Tab issue (...still vs. new?)

I’ve seen some posts here about the “Tab bug” that was in OL v.6 and not sure whether that’s what I’m experiencing or whether this is just user error (this is my first day working w/ OL). When dealing with an ordered list, I’m used to word processors (MS, Google, Apple) responding to the Tab keyboard press with an increase in indentation from the left margin and an increase in list level. OL seems to only want to increase the list level. I’ve tried editing the bullets and numbering settings; I’ve read the relevant parts of the manual; I’ve tried my (very amaturish) hand at paragraph styles… I realize that this is a different product than MS/Google/Apple, and it’s understandable that it would have a unique way of handling this task, so I humbly ask for step-by-step guidance (screen capture would be most helpful) if this is just user error. And if it is the bug mentioned in 2020, has anyone come up with a workaround?
Many thanks,

OSX 10.13

If this happens in all of your documents, new or existing, please make a small dummy file with lists and upload it here (7th button from the left at the top of the edit message window) as an attachment in your first post (edit it using the pen button).

An attempt to reproduce the behavior you refer to failed on my Linux with LO 7.2.x.x and (Snap). In both cases, tabbing increases indent and level. However, it is possible (but extremely unlikely) that the levels in your list style have the same indentation (you can verify that on the Position tab of the list style dialog box).

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Thanks Floris! I will try it with a dummy file, and if repeatable then I’ll post (prayerfully it is just an isolated fluke with this particular list and is NOT repeatable!). Thanks again.

As you point out, [Writer] is a different product than MS/Google/Apple and commands/ergonomics have different behaviour.

The Tab key inserts a tabulation except in two circumstances:

  • in a table, it is a request to jump to next cell
    To get a tabulation you must press Ctl+Tab
  • in a list item, at the very first position, it is used to increment the nesting level; otherwise it inserts a tabulation
    Again, to get a tabulation you must press Ctl+Tab.
    To decrement nesting level, use Shift+Tab.
    Please note that a heading is a special kind of list item and these commands also work for them.

Note that I wrote nesting level above, not “indentation”. Tab in Writer is absolutely not related to indentation. In a list, indentation is defined by the associated list style, the style controlling the appearance and “geometry” of the list number or bullet. The default list style is configured by Format>Bullets & Numbering.

In a usual paragraph (not a list item), indents are defined by the paragraph style.

In Writer, indents are not related to tab stops as this would not be reliable. Tab stops are explicitly defined in the paragraph style. After the last explicit stop, there are still implicit stops, evenly spaced by the distance set in Tools>Options (Preferences under MacOS), LibreOffice Writer>General. If paragraph left indent would be allowed to be changed by Tab, where should it go? To some tab stop? Only to implicit tab stops which are the same all over the document? How would then tabulations behave?

Answer to your question:

  • for lists, configure the indent for each level in the list style dialog
  • for ordinary paragraphs, define ad hoc paragraph styles and assign the desired style to the paragraph

I am aware that my answer is not directly applicable for someone discovering Writer. I urge you to read the Writer Guide for an introduction to styles. But this is not enough. Practice a bit on expendable documents to become accustomed to the style approach which is fundamentally different from the competition work flow.


Thanks @ajlittoz ! Thorough and yet so much more understandable than the manual, but I will re-read it and then play with some expendable documents. Thanks again.