The Writer workspace

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Parts of the main Writer workspace

The main Writer workspace is shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. The main Writer workspace in Print Layout view.

Menu bar

The Menu bar is located across the top of the Writer window. The main menu selections are File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, Table, Tools, Window, and Help. When you click one of the main menu names, a list of related options is displayed.

  • File contains commands that apply to the entire document such as Open, Save, and Export as PDF.
  • Edit contains commands for editing the document such as Undo and Find & Replace.
  • View contains commands for controlling the display of the document such as Zoom and Web Layout.
  • Insert contains commands for inserting elements into your document such as headers, footers, and pictures.
  • Format contains commands for formatting the layout of your document, such as Styles and Formatting, Paragraph, and Bullets and Numbering.
  • Table shows all commands to insert and edit a table in a text document.
  • Tools contains functions such as Spellcheck, Customize, and Options.
  • Window contains commands for the display window.
  • Help contains links to the Help file, What's This?, and information about the program. See Getting Help.


Writer has several types of toolbars: docked, floating, and tear-off. Docked toolbars can be moved to different locations or made to float, and floating toolbars can be docked.

The top docked toolbar (default position) is called the Standard toolbar. The Standard toolbar is consistent across the applications.

The second toolbar across the top (default location) is called the Formatting toolbar. It is a context-sensitive bar which shows the relevant toolbars in response to the cursor’s current position or selection. For example, when the cursor is on a graphic, the Formatting bar provides tools for formatting graphics; when the cursor is in text, the tools are for formatting text.

Figure 8. Writer toolbars.

Floating toolbars

Writer includes several context-sensitive toolbars, whose defaults appear as floating toolbars in response to the cursor's current position or selection. For example, when the cursor is in a table, a floating Table toolbar appears, and when the cursor is in a numbered or bullet list, the Bullets and Numbering toolbar appears. You can dock these toolbars to the top, bottom, or side of the window, if you wish (see Moving toolbars below).

Long-click buttons and tear-off toolbars

Buttons with a small triangle to the right will display submenus, tear-off toolbars, and other ways of selecting things with a long click, depending on the button. Figure 9 shows an example of a tear-off toolbar from the Drawing toolbar.

Figure 9. Example of a tear-off toolbar.

The tear-off toolbars can be floating or docked along an edge of the screeen or in one of the existing toolbar areas. To move a floating tear-off toolbar, drag it by its title bar. See Moving toolbars.

Displaying or hiding toolbars

To display or hide toolbars, choose View > Toolbars then click on the name of a toolbar in the list. An active toolbar shows a check mark beside its name. Tear-off toolbars are not listed in the View menu.

Moving toolbars

To move a docked toolbar, place the mouse pointer over the toolbar handle, hold down the left mouse button, and drag the toolbar to the new location. To move a floating toolbar, click on its title bar and drag it to a new location. Figure xx shows examples.

To dock the toolbar in another area, place the mouse pointer over the toolbar handle, hold down the left mouse button, drag the toolbar to the new location, and then release the mouse button. The toolbar will dock in the new location.

Handle of docked toolbar


To show or hide rulers, choose View > Ruler. To show the vertical ruler, choose Tools > Options > Writer > View and select Vertical ruler.

View Options

Changing document views has several ways to view a document: Print Layout, Web Layout, Full Screen, and Zoom. You can select these choices on the View menu. The only document view option with a submenu is Zoom. When you choose View > Zoom, the following dialog box appears.

Figure 12. Selecting a zoom factor.
  • Entire Page: Displays the entire page on the screen (text may be too small to read).
  • Page Width: Displays the complete width of the document page. The top and bottom edges of the page may not be visible.
  • Optimal: Resizes the display to fit the width of the text in the document.
    • 200%: Displays the document at two times its actual size.
    • 150%: Displays the document at one and a half times its actual size.
    • 100%: Displays the document at its actual size.
    • 75%: Displays the document at 75% of its actual size.
    • 50%: Displays the document at half of its actual size.
  • Variable: Enter the zoom factor (percentage) at which you want to display the document.

Using dockable/floating windows

Some windows in, such as the Navigator and the Styles and Formatting window, are dockable. You can move, resize, or dock them to an edge.

To dock a window, do one of the following:

  • Click on the title bar of the floating window and drag it to the side until you see the outline of a box appear in the main window (see Figure 13) and then release the window. This method depends on your system's window manager settings, so it may not work for you.
  • Hold down the Control key and double-click on a vacant part of the floating window to dock it in its last position. If that does not work, try double-clicking without using the Control key.

To undock a window, hold down the Control key and double-click on a vacant part of the docked window.

Documentation note.png The Styles and Formatting window can also be docked or undocked by using Control+ double-click on the gray area next to the icons at the top of the window.
Figure 13. Docking a floating window.

Using the Navigator

The Navigator displays all objects contained in a document. It provides a very convenient way to move around a document and find items in it. The Navigator button is located on the Standard toolbar. You can also display the Navigator by choosing Edit > Navigator, or open it quickly by pressing F5.

Figure 14. Location of Navigator icon on toolbar.

The Navigator displays lists of Headings, Tables, Text frames, Graphics, Bookmarks, and other items. Click the + sign by any of the lists to display the contents of the list.

If you only want to see the content in a certain category, highlight the category and click the Content View icon.

Figure 15. The Navigator.
Documentation note.png The Navigator looks somewhat different in a master document. For more information, see Chapter 13 (Working with Master Documents).

The Navigator helps you to reach objects quickly. Double-click the object in the Navigator to jump directly to that object's position in the document, as shown in Figure 16.

Figure 16. Using the Navigator to jump quickly to a heading.

Arranging chapters using the Navigator

You can arrange chapters and move headings in the document by using the Navigator.

  1. Click the Content View icon to expand the headings, if necessary.
  2. Click on the heading in question.
  3. Drag the heading to a new location on the Navigator or click the heading in the Navigator list, and then click Promote Level, Demote Level, Promote Chapter, or Demote Chapter.
Figure 17. Reorganizing with the Navigator.

Getting help

Writer provides several forms of help. In addition to a full Help file, you can choose whether to activate tooltips, extended tips, and the Help Agent.

Placing the mouse pointer over any of the icons displays a small box, called a tooltip. It gives a brief explanation of the icon's function. For a more detailed explanation, select Help > What's This? and hold the mouse pointer over the icon you need more help with.

Tips and extended tips can be turned on or off from Tools > Options > > General.

The Help menu.
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