Writer: space between items in numbered list

Build ID: 1:6.2.4-0ubuntu0.19.04.1

I want to have a space between items in a numbered list so that the new line appears before the number.

The newline must go above the number so that a list item can have multiple paragraphs. This may not be “correct” formatting but it looks like this.

 1. Birds of a feather made of leather flocked
   to the barn for their daily eggs.

   All the brown eggs were broken by terrorists.

2.  A troop of bootless butlers broke rank to attack the raspberry wasps.

    The wasps were indifferent but stang every other one for a bit of raspberry fun.

In the Paragraph Style dialog, in the Customize section, there is a field for ‘Separator/before’. I have tried ‘\n’, ‘$’ but these are interpreted as literals. I don’t see any way of making the separator a control character so… hmm…

Why don’t you simply use line breaks?

Line breaks add another list item. And then another will discontinue the list. I suppose I could start a new list with ‘continue previous list’ property… yes. Can that abe automatic? Is it a style I could set?

You are wrong. Line breaks do not add another list item.

If you use a list style, when you apply it to any paragraph, numbering will continue unless manually restarted.

Ah. Perhaps we have a version issue? I’ll add it to the question. Or perhaps I misunderstand. What do you mean by a line break. I press the enter key. What else can I do?

Shift+Enter is a line break. Enter is a new paragraph.

Why yes! That works.

The “separator” is used for what its name implies: a decoration between numbering or bullet and list item text. Vertical space is “external” to list item and must be added differently.

Format>Bullets & Numbering (not Paragraph) is used to configure the appearance of list numbering only. Format>Paragraph allows you to set vertical spacing in Indents & Spacing tab.

You didn’t mention how you created your lists. There are two ways: direct formatting and styles.

Direct formatting

This method uses toolbar buttons and menus.

An unnumbered entry can be inserted with a button in the bottom toolbar. Then, with the cursor inside, Format>Paragraph will set the vertical spacing to the desired value(s).

Needless to say, this is a manual task to be repeated on each occurrence.


Define one paragraph style for your numbered items and a second (linked) one for your unnumbered items. The latter is tricky if you want it to behave like a true list-purpose style: you can’t set the bullet to None because it would revert to a standard paragraph style; you must choose a space bullet (U+0020) to fool Writer.

After that, you only need to style your paragraphs. They are guaranteed to have the same layout throughout your document and you can change it simply updating the style(s).

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Ah. I didn’t see your answer until just now. I’ll try this out in the morning.

Thank you. This was very helpful. The before/after paragraph spacing within the Format>Paragraph menu does the trick. Thanks.