Page 1 of 1

[Solved] How to save, re-apply custom outline settings?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:18 am
by ErikJon
Hello, friends.

I used to be a professional typesetter, using InDesign, QuarkXpress and other programs of the sort, but I never got deeply into the realm of preparing books or other long documents, of using styles extensively, or of using cross-references, or of making indexes or tables of contents. These days I work in a different environment, however, and am beginning to delve into this area for the first time. I use OpenOffice for most things, to the point that I think I am now an "intermediate" user, or better.

As a teacher on other subjects, I now work extensively with long outlines in OpenOffice, which I photocopy and then hand out to my students. I use the outline form so that the students can follow along more easily whenever I call out a certain section by name and number. I started my present long outline document in Microsoft Word, and later converted it to OpenOffice format. I don’t know whether this conversion, in itself, has caused the certain problems that I am having, to be embedded in the document, or whether the problems are unrelated.

Anyway, after the conversion, years ago, I think I began re-formatting the new converted document by simply selecting all the text, and then choosing the “bullets and numbering” menu item in OpenOffice; from there I applied one of the standard formats (e.g.,“ I...A...i...a)...”) and continued developing the outline to about one hundred pages, as I have it today.

Sometimes I would find a good outside source for additional teaching material, and I would just copy entire pages of text from the outside source, bring it into OpenOffice, paste it somewhere into the middle of my outline, for example, and then re-format whatever was pasted. Generally speaking, however, even by re-formatting in this way, the automatic outlining hardly ever correctly enumerated the insertion, and I usually had to backspace and hit return at the end of each line, to get all the text in sync with my main outline again, above and below.

At first I noticed that the program would often apply default “styles” to my insertions, so I went and “modified” the default paragraph style (and character styles) to match my preferred settings for all the text. I even re-selected all the text and re-applied these new “defaults,” but oftentimes it would not suffice. I even created entirely new “styles” and applied these to my text, but I saw no difference. I had been accustomed to using other programs in which the outline settings themselves were embedded in the “styles”, but apparently this is not the case in OpenOffice.

Moreover, when I would copy a long section from page 35 in the same outline, for example, and then move them up to page 15, and paste it there, even though it had been correctly formatted on page 35, and had been in sync with my outline numbering, it did not paste with the correct numbering in the new location, and usually not even with the correct outlining scheme either (e.g., instead of maintaining the “ I...A...i...a...” format, once I inserted it into my outline, it would adopt a new bullets-only format, for example—no matter where I inserted it—or else one of the other standard formats from the “bullets and numbering” dialog box. Also, if I ever modified the standard indentations in one of the preset outline schemes (i.e., “format”>>”bullets and numbering”>>”options” tab, to change 0.5 inches to 0.25 inches), OpenOffice would maintain these settings in whatever section I happened to have my cursor, but would not always apply them to any new outlined text inserted in the middle of this section—not even if I re-applied paragraph and character “styles” to these sections (rather, it would generally apply something like the bullets-only preset style, for example).

As a last resort I have been looking into the possibility of re-defining the default “numbering styles,” (whatever those are—I do not know), in case the program was somehow falling back onto these settings, but I cannot figure out how to do that either. To be honest I do not understand all the differences between “list”, “heading,” “numbering,” and “user index,” and certain other “styles” like these (perhaps the concepts, but not the terminology), so I do not know whether there is a solution available in this area.

By the way, in the “bullets and numbering” dialog box, there seems to be no place to “save” any new user-defined presets by name, although the settings are (supposedly) internally preserved. In other words, after making a custom outline scheme, and adjusting the position of the indentations to something unique at every “level”, since it is a lot of trouble to do, there ought to be a button for saving my “custom presets” by name, so that, any time I should find myself in the middle of a glitch in my outline, I would not lose all these settings; I would not have to open the “bullets and numbering” dialog box again, re-define again all the little customized settings and indentations at every level, just in order to re-format the one problematic section in my outline. Since none of these settings appear to be embedded in “paragraph styles” or in “character styles” I have no idea how I could do it. Is this possible already? This would, at least, solve my problems temporarily.

Thank you so much for whatever suggestions you can offer.

Re: How can I save and re-apply custom settings for my outli

PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:42 pm
by Hagar Delest
Hi and welcome to the forum!

Never use the bullet and numbering tool for outline!
See [Solved] Wrong chapter numbering.

I think that during the conversion, a lot of MS Word formatting has been transferred. Perhaps you should copy the whole document, open a new document and paste as unformatted text. Then redo all the formatting using styles and Outline Numbering. And save in .odt of course.

Please add '[Solved]' at the beginning of your first post title (edit button) if your issue has been fixed.

Re: How can I save and re-apply custom settings for my outli

PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:14 pm
by acknak
I agree with Hagar: it really pays in the long run to completely remove the MS Word formatting and re-format the document. It's not nearly as bad as it sounds if you use Writer's styles.

The best way to handle complex outline lists is to use a list style. That does exactly what you're looking for: saves your list configuration in a named style. Writer keeps these list styles in a separate category.

I usually start by first making sure that all the list items use paragraph formatting that has no indents; the paragraph "Spacing/Before/After text" and "First line" should all be zero. If you want indents, they should be set as list properties, not paragraph properties. You can select all the list items and change the settings, or (better) apply a paragraph style that has the zero indents.

Next, put the cursor anywhere in a list item that has the numbering/outline configuration you want. Open the "Styles and Formatting" window (F11), then switch to the list style category (rightmost category button). Use the drop-down button to the right of the categories to choose "New Style from Selection." Give the new style a name, then select all the list items and apply that style. The items should now use the same list settings and changing the list style properties should automatically apply to the entire list.

I do not understand all the differences between “list”, “heading,” “numbering,” and “user index,” and certain other “styles”

These are paragraph styles. They have nothing at all to do with list configuration. The list numbering configuration is defined through a list style--a separate style category.

You may also want to refer to the Writer Guide: ... ser_Guides

Re: How can I save and re-apply custom settings for my outli

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:46 am
by ErikJon
Dear Hagar and Acknak,

Thank you kindly for your suggestions. I know that you must be very busy.

(Incidentally, I had another post, on the subject of spellcheck, but it was suddenly removed before I could thank Hagar for his suggestions there also. ... 291#450291)

As for the outlining issue, I am afraid that I am still a bit in the dark, but I guess I just need to do a little more reading on this subject. I have downloaded the PDF manual that you suggested, and will do what I can.

By the way, sometimes it is good to have other points of view in the explanation, because some give better examples, for instance. Can you direct me to any other OpenOffice manuals or eBooks on the Internet--including unofficial ones--that may address in detail this complicated issue of styles, numbering, outlines and lists?

Re: How can I save and re-apply custom settings for my outli

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:21 am
by Hagar Delest
ODF Authors documents (linnk given by acknak) is the best place IMHO.
See laso:

Re: How can I save and re-apply custom settings for my outli

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:56 pm
by ErikJon

You are so kind to offer so many good tips to help us solve ou problems. Unfortunately, I just discovered today this old post that I had apparently never answered. Sometimes i fail to get notification by e-mail when a post is made, and that must be how I missed it. Otherwise I am usually very good about answering every comment on any forum. I apologize for this oversight.

Re: How can I save and re-apply custom settings for my outli

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:30 am
by Hagar Delest
I just replied to your other topic. This one is even older (almost 9 years).
I hope you've managed to do what you wanted.