Tips, Tricks for Libreoffice

These are the ones I use most often because of the way I work, but there are many more

Today I'm going to show you the tricks or shortcuts for LibreOffice Writer, the alternative to Microsoft Word included in the LibreOffice suite. Whether you are a lover of free software or if you simply prefer to use free alternatives, this application will surely interest you to replace Microsoft's, and if you want to try it, here are some ways to take advantage of it.

We are going to try to make our guide as complete as possible, including both basic and advanced tips to help both new users and those who are already somewhat more veteran.

1. Change the default font

The LibreOffice text editor not only lets you change the default font for the body of your messages, but it also allows you to specify the default font that you can use in different types of text, such as default or basic, titles, lists, footers and indexes.

Click on the Tools menu and go to Options, or press Alt + F12.
In the options menu go to the left column, and double click on LibreOffice Writer.
In the options that are displayed, click on Basic fonts.
Decide what font you want to use for normal text, titles, lists or indexes.

2. Paste plain text

But there is another way to avoid seeing yourself in a format muddle when you are pasting texts that will make you not need to go around eliminating these formats. And it is an option that allows you to paste the text you have on the clipboard, but without preserving the format and limiting yourself to pasting only what is the text itself.

All you have to do is have the text copied to the clipboard regardless of its format. Then, right click on the point of the text where you want to paste it. In the window that opens, choose the Paste Special option, and then click Plain Text to paste it without preserving the format.

3. Clean the format of a default text

You know that sometimes, when you compose a text by copying and pasting fragments of different pages, you may end up with a real chaos of formats, fonts and font sizes. Fortunately, this text editor has a simple tool to clean up the formatting of a selected text and keep the default.

First select the text whose format you want to remove, it can be one or more words, phrases or paragraphs.
Right click on the selected text.
In the menu that opens, choose the option Clean direct format.
You can also do it directly by selecting and pressing Control + M.

4. Change the default document format

Being a Free Software application it makes sense for LibreOffice to save your files in an open format. By default your documents are saved with the extension ODT (documents), ODS (spreadsheets) and ODP (presentations). But this can be a hassle if you often work with documents that other people edit or need to review, especially considering that most people use Microsoft Office.

To change the format in which LibreOffice saves each new document, open the Tools menu and select Options at the bottom of the list. In the left column select Load / save. From there go to General, where you can choose the format to save as according to type of document. You can also disable the warning that appears every time you save a document in an unopened format.

5. Two little tricks to move text

Select, copy, go to the site you want to put and paste. No, there are two easier ways to do it. If you want to move text, select it and drag it with the mouse to the place where you want to paste it. And if what you want is to copy and paste it, select it and drag it while pressing Control to paste it where you release the mouse.

6. Select text arbitrarily

Here is a very curious trick. Generally, when you select text in Word, you do it by selecting the words and columns that go from the point where you start to where you end. But there is also a method to select only the letters that are within the area that you draw with the mouse regardless of whether you split words or phrases. To do this, hold the Alt button before and while clicking and selecting the text. 

7. Cut the page where you want

Accommodating the format of a document so that the page starts and ends where you want it can be a bit of an odyssey if you try to do it by creating blank lines. A better way to do this is to insert a Page Break, which you will find in the Insert menu.

However, once you learn the keyboard shortcut, Control + Enter, which does exactly the same thing, you will hardly ever use the previous menu again. To erase a page break, simply erase the text around it until it disappears.

8. Customize your toolbar

LibreOffice Writer has a toolbar by default, that top menu where you find everything that can be done, which is prepared for the most commonly used functions. But it also has the possibility of customizing it to adapt it to your specific needs in the event that there are things that you use and are not accessible.

Click on the Tools menu and enter Personalize.
In the menu that opens, click on the Toolbar tab.
Go marking the new options that you want to appear and adding separators.
In the Scope field you can choose if the changes are for all LibreOffice Writer or only the document you are working on now.

9. Customize your context menu

You can also follow the same steps to customize the contextual menu, which is the one that appears when you right-click on a point in the text. You have to go to the Customize options as before, but once in the menu that opens, click on the Contextual Menus tab instead of the toolbar.

10. Customize your keyboard shortcuts

You can also customize your keyboard shortcuts, and although the option to do so is in exactly the same place as the previous two, it is important that we explain some things here. But first click on the Tools menu and go to Personalize, where you have to go to the Keyboard tab.

You cannot add new shortcuts here, but edit existing ones. You will see that some keys are already assigned to specific functions, and that there are others that are empty. Well, nothing, click on the empty ones and choose which function you want to add, or click on the occupied ones and choose the Modify option to change the shortcut for another that suits you better.

11. Save files directly as PDF

In most applications, saving a file as PDF usually requires several steps, such as going to the file menu and then to the export options. Well, the LibreOffice Writer has a button on the toolbar to export to PDF, which will greatly facilitate the process and make it much faster.

All you have to do is press the button Export directly to PDF that you will see with the icon of a sheet with the PDF symbol, and the save file menu will open directly with the format selected.

12. Create editable hybrid PDF files

And if you are a traditional user who wants to go through the corresponding menus to create a PDF, you will see that there is a prize. If you follow the normal way to export as PDF instead of directly, you can create an editable hybrid PDF in LibreOffice. An ODF file, which is the LibreOffice format, will be embedded in the PDF. It will look like a normal PDF, but you can edit it.

Click on the File menu, and enter Export to.
In the options that open, choose Export to PDF. Be careful, avoid the option to Export directly to PDF.
Exporting to PDF instead of "directly to PDF", you will see a panel of options prior to saving the file.
In this panel of options, check the Hybrid PDF box.
Now click on Export and save the file.

13. Dark mode and other color themes

LibreOffice has a custom theme system with which you can change some of the colors of your applications, and for example from Writer you can change it too. You will not have a dark mode itself, but you can change some elements to make them black, pink or gray among other colors.

Click on the Tools menu and go to Options, or press Alt + F12.
In the options menu go to the left column, and double click on LibreOffice.
In the options that appear, click on Personalization.
Now select the Pre-installed theme option, and choose a color. 

14. Change the colors of the rest of the elements

We continue with customization. If changing the theme is not enough, you can also change the colors of the application. You still have the option in the LibreOffice category where you have gone in the application options, and you can change the color of the document's background, the text limits and any other element.

15. Change the application icons

LibreOffice also lets you customize the appearance of the program a bit. The default icon pack is Tango, and it has been the same for years. If you find it outdated or ugly, you have some alternatives to apply to the base program and change its default icons for others.

Click on the Tools menu and go to Options, or press Alt + F12.
In the options menu go to the left column, and double click on LibreOffice.
In the options that appear, click on View.
Now select click on the Icon Style box and choose a different one.

16. Drag and move the toolbars

Another customization option in this application is to change the position of the toolbars. To do this, you just have to click on the icons of perpendicular points to the left of each one and drag it to change its position. You will even be able to move them from the top to one of the sides.

In addition, if you press the Control key and double-click on an empty part of a taskbar, you can detach it from the application window and move it at will. If you repeat the process you can anchor it again.

17. Add more functions with your extension system

And if the options you have available are not enough, LibreOffice also allows you to add extensions to add new features. There aren't really many available, and most are for adding secondary languages ​​and dialects, but there are also some interesting ones like one for creating Wikis.

Click on the Tools menu and enter Extensions Manager.
A window will open with a list of extensions.
Select the extension you want and click Add.
You can decide whether to install them for the current user or all users, and look at their options or check for updates.

18. Encrypt a document or give it a password when saving it

Another very interesting option is that when you are going to save a LibreOffice file, you will have the option of setting a password or encrypting it with a GPG key. Simply choose the option you want and proceed by saving the file. When you want to open it later, you will be asked to enter this password to ensure that only those you want to read it.

Click on the Save button.
Select the Save with password or Encrypt with GPG key options.
Click Save.
Enter your password twice and click OK.

19. You can also create read-only files

And if it is for security reasons, with very similar steps you can also make the file you save read-only. There will be two ways to do it, or with a password so that others can see it but only those who have it can edit it, or without a password to be able to go to edit mode whenever you want from read mode.

Click on the Save button.
Select the Save with password options.
Click Save.
In the password window, click Options.
Check the Open file for read-only box.
You can decide whether to give the file a read-only password or not.

20. Make him remember where you left off in a file

By default, LibreOffice Writer always opens text documents taking you to their first row. This is not a problem ... unless you are working with particularly long documents. If you want that when opening a document it remembers the exact point where your cursor was when saving, you will have to tell the application who you are.

Click on the Tools menu and go to Options, or press Alt + F12.
In the options menu go to the left column, and double click on LibreOffice.
In the options that appear, click on User data.
Write a name and surname, they do not have to be real.
That's it, now LibreOffice will know when you open the file, and it will take you to where you left off.
It only works with Open Document file formats such as ODF or ODT, not Microsoft format files.

21. Use the internal calculator

There is a little trick in LibreOffice Writer that may help you if you are doing calculations. If you have a mathematical operation written, select the operation and press Control + + (plus symbol). The result of the operation will be saved in the clipboard, so when you press Control + V to paste, you will paste the result of this operation.

22. Quickly extract images from a document

If you are working on a document where many images are inserted, and for whatever reason you want to save these images outside of the document, there is a way to do it without going one by one. You will have to save the document as an HTML web file, and it will automatically save the images alongside it. Then, if you want, save it as a text document again.

Click on the File menu and enter Save As.
In the format list, choose HTML Document and click Save.
A warning will appear telling you that there may be content that is not saved in that format, ignore it and keep saving in HTML.
The files that are not saved are the images, which will be saved separately.

23. Use the synonym search engine

LibreOffice Writer has a thesaurus option, a thesaurus search engine. If you are writing and you think you repeat a word a lot, you can search for synonyms from the same application without having to go to the browser and search for it on the Internet. It's as easy as pressing the Control + F7 keys, and typing the word whose synonym you want to find. If you select a word before clicking on your text, its synonyms will be searched.

24. Create shortcuts to words or phrases

Writer has an automatic correction system that you can use to create shortcuts to words or phrases that you don't want to write in full. For example, what if instead of writing Xataka Basics all the time you could write xtb and let the application take care of replacing it? It's a trick that can save you a lot of time.

Click on the Tools menu.
Click on Automatic correction, and in the menu that opens make sure you have selected the option When writing.
Click on Automatic correction again, and in the menu that opens choose Automatic correction options.
In the screen that opens, choose Replace shortcut, and By word or phrase.
Click on New to add it to your list.

25. Browse your content

If you are creating a complex document, surely it can be useful to have a series of shortcuts with which to go to certain titles, images that you have inserted, bookmarks or hyperlink. You can do this with the LibreOffice Writer browser. Press the F5 button or go to View -> Browser, and a window will open where you can find your content depending on its type.

26. Move in multiple languages

Few things are as annoying as you are writing a document and when you enter a word in a different language, it is automatically marked as an error. The autocorrect, however, can be educated to tell the difference between something misspelled and something in another language.

Click on the Tools menu.
Click on Language.
From there you can choose the language for the paragraph, selection or all the text.

27. Add third-party dictionaries

The good thing about the open source community is that there are many users and developers cooperating to improve the applications. And just as we have already told you that you can install third-party extensions, you can also add dictionaries created by other people. Of course, the option is a bit hidden.

Click on the Tools menu and go to Options, or press Alt + F12.
In the options menu go to the left column, and double click on Language Settings.
In the options that appear, click on Writing aids.
On the screen you go to, at the bottom click on Get more dictionaries.

28. General performance improvement of the application

Especially useful for those teams that have generous resources is their efficient allocation and, in this case, LibreOffice gives us a hand. If you have enough memory, try applying this setting and see how it improves the startup of the programs and the general fluidity of the environment.

From any of the applications, open the Tools menu, select Options (or through the shortcut ALT + F12) and in the LibreOffice menu choose the Memory section. Changing the memory parameters to a higher number will improve performance and you can even make it load at system startup if your work is essentially performed with this tool.

Within this same section there is the Advanced option, where we can disable the use of Java, if we are not going to use any resources that require this component.

29. Keyboard shortcuts

A classic of any application are keyboard shortcuts that allow quick access to the most used functions. Fleeing the typical ones like cutting, copying or pasting that are already well known and not exclusive to this tool, we indicate several others for practical functions in all LibreOffice applications.

CTRL + E: Selects all the text in a document or in the current cell of a table.
CTRL + G: Save document.
CTRL + Home: Go to the beginning of the document.
CTRL + End: Go to the end of the document.
CTRL + Space: Creates a space between words that prevents them from being separated at the end of the line.
CTRL + Mouse wheel: Modifies the zoom.
CTRL + Del: Delete word.
CTRL + Direction arrows: Move between words.
CTRL + Shift + V: Paste without formatting.
CTRL + Shift + Direction arrows: Select word.

There is a compilation of shortcuts per application, for those who mainly use the word processor, spreadsheets or presentations.


If something stands out LibreOffice is in the amount of extensions available to expand its functions. All are centralized in the Extension Center, but through the Internet it is possible to find many more. To install an extension, you must first download the package and then, from LibreOffice, click on the Tools menu> Extensions Manager. By clicking on the Add button and selecting the extension in the file explorer, we can check how it is validated in the environment and becomes available in the system.

31. Thesaurus

The use of thesauri is very useful for those who develop text documents, since they are large repositories of words and can be found in multiple languages. As we write, it is possible to search for information about a word or obtain a synonym that enriches our document. By marking a word and choosing the corresponding menu or pressing the combination of keys CRTL + F7, the thesaurus offers us several replacement options, even in other languages ​​if we have them installed.

32. Word prediction

For those who write a lot, this function can be one of the most useful. This is the autocomplete function, where the program will store frequently used words and will offer them to you as you write the text. To activate this interesting function we must go to the Tools menu> Automatic correction> Auto correction options. Next, in the Word Completion tab, we will check the box to Enable word completion and Remember words. The limit that LibreOffice stores is high, up to 1000 words, but if you are one of those who write a lot, you may want to raise this limit a bit more. 

LibreOffice, is a free office software suite of high productivity and professional quality

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