Table background as row having no effect

(using Writer on 64-bit Windows 7, default config/options/etc) I’ve been banging my head against the desk in frustration trying to get this to work. According to the offline Help and the answers I’ve found on this site (via google), what I’m doing ought to work…

I have a simple table in Writer. I’m trying to make alternating rows have a gray background for readability. What I thought is supposed to work is:

  1. Click in the left margin when the cursor changes to an arrow, for “Select table row”, in order to, well, select the entire row.
  2. Right-click (inside the table so as not to lose the selection!), “Table…” → Background.
  3. Set the dropdowns to “As Color For Row”, then choose a gray. The selected color name appears in the area at the bottom of the color table.
  4. Click OK

This has no visible effect at all, everything in the row is still plain white. If I go back into the Background dialog, the chosen color is still there, but it’s simply not happening.

What works, sort of, is to set “As Color For Cell”, then re-choose the grayish color. This will actually make the background change, but of course only one cell at a time, which is a pain. Even if the entire row was selected before opening the dialog, only the first cell is affected.

I’m brand new to Libre Office. What’s preventing the “set as row” color from actually having an effect?

I tried to replicated what you wrote and i have no such problems with new tables. I am trying to figure out what could be the possible cause of this problem. Maybe you imported (opened) table created in MS Word? In such case, only predefined styles could be preventing (but it should not). This is really unusual behaviour (I am using LibreOffice for more than a year and I haven’t experienced such think). Try to Clear Direct Formatting (you select table and select this menu from menu Format).

Do you try to color several rows at the same time? Please try to color only 1 row.

If the cells have got a color, you have to set the cell color to “no fill” to make the row color active.

Sorry it took so long to answer, there are a few people between me and the original creator of the .odt file. Apparently the table was “copied” from MS Word, but I couldn’t find out whether that means copy-and-paste, or whether the entire document was created in Word and then later opened/converted by LO. (Answering questions makes the original creator look bad, apparently.) So this gives a lot of weight to Ljiljan’s theory. I did try Clear Direct Formatting and it helped tremendously, thank you! It would not have occurred to me that any of the previous actions would count as “direct formatting” (as opposed to… indirect formatting?).

Also thanks to Regina. Even after Clear Direct Formatting, some of the cells still presented the incorrect formatting, and setting the entire table to “no fill” let me start with a clean slate. After that, applying a background color (by hand) to every other row worked with no problems.

Indirect formatting is formatting through styles, while direct formatting is when you directly change text (it over-rides styles). When exported from MSWord (it doesn’t matter how), there are so many direct and indirect formattings. For example, try to export your MS Word to HTML and analyze HTML file using notepad, you will be surprised how many styles MS Word exported :slight_smile:

I’m working through a similar table style problem. It involves table row color in an imported MS-Word docx file. As of now these MS Word styles remain in the document, imposing there will, and without recourse but to impose wholesale removal.

Hunting and pecking about to resolve style results indicates some fault in LO style architecture. It could be time to fork from OO’s system design.


…It would help if some type of style explorer was available. Exposing the raw encoding as well as showing what LibreOffice understands. Importing options to remove styles would at least reveal problems what may need attention.

Given a few tools, astute users might spot patterns that could be introduced to LO’s importing facility. The export side would also benefit.

The import & export facilities are critical to the market accepting LO to work, dare I write it, work beside M$ word.