Setting default document and printer paper sizes in LibreOffice

LibreOffice ignores your system’s paper size preferences and uses what is set in its default templates. It is possible to change the templates, however.

LibreOffice has separate default paper size settings for documents and for printers. These instructions assume the typical case of changing them both to the same size. TODO: Is it really necessary to deal with printer settings? Can these instructions be simplified by removing references to printer settings?

For the sake of simplicity, these instructions also assume changing them for a single user. Presumably LibreOffice also has a location to save system templates that apply to all users of a computer.

These notes refer to LibreOffice 3.6.

Create a new text document and set the paper size as desired. While you’re there, change any other setting you’d like to have in your default text documents.

In File – Templates – Save, click on the My Templates category to select it. In the “New template” field, enter the name of your new template. Any name will do, even something as unimaginative as “DefaultTextDocument”. Spaces are allowed, but I recommend not using them in template names. Click OK to save.

In File – Templates – Organize, double-click on the My Templates category to open it. Right click on your newly created template and choose “Set as Default Template”. You have now set the default template for text documents, which among other things sets the paper size to your preference.

Right click again on your newly created template and choose “Configure Printer”. If you have more than one printer, choose one, then click on “Properties”. Set the paper size as desired. While you’re there, change any other setting you’d like to have as default for this printer. Click OK and OK again to close the two windows and return to the Organize Templates dialog. Repeat the instructions in this paragraph for all your printers. You have now set the default paper size for your printers.

Close the Organize Templates dialog window.

Repeat all of the above for other document types as desired (spreadsheets, drawings, presentations).

Add your new templates to your backup set. Where templates are saved depends on your platform; consult Tools – Options – LibreOffice – Paths – Templates for your path. Default paths I’ve seen are:

  • 64 bit LibreOffice 3 on Linux: ~/.config/libreoffice/3/user/template/
  • 32 bit LibreOffice 4 on Windows 7: %sysdrive%\Users\USER\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\4\user\template\

These notes assume a source computer with LibreOffice 3.6 and a target computer with LibreOffice 4.1.

On the source computer, open LibreOffice. In File – Templates – Organize, right-click on one of your newly created templates and select “Export Template”. Save it to removable memory. Repeat for your other templates.

Take the removable memory to the target computer.

Open one of your exported templates in LibreOffice. In File – Save as Template, insure you are in “My Templates”. Press “Save”. You will have to manually give it a name, which normally would be the same name that you originally gave it. The newly imported template will appear; select it. The option “Make default” will appear; select it. You have now imported one of your templates to the target computer; repeat for your other templates.

Consider adding the new templates to the target computer’s backup set.

These notes were last updated on 31 August 2013.

Making a Specific Template Come Up When You Create Any New Document
Managing Templates in LibreOffice


About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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