LibreOffice Writer Default Template

The default template is the one that you use most since all new documents will be based on this unless you specify a different template. In other words, if you go to File–>New, or use the new document button, or press Control+N, what you get is a document based on the default template. If you find yourself changing things every time you begin a new document, such as changing the font, you really should create a default template that uses your choices.

You might think the way to do this is to edit the default template, but that is not exactly how it works. What you need to do is create a new template, save it, and then make it the new default template. Here is the process:

  1. Open a new document
  2. Make a change of some kind to the document. For example, let’s say that every document by default should open with a Heading 1 to begin the document. So go to the drop-down for styles in the upper left, where it now says “default”, and change to Heading 1.
  3. Go to File–>Templates, and select Save from the menu.
  4. Give it a name. I usually call mine KOB_Default.
  5. Make sure you have selected My Templates in the Categories selector.
  6. Click OK.

You should now have a template created, and stored on your hard drive. In my case, it is located in /home/kevin/.config/libreoffice/3/user/template, but your system may do things slightly differently. With the template created and saved, go to File–>Templates, and select Organize. Double-click on the My Templates folder, and you should see your template show up. (Note, if you don’t see it, you did something wrong in the previous steps, so go back and review carefully.) With the Organize window open, and your template selected, go to the Commands drop-down, and select Set As Default Template. Close the window and you should now have a new default template. To test this, create a new document by pressing Control+N. Your new document should now have Heading 1 selected as the first element of your page.

Of course, there are many more things you can do to your default template. Fortunately, it is easier to add them since you can go to File–>Templates, and select Edit, and select your template. It will open, and you can make another change. In this case, let’s make the default font for the Heading 1 Liberation Sans using the Font drop down next the Style drop down on the upper left. Then just save like you would any document, and that change will now be part of your default font, and all new documents will use it. As before, you can test this by opening a new document using Control+N and observing the settings.

Saving and Copying to another machine

Once you get used to how useful this is, you will want to make lots of changes, and it may occur to you that if anything happened you would not want to go through all of the work of re-creating your default template, or any other templates you may create. Well, the templates you create are just files on your hard drive. As I pointed out earlier, my default template is in /home/kevin/.config/libreoffice/3/user/template. This is the location that corresponds to the My Templates folder in the Organizer, and my machine is running Linux. On a Windows or Macintosh machine the location would be different. For instance, on my Windows 7 machine it is c:\Users\Kevin\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\3\user\template\. That folder with all of its files can be backed up, saved to an online location like Dropbox, and from there copied to any other machines you have. To get a new machine to use the new default template, just repeat the process shown abovc by going to File–>Templates, selecting the default template you created, clicking the Commands drop-down, and setting it as the default on your new machine. But even if you only have one machine, I strongly urge you to back up this folder so don’t have to re-create everything later. Also, note that you can create your default template in one environment, such as Linux, copy it to another like Windows, and make it the default. That will work just fine. You really only need to create a template once, and then copy it to any machine where you want to use it.

Listen to the audio version of this post on Hacker Public Radio!

 Save as PDF