Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, March 6, 2020 at 23:44

Paragraph Style is paragraph design with a certain name. This is about how text looks around another text in same document. As you have learned from previous article, Headings in turn are actually Paragraph Styles for titles. With Paragraph Styles, you can make for example a small story book with a group of text which is normal surrounding another group of quotation text with different look, named NormalText and QuotesText respectively. To write your book, you just need to write whole text without formatting as plain text. To finish it, select some text to apply NormalText Style and select another to apply QuotesText Style. That's it! This way you save your time to do repetitive formatting as you have already designed their Paragraph Styles. For most cases, you even do not need to create a custom one as LibreOffice Writer already prepared many you can choose. You can also modify Paragraph Styles available if you wish.In this article we will learn how to use Paragraph Styles with examples. Happy writing!

(Writer text document with several different Paragraph Styles applied)
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- What is this?
- Why people usually do not use styles?
- Seeing styles
- Finding style
- Applying style
- Modifying style

What is this?

In word processor, there are "Paragraph Styles", and there are "Page Styles". In LibreOffice Writer, they existed. Every text we type in a new document is actually formatted with a certain Paragraph Style, normally "Default Style". There are multiple pre-formatted styles (hence "designs") available for us to choose so we do not need to re-create same formatting again and again. Using them is like planning: you plan first what your document should be, then you apply your plans to it. The long term benefit of them is you can change many text's look easily if they have a same style by just modifying the style used.

Notice cursor position: that is Paragraph Styles selection box

Why people usually do not use styles? For most people, it is normal if they do not know about Paragraph Styles at all because mostly they think everything in document should be formatted manually (and repetitively) or cannot be made automatically. Some of them will eventually know about this if they read the documentation, read tutorials, or specifically receive a professional course in word processor. I believe some of you oh dear readers never used Paragraph Styles before so this tutorial is special to help you.

Seeing & Distinguishing Paragraph Styles

- Normal Text
- Default Style
- Text Body
- Quotation
- Preformatted

Those above are several most used Styles. 

(Text example with four different Styles)
(click picture to enlarge)

Four pictures above depicts how every style will look like. Normal is when you type anything on document as it is the default. Default is the name of that Normal style. Quotations is an indented text style. Text body is the style under heading style. There are dozens of other Styles with their own purposes such as Preformatted which is suitable for codes and Hanging for bibliography reference.

Finding A Style

- Toolbar
- Right panel

Styles selection is available in two places either on toolbar (see left) or navigator (see right). The toolbar selection will add new Style if you already applied that Style from navigator. You see, the toolbar selection is actually a shortcut to navigator's.

(Notice red rectangles: left and right)

Applying & Undoing a Style

- Select a text on page
- Select a style
- On navigator, double-click a style to apply it
- Select Default Style to undo

Mostly applying and undoing are done with Style selector using toolbar. Alternatively, using menubar, click Styles > select Text Body, for example. Quicker alternative is by shortcut keys, Ctrl+1 for Heading 1 and Shift+Ctrl+0 for Default Style, for example.

Modifying A Style

- Click Default Style menu drop-down
- Hover mouse on a style
- Click the black triangle
- Select Edit Style
- Appears a new dialog Paragraph Style: Untitled1

Modifying means editing an existing style. This is needed whenever you want to change how a style looks like. See next section for making modification.

(Notice cursor positions: ways to modify a Paragraph Style)

However, to completely revert back a modified style, click Standard button. This button exists so we are not afraid making modifications as much as we want.

(Notice cursor position: Standard button)
Creating A Style

Making a new style is done by inheriting (copying) an existing one. For example, we are creating a new quotation text style with background color and border lines around and bigger spacing.

- Select a style
- Right-click > New
- Appears a new dialog Paragraph Style: Untitled1
- Appears by default the tab Organizer

(Paragraph Style editor dialog)
 - Name: QuotesText
 - Inherit From: Quotations
Indents & Spacing:
 - Before text: 1,0 cm
 - After text: 1,0 cm
 - Lines spacing: 1.5 lines
 - Liberation Serif 12pt Italic
Font effect:
 - Font color: Dark Green
 - Set all borders
 - Line style: dotted
 - Spacing to contents: all 1,0 cm
 - Fill color: Light Green

(Spots to change in Paragraph Style editor dialog)

Example below demonstrates the use of this QuotesText style applied to the same text used at the beginning. It makes selected paragraph to be italicized, spaced 2.0 pt, bordered in dotted-style, and colored green at its background area. Notice that texts around it are unaffected.

Text surrounding a styled paragraph QuotesText with green background

That's all. I hope these examples are enough for you to make creations with Styles. Enjoy writing!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.