Putting page numbers in a book

I’m using Libreoffice Version:

Basically, this is what I have. I have a book written. The very first page has the title of the book and the one after it is the table of contents. Now, when I try to change the style of the very first page, I can’t. Like, I select a different style and click “OK”/“Apply” and I don’t see the style change below (it stays as “default”.) Ultimately, I’d like to have my pages start a little later in my book. My questions:

  • Is there an easier way to make pages?

  • How can I change the style of the very first page? Am I missing something?

I’ve seen resources online on how to do the above. However, none of them dealt with being unable to change the style of the very first page. Very confused.


Example file:



Second example file:


Book structure translates into pages styles.

From your description, you need at least 3 pages styles: cover, TOC and running content. Page numbering is an attribute of page style. Cover has no numbering. You can number your TOC with lowercase roman (common convention) starting from 1. The running content will be numbered numeric starting from 1.

Restarting numbering is triggered from the page break causing the switch to the required page style.

Header and footer are also attributes of page style. Cover has none. TOC has specific ones while running content usually display a reminder for book title and/or chapter heading (this can be automatically inserted with fields).

Remember that pages do not exist as such in LO Writer. They are the result of text flow overflowing the available space defined by the current page style. Overflow may cause an automatic switch to another style if correctly configured.

Concerning your inability to change page style on first page, we need more information. Edit your question or attach your document.

EDIT 2018-05-01 Analysis of attached sample file

No problem to change page style on first page, however your document is badly structured (use of direct formatting for changing style in page breaks?).

First remember that built-in page styles have identical properties as shipped. To exhibit style change I set top margin to 10 cm in First Page only.

With this setting, your document alternates between First Page and Default Style. Default Style is the follow-on style of First Page (default setting), but Default StyleFirst Page must have been set by you (Organizer tab in page style definition). Restore Default Style to cancel alternation.

Unless you oversimplified the sample file, the main problem in your document is the lack of usage of adequate paragraph styles. For example, I don’t understand how you obtained your TOC because no paragraph is styled Heading x: all paragraphs are Default Style. Some of them have a page break manually added.

You should define ad-hoc paragraph styles corresponding to semantic usages. This simplifies document maintenance.

In addition, the styles should define their “private” spacing above and below their text. Using empty paragraphs to create spacing is wrong: if you change margins you can’t guarantee you will keep in sync with pages. In the same way, if you want multi-line headings and enter them in the TOC, use newlines (Shift+Enter) – newlines don’t break paragraphs.

Obviously, your Part headings should be styled Heading 1 and your chapters Heading 2. Both styles should include a forced page break to some “common” page style (maybe Default Style if you dedicate it to running text).

Your table of contents should also be laid out in its own page style which could be triggered by your custom TOA Heading paragraph style. As a side remark, the heading for the TOC can be generated from the dialog in Insert>Indexes & Tables>Indexes & Tables instead of being typed manually before the TOC. Using the feature guarantees that the heading always follows the TOC, should you decide to move it somewhere else.

With such an important planned document, styles are your friends. Basic styles are those for paragraphs. They operate within pages. If you need to locally override paragraph style (part of a paragraph, otherwise it is a new style), use character styles. I know by experience that designing a satisfactory set of styles is difficult but it’s really worth the pain because you simply focus your attention on content afterwards, not on layout. Moreover, with such styles, you end up with really less typing.

Hello, thanks for your reply. I uploaded an example file.

You only use 2 page styles; FirstPage for the “Acknowledgments”. Sounds not logical for me.
Before applying a new (or given) page style you have to define it. For changing page style for only (!) first page apply the page style and then insert a manual page break. Then work on properties of the first paragraph of following page…

  • I’ve seen resources online on how to do the above. However, none of them dealt with being unable to change the style of the very first page. Very confused.

For structured better understanding read http://openoffice-uni.org

Can I… just go through all of the pages and manually enter all of the page numbers? The book is written, this is literally the last part that I need to do.

Ok, so I decided that I should start from scratch. My first style is the Cover, followed by TableOfContents, followed by Extended, followed by MainContent. Now, the problem is that when I try to begin page counting from MainContent, I get the number 5, but I want the number 1.

I’m a total newbie at this and don’t really understand why some of this is happening. I gave the document to my editor for him to fix it and this is what I have now. I don’t mind reworking it and then filling it in.

I’ve started anew. I got the pages to work like I wanted. I’m concerned about the Index at the end, but I’ll wait how that works out.

Attempt002: I checked your pages styles - you are much better in handling them.

Advice for pagination: On your page 5 there is the first paragraph (including the word “Book”). For changing the page number (now: 5) into 1 edit the paragraph’s properties and set instead of the given 0 a 1. The result immediately shows page 1 in your headline.

When generating the TOC this page 1 will show up again. For other fine tuning check http://openoffice-uni.org

Good speed!

Attempt002: Caution! Your page styles implicitly suppose that TableOfContents and Extended are both one page long. That’s OK if Extended is for TOC p. 2. But your TOC is likely to be longer.

Usually Next Style transitions from first page to running page in a book part or causes alternation between odd/even. This means the “running” style has no follow-on because you don’t know how many pages there are.

You switch page styles with a break in a recognizable paragraph.

In chapters, this “recognizable” paragraph is commonly Header 1 (and also Header 2 in your case).

This transitioning setting is not yet included in your paragraph styles (the sample contains only Default Style text).

Remark: you Cover page style is immediately followed by TableOfContents. You should make provision for the back of the cover or create a TableOfContentsFirst constrained to Right only and followed by TableOfContents.