Problem with outline numbering in Writer on headings imported from Word


I am in the process of trying to build my thesis in Writer with content that initially came from Word (which may or may not be part of the problem I am facing).

I wish to have an outline numbering style on headings of:
1., 1.1., 1.1.1., 2., 2.1., etc.
(commas are line spaces here as they don’t seem to be respected when I post it as such in this form)

This numbering style was already in place before moving the content from .doc to .odt and appears to have largely copied over correctly except I cannot get the numbering on “Heading 4” to work correctly. It appears that they are now just part of the text and not recognised by Writer as numbering.

Please see example file here:
I have already corrected the numbering style to include a “.” after the last number which was not always there to begin with. However this has not been applied to Level 4 / Heading 4 as the numbering is not properly recognised. I also have been unable to re-add correct numbering to this heading despite reading a large amount of material and tutorials on the internet on formatting and outline numbering in Writer.

I cannot get the Heading 4 entries to pick up and follow on from the numbering used with the rest of the headings. (When I try to add new numbering to the Heading 4 entries it just starts again from “1.”).

If anybody could suggest a solution which works on the attached file I would be very grateful.

Thanks for reading,


(LibreOffice on Windows Vista and 8.1, English)

I imagine, from examining the document, that you are using list numbering (editing the paragraph style > Outline & Numbering tab) rather than outline numbering (Tools > Outline Numbering…). Refer amended example here (ODT).

Thanks. I see I had to remove the formatting that got carried over from Word, reset the headings in Tools->Outline Numbering… and then remove and re-apply the heading style in each case to fix it. Unless you found a quicker way of doing this?

@Ix1, yes that describes what I did. It appears the outline numbering facility cannot override the converted Word styles, so it requires a bit of help.

OK, thanks for confirming.

A quicker solution would be to do:

  • Edit → Find and replace (or CONTROL+H)
  • Tick “Search for paragraph styles” in “Other options”
  • Find and replace, for example, all heading 2 (if those are the ones you have problems with the numbering), and “replace all” with, for example, heading 10 (or a style you’re not using).
  • Then do again Find and replace, this time replacing back all heading 10 (or whatever you used), with heading 2 (or whatever you had there before).

This fixes the outline numbering problem throughout the document.

Works for me - thanks!
But I wish LibreOffice could prevent the problem happening in the first place…

Thanks for the answers above & below my post, I was trying for hours to get the section numbering to work after starting to update a document created in Word. Strange thing was that it was ok to begin with. In the end, I used the find & replace method below but changed all my headings to text, then created the heading formats using the tools → outline numbering and re-applied the headings. Maybe I could have done it in a more slick find & replace way, but belt & braces seems to be so far so good.