Writer: Undocumented (?) behaviour with list styles

Hi all,

This question is likely a duplicate for tis one: “set-after-text-indent-on-lists” , but I reword it.

Undocumented in the question title may be abusive: the Writer guide explicitly recommends not to mix paragraph style and list style indents “to avoid undesired interactions”. I perfectly understand this advice for left indent, but not for right indent.

I first format a paragraph to set left and right indents (Before - and After Text indents in paragraph style definition dialog).
When this is done to my taste/need, the style is recorded as a new custom paragraph style CustomIndent.

Text is displayed with the requested indents.

Next, a list style is associated to this CustomIndent to get the “level magic” effect. Say this is Numbering 1. When clicking OK, the sequence of paragraphs is displayed as a numbered list, BUT indents vanish (text is now flushed to right margin – justification permitting-- and left indent is set per list style.

The “level magic” is effective to allow for a multi-level list, which is a needed feature for a document of mine.

If I reopen the CustomIdent paragraph style, Indents & Spacings tab, Before and After Text have been reset to 0 (or rather some conventional values not related to my use case or to the parent paragraph style, apparently something like the first level Position in the list style).

Trying to set these to my liking will

  • either revert the paragraph style to a “normal” paragraph, i.e. without the multi-level feature (associated to the TAB key)
  • or completely mess up the auto-indentation feature brought by the list style (this is particularly visible on multi-line paragraph) where only the first line text is auto-indented as dictated by the list style, but not the number or bullet).

I could not determine under which circumstances, one of the behaviour was selected.

There is even a surprising result when part of the paragraphs come from a paste operation: some changes (list style modification) to the paragraph style do not propagate to the pasted paragraphs!

See the attached example file.

Is the list feature totally independent of the usual margin/indent properties controlled by paragraph styles?

Should this be considered a bug?

I don’t like the idea of using a frame or table as workarounds because this introduces a break in text flow and complicates document design, not speaking of the traditional positioning difficulties with frames.

Does somebody know of a “reasonable” workaround?


I do not know if this will be a “reasonable” workaround… I rather uses sections to set the margins in such cases. Thus it is not necessary to handle the left-right indentation of the paragraph style. The continuity of the document is not broken as with table or frame.

See Indent.odt


I also thought of sections but, contrary to frames, they have no named styles associated to them. Consequently, it is not possible to tune the general presentation from a single point. Tables have the same inconveniences. And frames can become a nightmare when it comes to accurate relative positioning.

I admit that only the right indent is really a problem since left indent can be taken into account by the list style.

I’ll have to live with it.

Thanks anyway.

There is a nice work around here