Writer page numbering

I thought I wanted to perform a simple task - creating Writer document, where the third page needs to be of No. 1 and contents being on the previous, unnumbered page, would reflect to it.
I found it impossible. I want to have page numbering in the header and on those first page no header at all or header with different properties. I just simply cant achieve this after half a day of trying and reading through different opinions elsewhere on internet, so will have to go and use Word, where I can simply click on ‘unlink’ in sections and - done.

This issue is an old one and I found people breaking their heads frustrated back in 2014. Here we are in 2019 and still facing the same problem.
I love LibreOffice dearly since the beginning and I don’t have even Microsoft Office installed at the moment, as I don’t need them for quite some time, but this is one of the thinks, where developers should understand that they don’t develop for themself but for the broad community, so they should learn to listen and drop their ego. Kind of sad…


developers … don’t develop for themself but for the broad community

The developers (and other contributors) have various reasons to take part in free software projects like LibreOffice. But hardly any of them intends serving lusers that are too stupid to RTFM/STFW. Well, I guess.

In addition to Mike’s:

  1. Read this tutorial and this tutorial.
  2. If you can’t find an answer, read these guidelines and ask a good question.

I am no developer but I’d say they implemented a sensible clean feature.

The concept is very simple.

A document is made of several parts, each of which has its own formatting (margins, header, footer, numbering, …). Such a part is controlled by a page style (this style concept does not exist in M$ Word, which explains the plethora of “unlink” buttons, in the end creating a mess of unrelated independent anonymous parts).

Every time you need a different page layout, you use an adequate page style. Writer comes with a variety of “built-in” styles ready for customisation.

To switch from one page style to another one, you insert a break, in this case a manual page break. This “break-event” allows you to specify the next page style and also to reset the page number to any value you fancy.

The page style feature integrates nicely with the paragraph styles. Their Text Flow properties are the tools to even automate the page switch when certain “events” occur, such as a paragraph signalling a chapter start of the beginning of the TOC, etc.

Of course, this needs pondering about the document structure and a bit of planning. But this task can be done only once and all the needed styles stored in a personal template (or model) so that you concentrate only on the contents afterwards, not on the nitty-witty idiosyncrasies of formatting.

My best advice: read the user manual and take time to experiment a bit. This is not wasted time.

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The fact that LibreOffice is designed to solve the same tasks that MSOffice solves does not mean it solve those tasks in the same way. LibreOffice Writer uses the concept of page style, completely absent from Word (Word uses “sections” for that, I think, but sections in Writer are for different purposes). Once you understand the page style concept, numbering pages and changing formatting is really easy.

To get different headers and footers you need different page styles and switch from one to the other through a page break, either manual or inserted automatically: you can set a page style to be automatically followed by another page style (for example, the first page of each chapter with a different formatting being followed by the body of the document) and paragraph styles can be associated to page breaks with changes in the page style (for example, to start each chapter in a new page). Each page style can be set to have different headers/footers, different margins, sizes and page number types. So you can have a page style for the index pages with only the footer that uses roman numerals, while the page style for the body of the document have headers and no footers. In the header/footer you then insert the corresponding fields.

To restart the numbering, you need to use the properties of the first paragraph on the page you need to change: with a right click you get the paragraph properties and in the “Text Flow” tab of those properties you can set the page number you need.

You can either check the official documentation to learn the basis of styles or, if you don’t mind the self promotion, check my free book about Writer.

As @ajlittoz wrote above, the Writer Guide is a good introduction for many of the problems met when writing a book or document. see Writer Guides | LibreOffice Documentation - Your documentation for LibreOffice to download the manual.

I prefer the printed copy from Lulu which I use to answer many Writer Questions, why repeat lessons that someone else has already solved. Chapter 5: Formatting Pages: Basics answers most of your questions on page numbering, and some you have not yet asked. The book itself, like many others has had to number pages in a similar way to what you are wanting to do.