Page styles in LibreOffice Writer

Designing Headers and Footers

Headers and footers contain information about the document. A page style may have both, or one, and may contain detailed information or only a page number. You can format each page style’s header and footer directly from Insert | Header and Footer. However, to keep design as simple as possible, add page styles rather than direct headers and footers.

Headers and footers each have their own tab, but offer similar options (Figure 3). Once either is turned on, the other options can usually be ignored. There are not too many cases, for instance, when you do not want a header to go from margin to margin or to specify the header height. You may want to click the More… button to add a line to separate a header or footer from the main text. Adding a shadow is a legacy option that should be avoided unless you intend a retro 1990s look. Once a footer or header is created, paragraph styles for each appear that can be customized to complement or contrast with the main text.

Figure 3: Headers and footers have the same options, differing only in location on the page.

Typically, each header or footer has three or less pieces of information. This information can be typed manually on one page that uses a style, or filled automatically with a field. Tabs are often used to position information, but show an annoying tendency to slip. Instead, use a one row table with as many columns as needed. From Insert | Field, you can populate the footer or header of any page style. Probably the most-used fields are Page Number, which can be followed by a period, or Page Count, which can be followed by the total pages. Other common fields include Author, Chapter, and File Name. You can also use Heading paragraph styles to create what are called running headers and set the field Insert | Fields | More Fields |Document | Chapter Name to Level 1 to have the header or footer update automatically whenever the chapter name is changed.With a long document written over a period of time, you might want to use one set of fields while writing and replace them with others in the finished document.


If a page style has multiple columns, you can set the number on the Columns tab (Figure 4). For most paper sizes, more than three columns can look ragged. Columns can be set to a few standard layouts at the top of the tab or with an exact measurement further down. Separator lines can be added between columns, but tend to look old fashioned. Blank spaces between columns tend to look cleaner.

Figure 4: The Column tab has several options for setting column widths.


From the Footnotes tab, footnotes can be designed quickly, with details like the appearance of the line that separates the footnotes from the main text and the distance between the separator from the notes (Figure 5). The radio buttons at the top of the tab dialog, Not Larger Than Page Area and Maximum Note Height, can also be useful in design. You may chose to ignore this tab and use endnotes instead.

Figure 5: The Footnotes tab offers detailed design options.

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