Style makes text vanish- but only in the header or footer

I suddenly noticed that all the text in my headers had vanished and I don’t know exactly when it happened. I have a backup from a while back in which the headers are still visible and I haven’t done anything to directly change the headers or their style since then. (Though I’ve apparently done something that indirectly changed them!) Despite my best efforts, I can’t figure out what I changed between the backup and the current file to cause this behavior.

The behavior I’m seeing is that for some reason any text using the Header style or its inheritors vanishes when in the header or the footer. I can’t visibly highlight the text, but if I drag my mouse across as if I were highlighting, I am able to copy the text. I know I’ve copied it because I can then paste the text in the body, where it’ll suddenly be perfectly visible.

If I change the text in the header from the Header (or Left Header or Right Header) style to another style it suddenly appears. I can turn text within the body to Header styles and I can type using the Header styles within the body and it will be visible. But if I take that Header style text from the body and paste it into the header, it vanishes.

When the text in the header is in Header style, I can’t see the blinking cursor. If I turn the text into a different style the curser becomes visible along with the text, but it’s oddly small and high, as if it were the curser for superscript. This remains the same no matter which style is chosen or the size of the text. It doesn’t affect the size of the text typed.

I’ve compared my settings for that page style and the Header styles between my backup and my current file and couldn’t find anywhere that I’d changed the settings. I cannot for the life of me figure out why it’s doing this or how I messed it up in the first place.

Worst comes to worst, I’ll work from the backup- that’s its purpose, after all- but I’d rather not have to redo all the typesetting I’ve done since then. Plus I’m really curious what the problem is because it’s such a weird error!

I can’t upload the files here because they’re larger than the limit. I uploaded them to Mega and I’ll include links here.
Backup File
Current File

Version: (x64) / LibreOffice Community
Build ID: 0f246aa12d0eee4a0f7adcefbf7c878fc2238db3
CPU threads: 12; OS: Windows 10.0 Build 19044; UI render: default; VCL: win
Locale: en-US (en_US); UI: en-US
Calc: threaded


It looks like you altered the spacing for left/right header paragraph styles. This spacing pushes the content “out of the viewport”, as it were.

The existence of multiple “Converted” page styles suggests that your file at some point visited MS Word context. Most likely this is what also introduced the rogue spacing. MS Word does not know of the page style, so conversion occurs, which often will give this kind of misbehavior.


  • Remove spacing above/below the header paragraph styles.
  • You may have intended to increase spacing between header and body text. Make your adjustments in the page style(s), tab Header.
  • If you experience other irregularity, look for out-of-place “Convert” page styles.
    To me it looks like they are not in use any more, but I did not inspect every single page.
    Deleting all the “convert” styles did not seem to alter the document at all.
  • Keep MS Word at a distance to avoid future contamination.
    Opening the ODT file from Word and saving it, or saving it to Word format in Writer, both invoke this translation, incurring faults.
1 Like

Adding more information to @keme1’s answer, the behaviour is the result of both having a non-null space below in the header styles and simultaneously a fixed header height in Default Page Style. The header with its specified space below can’t fit inside the 0.51cm header defined in the page style. If Use dynamic spacing had been checked, the header would have dynamically expanded.

As a general remark, never use Default Paragraph Style for any text. This style is the ultimate ancestor of all others and its purpose is set defaults shared by all, like font face and language. The “normal” style for text is Text Body. It may be a consequence of having started your book with M$ Word that your text is style Default Paragraph Style. You should restyle it because, as I mentioned, any modification you make on Default Paragraph Style to accommodate your desired formatting will also generally apply to other styles.
Don’t vertically space your meaningful paragraphs with empty ones. Vertical space above and below is also an intrinsic (semantic) property of a paragraph. It should be specified inside the style.
I also noticed that you don’t use consistently character styles. For instance, italics in the novel text is done with direct formatting. Doing so will complicate your editing task when it comes to tuning the layout and appearance during proof-reading.
Don’t indent with multiple tab characters (this is equally wrong as spacing with multiple space characters). Instead design an appropriate paragraph style; this would avoid the misalignment in the “information page”.

Remember that M$ Word has a weaker professional fit, layout and formatting-wise, than LO Writer because of its lack of styles, forcing you to direct format whereas you can character-, frame-, page- and list style.

Thank you both, that worked to fix it and I know why it went wrong now! I also appreciate the extra advice @ajlittoz offered.

I’m using LibreOffice to typeset fanfiction for binding, so I’m pasting in text from other sites and programs which causes some wonkiness with direct formatting. (This one started it’s life on, got pasted into a google doc and then exported as .odt.) This is my first attempt and I’ve been figuring things out as I go. I’m just starting to appreciate the use of styles, how they differ from the formatting I’m used to, and what I’ll have to change as I edit imported documents. Your explanations and advice have helped me to make that happen in a more effective way.