Writer Guide 7.5

Chapter 6,
Formatting Pages: Advanced

Using columns, frames, tables, and sections


This document is Copyright © 2023 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.


To this edition

Jean Hollis Weber

Antonio Fernández

Kees Kriek

To previous editions

Jean Hollis Weber

Bruce Byfield

Gillian Polack

Jamie Eby

John A Smith

Ron Faile Jr.

Jenna Sargent

Felipe Viggiano

Kees Kriek


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Publication date and software version

Published February 2023. Based on LibreOffice 7.5.

Using LibreOffice on macOS

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

Windows or Linux

macOS equivalent


Tools > Options
menu selection

LibreOffice > Preferences

Access setup options


Control+click or right-click depending on computer setup

Open a context menu

Ctrl (Control)


Used with other keys


⌥ (Option) or Alt, depending on keyboard

Used with other keys



Open Styles deck in Sidebar


Writer provides several ways to control page layouts. Chapter 5, Formatting Pages: Basics, described the use of page styles and some associated functions. This chapter covers the use of:


All pages in a Writer document are based on page styles. The other layout methods described in this chapter build upon the underlying page style.


Page layout is usually easier if you select the options to show text, object, table, and section boundaries in Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Application Colors and the options for paragraph ends, tabs, breaks, and other items in Tools > Options > LibreOffice Writer > Formatting Aids.

Choosing a layout method

The best layout method depends on what the final document should look like, what sort of information will be in the document, and whether the document will be published in a fixed format (print, PDF) or a variable format (HTML, ePub) or more than one format. Here are some examples. The techniques mentioned are all described in this chapter.


For a document to be published in HTML, EPUB, or another format that is not fixed, use minimal layout techniques. Some methods (columns, frames, wide tables) often do not export well to those formats.

Using columns to define the page layout

It is a good idea to define your basic page style (such as Default Page Style) with the most common layout to be used in your document, either single-column or multiple-column. You can then define extra page styles for pages with different numbers of columns.


If you wish to combine different numbers of columns on a single page, you must use sections, as described in “Using sections for page layout” starting below.

To define the number of columns for a page style:

1)  Choose Format > Page Style on the Menu bar, or right-click on the page and choose Page Style in the context menu, or click the More Options button in the Format section of the Page deck on the Sidebar, to open the Page Style dialog. Go to the Columns tab (see Figure 1).

2)  In the Settings section, choose the number of columns and specify any spacing between them and whether you want a vertical separator line to appear between the columns. You can use one of Writer’s predefined column layouts, or you can create a customized column layout. The preview on the right shows how the column layout will look.

3)  Click OK to save the changes.

Figure 1: Defining the number of columns on a page


Formatting column width and spacing

Select AutoWidth in the Width and Spacing section to create columns of equal or preset width. To customize the width and spacing of the columns:

1)  In the Width and Spacing section, deselect the AutoWidth option.

2)  In the Width selection boxes, enter a width for each column.

3)  On the Spacing line, enter the amount of space between each pair of columns.

If you specify more than three columns, use the arrow buttons on the Column line to scroll among the columns.

Formatting separator lines

Usually white space is all that is needed between columns, but if you prefer separator lines:

1)  Using the Style drop-down list, select the line style from the three styles available.

2)  Using the Width control, select the width of line to use, settable from 0.25pt to 9.0pt.
(1 point = 1/12 pica = 1/72 inch = 127/360 mm = 0.3527 mm.)

3)  Using the Height control, select the height of line required, as a percentage of the column height. You can choose from the supplied values or type in measurements.

4)  If you entered a height of less than 100%, use the Position drop-down list to select a vertical alignment for the separator lines. The vertical-positioning options are Top, Centered, or Bottom.

5)  Select the line color from the Color drop-down list.

Distributing text across columns

As you add text to a column, the text flows from one column to the next. The last column may be shorter than the others.

To distribute text evenly, so that all the columns are approximately the same height, use a multi-column section instead; see “Formatting a section into columnsbelow.


Choose View > Formatting Marks (or press Ctrl+F10) to display end of paragraph markers (¶). Often, unexpected behavior of columns is due to extra paragraphs that are normally invisible but are taking up space.

Using frames for page layout

Frames can be very useful when producing newsletters or other layout-intensive documents. Frames can contain text, tables, multiple columns, pictures, and other objects. Use frames to:

Because LibreOffice does not allow you to define page styles with recurring frames (unless anchored in a header or footer), consider doing some quick sketches of the basic page layouts you need, indicating the approximate positions of different frames and their purposes. Keep the number of different page layouts as low as possible to avoid chaos in your design.

Pay special attention to the positioning of frames. A visually effective way to position a frame is to align its left margin with that of the paragraph above it. To do this, insert the frame in a blank paragraph of the same style as the paragraph above. Select Insert > Frame > Frame; in the Position section of the Type page of the Frame dialog (Figure 2 on page 1), select From Left in the Horizontal selection box to position the frame exactly where you want it.

Also, think about the type of wrap and the spacing between the frame and text. Instead of placing a frame close to the text, use the Wrap page to place some white space between them.

You can format frames individually or define and apply frame styles; see Chapter 9, Working with Styles.

Creating a frame

You can create a frame in several ways:

To add content to a frame, first deselect the frame by clicking in an empty space somewhere else on the page. Then, click inside the frame to place the text cursor there. Now add content as you would on the main page. When you are done, deselect the frame.


The menu item Insert > Frame > Floating Frame is for use with HTML documents.

Figure 2: Frame dialog


Frame toolbar

When you create or select a frame, the Frame toolbar (Figure 3) is displayed. By default, it replaces the Formatting toolbar. You can also display it by using View > Toolbars > Frame.


1 Anchor

6 After

11 Back One

16 Border Style

2 None

7 Through

12 Send to Back

17 Border Color

3 Parallel

8 Align Objects

13 To Foreground

18 Background Color

4 Optimal

9 Bring to Front

14 To Background

19 Link Frames

5 Before

10 Forward One

15 Borders

20 Unlink Frames

Figure 3: Buttons on the Frame toolbar

Moving, resizing, and changing frame attributes

When an object is added to Writer, it is automatically enclosed in a frame of a predetermined type. The frame sets how the object is placed on the page, as well as how it interacts with other elements in the document. You can edit the frame by modifying the frame style it uses or by manually formatting it when you add it to the document. Frame styles are discussed in Chapter 9, Working with Styles.

To change the size or location of a frame, first select the frame, then use either the mouse or the Frame dialog (Figure 2). Using the mouse is faster but less accurate.


You might want to use the mouse for gross layout and the dialog for fine-tuning.

You can re-size the frame manually in these ways:

To change the location of the frame using the mouse, drag and drop one of the edges or place the mouse pointer over an edge of the frame. The mouse pointer changes to a four-headed arrow when properly positioned for a drag-and-drop move.

To change the size of the frame, drag one of the sizing handles. Drag a handle on one of the sides to enlarge or reduce the text frame in one dimension only; drag a corner handle to enlarge or reduce it in both dimensions.

These resizing actions distort the proportions of the frame. Holding down the Shift key while dragging one of the handles makes the frame keep the same proportions.

To open the Frame dialog, select the frame, right-click, and choose Properties in the context menu.

To add or remove a frame’s border, click the relevant button on the Frame toolbar (Figure 3) to display some choices; or open the Frame dialog, go to the Borders page (Figure 4), and in the Line Arrangement section, select the first Preset (Set No Borders); or assign a borderless style to the frame; see Chapter 9, Working with Styles, for information on frame styles.


Do not confuse a frame’s border with the text boundaries that are made visible using the View menu (by selecting View > Text Boundaries).

Figure 4: Removing the border from a frame


Anchoring frames

To anchor a frame, click on it, then right-click and point to Anchor, or click the Anchor button on the Frame toolbar and select the type of anchor, or open the Frame dialog to the Type tab.

To Page (available only on Frame dialog, not the toolbar or context menu)

The frame keeps the same position in relation to the page margins. It does not move as you add or delete text. This method is useful when the frame does not need to be visually associated with a particular piece of text. It is often used when producing newsletters or other documents that are very layout-intensive, or to center text vertically on a page.

The To Page anchor is deprecated. You are advised to chose another type of anchor.

To Paragraph

The frame is associated with a paragraph and moves with the paragraph. It may be placed in the margin or another location. It is also used to center text on a page in documents which will be used in a master document (frames anchored to pages will disappear from the master document).

To Character

The frame is associated with a character but is not in the text sequence. It moves with the paragraph but may be placed in the margin or another location. This method is similar to anchoring to a paragraph.

As Character

The frame is placed in the document like any other character and, therefore, affects the height of the text line and the line break. The frame moves with the text as you add or delete text. This method is useful for adding a small icon in sequence in a sentence. It is also the best method for anchoring an image to an empty paragraph so it does not move around the page in unexpected ways.

Linking frames

You can link frames to each other even when they are on different pages of a document. The contents will automatically flow from one to the next. This technique is very useful when designing newsletters, where articles may need to be continued on a different page.


Text can only flow into a frame from one other frame, and flow on to one other frame. You can not link from a frame directly to more than one other frame.

To link one frame to another:

1)  Select the frame to be linked from.

2)  Click the Link Frames icon on the Frames toolbar.

3)  Click the next frame in the series (which must be empty).

When a linked frame is selected, any existing links are indicated by a faint connecting line (see Figure 5). To unlink frames, select the Unlink Frames icon on the Frames toolbar.

Figure 5: Linked frames


The height of a frame that is being linked from is fixed; you can change this height manually or by using the Position and Size tab on the Frame dialog, but it does not automatically adjust to the size of the contents (that is, the AutoHeight attribute is disabled). Only the last frame of a chain can adapt its height to the content.

The Options tab of the Frame dialog (Figure 6) shows the names of the selected frame and any frames it is linked to or from. You can change this information here. On this tab, you can also select options to protect the contents, position, and size of the frame.

Figure 6: Options tab of the Frame dialog


The Wrap, Borders, Area, Columns, Transparency, and Macro pages of the Frame dialog are the same as those for frame styles. Refer to Chapter 9, Working with Styles, for details.

Using tables for page layout

Writer’s tables can serve several purposes, such as holding data as you might see it in a spreadsheet, lining up material, and creating more complex page layouts. This topic describes how to achieve some common layouts by using tables. For information about using tables of data, see Chapter 13, Tables.

Positioning information in headers or footers

Instead of using tabs or frames, you can use a table in a header or footer to position different elements such as page number, document title, author, and so on. These elements are often inserted using fields, as described in Chapter 17, Fields.

Creating sideheads using tables

Sideheads and marginal notes are commonly used in documents such as resumes and computer user guides. The main body of the text is offset to leave white space (usually on the left-hand side) in which the sideheads or notes are placed. The first paragraph is aligned beside the sidehead, as in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Example of a sidehead



Sideheads can also be created by placing text in a frame using the Marginalia frame style, as described in Chapter 9, Working with Styles.


To create a table for use with a sidehead:

1)  Place the cursor where you want the table to appear and choose Table > Insert Table (Ctrl+F12).

2)  In the Insert Table dialog (Figure 8), define a two-column, one-row table with no heading. Choose None under Styles so the table will have no border. Click Insert.

3)  Right-click the table and choose Table Properties in the context menu. On the Columns tab of the Table Properties dialog (Figure 9), set the column widths.

4)  On the Table tab of the Table Properties dialog (Figure 10), in the Spacing section, make the Above and Below values the same as the Top and Bottom spacing you have defined for ordinary paragraphs of text. In the Properties section, optionally give this table a name. Click OK to save your settings.


To check the top and bottom spacing for a paragraph: position the cursor in the paragraph and open the Properties deck on the Sidebar. In the Paragraph section, look under Spacing for the values.

Figure 8: Defining a two-column borderless table with no heading


Figure 9: Defining a two-column table to line up with text offset at 3.3cm


Figure 10: Defining the space above and below a table


You may also want to turn off number recognition so that Writer will not try to format numbers if you want them to be plain text. To turn number recognition off:

1)  Place the cursor in a table, and then select Table > Number Format on the Menu bar.

2)  On the Format Number dialog (Figure 11), make sure the Category is set to Text.

3)  Click OK.

Figure 11: Setting number format to Text



If you use this table format often, you may want to save it as a table style, using Table > AutoFormat Styles. See Chapter 13, Tables.

Using sections for page layout

A section is a block of text that has special attributes and formatting. You can use sections to:

Creating sections

To create a section:

1)  Place the cursor at the point in your document where you want to insert the new section. Or, select the text that you want to place in the new section.

2)  On the Menu bar, choose Insert > Section. The Insert Section dialog (Figure 12) opens.

3)  Choose settings for each page of the dialog as described below. Click Insert.

The Insert Section dialog has five tabs:

Figure 12: Inserting a section using the Insert Section dialog


At any time before closing the dialog, you can reset a tabbed page other than the Section page to its default settings by clicking the Reset button. If you wish to undo changes to the Section page, you must do so manually.

Naming sections

Writer automatically enters a name for the section in the name box of the New Section list. To change the name, select it and type over it. The name is displayed in the Sections category of the Navigator window. Navigation is easier if you give your sections meaningful names.

Linking sections

You can insert the contents of another document into the section and then have Writer update it whenever the other document is updated.


If you want to insert only a part of the other document, be sure that part exists as a section in the document.

To link the section to another document, follow these steps:

1)  In the Link section of the dialog (Figure 13), select the Link option.

2)  Click the Browse button to the right of the File name field. The Insert dialog opens.

3)  Find and select the required document and click the Insert button. The name of the selected document appears in the File name field.

4)  If you want to insert only a section of the selected document, select the desired section from the Section drop-down list.

Figure 13: Linking sections


You can update links automatically or manually. See “Updating linksbelow.

Write-protecting sections

To write-protect the section so that its contents cannot be edited, select Protect in the Write protection area (Figure 14).


Write-protection protects only the section’s contents, not its attributes or format.

Figure 14: Write-protecting sections


Password-protecting sections


Be very careful to remember or safely store the password, because it cannot be retrieved without advanced tools.

To prevent others from editing the section’s attributes or format, you can additionally protect the section with a password, as follows:

1)  Select Protect and With password.

2)  On the Enter Password dialog, type a password in the Password field and again in the Confirm field.

3)  Click OK.

Anyone who tries to edit the section’s attributes or format will be prompted to enter the password.

Hiding sections

You can hide the section so that it will not be displayed on the screen or printed. You can also specify conditions for hiding the section. For example, you can hide the section only from certain users. Hiding is very useful for creating a single source document containing students’ and teachers’ copies of a document such as a test.


You cannot hide a section if it is the only content on the page or if the section is in a header, footer, footnote, endnote, frame, or table cell.

To hide a section, select the Hide option in the Hide section of the dialog.

To hide the section only under certain conditions, enter the desired conditions in the With Condition field. The syntax and operators that you use to enter conditions are the same ones that you use to enter formulas. For syntax and a list of operators, see the Help and Chapter 17, Fields.

If the section is write-protected with a password, the password must be entered to hide or reveal the text.

Formatting a section into columns

You can give some parts of a page one column and other parts of the page two or more columns. For example, you might have a page-width headline over a three-column news story.


You cannot select text on a multi-column formatted page and change it to a single column using this method. Instead, you need to define a single-column page style and then select the text you want to be in a two-column section on that page.

Use the Columns tab of the Insert Section dialog (Figure 15) to format the section into columns.

Figure 15: Choosing evenly distributed columns


As you add text to the section, the text flows from one column to the next. You can distribute text across the columns in one of two ways, as shown in Figure 16.

Evenly distribute contents to all columns

When this option is selected, Writer adjusts the length of the columns to the amount of text, so that all the columns are approximately the same length. As you add or delete text, the columns readjust.

When this option is not selected, Writer fills the columns newspaper-style: one column at a time, beginning with the first column. The last column may be shorter than the others.

Figure 16: (Left) Evenly distributed columns; (Right) Newspaper-style columns


Indenting the section from margins

Use the Indents tab (Figure 17), to set indents from the right and left margins of the section.

Enter the desired left-margin indent in the Before section box. Enter the desired right-margin indent in the After section box. The preview box on the right-hand side of the tab shows you how the section will look with the indents applied.

Figure 17: Indenting sections


Changing the background of the section

Use the Area tab to add color or an image to the background of the current section. This page is similar to the Area tabs for paragraphs, frames, tables, and other objects. For more information, refer to “Defining borders and backgroundsbelow and the Draw Guide.

Customizing footnotes and endnotes in a section

Use the Footnotes/Endnotes page of the Insert Section dialog (Figure 18) to customize the current section’s footnotes and endnotes.

Figure 18: Setting footnotes and endnotes for sections


Customizing footnotes

To number the section’s footnotes separately from the other footnotes in the document, and format the numbering, follow these steps:

1)  In the Footnotes section of the page, make sure that Collect at end of text is selected.

2)  Select Restart numbering.

3)  To start the section’s footnotes at a number other than 1, enter the desired starting number in the Start at box.

4)  Select the Custom format option. In the drop-down list, select a numbering format for the footnotes.

To add text to the selected numbering format, use the Before and After boxes. For example, if you want the footnote numbers to be preceded by the word Note and followed by a colon, fill the Before and After boxes as shown in Figure 18.

Customizing endnotes

If you want the section’s endnotes to appear at the end of the section rather than at the end of the document, select the Collect at end of section option in the Endnotes area.

To number the current section’s endnotes separately from the other endnotes in the document, and format the numbering, apply the procedures described above to the Endnotes settings.

Editing and deleting sections

To edit a section, choose Format > Sections on the Menu bar. In the Edit Sections dialog (Figure 19), select the section you want to edit by clicking its name in the Section list.

Editing section attributes

To rename the selected section, type over its name in the Section name box.

On the Edit Sections dialog, you can also edit the selected section’s link, write-protect, and hide attributes. To learn how to edit these attributes, see “Linking sectionsabove, “Write-protecting sectionsabove, and “Hiding sectionsabove.

Figure 19: Edit Sections dialog


Editing the format of a section

To edit the format of the selected section, click the Options button.

The Options dialog has four tabs: Columns, Indents, Background, and Footnotes/Endnotes. These tabs are the same as those in the Insert Section dialog described earlier; the Background tab on the Options dialog corresponds to the Area tab in the Insert Section dialog.

To reset a tab to the conditions in place when the dialog opened, click the Reset button. To save the Options settings, click OK. You are returned to the Edit Sections dialog.

Removing sections

To remove the selected section, click the Remove button. This does not delete the contents of the section; the contents become part of the main document. If the contents were linked, they are now embedded.

Updating links

You can set Writer to update linked sections automatically, and you can also update links manually.

Updating links automatically

To set Writer to update links without prompting you, or to turn off automatic updating, follow these steps:

1)  Choose Tools > Options > LibreOffice Writer > General. The dialog displays general text document settings.

2)  In the Update links when loading section of the dialog, select one of the options:

3)  Click OK to save your settings.

Updating links manually

A protected section must first be unprotected before it can be updated.

To update a link manually:

1)  Open the document that contains the link.

2)  Choose Edit > Links to External Files.

3)  The list in the Edit Links dialog (Figure 20) displays the names of all the files that are linked to the current document. Select the file that corresponds to the link that you want to update.

4)  Click the Update button. The most recently saved contents of the linked file appear in the current document. To close the Edit Links dialog, click Close.

Figure 20: Edit Links dialog


Removing links

To remove a link to a file and embed its contents, go to the Edit Links dialog, select the file that corresponds to the link you want to remove, and click the Break Link button. This action does not delete the text in the Section; it just breaks the link. If desired, the text must be removed manually.

Changing page orientation within a document

A document can contain pages in more than one orientation. A common scenario is to have a landscape page in the middle or end of a document, where the other pages are in portrait orientation. Here are the steps to achieve it.

Setting up a landscape page style

1)  If you wish to keep the margins the same as on other pages, then note the margin settings of the current page style. (You can find the margin settings on the Page tab of the Page Style dialog.)

2)  On the Styles deck of the Sidebar, right-click Landscape in the list of page styles and choose Modify.

3)  On the Organizer tab of the Page Style dialog (Figure 21), make sure Next Style is set to Landscape (to allow for having more than one sequential landscape page).

Figure 21: Set the next page style to Landscape


4)  On the Page tab of the Page Style dialog (Figure 22), make sure Orientation is set to Landscape. Change the margins so that they correspond with the margins of the portrait page. That is, the portrait top margin becomes the landscape left margin, and so on.

5)  Click OK to save the changes.

Figure 22: Set orientation and margins for a landscape page


Inserting a landscape page into a portrait document

Now that you have defined the Landscape page style, here is how to apply it:

1)  Position the cursor in the paragraph or table at the start of the page that is to be set to landscape. Right-click and choose Paragraph > Paragraph or Table Properties, respectively, in the context menu.

2)  On the Text Flow page of the Paragraph dialog (Figure 23) or the Table Properties dialog (Figure 24), select Insert (or Break for a table) and With Page Style. Set the Page Style property to Landscape. Click OK to apply the new page style.

3)  Position the cursor in the paragraph or table where the page is to return to portrait orientation and change the paragraph properties or table properties so that With Page Style is the portrait page style that was used before the Landscape page style. Click OK to return to the portrait page style.

Figure 23: Specifying a page break before a paragraph


Figure 24: Specifying a page break before a table


Portrait headers or footers on horizontal pages

When you define a header or footer on a landscape page, it is positioned on the long side of the page. If your landscape pages are inserted between portrait pages, you might want the headers and footers to be on the short sides of the landscape pages, so that turning the landscape pages 90 degrees (as in a printed book) presents the same layout as on the portrait pages.

You can set up portrait-oriented headers and footers on landscape pages by using frames. These are a bit tricky to set up, but once you have done so, they are part of the Landscape page style and appear on all landscape pages in the document.

In the example below, we want to insert a landscape page into a document so that it has the same header, footer, and margins as the portrait pages. In the example, the default page style is portrait, A4 size, with header and footer of 0.5 cm with 0.5 cm spacing.

To match the layout of the landscape page to that of the portrait pages:

To achieve these results, follow these steps:

1)  Modify the margins of the Landscape page style so the size of the text space is the same on both page styles.

Portrait (vertical) page

Landscape (horizontal) page

Top margin

1.5 cm

Top margin

1.8 cm

Bottom margin

1.5 cm

Bottom margin

1.8 cm

Left (inner) margin

2.8 cm

Left (inner) margin

2.5 cm

Right (outer) margin

1.8 cm

Right (outer) margin

2.5 cm

2)  Insert a manual page break where you want a landscape page to appear (Insert > More Breaks > Manual Break) and choose Landscape for the page style.

3)  Copy and paste all the content from the footer of the portrait page and paste it into a blank paragraph on the landscape page. Be sure this text has the Footer paragraph style so the font settings will match.

Figure 25: Copy the footer, paste, and select it


4)  Select the full text (including the fields) you just pasted. Choose Format > Character. In the Character dialog, choose the Position tab and set Rotation / Scaling to 270 degrees (counterclockwise). Click OK.

Figure 26: Rotating the footer text 270 degrees


5)  With the text still selected, choose Insert > Frame > Frame. In the Frame dialog (Figure 27), select the Type tab and enter the width, height, and horizontal and vertical position for the footer. Deselect the automatic sizing options in Width and Height.

6)  Select the entire frame and modify the width and height:

7)  Cut the frame (Ctrl+X), move to the header of the landscape page and paste it into the header (Ctrl+V), so that, anchored in the empty header paragraph, it repeats every time you insert a landscape page.

8)  Set the position of the frame relative to the entire page.

Figure 27: Defining the size and position of the footer frame


9)  If the footer has a line above the text, on the Borders tab, select a right border and specify the line width and spacing to the frame’s contents.

10)  Click OK to save these settings. The footer will now appear in the required position and orientation on any page using the Landscape style.

11)  Since rotated text does not allow tabs, click in the frame at the end of the text where the tab was, and type as many spaces as you need for the layout to match the portrait page.

Figure 28: Footers in place for both page styles


To set up a portrait header on the landscape page, repeat these steps (from step 3) but set the horizontal position to 27.70 cm (29.7 cm, minus 2 cm from the margin and header).

Defining borders and backgrounds

You can apply borders and backgrounds to many elements in Writer. Paragraphs, pages, frames, sections, page styles, paragraph styles, character styles, and frame styles can include both borders and backgrounds. The dialog pages for borders and backgrounds are similar in each case. To illustrate their use, we will define a border and background for a frame.


You can choose to have page backgrounds fill the entire page (sheet of paper) or only the area within the margins; see the section on page styles in Chapter 9, Working with Styles. Page borders surround only the area within the margins, including the header or footer (if any exist).

Tables, indexes, tables of contents, and bibliographies can also have borders and backgrounds, although the choices for background are limited to Color or Image.

Adding a border

To begin, select the frame, right-click, and choose Properties in the context menu. Select the Borders tab (Figure 29).

Figure 29: Frame dialog: Borders page


Borders have three components: where they go, what they look like, and how much space is left around them. Optionally they may also have a shadow property.

Adding a color to the background area

To begin, select the frame, right-click, and choose Properties in the context menu. On the Frame dialog, select the Area tab (Figure 30), then choose Color. Select from the color grid or create a new color to use for this frame, and then click OK to apply it to the background.

Figure 30: Frame dialog: Area page showing color choices



For selected words or other characters (right-click, Character > Character), the “background” is called highlighting. The only choices are Color or None.

Adding an image to the background

To add an image to the background, choose the Area tab, then choose Image (Figure 31).

You can choose one of the supplied images from the list on the left, or you can add your own.

To use an image, select it from the thumbnails on the left.

1)  In the Options area, choose the placement for the image:

2)  Click OK to apply the image to the background.

To add an image:

1)  Click the Add/Import button. The Import dialog opens.

2)  Find the file you want and then click Open. The selected image now appears in the list of thumbnails on the left and in the preview box on the right of the Area tab.

Figure 31: Frame dialog: Area page showing image choices


Adding a gradient, pattern, or hatch to the background

To add a gradient, pattern, or hatch to the background, choose the Area tab, then choose the required background type. The dialog now displays the options for that type, with an example in the preview pane to the right. Select the required design from the list or create a new design to use for this frame. Click OK to apply it to the background. See the Draw Guide for more about defining gradients, patterns, and hatching.

Deleting a color, gradient, image, or other background

To delete a background, select None near the top of the Area tab of the Frame dialog.

Adjusting the transparency of the background

Transparency is useful for creating watermarks (a logo or text in the background of a page, typically showing the company name or a statement such as Draft) and making colors or images more pale (for more contrast with the text). Use the Transparency tab (Figure 32) to define the type of transparency. The choices are covered in detail in the Draw Guide.

Figure 32: Transparency options


Using page line-spacing for printing

Page line-spacing (also called Register-true) is particularly useful for printed documents that will have two pages set next to each other (for example, in a book or brochure), for multi-column layouts, and for documents intended for double-sided printing.

To use page line-spacing, you need to select options on the page styles and the paragraph styles or individual paragraphs to be included, because these options work together.

To enable a page style for page line-spacing

Each page style to be included in page line-spacing must be enabled separately. To do so:

1)  Open the Page Style dialog for the selected page style, using one of these methods:

2)  On the Page tab, in the Layout Settings section, select the Use page line-spacing option, specify the Reference Style, and click OK.


The Reference Style sets an invisible vertical (typographical) grid, using the line distance specified in the style. All paragraphs that have Page line-spacing activated will use that line distance, aligning the bottom of a text line to the next grid line, regardless of font size or presence of graphics. Each line is thus the same height. Writer will align the base lines of text printed on adjacent columns, opposite pages, and both sides of a sheet of paper to this invisible grid.

All paragraphs with the selected Reference Style (or that inherit the Reference Style) will be activated automatically for Page line-spacing.

To enable paragraph styles for page line-spacing

1)  On the Styles deck of the Sidebar, right-click the Paragraph Style you want to enable, and choose Modify.

2)  In the Paragraph Style dialog, go to the Indents & Spacing tab.

3)  Select Activate page line-spacing to enable the paragraph style for page line-spacing. Deselect the option to exempt the paragraph style from page line-spacing.

The checkbox has no effect if Page line-spacing is disabled in the page style.

To enable paragraphs for page line-spacing

1)  Select all the paragraphs you want to enable, then go to Format > Paragraph on the Menu bar.

2)  On the Paragraph dialog, go to the Indents & Spacing tab.

3)  Select Activate page line-spacing to enable the selected paragraphs for page line-spacing. Deselect the option to exempt the selected paragraphs from page line-spacing.

The checkbox has no effect if Page line-spacing is disabled in the page style.