Update selected style does not always update font size

I wrote my book in LibreOffice Writer for a few reasons. I really really don’t want to move to Word. But in this final editing phase where I’m trying to format over 400 pages using styles, it’s frustrating when I update a style and yet it doesn’t consistently update document-wide. It does sometimes. A couple issues that are especially frustrating are when a paragraph has mixed font sizes that appear seemingly randomly where that paragraph is styled with a certain style, like say “Header 2”. If I “clear formatting” then reapply Header 2 to the paragraph it usually works but not always! Please fix! I really really don’t want to have to move back to Word!

I suppose that you used the styles and the direct (manual) formatting method mixed. The direct formatting will overwrite the property of the style. You need delete the direct formatting properties from the text in this case.
Can you upload an ODF type sample file here?

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Styles are stacked in 3 layers (this is a simplification) where upper layers override same attributes in lower layers. From bottom to top:

  • paragraph style
  • character style
  • direct formatting

Consequently whenever, inside a paragraph, you change some attributes with direct formatting, e.g. font size, colour, … over a word, these direct attributes won’t reflect those in the paragraph style.

In a 400+ page book, work exclusively with styles (paragraph, character, page) so that tuning the styles is immediately echoed in the document.

Any direct formatting is a pain and turns document tuning into a nightmare. Word knows only of some form of paragraph style and everything else must be done direct. Writer has a smarter approach where nearly everything is style. Unfortunately, Word-conditioning didn’t prepare us for such a consistent and methodic workflow.

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I appreciate ya’ll commenting and teaching me some things I need to know about the hierarchy of direct formatting vs styles. Two things:
(1) I did not do any direct formatting after applying a style.
(2) Randomly, the application seems to “corrupt” a style by putting some direct font size formatting on some characters within the styled paragraph.

What reason would it not be beneficial to change this product so that applying or reapplying a style onto a paragraph that has direct formatting will over-write the direct formatting so the paragraph becomes purely that style? I can see where a person may have some need for this way to work as it does but also the way I’m looking for. So I’m advocating for an option where user can choose “full overwrite with style having priority”.

Writer never adds direct-formatting on its own. This only happens when macros work behind the scene, e.g. when you request table “styles” (which are not styles in my definition/understanding of them. You also meet direct formatting when using extensions as this seems the easiest way for their developers to achieve the result. But I’d prefer it to be done by applying well-specified styles.

This is not possible unless you added extensions which are triggered by formatting or periodic events.

If you reapply a style over a paragraph, you can also quadruple-click to select the entire paragraph and Ctrl+M to clear direct formatting over this range.

@Zizi64 suggested you attach a sample file for close examination. Please do so including a part where the problem shows up.