LibreOffice
LibreOffice.org


The following comments are for using LibreOffice 5.25. I will update this as time permits, and as new versions of LibreOffice are created,
but the the correct steps should be the same as those mentioned below.


If you are looking for a software program that will let you create documents, but don't want to pay the money or deal with the licensing that Microsoft Office requires, LibreOffice is for you. I have started using it as my everyday word processor in early 2016, and I've been using it ever since. It has a lot to offer.

(1) It is free. I already mentioned that, but it is nice.

(2) You don't have to worry about only being able to install it on 1 or 3 devices. There are no licensing or legal limitations on how many devices you can install LibreOffice on. 

(3) LibreOffice is a fully featured word processor. It can do many things that you need done in the process of composing documents with complex formatting.

(4) This last reason is a more technical reason, but it is definitely a good reason to use LibreOffice. This word processing program was formed around the idea of a file format (in its recent version, known as Open Document Text, or .odt) that was not the proprietary knowledge of one company (such as Microsoft), but whose specifications were open knowledge. Because the specs are openly available to anyone, any program can read or write files in the ODT format.  With this being the case, you do not need to purchase Microsoft Office, or run the Windows operating system, just to be able to properly make or view these files. To be sure, LibreOffice can view and save documents in other file formats as well. But the original idea behind LibreOffice was that it would use a file format that any word processing program can read, write, and edit documents for. No particular program or operating system is need to read or save these documents.



I would like to give you a few tips on using LibreOffice.

(1) Saving your files in different formats

By default, LibreOffice saves word processing documents in the OpenDocument format (.odt). If you are communicating with someone whose computer cannot read files in that format, you can easily save any file in several other formats. If you have not yet saved the particular file that you are working on, simply click on the blue save disk icon on the toolbar, and then in the Save dialog that opens up, you can go toward the bottom, and click on the Save as Type field. A drop down menu will open up, allowing you to choose whatever file format you want. Rich Text Format (*.rtf) or MS Word (*.doc or *.docx) are the most common formats, and most likely to be viewable by the other person.

If you have already saved your file, but would still like to create that same file in another format, go to the File menu. Select the Save As option, and in the new dialog the opens up, you can rename it if you want, or simply change the file format of your new file.

If you want to save your files automatically in one of these other formats, you can change the default format to another format. Go into the Tools menu, and select Options. In the new dialog that pops up, click on the Load/Save option in the left pane, and then the General option underneath Load/Save (in order to see that General option, you might need to double click on the Load/Save setting on the left pane). Now in the right pane, you can choose the particular format you would want to use as the default setting for your text documents. Towards the bottom on the right pane, make sure that the Text Document option is selected for "Document Type," and then for the "Always Save As" option, you can choose another format, such as Rich Text Format (.rtf) or MS Word (.doc or .docx).

(2) Using Word Count
To find out how many words are in your file (or even, just in a selection of text), you can look at the bottom of the document screen, on what is called the status bar. On the left side of this status bar (at the bottom of the screen displaying your document) will be the page position. Just to the right of that will be the word count. If you want to see how many words are in just a block of text, select the entire text with your cursor. After it is blocked out, you should see new, lower numbers on the status bar, which will tell you only the number of words in that selection that you have just blocked out.


(3) Remove the autocomplete of words
One of the things that I have always disliked about LibreOffice is that by default, it will often try to complete words after you have typed 2 or 3 letters. This is irritating even when it is correct. If you want to eliminate this behavior, it is simple. Go to the Tools menu, then select AutoCorrect. In the side arrow menu, go down and choose AutoCorrect Options.  In the new window that pops up, select the Word Completion tab. Uncheck the Enable Word Completion option.

(4) Modifying the toolbars
The user interface of LibreOffice can be customized to a great extent. First, there are a lot of toolbars that can be added to view. Go to the View menu, then select Toolbars. In that side arrow, you can add quite a few toolbars. I like to use the Standard and Formatting toolbars.

Next, there is the position of the toolbars. You can arrange them so that each toolbar occupies one row, or you can merge two or more onto one row. Be careful, as putting them on one row might force some of the icons. to be seen only after clicking a down arrow along the right edge of that particular toolbar. In order to move them, move your cursor to the left side of each toolbar that you want moved, where you see the three vertical dots. As the cursor moves over those dots, it becomes a symbol with four arrows (pointing up, down, left, and right).  When the cursor has turned into the four arrows symbol, you can click on the toolbar and move it wherever you want it.  

Finally, the serious part. You can add and delete commands on each of these toolbars. The simplest way is to go to the Tools menu, and then click on the Customize option. In the new dialog that pops up, click on the Toolbars tab, and then for the Toolbar option, select the toolbar that you would like to modify. Once you have chosen a toolbar, you can scroll down the Toolbar Content commands, and check and uncheck whichever commands you want available on that toolbar.  You can even change the order in which those commands appear on the toolbar. After selecting a particular command, select just to the right of that field, either the up or down arrow, and then that command will move across the toolbar, however you prefer.


Where to go for help using LibreOffice
The place I would recommend is Ask.LibreOffice.org. You can register for that site, and then ask your questions. I would advise that when you type in your question, see if any of the suggestions that the site gives you (after you type in your question, a drop down menu should appear, with threads that might answer your questin), answer your question. If you have spent some time looking still don't see your answer, then feel free to ask away.

Prior to asking a question there on their help site, you might want to look up your question on your own in their online help section. With LibreOffice opened up, go to the Help menu, and then select LibreOffice Help. Or, with LibreOffice being displayed on your screen, just press the F1 key. That will open up a website with help topics for LibreOffice.