Writer: A document without predetermined styles

I use styles when writing, but am annoyed by the large amount of predetermined / preset styles in writer. I can create my own custom styles or alter every one for a template, but there are many that I will never ever use, and they are just cluttering up the interface.

Is there any way to remove all the preinstalled / predetermined / preset styles and just have the ones I decide there should be? If I have to compile my own version of the software, so be it. But please guide me in the direction of what to alter.

I am aware that I can choose only to see custom styles, but that is like putting makeup on a gun wound. Someone has had diarrhea in the style-section, and I would like to clean it up for good.

I personally don’t see it as an annoyance though, like you, there are a plethora of built-in styles I’ve never used. Moreover many of them are in a “prototypal” form and must be customised before being useful (think of all List n or Numbering n which are not fit for list out of the box because they are not associated by default with “list” styles).

However, those built-in styles suggest some usage (Body Text for main flow, Heading n for level-n headings, etc.) and are clues for “structured writing”. Built-in styles are not sacred. If the name appeals to you for a usage, don’t hesitate to customise them to fit your needs. But built-in styles have a special property (contrary to custom styles designed by user): their names get translated when the UI language is changed. I know this is of little interest for a particular user, but it is of great importance in this site to explain notions and good practices around a common vocabulary.

After this long introduction, I now give you two suggestions to reduce clutter in the style sidepane:

  • Select Hierarchical in the bottom drop-down menu

    Hierarchy (dependency) between styles will be shown with indentation. You’ll see the various families at a glance and you can expand/shrink a full sub-tree with a click. You’ll also have a suggestion on which style to use in contexts (heading, header, footer, lists, cover page, etc.).

    This may not actually reduce the number of displayed styles but display is structured.

  • Select Applied styles in the bottom drop-down menu

    This restricts the displayed styles to those actively used in the document. This mode is effective (useful and uncluttered) only after the document is long enough to cover all contexts of your text (headings, text, header, …). It needs some “warm up” before the list settles to something quite definitive.

    In long documents, the same styles tend to be used over and over with rare additions if your template or collection is well designed.

You can alternate between these two modes to sporadically reference a “new” style.

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EDIT 2019-04-19: minor adjustments to add missing words and correct typos; no change in significance

Additionally: right click on the style you don’t want to see → Hide. You can “recover” the style at any time using the list of hidden styles on the bottom drop-down menu.

I went quite far to politely specify that I was not looking for answers such as “just don’t use them” or “choose a view where they’re hidden”. I appreciate that you spend time answering questions, but this is not an answer. It’s a declaration that you like status quo, and I should just put up with the smell.

Another allegory; I am drowning and you comment that you like the water.

As I wrote in my question, I do structured writing. But structured writing needs structure. Not a gazillion useless formats that remove the ease from the user interface.

So back to my question: If I you cannot help, don’t reply. The styles need to go, and if it’s not an option, point me in the direction of where they are hard coded, so I can delete them there.

Predefined styles cannot be deleted, period. If you feel that that’s wrong, fill an enhancement request asking for a way to delete them, but for now the best you can do is to hide them. Here we are just users offering our experience: if there is an answer, we try to provide it, when there is no answer, we try to offer the best workarounds. That’s all we can do.

Is there any way to remove all the preinstalled / predetermined / preset styles and just have the ones I decide there should be? If I have to compile my own version of the software, so be it. But please guide me in the direction of what to alter.

No way, sorry. There are some bugs about it and there are some different suggestions how change current “hard-coded” styles situations. But there isn’t a developer for this changings

For example https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=69551

Thank you! It is nice to see that I am not alone.