I use a template for documents, each of which has a document-specific text in the footer. I sometimes modify the template such as adding a new style or modifying an existing one. Then when I load a document that uses this template, I select “Update Styles” when I am told in a dialog that the “template … had been modified”. When I do this, it replaces my existing footer text with whatever text may be in the footer of the template. If the footer of the template has no text, then it deletes my my existing footer text (that is, it replaces my existing footer text with no text).
I have not tested this with headers but expect the same behavior occurs. There was a 2013 posting (Modified template, gives "Update styles" dialog, header disappears) with what seems to be same problem but with headers. There was a related bug report, apparently abandoned as not reproducible. I can reproduce my problem.
I note this text replacing behavior does not occur with paragraph styles in an updated template. (Example: I modified the template by adding a paragraph of text using the Text Body style. When I load a document and Update Styles, it does not replace the existing text of paragraphs using Text Body with the text in the template. When creating a new document, it does, as expected, create the document with that text in a paragraph using Text Body.)
This is very frustrating. Am I doing something wrong, and, if so, what should I be doing? If the answer it to use fields in the footer, I note this would be very laborious and user-unfriendly. I might be able to do this through some combination of Insert/Field/MoreFields/DocInformation entries and possibly Insert/Field/MoreFields/Variables/User Field, but this is rather intimidating for what should be a simple task!
If I am not doing something wrong, is this a bug? An intentional but poor design? Something necessary to how LO is structured? If either of the first two, I am willing to write up a rigorous bug report or feature request.