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1 Why Switch to Linux

2 Linux to the Rescue

3 Create Your Own Linux Computer

4 Set Up Linux Mint

5 Benefits of LibreOffice Writer

6 How to Use LibreOffice

7 Edit Images with Free Linux Tools

8 More Free Linux Tools

9 More Reasons to Switch to Linux

5.4 Create your own custom styles
You can bring up the Styles Window by clicking on Format, Styles in the Main Menu. The top boxes in the Style Window are the five categories of styles on the left and style edit functions on the right:

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If you plan on writing an E book, or posting your articles on a website, you should consider changing from the traditional way of formatting text (by manually specifying the font weight and size of each line) to using styles to format text. For example, you can have a style called Heading 2 for Section Titles which is defined to be font size 14 and font weight bold. Then instead of selecting the text for your title and selecting the font size and font weight, you simply select the style called Heading 2.

The benefit of using styles instead of manually changing text is that your Ebook will automatically create an outline or Table of Contents based on listing all of the style entries which have been defined as Headings. For example, chapter titles might use a style called heading 1 while sections in the chapter might use a smaller style called heading 2. Another benefit of using styles is that should you decide you want to change the section headings to a larger font - such as 16 - and you want to change the font color to blue, all you need to do is change the style definition and all of the Heading 2 styles will automatically be updated to the new style. A third benefit of getting in the habit of using styles is that your book will have a more consistent appearance and therefore be easier to read and understand. A fourth benefit of using styles is that they can be easily converted to CSS Style Statements for use in creating a CSS Style Sheet – which is the file that controls the appearance of your HTML based ebook or website pages.

Before Adding Styles you must first clear all Manual Styles
Manual styles and ebook styles do not mix well. Unfortunately, manual formatting, which is also called direct formatting, can not be over-ridden by applying a style to it. Therefore before applying any styles to your document, you first need to clear or remove all manual styles. To do this, open your document and click on SELECT ALL. Then in the top menu, click on Format, Clear Direct Formatting.

Alternately, you can go through your document and individually replace all direct formatting with style formatting. The problem with this is that it is difficult to tell if a particular set of bold text was formatted manually or with a style. After selecting text, you need to pay careful attention to the Style Box. If you have bold text and it still reads “Default Style” then it was manually formatted. If it reads “Heading” followed by a number then it has already been styled with that Heading Style.

Style Categories versus Style Groups
Libre Writer divides styles into five categories. These are page styles, paragraph styles, character styles, frame styles and list styles. Within a given category, styles can be further divided into style groups. Below is a brief description of each of the five style categories.

Create a Custom Page Style
Page styles control the appearance of an entire page. Libre Writer allows us to define different styles for different pages. For example, different sections of the book can have different page styles. The “default” page style is reached by going to Styles and Formatting. Then click on the Page Style Icon.

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Then click on Default Style. Then right click. Then click Modify.

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However, you can create a custom page style by clicking on the Page Styles Icon in the Styles window. Then right click on Default Styles and select New.

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Type in the name of the new page style. Then click Apply. Then click OK. The new custom page style will show up in the list of page styles in the Style Window.

Create a Custom Paragraph Style
Paragraph styles are the most common type of style. They are styles which can be applied to an entire group of text such as a paragraph or a subject title. One of the most common usages of paragraph styles is to create and format a Table of Contents for your document. However, not all paragraph styles can be used for this purpose. Libre Writer uses “Levels” to structure the Table of Contents. The Title is the Top Level which may be the same of the entire book. This is followed by Level 1 which is likely to be used for the names of chapters. Level 2 is likely to be used for Section Titles. The following image shows a list of paragraph styles which can be selected and then applied to the Table of Contents Levels. In addition to the styles on this list, any custom styles which you create will also appear on the list. To insert a Table of Contents – or to simply see this list – go to Insert, Indexes and Tables. Then select Indexes and Tables. Then select the Styles tab.

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If you want to change a paragraph style for all of your documents, you should make the changes in your Document Template. To change a single document, use the Style Window for that document. To create a new custom paragraph style, first click on Paragraph Styles Icon in the Styles Window to bring up the list of Paragraph Styles.

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Then right click on the Default Style (or a Heading Style or whatever style you think is closest to the style you want to create).

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Then select New.

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It is important with custom styles to add a number such as 1 to the beginning of the name of your custom style as this will cause your custom styles to always show up at the top of the paragraph styles list.

Create Custom Character Styles
Character styles control special words or phrases within a paragraph. This includes words that you want in bold. To bring up the list of Character Styles, click on the “a” at the top of the Styles window.
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The “Emphasis” character style is like clicking on Italic in the top menu. The “Strong Emphasis” character style is like clicking on Bold in the top menu. The difference is that if at some point in the future, you want to change the style of all bold words, it can be easily done by modifying the character style – whereas if you use manual formatting, you will need to go through your entire document and change each bold word one at a time.

Eliminate the Underline from Internet Links
Character styles are also used to define the style of Internet Links and Index links. So if you want to change your Internet links on all of your documents so that they are not underlined, first open your default template by clicking on File, Templates, Manage. Then select the default template and click Edit. Then click Format, Styles and Formatting. Then in the Style Window, click on Character styles. Then click on Internet Link to select it. Then right click and select Modify. Then click on Font Effects. For underling, change the selection from Single to Without (which is just above Single in the list). Then click Apply. Then click OK.
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For consistency, you should also eliminate the underline from the “Visited Internet Links” which is just below Internet Links.

Add an Underline Character Style to your Custom Template
There is one common formatting option which is surprisingly not in the list of default character styles. This is the underline function. To create an Underline character style in your default template, first open the template to the edit screen. Then click on the character icon at the top of the Style Window. Then select the default style and click new.

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Name the character style Underline. Then click on Font Effects and change the Underline from “Without” to Single. Then click Apply. Then click OK.

Apply Styles Quickly and Easily
The most common way to apply a style is to select the text you want to style and then click on the Apply Styles drop down arrow to bring up the current Apply Styles list. Click on the drop down arrow to the right of the current style box to bring up a list of all styles than have been used so far in your document.

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If you want a new style you haven't used yet, click on MORE to bring up the Styles box with all of the styles.

Modify an Existing Style
Any style changes you make in any document will only apply to that document. To permanently modify a style, you must edit the template. To change a style from the Style Window, first select the Style Category you want by clicking on one of the five Category Icons at the top of the Style Window. Then, right click on the style you want to change and select Modify. Below we have selected the Paragraph styles category and within this we have selected the Default style:

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This brings up the Paragraph Styles Edit screen with several tabs that can be changed:

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Click on the font tab to change the font family, size and weight. Then click Apply. Then click OK.

Update a document from a modified template
To apply all of the styles of your modified default template to an existing document, first save and close all of your open documents and close Libre Office. Then restart Libre Office and open any document you want to apply the new default template to. Before the document opens, the following message will appear.

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Note that this message only appears when changing the default template. Click Update Styles to change the styles in the document. Be aware that you only get one chance to update a document this way. If you click Keep Old Styles, the old styles will remain and then must be changed within the document itself.

Add templates from other sources
Libre Office has lots of templates you can add. To see the list of templates, go to:
https://templates.libreoffice.org/template-center

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What's Next?
This completes our basic introduction to formatting and using Libre Writer. If you are interested in creating your own Print Book or Ebook, you should consider reading our complete book on this topic called Create your own Ebook Using Libre Writer. In this book, we go into more detail on creating a Master document and Table of Contents as well as creating custom styles for an ebook,

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In the next chapter, we will review how to use Libre Office Draw to create a custom diagram and how to use Libre Office Calc to create a custom chart. Then we review how to use Libre Office Impress to create a custom presentation. 
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