Replacing Writer index

I have set up an index file for writer which works, after a fashion. But I need to change it, and search as I might, through all the options in Writer and in your help system, there seems no way that I can change the file, or even alter it. I invoke a new file and specify a new file name, and Writer simply persists in using the old one. I change the name of the master document, I copy and paste the text to a new empty document, I copy the text to a separate test editor (Kate) and then copy it back into a fresh instance of Writer, losing all the formatting of course, and it produces the old index. So I use the old index file name and change the contents and it continues to use the old list. Even with the ‘Concordance File’ option unticked it uses the old file. Even when I put the old file in another directory, or erase it, it uses the old list. If there is an option to do this I haven’t found it - and the ‘Reset’ option on the Index selector window doesn’t do it.
So, how do I clear out/cancel/erase/scrub/get rid of the old index so that I can use the new one please? And don’t tell me it’s in the help system because if it is, then it is impossibly well hidden.
Oh, and just for fun, having specified the new file in the Concordance File option, I hit the Edit, and, sure enough, my new file was there. So I clicked the OK to do the index, and what do I find? The old index, of course. I think there is a bug here, frankly.


Can you provide the operating system and version of LibreOffice you are using? You can copy and paste it from menu Help - About LibreOffice.

I am using Libreoffice on Mint 18. It is offering me updates but having downloaded the tar.gz file it refuses to allow me to update. I can’t for the life of me see why I can’t delete stuff and have that fact reflected in the newly generated index itself. It means that literally anything which is put into an index list stays there for ever. I just don’t believe a professional indexer would wear that one. Unfortunately this isn’t the only problem with the system. It seems to arbitrarily throw in odd italicised letters - couldn’t make any sense of that one - and put in odd duplicates for no obvious reason. Anyway, thanks for replying and if you can give me a workaround I shall be very grateful. For instance, there must be a place where the list is stored in the Libreoffice system, from which one could erase it.

From experiment, it appears that using a concordance file replaces the manual action of marking words in the text for indexing. Your file is modified. When you replace the concordance file, the terms found in it cause addition of the terms into the index. This is a cumulative effect.

I think this is legitimate: you can have both a concordance file for “common” terms and manual marking of “uncommon” terms. There is no difference in the XML representation of your document between the two markings (manual or issued of concordance file processing).

You have noticed that there is no Delete or Remove item in the drop-down menu. I understand this as the fact that the concordance file is used only once when you select something from the menu: it patches your document and is not used afterwards. The concordance file name is kept in the document but only to allow the Edit function.

Consequently, replacing the set of indexing terms is not possible in the present implementation. Changing the concordance file adds to your index, keeping the already marked items.

Is this a bug? I don’t think so. It might be a design shortcoming, but I don’t know how concordance files are used in other suites. Are they imperative directives for the application, exclusive of other terms, or are they “additional” directives to add new terms to an existing index?

You may try to make a feature request on the bugs site to start a discussion about it.


I made a new test on my “production” computer which has a much more recent configuration than my laptop with which I answered earlier: LO under Fedora Linux 32.

Behaviour of the index machinery is quite different. When I change the concordance file, all text is reindexed, removing the index marks of the previous concordance file and indexing with the words in the new concordance file.

And, good news, manually added index marks are preserved.

Behaviour is as expected here.

I then consider my first answer as outdated because I used an obsolete LO version to experiment.

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So what you are saying, in effect, is that if I mark the words in the text instead of using a concordance file it should obey that. Only that? I think we still have some way to go here. Still, I’ll give it a whirl. Thanks for the reply.

I’m not sure to understand your remark. What I discovered is the concordance file modifies your document. Once the modification are in the text, the only way to remove them is a tedious manual work. Consequently, if you want to replace a concordance file but another one, to get the desired effect you must first clean the document manually. Not-user-friendly.

As a matter of fact I have just run right through my document, first highlighting the styles, and then picking up the indexing, and deleting the index entries. And you know what? A significant number of the index entries in the text have altered the formatting, not just of the words themselves but whole sentences, usually into italic. I then go to the reference list, and I find links put in, changes of colour, changes of font and font size. These changes are permanent in the sense that they are in the text, not some display aberration. I really am having difficulty getting my head round this. Not user-friendly is a massive understatement.

I now learn that the index flagging is on the individual words in the text itself, so no amount of copying into another document is going to help, But if the indexing styling actually messes with the text styling itself we really are lost. I had a quick look at the bugs site, and it appears that the indexing system is broken in Windows 10, never mind the reformatting. I notice that Libreoffice 7 has appeared. I don’t hold out much hope that I shall be able to load it up, sadly.

I doubt the concordance file and the subsequent modification(s) are responsible for your formatting aberration. I’d rather bet that you are direct formatting your text instead of using character styles. When you delete the index entries, you probably don’t delete the starting direct formatting boundary (this is quite difficult to do because direct formatting limits are invisible). Consequently, rest of the text inherit the properties because the end boundary was deleted.

You can tell direct formatting has been used if you select some part of the text and Ctrl+M. If text appearance changes, then, for sure, ther is direct formatting.

Use styles and only styles. Avoid direct formating as a plague. The fact you are building an index tells me you are writing some “professional” work. For your peace of formatting mind, use exclusively styles (everywhere, I mean page, paragraph, character, frame and even lists).

Use Libreoffice or higher, and styles for everything, not direct formatting.

This is a good summary.