libre office paragraph numbering

Asked by Nic Knox

People send me big documents with paragraphs auto-numbered.
I need to work on them, add paras, alter paras, delete paras.
But I need to preserve the original paragraph numbering so that when I return the altered document the recipient can see and find what has been abstracted, added or altered.
I can of course use Track Changes which helps a bit but ......
How do I preserve the numbers auto-allocated to the paragraphs by the originator so they become part of the text: ie so they survive my edits?

I am using LibreOffice Build ID: 350m1(Build:2) on Ubuntu 12.04

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Nic Knox
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Seth Johnson (sethj) said :

What format are the documents these people are sending you? I'm guessing .doc or .docx. LibreOffice isn't known for handling those formats very well. I would consider converting the document from .doc/.docx to .odt (which is LO's favourite format), editing it, and then converting it back to .doc/.docx.

Painful, but I think it would help.

Another option would be upgrading to a newer version of LibreOffice. The lastest version is 4.2.something. See this question on Ask Ubuntu for steps.

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Manfred Hampl (m-hampl) said :

What you want seems somewhat contradictory to me.
If you have automatic paragraph/headline numbering activated and insert a new paragraph/headline, you have to expect that all paragraphs below the insertion will get a new number (increased by 1). There is no way out, expect converting all automatic numbers into constant text (which most probably is undesired).

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Nic Knox (baknox) said :

Many thanks for your time and input. My responses:
1/ yes, documents created in ms, yes, part of the problem!
2/ thanks, yes, saveas odt & reconvert would work and not too arduous, BUT
3/ then my q could be restated as "How do I preserve the numbers auto-allocated to the paragraphs .......... by odt ........ so they become part of the text: ie so they survive my edits?"
4/ I would consider an 'upgrade' if it was guaranteed to achieve 3 above.
5/ Auto-numbering is inappropriate for such work [as is all imposed Default Formatting]. The choice to apply auto-numbering is the originator's, not mine. I'd rather they didn't but they do! If the draft goes through, say, 3 revisions [it can be many more] you get nonsense such as "Bill, do you think Matty will accept 'at' not 'on' in the 3rd line of para which was in my response and in your original?" etc.. Auto-numbering is of course very useful for the final version, which we would create by taking the accumulated amendments. We would know exactly where to apply them [with great care] to the Auto-numbered original draft because we would be working with the same para numbers.
6/ BUT, you seem to have the answer ... Please HOW DO YOU "convert all automatic numbers into constant text". It is most certainly desired, and what I need to do on receipt of these documents!

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Manfred Hampl (m-hampl) said :

To be honest: I have not tried converting automatic numbering to fixed text in libreoffice yet, but only on MS office, and there it can be done with a quite complicated key combination (as far as I can remember something like ctrl-alt-shift-f9).

Maybe you can use cross references for what you want to do? e.g. use automatic inserting of the paragraph number in your text "3rd line of para ...". (again I have experience in doing such things only in MS Office and not in libreoffice).

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Nic Knox (baknox) said :

I found a link elsewhere on the web and asked "Do either of you happen to know the correct key combination in Writer please?"

Brian replied:
I don't think there is a process to achieve exactly what you want.
But here is a close workaround:
o Select all the text (Edit | Select All or Ctrl+A).
o Cut all the text (Edit | Cut or Ctrl+X).
o Backspace to remove the empty first numbered paragraph.
o Go to Edit | Paste Special... (or Ctrl+Shift+V), choosing
"Unformatted text" in the Paste Special dialogue.

How are the people who are sending you these documents preparing them? If it happens that they are using Microsoft Word, you could teach them how to "unlink fields" in the documents before sending them to you. That way, you'd preserve any formatting that you *did* want.

I said: The senders are not very computer literate and resistant.. but the above is Brilliant! - often use ctrl+shift+v. Why didn't I think it would capture & carry over the ['outline'] auto-numbering?!

Perfect for my purposes. It effectively sets up a practical .odt working document 'next to' the useless .doc one with the sophisticated formatting. Any work can then be copy+pasted across at the end using Track [ok, sorry, Record] Changes.