Problems with MasterDocument

Version (on LinuxMint)
I am trying to create a book manuscript. I have documents that appear correct for sections 1) Frontispiece 2) Preface 3) Introduction 4) Chapter 1 5) Chapter 2 … and so on.
When I build the master document sections 1 to 3 are correct with correct heading (or lack of them) on odd and even pages. (2) (3) (4) etc have a ‘first page’ then even and odd pages, Page 1s have no header and page number in footer, Odd pages and ‘rightpage’ with heading different to Even pages (leftpage).
No page numbers in (1), Roman numerals in (2) and (3). Sections (4) onwards use Arab numberal for page numers.
Problem. section (4) onwards loses the page number format and becomes Roman. Also the oddpages lose their headings and use that of section (3).
What am I doing wrong?

Without details about the various page styles it is difficult to diagnose. Remember that style association between master and sub-documents is based on names. This allows to have a different style configuration in the master from the sub-documents.

Check settings in the relevant page style

This means you use the same page style and its header is static (vs. “dynamic” when field insertion is used).

When structuring a book with master+subs, it is of utmost importance to use exclusively styles and prohibit direct formatting. Any direct formatting will destabilise your document and turn formatting into a nightmare. Also to minimise the number of page styles (which could also result into a nightmare when their number grows without control), make use of fields for the context-related data, such as chapter name or number.

In addition to @ajlittoz ,

Master documents in Writer

English documentation

Thankyou for the speedy reply. I am still puzzled.
More information: each chapter (sections (4) onwards has arabic numerals enabled for page numbers.
Sections (2) and (3) have roman numerals enables. But the master document gets roman numerals
for all pages that a page number specified.
All odd pages after section (3) get section (3)'s odd page heading even though the individual documents have chapter names as odd page headings (save for page 1 of each section).
I do not understand your last paragraph. Every page has a style of first, left, right. The first line of
sections (4) onwards has style of heading N where N is 1 onwards (set by Tools > Chapter Numbering.
What do you mean by exclusive style and direct formating?

Here is described the difference between exclusive style and direct formating:

Professional text composition with Writer

But which page style?
For an accurate diagnostic, attach the master, part 3 and part 4. Reduce parts 3 & 4 to a maximum of 2 pages. In case, they contain private data, sanitise them but make sure the problem still occurs.

OK. Understand direct formatting. It appears my problem is that the heading from section (3) [right page]
is being inherited by all subsequent sections. The right hand pages are where I want the heading to be the chapter heading. I can’t see how to make this different for each subdocument… it is heading - right - page, according to style management. How do I make this unique to to each subdocument?

I’m having problems with complying. Somehow, the blank pages in (1), (2), and (3) are now becoming A4 when they should be (and were “user” 15.24 x 22.86). While the master used to look OK except for the roman page numbers and wrong heading, the whole master with shortened (4) is mangled. I will persist and try to comply.

Here are the requested files: master, sections 3 & 4 (curtailed). In making this version of the master I also have new problems inthat the page sizes no longer match those of the original documents (by that I mean the number of lines/page has changed). However the two main problems are there: the page numbering for section 4 should be Arab numerals, the right header now shows the right page header of the previous section.
book1.odt (197.6 KB)
002 Introduction.odt (777.9 KB)
“new users are allowed only 2 uploads…” see then post.

01 SSSS-short.odt (780.5 KB)

The structure of your document is completely faulty.

First, you don’t use the master+sub-document concept. What you have is standard document with sections. The fact that your sections are configured as a link to independent files does not change the problem. A section is not independent. It is a sub-part of a page style. A section has no own header nor footer (those are defined by the page style and extend over the full sequence of pages controlled by the page style. A file inserted as a link in a section loses its original page style unless you force it with a special page break (which you did but this is not the easy solution).

Sections will not allow you to achieve your goal.

A master document is created with File>New>Master Document and receives extension .odm to emphasise it has different properties than ordinary .odt documents. When sub-documents are inserted, they come complete with all their formatting and layout.

But, your main problem is in your usage of Writer. Everything is done manually just as if you had a mechanical typewriter. You don’t use styles (except Heading n): everything is in Default Paragraph Style with direct formatting added. This default style should not be used for narrative as it is the ancestor of all other styles and its purpose is to define your preferred defaults (font face, size, spacing, indents, …). What you change here propagates to all other styles. The “normal” style for narrative is Text Body.

You vertically space with empty paragraphs instead of configuring the narrative paragraph style for vertical spacing. Your first line indent is done with a tab character relying on implicit equally spaced tab stops, instead of configuring first line indent in the paragraph style.

You alternate between page styles with manual page breaks instead of letting Writer do the job (after correct configuration of page styles). You also made a bad choice of page styles. First Page is intended for the cover page and switches automatically to Default Page Style. Since you may have material at the beginning which does not look like your chapters, you should define a “Chapter” page style (a single one) and configure it to have a specific first page and alternating left and right pages for the purpose of header and footer.

Since you entered manually text into your header, you’re presently doomed to create one (or three) page styles per chapter because a page style can have only one header/footer. The correct approach is to use fields to dynamically insert the chapter name in the header. With fields, header contents becomes “context-sensitive”. The header automatically adapts to its environment. This requires usage of Heading n for chapter designation.

Writer is a very powerful tool aimed at helping authors to concentrate on their creative authorship task without bothering for formatting once the styles are configured according to taste. Styles are ubiquitous. You seem to have discovered paragraph and page styles, but there are also character styles which allow to format words differently from what the paragraph style dictates. There are other styles but you are not ready yet to benefit from them.

My best advice is to recommend you stop writing your book and read the Writer Guide, but this is no tutorial and it is perhaps not adapted to your present knowledge, or preferentially the excellent Bruce Byfield’s Designing with LibreOffice which emphasises author’s workflow.

Until you have good ideas about the authorship philosophy under Writer, don’t make things worse, trying to fix your bad document structure and complete lack of styling with workarounds which will complicate matters further.

1 Like

I did create an odm. I posted the wrong file - I both saved it and exported it under the same base name - easy to post the wrong one and book.odm. But I realise my usage of LO is naive, but it did get me 5 books published. I just wanted to be able to fully self publish myself. I will learn more and find “how to”. Thanks for the help.