How to add fields to a LibreOffice document

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how often do you have Created a document And I had to add specific items, such as current date, number of pages, document author, time, chapter, filename, document stats, company name, or more?

You can always add this information manually, but what if this is a document that you use over and over again, and you wouldn’t rather write those bits every time you reuse the file?

This is where document fields come in handy.

A field is a dynamic piece of information added to a file that is automatically updated as needed.

For example, if you add a date field, each time you reuse that document, the field will be updated to the current date.

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Or maybe you want to add page numbers for a document, but don’t want to do the tedious task of adding them manually. You can add a page number field that will be updated automatically, according to the number of pages in the document.

Fields are a handy way to not only add important data to your documents, but also to make them more reusable.

Let me show you how fields work in an open and free source LibreOffice office suite.

How to add fields to a LibreOffice document

requirements

The only thing you will need for this is a running copy of LibreOffice. It doesn’t matter what operating system you’re using (Linux, MacOS, or Windows) because the feature works the same way. That’s it. Let’s get to the fields.

The first thing to do is open LibreOffice. Once you open the app, you can either work with a new document or call up a previous document that can make use of some fields.

The first thing we’ll do is add a date field. Let’s say you are creating a document template that you will use over and over again. At the top of this form, you have:

to:
from:
Repeat:
Date:

Instead of always typing in the date, you can add a field. To do this, click the space immediately to the right of the date: then click Insert > Field > Date. The field will be populated with the current date.

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If you were to open the same file tomorrow, the date would change to reflect that new date. You will notice that there are other fields that you can add in the list of subfields. If you click More Fields, a Fields pop-up window opens where you can choose from a number of different fields to add to the document.

LibreOffice More Fields window.

LibreOffice includes a lot of preset fields to add to your document.

Photo: Jack Whalen

For the page number, you’ll probably want it in the footer of the document. Therefore, LibreOffice makes it easier. Click anywhere at the bottom of the page to reveal the blue footer button (default page style). Click + to enable the footer, and then click anywhere inside the footer to place the cursor.

The footer button (default page style) will now contain a drop down arrow. Once your cursor is in the footer, click the dropdown menu, then select Insert Page Number. The page number will appear in the left corner of the footer and will automatically update as more pages are added to the document.

LibreOffice footer drop-down menu.

Entering a page number in a LibreOffice document.

Photo: Jack Whalen

Add other domains

Let’s say you want to add your name to the section at the top of the document. For that, place your cursor after the From: and then click Insert > Field > First Author.

If the author does not appear, then you have not configured LibreOffice with your own name. To do this, click on Tools > Options. In the resulting window, add your first and last name in the User Data section.

LibreOffice Options window.

Add your personal information to LibreOffice for use in documents.

Photo: Jack Whalen

Another useful way to add fields is from the Document Properties function. Let’s say this is going to be a long document and you want to be able to add your company’s address in various locations throughout the document. Instead of typing that in every time, you can add a new custom property to the document, and then add that title as a field.

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To do this, you must first add the custom field to the document by clicking on File > Properties. In the resulting window, click Custom Properties, and then click Add Property. Click the leftmost dropdown menu and select Info. Select the text from the center dropdown menu, then type in the title of the value. To save the new custom property, click OK.

LibreOffice Document Properties window.

Add a custom property to a LibreOffice document.

Photo: Jack Whalen

You can now add this field anywhere in the document by clicking Inset > Field > More Fields. In the resulting window, expand the custom entry, select Info, and click Insert. The field will be inserted into the document. If you were to go to document properties and change the title, it will be automatically updated in the document.

A custom property in the LibreOffice Fields window.

Our new custom property is now available for adding as a field.

Photo: Jack Whalen

This is the essence of adding fields to a LibreOffice document. Once you become familiar with this feature, you will use it regularly to help make your workflow more efficient.

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