In the previous tutorial we discussed how to create a new default template for use with LibreOffice Writer. That template is the one that is used if you simply start a new page. But you can also make use of other templates for particular needs. LibreOffice supplies a number of these which are available on the Web, and you can create your own, either from scratch or by modifying an existing template.
To create a document from an existing template, go to File–>New–>Templates and Documents to open the Templates and Documents Dialog Box. Make sure you select Templates on the left:
You will have several folders to choose from, but the folders are a little different depending on your platform. This screen shot shows what is available on my Linux machine. To get a template you need to double-click on a folder to see the contents. But if you do this on a fresh installation you will discover that the cupboards are bare. No problem! Look on the lower left, and there is a link that says “Get more templates online…” Clicking this link will take you to http://templates.libreoffice.org/
This site has a few features you should be aware of. The first is that like all free software projects this is a community endeavor. All of the templates are created and offered by users, and are licensed using free software licenses. That means you are free to download them and use them as you wish. Second, because this is an international project, you will see a number of languages. Since my web site is in English I will use that language for the templates, but you have others available should you need them. Also, note that there is a donate button. LibreOffice is free for anyone to download and use without restriction, while a commercial product like Microsoft Office is costly and encumbered by license restrictions. But even free software projects have costs, so I encourage anyone using this site to click the button and make a donation. Finally, note that there are two buttons on the navigation bar on the upper part of the page, one for Extensions, the other for Templates. Extensions is a topic for another time, so click the Templates button.
What you see on this page is a large selection of templates for many possible uses. Notice that there are templates for different components of LibreOffice, in particular, there are templates for Impress, the presentation program. So you need to look for templates that apply to Writer, but the majority of the templates are for this component. If you look at the list on the right which sorts by categories, note that the bottom of the list has “Writer Templates”, which will only display templates for Writer. Also, be careful about which version of LibreOffice the template is compatible with. Many of them will work on all version, but some of them may not work with the most recent versions. There is no harm in giving them a try, but the more complex they are the less likely they will work.
The problem with this site is that the number of usable templates is actually fairly low. As I am looking right now, many templates are only compatible through version 3.4 of LibreOffice, while version 3.6 has just been released. And when you click through on many of them you see that no stable release is available. So these are really projects in development, and may or may not ever be completed. Remember, these are all written by members of the community, and they are probably working on them sporadically.
In some cases you may be able to use Microsoft Word templates and convert them into LibreOffice Writer templates. This is discussed in this Tech Republic article by Jack Whalen.
I would have to say that at this time you won’t find a lot of templates available for current versions of Writer that you can download. That means that you should create the ones you need for yourself. Fortunately, that is not difficult. In fact, we created a template in the previous tutorial, when we created a new default template for Writer.