When moving file to other computer styles disappear

Copying LO Writer files from one computer (Windows 10, LO to another computer (Windows 11, LO I am unable to transfer custom styles that I have created.

I have tried creating template file with the styles on the old computer, copying it to the new computer, and using the “Load styles from template” function. I have checked all the boxes (Paragraph and character, Frame, Page, List, Overwrite).

The list styles that I have created do not get imported.

On my old computer I have created list styles
Seznam 1
Seznam 2
Seznam 3
(“Seznam” means “List” in Czech language)

They do not appear on the new computer after importing the template that contains them.

This happened to me already at least 4 or 5 times. Always when I was switching to a new computer I had to manually create the styles again in every LO Writer file that I have copied. This is by far the most time consuming task from migrating to a new computer, and it is probably the main reason why I buy a new computer only if the old one is literally about to fall apart.

Is there some solution to this problem? Can I upload relevant files somewhere to show the problem more specifically?


The first I’d try would be to copy the entire profile of LibreOffice, before installing the same version on the new computer…

1 Like

It depends on how you created your styles. Anyway, the styles are always copied in the style dictionary of any document using them. Therefore they can be recovered from any.

This is one of the ways to do it. After selecting which styles to import, have you pressed the From File button? otherwise, I think it only copies from the current or default template if it has any action. The aforementioned button allows you to designate specifically from which file you want to import.

There is a common misunderstanding about word “template”. For lay people, this is a mock-up or model for some document. In Writer parlance, a template is a special file, with extension .ott, containing styles and initial contents. A template automatically transforms into an ordinary .odt document when opened, thus it is never accidentally overwritten.

A user template is the ideal way to customise Writer to provide your preferred formatting. It can be registered with Writer so that it is automatically invoked when creating a new document.

Transferring your styles to a new computer is as simple as copying the template (ad defined above) and re-registering it.

Thank you for the reply.

Regarding templates:
I have created .ott file. I have imported it to LO on the new computer and it appears in the templates under My templates. So what I am talking about is most like a valid template file as defined and recognized by LO.

Regarding “From File”:
Yes, I have tried this. I have tried first just selecting the imported template from My Templates. And when this did not work I tried the “From File” option which also did not work.

I wish it was as simple as copying the template …

It seems that it works partially … the font and font size for text and for headings are ok. The problem is with the lists. On the old computer I have three list styles and these don´t get imported. These three list styles are three levels with different indentation.

Beware of direct formatting! If you mix styling and direct formatting, you’re heading into trouble though if it formats as expected on one computer, it should do the same on the other computer. Then it is either a matter of configuration or a “glitch” in your formatting. Attach a short document of yours for analysis. In case you consider your document as confidential, send it privately to me.

Thank you. Will send the file … Where can I send it? I don´t see any option to attach the file here neither your e-mail/whatspp contact.

Sorry if it´s something trivial … it is my first hour using this chat.

For attachment to a comment, press the icon looking like an outbox with an upward-pointing arrow.
For private contact, click on my name or icon, this pops up an information box with a kbd>Message button. This opens a “question” (in fact a message entry box) for which you have the same tools.

Thank you.

Regarding direct formatting:
The lists and indentation in the file on the old computer is achieved by using styles “Seznam 1”, “Seznam 2” and “Seznam 3”. Direct formatting is not used. I have created these styles. They have different level of indentation and use the same font and bullet point style.
I dont know what kind of formatting LO uses on the new computer because those styles were not imported.

Attached are three files:

  1. “test.odt” from the old computer
  2. “old computer.png” which is screen shot of the test.odt file opened on the old computer
  3. “new computer.png” which is screen shot of the same file opened on the new computer after the template (which is identical to the file test.odt) whas imported as described above.

There are two problems (also marked in the screenshot):

  1. On the new computer there is only one list style with the bullet point used in the document, whereas on the old computer there are several, each having different indentation. I have created these styles.
  2. On the old computer the list text is aligned perfectly whereas on the new computer the second line within the list always jumps to the right a little bit.

I am sending the files here so that the community can benefit in case someone else experiences the same problem.

It does not allow me to send the three files in one post because I am a new user, so I will try to send it in three posts …
test.odt (12.6 KB)

the second file … a screenshot showing how the file looks on the old computer

The third file is a screenshot showing how the file looks on the new computer. The black background is not a problem … it is just because of Windows settings.

To Wanderer:
Thank you. So if this works it means I would have to always use the version of LO in which the files were created ( Or is there any way of moving the styles from older version to the latest version? The “styles problem” is actually why I download a new version of Libre Office only when I get a new computer otherwise never upgrade.

Simply no, as you already have seen. Using the same version as before reduces problems by different versions and increases the probability to detect, if something is different, as I know the program/version.
Afterwards update freely, but I recommend to include the profile in regular updates.

I’ll start with your “indent glitch” which probably comes from a slightly different configuration (?) or file contents (?) on both computer. It is impossible to tell because you have not enabled View>Formatting Marks.

My bet is you have tab characters following the bullet on the old computer and none on the new computer. Though, your sample file has no tab after the bullet.

The problem is in the Position tab of your list style: Number followed by Space with Indent at 1.2cm and the bullet is Indented at 0.6cm. The probability that bullet+space width is exactly equal to the difference of 0.6cm is practically zero. If you want the start of the first line to align nicely with the subsequent lines, use Numbering followed by Tab stop and set Tab stop at the same value as Indent at.

Regarding your “disappeared” styles, I suspect a side-effect from deep changes between 6.1.x and 7.6.x where list styles were renamed. In particular, there were List 1-3 (which got translated under the various supported languages, resulting in your Seznam 1-3). When I click in your items, the applied list style gets highligthed in the style sidepane: Bullet ⋅, Bullet - and Bullet :heavy_check_mark:. Your customised styles are still there but their new names. It looks like your have not installed the localised version and use the international one (at least UI languages is English). It is possible that configuring the UI language to your national one could fix the issue but I doubt it because “List <number>” was dropped in favour of more descriptive names.

A last word about list styles. Apparently you wanted to create a “hierarchical list”: a top level item (your List 1) can be clarified or exemplified by subordinate items at level 2, themselves having level-3 items. You created 3 list styles for this but you don’t need to (it is even harmful with numbered lists).

  • Any list style can have 10 levels.
    You just configure Position and Customise for each level. To promote an item to higher level, press Tab at start of its paragraph. To demote it, press Shift+Tab at start. All items, irrespective of level, then belong in the same logical list.

  • A list style defines a “logical” list.
    This is important for numbered list because Writer can see when you change level and will adjust the numbering (incrementing the number at same level or resetting next-level number when promoting an item (doing the reverse when demoting the item).
    In your case, the bullet is the same at each level; you might think it does not matter. But if you choose different bullets for different levels (e.g. filled bullet at level 1 and hollow bullet at level 2), this can be handled automatically through Tab presses.
    And finally, correctly structuring your document (from a semantic point of view) is always beneficial.

I suggest your review your document with a single multi-level list style.

PS: you have direct formatting over Heading 2 paragraphs and you aren’t consistent because the third occurrence has none.

1 Like

Thank you.

  1. I have enabled the Formatting Marks now.

  2. Understood the “Tab stop” and “Indent at”. Thanks.

  3. Found the customized styles under new names. Thanks.

  4. Understood the style levels, thanks. … If I understand correctly, this would affect only newly created files. The problem with hundreds of flies that I want to copy from the old computer that use the three styles with different level of indent would not be solved by this. Nevertheless I understand that it is the intended way how lists should be used in LO.

  5. My current plan how to solve the lists on all the files copied from the old computer based on your advice was following:

  • Open on the new computer one file which uses all three list styles (all three levels).
  • Edit the list styles.
  • Save the file as template.
  • Set it as a default template.

I have tried it:

  • I have opened one file (“Untitled 1.odt”) on the new computer (pic 1)
  • I have changed the indent from 0.6cm to 0.4cm. (pic 2). and saved the file.
  • I have opened another file (“original file.odt”) and loaded styles from the newly created file (pic 3).
  • Unfortunately it had no effect on the opened file and its styles … (pic 4).

Am I missing something?

Untitled 1.odt (16.8 KB)

original file.odt (16.9 KB)

This is how the style looked originally

This is how the style was changed in another file.

Unfortunately I am unable to upload another two screenshots showing how the style is loaded from the changed file, and that it did not have any effect … Apparently I am limited to 18 post for today …

Regarding your “load from Templates” procedure, have you forgotten to tick Overwrite? If this check biox is not ticked, Writer will not import same-name styles because it could ruin your formatting. You must tell Writer replacement is really what you want.

When I tick Overwrite, everything runs as expected.

I had a look at your changes. You're closing in on the right track. However the ideal solution is to use a Tab after the bullet. *Linux Biolinum G* is not installed on ly computer. Another font is substituted for this one but metrics are not the same. Consequently, I see a little offset in the indent which does not align with the first line.
I understand you don't want to change zillions of existing files, but think about it for the future.
1 Like

I got the tab after bullet working. And yes, I forgot the “Overwrite”. When the template loads with “Overwrite” ticked the list styles are updated. Thanks for helping me progress with this.

Now I have only two problems:

  1. How to achieve that the template is automatically applied to all the old documents? When I select it as a default template and open an existing document it is not automatically applied. I have to manually load the template. I guess the default template only applies to new documents. Is there any way of applying a template automatically to all old documents when I open them?

  2. How to rename the styles? I guess the styles can not be renamed. I could copy the styles to create new custom styles and name them however I want, but this would not help me with reformatting the old files. Is there any way how to solve this so that I am not stuck with the wierd list style names?

First check that your old documents (assuming your worked them all the same, check only one) are “template-based” according to Writer technicalities:

  • {File>Properties, General` tab
  • if the Template: shows a name, your document is “technically” template-based; if the line is blank, no luck

Supposing the property is not void, then any modification to the template will trigger a dialog asking if you want to load the new style definitions. This requires the new version of the template has the same name as the older one and it is stored at the same relative location as the older one viz. the document.

Both conditions are mandatory. Failing that, the process will be manual.

If the Template: line is void, you can however manually improve the situation a bit.
Extension TemplateChanger allows you to manipulate the template associated with a document (assign one when none, change an existing template, remove the template). The Extensions site says it is compatible with 5.0, but it still works with 7.6.x.

Changing a style name is straightforward:

  1. right-click on its name in the side stylepane
  2. got to Organizer tab
  3. change the name
  4. OK

This works very fine inside a document. Unfortunately, it won’t work for the template::document association. The association is name-based. If you change a style name in the template, it will be considered a new style by the document (and added to its dictionary) without effect on the style with the old name (because the old name is not kept in the template to warn using-documents about the change – and this wouldn’t work reliably anyway, swapping two names for instance).

If your old files are archive only, don’t bother about that. In case they have sporadic access and update, do the style changes (or re-templating) when needed.

1 Like