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Hi :)
I think you are thinking of Word rather than Writer.  Also you are talking about "House Styles" for 
different companies, different institutions, different professors.  Language and fashions do  
evolve too as you were also saying.  

In Word Styles do tend to get very messy very quickly and it's overly complicated.  Plus you can 
never be sure that a style's definition will hold all the way through a document.  

By contrast LibreOffice Styles "Cascade" (a bit like Css but different) so it's easy to change (for 
example the font of) one level of headings and find that change ripples out to other relevant 
styles.  KISS for internally consistent documents.  

Regards from 

Tom :)  

From: Kracked_P_P---webmaster <>
Sent: Tuesday, 30 April 2013, 12:47
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Paragraph styles

I no longer need to write in any "required style or page format. SO, I never got into using 
styles.  But you have a valid point in needing students to learn how to use it.  The fact that 
writing "style" requirements change every so often.  I went to 4 colleges and received 3 degrees.  
The problem I had was that every time I went back to college, the "standards" for foot notes, 
indexing, bibilography, and many other things I learn in one college English/Writing course 
changed.  I ended up taking English and Writing courses several time to learn the new standards 
that the colleges were teaching and required for any paper to be turned into the professors.  Then 
there are those classes that require specific formatting and styles for their paperwork.

If you create a set of styles, one per class/course/teacher, then you can write the documents and 
then apply the styles needed by the professor, or even the business reader.

I myself have run across times where using styles would work for me, but I never really learned 
how to use them correctly.  Never took the time.

Tom's and other postings about getting students to "compete" in how fast it would be to format a 
"mangled" text to a predefined style and the others doing it the "hard way".  Then having the 
students "compete" in a race to see who can create a style from scratch for the document.  I bet 
there would be different version created that do the same end results.

The only problem I see with styles is some people may go and make a document so complex with 
styles for "everything" that it creates problems for an new user to edit/modify the document with 
new information or reorganize the flow of the document.  I had to do that a few months ago and it 
was not easy.  It seemed that every possible portion of the document, i.e. paragraph text and 
titles, columns and frames, images and headlines, were all defined in such a way that when moving 
text and images around the document, the styles setup would try to define the wrong text or 
document element.  The editing and moving of text and images broke the very complex styling of the 

The point is, styles are great in concepts, but some people can get carried away with their 
complexity.  I have a book editor friend that I email back and forth with.  She has some real 
horror stories trying to edit manuscripts that the author wrote using a complex set of styles.  So 
if you teach and/or use styles, kept them simple enough that it does not get in the way of the 
next person needing to modify the document.

On 04/30/2013 06:56 AM, Tom Davies wrote:
Hi :)
I am a bit bitter about this sort of thing too.  Even back when i was in school i could see 
teachers clearly trying to help people.  Unfortunately general attitudes of the kids in the 
classroom meant that even those of us that were interested in learning the skill had a tough 
time.  It didn't improve at Uni.

There have been some excellent suggestions in this list.  Perhaps set a mini-competition half 
the class using 1 technique. Perhaps ask for hands up if  they can't cope with using styles, in 
order to play to the machismo of some.  When the results are in ask who can change the 
formatting of their document fastest.

Another idea is to get a horribly mangled paragraph and challenge them to insert it into their 
document to fit the style of their own work.

I frequently have to do this for my company's newsletter and at first found it took hours to try 
to fix people's messes in Word.  In LibreOffice i just pasted as unformatted and then applied 
styles taking just a couple of minutes at most.

However i still think it's easier to teach people things they want to learn.  Trying to trick 
them into wanting to learn about something else is a tough challenge.

Regards from

Tom :)

From: T. R. Valentine <>
To: LibreOffice-list <>
Sent: Tuesday, 30 April 2013, 4:08
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Paragraph styles

On 29 April 2013 20:48, Virgil Arrington <> wrote:

It pains me to watch people mouse around a document going from paragraph to
paragraph trying to get formatting consistent when all they need to do is
make one change to a paragraph style and "voila", every paragraph having
that style is automatically changed. Just today, one of my students was
stunned to watch that work. "You mean I don't have to make the same change
to every paragraph?" she asked.
There is a better way, and since a university pays me to teach students how
to take advantage of modern technology, I feel it my duty to at least give
it a college try to find a way to explain it to them.
Virgil, I think it is great that you are trying to show your students
a better way. I don't understand why there was an accusation (using
'Nazi' no less — that post seemed full of bitterness) that anyone was
trying to force anyone to use styles.

Styles are a better way, but some people are resistant to change,
preferring to use a word processor as if it were merely an electronic
typewriter. As the saying goes, 'you can lead a horse to water ....'

T. R. Valentine
Your friends will argue with you. Your enemies don't care.
'When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food
and clothes.' -- Erasmus

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