Writer: bulk delete custom properties

I have a document “document B” that has a number of zotero (bookmark) fields in it. Document B was extracted as a separate document from a larger document A. It looks like I have MANY superfolous custom properties in document B (and A for that matter) (file>properties>custom properties), that are related to zotero bookmarks. Zotero references that were inserted at one point and later deleted (they don’t display under bookmarks in writer).

It looks like there’s also some that are still relevant related to zotero but I’m willing to bite the bullet and delete all of them and redo all my references.

I imagine these ‘custom properties’ are a legacy of document A - is this correct? I’m not sure how custom properties work, but why do they remain? Is there a way to avoid them? Even when I copy and paste the text of B into a new blank .odt document they are still there.

I’d like to bulk delete them as a test. Is there a way to do this? It looks like I can only do one at a time. Here’s a screen shot of the custom props too FYI. Thanks for any advice.

(Edit: activated screenshot -AK)

You have no other choice than erasing items one after the other.

Custom properties allow you to define key/value pairs making sense for your document, e.g. a revision number. In principle, value is short. You can then insert the value in your text with a field referencing the key. The obvious interest appears when you review your document: the changed custom property is automatically updated everywhere it is inserted.

Bookmarks are named locations within your document. Their “properties” (page or chapter number, text) can be inserted as cross-references.

I’m not using Zotero, but how I understand it, it is a bibliography engine or so, improving on the built-in feature. However, since it is portable, it has to store its database in some way compatible with any application (LO Writer, Word, Firefox, …). Apparently, developers chose the key/value custom properties. IMHO, considering the amount of data, this an abuse on the feature.

You’re correct assuming that custom properties in document B is a legacy of document A if you made a copy of A before erasing text to reach state B. Have you tried to create a blank B and pasting only the parts of A you’re interested in? This should not copy custom properties.

Thanks for the information.

Have you tried to create a blank B and pasting only the parts of A you’re interested in? This should not copy custom properties.

I have indeed, and the issue remains.


You can use this hack:

  • FileSave asFlat XML ODF Text Document (*.fodt)
  • Open this document with a text editor (i.e. Notepad++)
  • Find (regular exp enabled): <meta:user-defined.*meta:user-defined>
  • Replace By: nothing
  • Save then reload the .fodt with Writer and save as .odt


Thansk for taking the time to provide this. It looks like it’s worked. FYI for others who might benefit from this, just be aware it removes all inserted references (the eroneous “hidden” ones and those I would have like to have kept)… I was happy to do that as per my initial request.

It leaves the zotero bookmarks in place (though Zotero doesn’t seem to recognise the reference at all - ie. these appear “dead” too and won’t appear when you create a bibliography), these can be deleted in bulk a little easier:

right click on bookmark > edit > bulk select and delete.