How to change the default LibreOffice template

If the LibreOffice default template doesn't suit your needs, Jack Wallen walks you through the process of creating a new one and setting it as the default.

Image: Jack Wallen

The LibreOffice suite of tools offer so much power and flexibility, much of which will never be touched by the average user. One such feature is the default template. Out of the box, this template is fairly wide serving—it's easy to use and generic enough to not get in the way of creating the documents you need. However, if that default template doesn't suffice, you can always create a new document based on a different template.

But what if you always create documents based on the same template, and want to make your workflow a bit easier? Believe it or not, that is very possible and easy.

I want to walk you through the process of creating a new template, and then setting that template as the default for LibreOffice. I will be demonstrating this with LibreOffice Writer, but the process is the same for spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings. The only application this doesn't apply to is LibreOffice Math (formulas).

I will be demonstrating on LibreOffice on Elementary OS, however the process is the same, regardless of platform.

Creating a template

This is quite simple. Open up a new LibreOffice Writer document and format it exactly as you need. If you create documents that are always the same, you can open one of your previous documents, change dates and other variables to fields, and even change document text to the standard Lorem Ipsum (here's a good Lorem Ipsum generator). If you want to start with a blank document, you can also format it by opening the Styles and apply specific styles to add, say, a document title and then select andconfigure the style for the body.

Once you have the document formatted exactly as you need it, click File | Templates | Save as Template. You will be prompted to give the file a name and select the Template Category (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

Saving a new template.

In this same window, you can opt to set this new template as the default. If you choose to do so, click the checkbox for Set as the default template, before clicking Save. Don't worry, if you forget to do that, there's another way of setting a template as the default.

Setting a new default template

Let's say you've created a number of new templates. And maybe, just maybe, you have a reason to switch the default template every now and then. Let me show you how to do that. Open up LibreOffice Writer and click File | New | Templates (or click [Ctrl]+[Shft]+[N]). In the resulting window (Figure B), locate the file you want to set as the default.

Figure B

Figure B

The LibreOffice Templates Manager.

Once you locate the template in question, right-click it and select Set as Default. That's it. Close LibreOffice Writer and reopen the application. The new document should be the default template you chose. With this method, you can go back into the Template Manager and change the default template whenever necessary. This gives you quite a bit of added power and flexibility with LibreOffice. Use it wisely and it will serve you well.

More templates

If you don't want to take the time to create your own templates, you can always visit the LibreOffice Templates repository, download any templates that work for your needs, open them in LibreOffice, and save the document as a template. And don't forget, in the spirit of open source, if you create a really handy template, consider uploading it to the LibreOffice Template repository, by way of this submission form (you do have to have a free LibreOffice account). That way, others can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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