What are Paragraph Styles > Text Body > List > * styles for if not applied automatically?

What are these great-looking paragraph styles for, under Text Body > List > * ?

Can they be applied automatically?

I have already looked at list and numbering styles. I know how those work, and have read other topics.

I want to be able to create a hierarchical list, have these applied automatically, then, for example, change “List 1” to have “keep with next paragraph,” and also “List 2” but not “List 2 End”. That way a hierarchical list would always page-break correctly, with a List 1 heading at the top of a page. Similarly for Numbering.

I.e. I want to get this:

1. Header 1
   1.1.  Foo
   1.2.  Bar
2. Header 2
   2.1.  Foo
   2.2.  Bar
=== pagination, if we're near the end of the page ===
3. Header 2
   3.1.  Foo
   3.2.  Bar

… etc.

This seems really difficult to do manually. Then what if I want to edit? All of a sudden I have to manually change the paragraph styles on a bunch of individual list items to get the Start/End paragraph and pagination behavior.

Has someone written a macro to apply these to a list? That would be cool.

First remember that styles are a matter of personal taste: what you consider nice might be ugly for somebody else. AS a consequence there is no automatic application. To some extent, only styles Heading n are suggested and recommended because there are already linked to TOC construction. The only case of automatic application I know is in parts generated by Writer, i.e. the various indexes (TOC, indexes and bibiography) where the internal engine uses styles Contents n, Index n, User Index n, Bibliography 1, Illustration Index 1, Object Index 1, Table Index 1. Also the notes are also automatically styled.

For real user contents, use of style is highly encouraged but not standardised. The names in the style list tries to hint at usage, e.g. Text Body is for bulk text while Addressee suggests this can be the recipient of the letter or the “salutation” at the beginning and Complimentary Close for that formal sentence at the end.

Unfortunately, there is no “official” document describing the intent meaning diverging interpretation may be given to “built-in” styles (see for example the answer to this question).

Now back to your question. You show above the hierarchy for styles aimed at formatting lists (I don’t write list styles because list styles in Writer are only involved in numbering/bulleted formatting). All List n and Numbering n styles derive from List so that modifying List changes simultaneously all non-overridden attributes. All the same, since lists are part of “main text”, style List derives from Body Text so that a change in the latter, e.g. change of typeface, also applies to lists.

Well the picture is great, but for a glitch.

Out of the box, List n/Numbering n do not result in list formatting as you show in your example because they are mere paragraph styles. To get the required behaviour, you must associate the List n paragraph style with a list style (once again, I remind you this an ill-named style category which is better described with “numbering style”). The link is in Outline & Numbering tab of style dialog where you choos a Numbering style. List styles and paragraph styles live in different name spaces and there is no restriction on the association: linking List 1 with List 1 may seem natural but you can also link (paragraph) List 1 with (list) Numbering 1 to get a numbered list instead of a bulleted list.

Hierarchical lists are formatted with a single paragraph style. To change level of a list item, put the cursor at the beginning of the paragraph (after the number/bullet/ and type Tab to increase level ou Shift+Tab to decrease level.

As you noticed, the list paragraph styles come in four flavours: List 1, List 1 Start, List 1 End and List 1 Cont. You have to decide how you’ll use them. My choice is List 1 start for the first item of anew list and similarly List 1 End for the last item. I modify these styles to have more spacing above and below the list as a whole so that it stands out of the “main text” despite the presence of numbers/bullets. The “middle” items may be formatted with List 1 or List 1 Cont. according to personal choice.

Tuning the properties of the respective paragraph styles you can set the spacing above/below or the flow attributes of the list item (keep with next, page break, etc.). Indent is tuned in the list style where you set also the type of numbering and the level-dependent indents.

There are lots of parameters for formatting lists and the initial difficulty is caused by the fact that the parameters are spread between the base paragraph style and its associated list style. Mastering it is quite long, you need to experiment to become familiar with it.

Also, it is necessary push on button Restart Numbering when you start a new list with an already used style. But remember this is direct formatting so that this restart flag can only be removed with Format>Clear direct formatting. One limitation of the list engine is the “restart numbering” flag cannot be set through a style, e.g. it would be convenient in List 1 Start.

Lists are, maybe, the most difficult feature in Writer. Do not hesitate to ask further information (edit your question for that, do not answer, or use comments).

@ajlittoz, thanks for all your contributions to questions regarding Paragraph and List Styles. I’m trying to learn how to use them and your posts have been really helpful.

I’m still reading through them. I’m understanding things a lot better than before, but I still can’t get it to work. So I think I’ll take a break from it to do something else with my weekend :laughing: and hopefully give you time to reply to a question/request:

Could you go into more specific detail about how you configure and apply your Paragraph and List Styles effectively? It sounds like it’s possible to create a hierarchical list and be able to set & modify paragraph styles for the different levels of the list. But I haven’t been able to do it yet, despite reading the documentation and a lot of posts in this forum.

I thought I might be able to create a Conditional Paragraph Style linked to a List Style, and set the Paragraph Style to various different Styles based on the List Level (in the Condition Tab of the Style Settings dialog). But that hasn’t worked for me. I’ve read the posts about List, List 1, List 1 Start / End / Cont. but don’t understand how to apply them. Line-by-line? That seems tedious.

If you could just explain in some detail the system (or systems) you use and would recommend others use, I’d sure appreciate it!

No and this is a limitation in Writer though this limitation is quite reasonable. But you can workaround it but you must be very rigorous in your application of styles.

What makes a list is the use of a list style. All paragraphs numbered/bulleted with the same list style belong in the same logical list. This is equivalent to say say that all paragraphs styled the same belong in the same semantic domain (e.g. all Heading 1 are chapter titles, all Text Body are document main topic).

Using two different list styles create two independent lists. They can be intermixed but keep their internal consistent numbering without interfering with each other. This is quite difficult to understand in the beginning.

A list style always has 10 levels. Consequently your lists also have potentially 10 levels. There are two ways to use list styles in association with paragraph styles for automatic application:

  • the simplest case: all paragraphs have the same attributes, except for left indent
    Use a single paragraph style and link it with your list style. All levels will show the same font face, size, weight, … Level indent is controlled by the list style.
  • complex case: you want to differentiate your levels by font face, size, weight, italics, …
    Associate your list style with different paragraph styles (in the worst case one per level). As usual, left indent is controlled by the list style.
    This case requires some manual manipulation when you change level. You still need to hit Tab or Shift+Tab to set the item level but, in addition, you must also apply the level paragraph style. Since all paragraph styles share the same list style, numbering will be consistent.

You can also follow a less automatic procedure which is akin to direct formatting. This may cause difficulties when you later tune your formatting because you’d need to review your text instead of playing only with styles.
Don’t associate paragraph styles with your list style. Manually apply the list style where you need it. (Once again, I don’t recommend this method but your mileage may vary!)

The only built-in feature where paragraph styles automatically vary with level is chapter numbering. Basically, it is a set of paragraph styles (Heading n) associated with a internal reserved list style and Writer has been tweaked to synchronise paragraph styles with level.

The various style categories (paragraph, character, page, frame, list) live in different spaces which are totally independent from each other. You can derive a style from another one if both are in the same category: para->para, char->char, frame->frame (unfortunately you can’t presently page->page and list->list does not make sense).
A list level belong in a list style while you’d want some paragraph or character style attribute to depend on list level. Since these attributes are in different style category, this is not possible. More generally, conditional definition of an attribute, even in the same category, is not possible. The only approximation is %-size specification. You can request that font size be set to 75% the size of the parent style. But nothing else looking like conditional can be done, e.g. negating an attribute.

You have to make personal choices. Then if you see a usage pattern, you can use the Next style property to automatically switch to another style when you hit Enter.