Guide: LibreOffice Writer Part 1: Initial Configuration

So you’ve installed LibreOffice. Now, you want to try what many people come to LibreOffice for: Writer.
This guide shows you what to do when you first open this application.

LibreOffice Writer is often the first thing that comes to mind when users think of LibreOffice. People want to create documents of different kinds with clean formatting and other basic kinds of functionality. Initially, Writer can seem a bit confusing. This guide takes you through those initial steps so you can be prepared to take on anything.

Step 1: Open LibreOffice

There are three ways you can start writer. You can click on Writer in the Start Menu. Additionally, you can double-click on a desktop shortcut if you have it. Finally, you can simply access Writer through the LibreOffice interface as shown below:

After you open Writer, you’ll see something like this:

Step 2: Set Language/Dictionary Preferences

It almost looks like you are ready to go already, but there are a few things to consider. If you are an American citizen, then you’ll be ready to go writing that first document. The question is, what about people who, say, live in Canada, the UK, New Zealand, or Australia. Take it a step further, what if English isn’t even your language of choice? In this case, we need to do something first before we continue.

First, we need to click on “Tools”. After that, hover your mouse over “Language”. In the sub-menu, hover over “For All Text”. In that sub-menu, click on “More…”

In the follow-up window, if you aren’t on the “Languages” option menu, click on it now. After that, under “Language Of:” next to “Locale Settings”, select the language of your choice if it isn’t American English. In my case, it happens to be Canada.

Next, under “Default Languages for Document”, we want to set our language preference. In this case, my language of choice is Canadian English. So, next to “Western”, I select “English (Canada)”.

If you are happy with your selections, then click on “OK”.

Next, test out a sentence or two to make sure the configuration is correct. In my case, I’m specifically testing out the spelling of certain words that vary between Canadian English spelling and American English spelling. The upper line is spelled correctly because of my language preferences. The sentence below would be spelled correctly if I set the spelling to American English.

Step 3: Setting Up User Meta-Data Preferences (Optional)

If you’ve used older versions of LibreOffice Writer, Open Office, or Microsoft Word, you may remember that the software asks you for some personal information upfront. In the version we are showing you, the software simply does not request this.

However, this does not mean that you cannot modify this. In this optional step, you can tell Writer what your personal preferences are for User Meta-Data.

First, we need to click on “Tools” and then click on “Options”.

In this screen, you can enter all sorts of meta-data about yourself. Some of this information will show up in documents being created. Again, all of this is optional and can be left blank.

Note: There are many options you can adjust on the left hand side list as well. Customizing your experience with Writer is certainly an easy thing to do.

When you are done, you can click “OK”. Congratulations! You are now ready to use Writer!

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