In this second part of our LibreOffice Writer guide, we discuss basic formatting. This includes changing and adjusting font as well as justification.
At this point, you have not only installed LibreOffice, but also configured it to your liking. Now what? Well, you could just start typing away, but Writer is about more than just typing out text. This guide shows you how to format that text and make it easier to read.
Step 1: Selecting the Right Font
First, open LibreOffice Writer.
You can largely stick with the default font, but you probably want to have the ability to change the font, right? Selecting the right font can really make your text stand out or retain a clean look. Some fonts work better as titles while others work better as body text. The key is to experiment around or understand the requirements for the specific document.
To try a different font, click on the font drop-down menu as shown above.
You’ll notice that LibreOffice does come with a variety of fonts. Note that Writer will also detect various fonts found on your computer as well. The result is that you have a huge variety of fonts to choose from as well as a preview in the menu. Of course, a better preview will be to select a font and manually type it out.
In the above example, we decided to try the Arial font. When we typed two sentences out, we realized we wanted a different font for that second sentence. Is there an easy way we can just edit the second sentence without typing it out? Of course.
First, left click and hold on either the left hand side of the sentence and drag your mouse to the other side of the sentence. Release the left button and you’ll have successfully highlighted the sentence. It’ll look something like the above.
Next, click on the font drop down menu and then select the font you want the highlighted text to show. In this case, we chose to select the Liberation Serif font.
Note: Some fonts are labelled as Serif and Sans Serif. The difference is shown below.
A serif font generally features small little added elements to the text. Meanwhile, Sans Serif eliminates those added bits of style. In the above screenshot, look at the differences between the highlighted Capital “H” letters. You’ll notice that the tops and bottoms of the “H” have little hooks. Meanwhile, the “H” in the bottom line does not have it. That’s really all the font means by “Serif” and “Sans Serif”. Sans basically means “without” if that helps you remember which is which.
Highlighting the exiting text and making a font change is a very powerful way of editing the font beyond just changing the font itself. If you have trouble visualizing the text before you type it out, try typing out the text and then highlighting and adjusting the font after. You can make as many changes as you like. That way, you don’t have to picture what the text looks like beforehand.
Step 3: Bold, Italics, and Underline
Many fonts will also feature the ability to boldface, italicize, or underline them. Making these adjustments can be as simple as clicking a single button.
First, I highlighted what I wanted to make bold. After that, I actually have two options that are immediately obvious. I can either click on the highlighted “Bold” button which is definitely the visual way of handling it. Alternatively, as you can see by the tool tip that pops up like in the example, you can hold down “Ctrl” on your keyboard and tap the “B” button. Both will make your text bold.
Regardless of which way you choose to make the font bold, you’ll see a result like the above. Note that the Bold button on the interface is now depressed. This context-sensitive feature lets the user know that if they keep typing, the font will be bold as they type. Keeping an eye on this will actually save a lot of headaches in the long run. Also note the fact that the font in question is also now bold.
Making a font in italics works the same way as bold. In this case, you can use the Italics button or use the speed key “CTRL+I”
Finally, underline. Just like bold and italics, you can either use the button or the speed key. In this case, we use the Underline button or the speed key “CTRL+U”. The result of this for us is in the below screenshot:
You can use other buttons on the interface as well similar to Bold, Italics, and Underline. Just hovering your mouse over the button can allow the tool tip to pop up if you are curious about the speed key.
Step 4: Justification
Now, let’s adjust the justification of font. Justification simply means that it can align with the left hand side, the right hand side, or is centred in the middle. You can do other things with justification, but those are the basics.
By Default, LibreOffice for us will justify to the left. Most text is generally justified to the left anyway, so it makes sense for this to be default.
Believe it or not, you have been using the left justification all this time. In fact, the left justification button is depressed on top of it all. If you have been messing with the basic justification, however, the highlighted button is what you need to press to justify the font back to the left.
Now, if you want to center the text, simply click on the center justification button. Centering text works great for titles, but can also work for poetry as well.
In this example, we are able to justify some text to the right. This is accomplished through the justify right button as highlighted in the above screen shot.
Finally, we have a “Justify” button. If you’ve written a substantial amount of text justified to the left, you’ll notice that the lines end at different points on the right depending on word length. In the above example, you’ll see the first paragraph features a wide variety of different points where the lines end before the text continues on to the next line. Under many circumstances, this is fine. However, if the document requires the lines at the end to line up, we can simply use the “Justify” button as highlighted on the screen. The second paragraph demonstrates what justified text looks like (note the right hand side where all the lines line up now).
Step 5: Font Sizes
Now, let’s cover font size. Adjusting the font size is actually quite simple.
First, I’ve highlighted some text that I want to change. Now, to change the font size, I can change it by either selecting a font size in the drop down menu or typing in a number. If you type in a font size, you’ll have to press “enter” on your keyboard for the font change to take effect. It even allows decimal points if you are shooting for a very specific font size. Alternatively, you can click on the down arrow and left click on a font size. In that case, the changes will take effect immediately after you click on a number.
Step 6: Font Colour
There are not a lot of circumstances where you’d need to change the font colour. However, if you need to change it, it is quite easy to do.
First, we highlighted the text. Next, we clicked on the font colour option (highlighted). In the drop down menu, you’ll see a series of colours in boxes. These are known as colour swatches. For most of the time, those swatches should be sufficient. In our case, we wanted red, so we can go ahead and click the red swatch. If, however, you are after a font not available in any of the swatches, you can create a custom font colour with the “Custom Color” button on the bottom (also highlighted).
Now, although I have red, let’s say I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome. I can either select another swatch or I can go to the customized colour option highlighted earlier. If I click on the custom colour button, I’ll be taken to a colour selector. You’ll have a number of options including RGB (for those who know painting, this might be a good option for you). Meanwhile, the Hex value is located just below that. If you are a web coder familiar with hex values, this might be a good way to pick a colour. Another option is the CMYK colour picker. If you are familiar with print colours, this could be a good way to pick your colour.
If you are just looking at the colour visually, you can always just use the colour picker on the left hand side of the window. The selected colour will appear on the rectangle on the bottom. Just click and drag the selector around in the larger box to start playing with light and dark colours. Also, to change the colour itself, just click and drag the right hand slider up and down to adjust the colour you want. There are a lot of colours to choose from and multiple ways of choosing the colour that is right for you.
Step 7: Putting it All Together
While you can change one thing at a time as this guide suggests, you can also make multiple font adjustments on the same text. For instance, you can highlight a line, centre it, increase the size and bold face it to make a title. A host of formatting combinations are available. Definitely feel free to just mess around with the different options to see what you can produce.
Congratulations! You can now do some basic font formatting!