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Problems formatting document

PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:56 pm
by Zvuv
I'm in trouble. All I want to do is write a simple academic math paper with a title, chapters and sections. I've been at this for a whole day and not written a single equation. I am really struggling with this software. It seems like every step requires a 15 min visit with Google and docs. I can't control formats. Paragraph Style>option either has no effect or it works on a single word or several paragraphs. Words in the middle of sentences. And every now and then it does what I expect. Chapter headers, section hears - styling? Ha! Rt Click > Paragraph Style > fonts yields a dropdown that terminates at M. There are more fonts. The selector in the main menu bar goes down to WingDings.

I'm an experienced developer. I've written scripts for MS Office products and countless web pages. I do understand the concept of hierarchical document structure and cascading styles. I really am not an idiot but this software has made me feel like one.

I've done the work. Google and forum searches. Docs start in the middle of a subject, without explaining context or point to pages that no longer exist. I can't invest another day or two learning OOw's internal abstract structure and all the complications and bugs that might occur. I just need to write my damn paper.

I can't find a suitable template - the ones that seemed promising are stale links.

Re: Basic Help

PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:40 pm
by Villeroy
Nobody can reproduce what you try to tell us. Please upload a document demonstrating the issues.
Notice that OpenOffice is a dead project. Its actively developed successor is

Re: Basic Help

PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:41 pm
by RoryOF
Have a look at
Writer for students (several languages)
for helpful information.

Re: Basic Help

PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:40 pm
by RoryOF
Paragraph styles apply to paragraphs, which are areas of text delimited by pressing Enter. Character styles apply only to the text selected when the character style is applied. Using /Format /Paragraph applies the formatting only to the current paragraph - better to use /Format /Styles and Formatting and consult Help to ascertain the details.

Chapters are defined by using Heading one, usually on a paragraph of a single line.

If we knew what paper style format you required, we might be able to point you to a suitable template.

Re: Problems formatting document

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:13 am
by keme
@Zvuv: Your signature indicates that you are using OpenOffice v. 3.1. While I can't recall any issues with formatting/styles on that version, it has been a while. An upgrade is a sensible course of action. LibreOffice, as others have mentioned, is probably your best bet, but there are also OpenOffice 4.1.6 (last release version) and 4.2 (dev. version).

A couple of other things worth mentioning:
  • The styles in Writer are more specific than what you find in Word, and when you apply a style, the operation tends to be less "aggressive" (it will not cancel out direct formatting like Word sometimes does for you ; you will have to do that yourself).
  • If you started out with a Word template, or have saved your paper as a Word file, there may be a buildup of "styling/formatting residue" where the two applications do things differently. This can often yield unexpected results with formatting.