Getting Started Guide

Chapter 4  
Getting Started with Writer

Word Processing with LibreOffice


This document is Copyright © 2010–2016 by the LibreOffice Documentation Team. Contributors are listed below. You may distribute it and/or modify it under the terms of either the GNU General Public License (, version 3 or later, or the Creative Commons Attribution License (, version 4.0 or later.

All trademarks within this guide belong to their legitimate owners.


John A Smith

Jean Hollis Weber

Hazel Russman

Olivier Hallot

Ron Faile Jr.



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This chapter is adapted and updated from Chapter 4 of Getting Started with 3.x. The contributors to that chapter were:

Jean Hollis Weber

Michele Zarri

Agnes Belzunce

Daniel Carrera

Spencer E. Harpe

Peter Hillier-Brook

Peter Kupfer

Gary Schnabl

Janet Swisher

Linda Worthington



Publication date and software version

Published 24 May 2016. Based on LibreOffice 5.1.

Note for Mac users

Some keystrokes and menu items are different on a Mac from those used in Windows and Linux. The table below gives some common substitutions for the instructions in this chapter. For a more detailed list, see the application Help.

Windows or Linux

Mac equivalent


Tools > Options menu selection

LibreOffice > Preferences

Access setup options


Control+click and/or right-click depending on computer setup

Open a context menu

Ctrl (Control)

⌘ (Command)

Used with other keys



Open the Navigator



Open the Styles and Formatting window







Publication date and software version

Note for Mac users

What is Writer?

The Writer interface

Status Bar


Changing document views

Moving quickly through a document

Working with documents

Saving as a Microsoft Word file

Working with text

Selecting items that are not consecutive

Selecting a vertical block of text

Cutting, copying, and pasting text

Finding and replacing text and formatting

Using the Find toolbar

Using the Find & Replace dialog

Inserting special characters

Inserting dashes and non-breaking spaces and hyphens

Setting tab stops and indents

Changing the default tab stop interval

Checking spelling and grammar

Using built-in language tools

Using AutoCorrect

Using word completion

Using AutoText

Creating AutoText

Inserting AutoText

Formatting text

Using styles is recommended

Formatting paragraphs

Formatting characters


Creating numbered or bulleted lists

Using the Bullets and Numbering toolbar

Using the Sidebar for Bullets and Numbering

Hyphenating words

Automatic hyphenation

Manual hyphenation

Formatting pages

Which layout method to choose?

Creating headers and footers

Inserting a header or footer

Inserting header and footer contents

Numbering pages

Displaying the page number

Including the total number of pages

Restarting page numbering

Changing page margins

Adding comments to a document

Creating a table of contents

Creating indexes and bibliographies

Working with graphics


Using mail merge

Tracking changes to a document

Using fields

Linking to another part of a document

Using hyperlinks

Using cross-references

Using bookmarks

Using master documents

Creating fill-in forms


What is Writer?

Writer is the word processor component of LibreOffice. In addition to the usual features of a word processor (spelling check, thesaurus, hyphenation, autocorrect, find and replace, automatic generation of tables of contents and indexes, mail merge and others), Writer provides these important features:

These features are covered in detail in the Writer Guide.

The Writer interface

The main Writer workspace is shown in Figure 1. The menus and toolbars are described in Chapter 1, Introducing LibreOffice. Some other features of the Writer interface are covered in this chapter.

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