your customised styles are saved in the document. If you want to reuse them for another document, you can:

  • load styles from another document (fit when this is rather rare)

  • save the styles in a special document named a template and base new document on this template

    Once again there are two ways:

    • explicitly activate the template to create the new document
    • make the template the default so that new document are based on it (unless you explicitly choose another one)

Method-wise, the biggest difference between Writer and other suites is the necessity to think in styles. If you start formatting your document with the bold, italics, size buttons, margin sliders, … you’ll create a formatting hell called direct formatting from which you can’t easily escape, forbidding you from achieving what you request, i.e. a simple way to format your objects. This imposes to think ahead about what styles you need. Also, you must stick to a formatting discipline using only styles. Whenever you add manual formatting, you create a potential conflict which is not acceptable on long-term, reviewable or long documents. Here long means more than 5 pages.

(EDIT 2020-08-07 - removed typos, nothing new)

To show the community your question has been answered, click the ✓ next to the correct answer, and “upvote” by clicking on the ^ arrow of any helpful answers. These are the mechanisms for communicating the quality of the Q&A on this site. Thanks!

Again, please accept my thanks for this extensive explanation and advice.

You’re welcome

[…] easy way to set defaults in Writer […] without the picture covering up the text, and / or slammed up against the text with no space around the picture. […]

This is best done by changing a frame style.

  • Press function key F11 to display the styles manager pane.
    On some laptops you need to hold down the Fn key to have function keys operate as that.
  • Click the third tool from the left to select the frame styles style group.
  • Right click the frame style designated for images to modify it.
  • Select the Wrap tab
  • Set desired spacing

This must be done for each preexisting document you want to adjust. for new documents you may want to create a default template with the desired settings.

Thank you keme!