Keeping Your Style Updated in LibreOffice: Adapt Document Changes with Ease

As a professional writer, I often have to change styles within a document on the fly, working with different editors, publishers, and sites. Recently, I worked with a document I’d received from an editor using MS Office who changed the settings of Heading 2 to something that wouldn’t work for the publisher. Instead of having to go through the entire document, changing every chapter heading, I simply changed the first Heading 2 and then updated the style. That’s far more efficient than having to do each one manually. And when you’re working with a manuscript that is 30+ chapters, changing those one by one can be a chore.

Thankfully, LibreOffice makes this easy.

How to update a style in LibreOffice
To make this work, you’ll need LibreOffice installed. This feature works across all platforms, so it doesn’t matter if you’re working on Linux, MacOS, or Windows. I would recommend you upgrade your version of LibreOffice to the most recent release, to ensure you have all the recent bug fixes and newest features.

The first thing to do is open a LibreOffice document. This can be one you’ve been working on or a new test document. I’ve created a test document with three instances of Test, each of which uses the default Heading 2 style (which is font: Liberation Sans, size: 16 pt, bold and left aligned).

I want the altered Heading 2 to use the Ariel font and be center-aligned. It’s not much of a change but it’s enough to demonstrate how this works. I’ll highlight the first instance of Test and make those changes.

Once you have the style exactly as you need, click the Styles menu at the top of the LibreOffice window and then click Update Selected Style. You should see each instance of Test change to match the new changes you’ve made to Heading 2.

The caveat
The updated style only applies to the current document. That’s actually a good thing, if you work with different clients/publishers, each of which requires a difference in the same style.

If you want to permanently change a style in LibreOffice (such that it works with every document you open), follow the steps in How to edit a paragraph style in LibreOffice (and why you should).

And that’s all there is to quickly change a style (on a per-document basis) in LibreOffice. This feature has helped me quite a bit over the years, preventing me from having to edit each instance of a style within a document. Give it a try and see if it doesn’t make your collaborative life a bit easier.