Working with sections in Writer

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It is possible to separate a Writer document into "blocks" that are more or less self-contained areas in the document called "Sections". These sections can be as short as a paragraph, as long as several pages or can cover the whole document. Sections are useful: to have different number of columns on the same page; to insert an external document; as a whole block from the document that is hidden when a condition is fulfilled... This page shows how to use them.

Inserting a section

From the Insert → Section menu we will see


Section tab

Here it is possible to accomplish several tasks.

  • Give a name to the section, so it is easier to find on the Navigator.
    • Select the text listed in the box and type an appropriate name that describes the section.
  • Link the section with a different part of the document, with a different file, or with data returned from a DDE-based link, to show the linked content.
  • Protect the section content with a password, avoiding editing.
  • Set a condition to hide the section, making it invisible on the document. We will come back to this when discussing variables and fields.
  • Set the section to be editable even on read only documents, for example to build a form.

Columns tab

As with frames, it is possible to set the section to be separated in columns even if the page style over which the section flows do not have them. This is particularly useful to have different number of columns on the same page, like a scientific paper where subject and abstract are on one column while the rest of the document is on two.

The option "Evenly distribute contents to all columns" makes the columns fill simultaneously when content is added: with the option set to off the left column will fill before the other ones.

Indents tab

To define a minimum space before and after a section.

Background tab

To set either a background color or a background image for the section. Background images can be positioned, stretched, and so forth.


To group the notes at the end of a section, restart the numbering, etc. We will come back to this topic later.

Editing Sections

To change the settings of an existing section go to Format → Sections.


Use the list on the left to select the section you want to modify. As can be seen in the screenshot, the available options are the same as you got under the Section tab when you first inserted the section. The other options are accessible from the  Options  button.

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