This email is in reference to the Writer 6.0 Guide, Chapter 16, Master
Publication date and software version
Published July 2018. Based on LibreOffice 6.0.
In the section "Why use a master document?", I suggest moving the first
point later in the list (last), since surely that's the weakest reason?
Frankly, the statement "writing, reviewing, and editing may be easier
when done on subsets of the full document" is generally the reverse of
the truth. Working with a single file is generally far easier than
working with dozens. There are some use cases (multiple authors working
on separate sections) where the statement is true.
I also suggest adding the use case of producing multiple variants of a
single document. In my case (and perhaps an argument for more authors to
use LibreOffice), I'm trying it for producing four different editions of
Of course each book variant has its own ISBN, but the other variations
across the four versions are:
a) 5x8 paperback
b) 4x7 paperback (smaller font, smaller pages)
c) For Amazon ebook (links to other books are Amazon links)
d) For other stores (non-Amazon, so vendor-neutral links to other books)
Based on feedback here:
I'm trying to use master documents for my use case.
One problem is that the early section, "Styles in master documents and
subdocuments", does not describe how styles work clearly enough to
clarify whether master documents will support my workflow.
For it to work, I need the paragraph styles and page styles to come from
the master document, not from shared subdocuments. The text in the
section referenced (p4, "Why use a master document?") does not clarify
that that is possible. In fact, it suggests it will not work:
"The relationship between styles in a master document and its
subdocuments is as follows:
• Custom styles used in subdocuments, such as paragraph styles, are
automatically imported into the master document.
• If more than one subdocument uses a custom style with the same
name (for example, myBodyText), then only the one in the first
subdocument to be linked is imported into the master document.
• If a style with the same name exists in the master document and
in the subdocuments (for example, Default Style), then the style is
applied as defined in the master document.
• The styles in the subdocuments are only changed in the master
document, so when a subdocument is opened for editing the original
styles are not affected."
I think my confusion arises from two things:
1) The term "Custom style" is used without definition.
2) The point that the master document's style is used if subdocs have
styles of the same name is the third bullet point rather than the first
(to suggest that that rule takes precedence). Note that the 3rd bullet
point quoted is contradicted on p6 (see below).
I wish to create the master document.
I just discovered that none of the three methods provided seem to match
I will experiment over the next couple of days in the hope that some
method exists to achieve my goal.
On p6, Step 1. Plan the project section it says in part:
"One or more templates for master and subdocuments. If you are starting
a new project, create the master document and all the subdocuments from
the same template. Not using the same template can create style
inconsistencies that could cause your document not to look as you
expect. For example, if two subdocuments have a style with the same name
that is formatted differently in each document, the master document will
use the formatting from the first subdocument that was added."
A couple of comments.
The word "template" is not defined or explained: is the term being used
generically in the sense of "pattern" or "example", or specifically, as
in a LibreOffice .ott template file? If the latter, there should be
some explanation or at least a reference to how to create a suitable
2nd comment: the above paragraph seems to reinforce the idea that you
cannot supply the styles from the master document, so that you can
included content and have it follow the paragraph and other styles of
the master document. If so, this will make Writer useless for my use case.
Another possibility is that the wording should have been:
"if two subdocuments have a style with the same name that is formatted
differently in each document, unless that style was provided by the
master document, it will use the formatting from the first subdocument
that was added."
I hope this feedback is of some use. As I said, I will continue
experimenting to see if my use case is supported.
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