LibreOffice for Lawers – Update

So – because briefs are so picky, the TOC and Table of Authorities has to be in a particularly finicky format. This is completely 100% manageable in LibreOffice by using “allow manual edits” in LibreOffice. Unfortunately, any update to the automated tables causes the user to lose their manual edits completely. Furthermore, paragraph styles are not carried over to the tables/indexes. For example if you have a header that is italicized, this is not italicized in the TOC – again, you can resolve this with a manual change, but these changes are lost if you update the table.

Will report enhancement request. Request will be as follows:

(1) Indexes/TOC should maintain manual changes where possible – a smart algorithm (probably hard to implement) to “guess” at what kinds of changes are wanted to be kept, examples include:

  1. Order of entries: For instance in the table of authorities, all entries must be in alpha order, not by how they appear in the document. You can copy/paste these into a reasonable order but an update pushes them back into the “automatic” order based on where the entries appear in the document;
  2. Paragraph Breaks: You might have the following situation “Someone v. Government,” BREAK, citation. Upon update, this all goes on one line again

(2) Character/Paragraph style should be maintained/carried over to indexes and TOC.

  1. For lawyers this is important as entries in TOC and Table of Authorities must be formatted in a particular style and that must be maintained not only in the body of the document but also in any and all tables/TOC/etc . . .

Overall LibreOffice is really doing an incredible job – I’d argue a much better job than I’d be facing in Microsoft Office right now šŸ˜‰ But this of course is a subjective (and perhaps biased šŸ˜‰ ) view :-b


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8 responses to “LibreOffice for Lawers – Update”

  1. Volker Merschmann says :

    Joel, maybe you are interested to contact the german lawyer Michael Stehmann, a long time contributor to OOo. He and his wife developed a OOo-based project named “Canzeley” for managing his office work. See
    Michael is an open source addict, working at AOO and FSF

    • joelmadero says :

      I will definitely put this in my to do list – in the future I was thinking of setting up a community of lawyers and pool funds to improve LibreOffice in a way that specifically targets what “we” (the legal community) need. I think there is massive potential in solo/small firm practitioners – at least here in the United States

      • Francesco Tedioli says :

        I’m an Italian lawyer that always uses LibreOffice to draft pleadings. Let me know if I can help You.

      • joelmadero says :

        Thanks for the offer Francesco. At this point I think it’s mostly just doing the manual edits unless you know of a way to make it so that the character/paragraph styles carry over to the TOC (like italicized font for case names). If not, manual editing of the TOC isn’t too bad, just not ideal because mistakes happen when we rely on humans vs. automation (at least that’s my experience šŸ˜‰ )

  2. kerwyn says :

    Hi Joel, interesting article. Maybe this question on ask.libreoffice is interesting for you as well?:

    • joelmadero says :

      Hi Kerwyn –
      I do know about the multiple tables of authorities but they are still organized (unless I am really mistaken) but the order in which they appear on the pages and not in alphabetical order. Perhaps I am wrong. I’ll play around with it a bit today to see if I can get it in alpha order šŸ™‚ Thanks for the link!

  3. Mark Tyndall says :

    Cascading heading formatting through to the TOC would be very annoying for me (doing Technical Report writing). All our templates (and everyone else’s reports we see) have the TOC formatted consistently; the different heading styles in the report body are not cascaded.

    • joelmadero says :

      I’m not entirely sure what cascading heading formatting through TOC means . . . if it’s what I’m requesting, then I suppose it would have to be an option so other users who don’t use it could turn it off (or I could turn it on if it’s off by default).

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