Neat Discovery

by | Aug 15, 2021 | Tech Geekery | 0 comments

There are as many way to go about writing a story–whether short story, mid-length, or novel–as there are people who want to write them.

A lot of people use Word. A lot of people use Scrivener. I used to use Word when I was a Windows-only shop, but since I’ve switched almost 100% to Mac, I’ve gotten into Scrivener and really enjoy it. And then, there’s Pages on Mac and, really, a whole host of other applications that will work for storytelling via the written word.

I stumbled onto something yesterday that made me sit back and say, “Wow, that’s kinda cool,” and I thought I’d share it with you.

There’s a free office productivity suite called LibreOffice. I think it was originally a branch off of OpenOffice, but don’t quote me on that. It has all the same type of programs one will find in Microsoft Office, but you’ll have to learn the different names. For instance, Writer is the program equivalent to Word.

The discovery yesterday entailed a function of Writer called “Master Documents.” This allows you to create a master document that will act as a kind of binder and master style sheet. All of the styles in the subdocuments (such as chapter headings, scene dividers, quotations, or any other custom style) will synchronize to the master document and then to all other subdocuments…as long as there is not a corresponding style of that name already in the subdocument.

So, anyone needing to create a huge document–like, say, fiction or a thesis or a dissertation or what have you–can create a master document, set up the styles however desired, and then create subdocuments. The styles will then synchronize down, and at the very end, one only needs to print the master document to PDF or Word format or whatever desired file type. Writer will then collect all the subdocuments and output them in order.

Now, here’s the caveat. I have not played with this, so I cannot state how well it works or if there are any glitches. But LibreOffice is a solid piece of software, and the development team behind it have created a reliable suite of programs. If I were in the market for a better way to write my fiction, I would certainly try it.

Here’s a link to the article about it:

And here’s the main site:


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