How to Quickly Configure LibreOffice Writer to Run Like Microsoft Word

One of the best features of LibreOffice Writer is that you can customize it. If you’re used to Microsoft Word’s settings and layout, making LibreOffice Writer look more like Word is a good idea.

This guide will teach you how to do it in five easy steps.


LibreOffice Writer with tabbed menu

It can be uncomfortable to switch to a standard toolbar after getting used to Microsoft’s sleek ribbon menus. But you can also use ribbons in Office Writer! Go to See > User interface and select mitred. Then click Apply to writer.

You can also change the icons to match Microsoft Word by using an extension. Download the .oxt file from OneDrive. Then copy the file to C:Program FilesLibreOfficeshareconfig. In LibreOffice Writer, navigate to Extension tab and choose Manage.

From the Extensions menu, select To add and select the .oxt file you just downloaded. You will need to restart LibreOffice to see the changes. Finally, go to Tools > Choice > LibreOffice > See and choose Office13 from Icon Style menu.

2. Set System Defaults

One of the downsides of switching to a new program is when your computer keeps trying to open files in the old one. To avoid this, make sure LibreOffice Writer is the default for all document file types.

In Windows 10, go to Settings > apps > Default apps > Choose default apps by file type. Change the default for .doc, .docx, .rtfand .odt to LibreOffice Writer. This supports the most common file types.

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Don’t forget to click Apply once you have finished.

3. Set Document Defaults

The easiest way to avoid compatibility issues is to adjust your backup settings. Here’s how to match them to what you used in Microsoft Word.


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<p>To set .docx as the default file type for saved files, go to <strong>Tools </strong>> <strong>Choice</strong> > <strong>Loading backup</strong> > <strong>General </strong>> <strong>Always save as</strong> and select .docx.  Of course, if you mainly want to use LibreOffice Writer as a PDF editor, you can choose .pdf instead.</p>
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<p>Once you have selected a file type, click <strong>Apply</strong>.</p>
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<p>To set OneDrive as the default save location, go to <strong>Tools </strong>> <strong>Choice </strong>> <strong>LibreOffice</strong> > <strong>Paths</strong>.  Select the path called <strong>My Documents </strong>and select <strong>Edit</strong>.  Navigate to your OneDrive folder and click <strong>Select Folder</strong>.  Click on <strong>Apply</strong>.</p>
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<p>To set default fonts, go to <strong>Tools </strong>> <strong>Choice </strong>> <strong>LibreOffice Writer</strong> > <strong>Basic fonts</strong>.  Default to “Calibri” and header on “Calibri Light”.  Click on <strong>Apply</strong>.</p>
<h2 id= 4. Set File Compatibility

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<p>To ensure that files created in other programs will open smoothly, open <strong>Tools </strong>> <strong>Choice</strong> > <strong>Loading backup</strong>.  Check <strong>SmartArt to LibreOffice shapes or inverse</strong> and change <strong>Character highlighting </strong>at <strong>Highlighting</strong>.  Click on <strong>Apply</strong>.</p>
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<p>    You will also want to make sure that files you create in LibreOffice Writer open correctly in Microsoft Word.  For example, Writer has several options for creating forms, but some of them don’t work in Microsoft Office.</p>
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<p>To limit to compatible form elements only, go to <strong>Tools </strong>> <strong>Choice </strong>> <strong>LibreOffice Writer </strong>> <strong>Compatibility</strong>.  Once there, tick <strong>Reorganize the Form menu to make it compatible with MS</strong>.</p>
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<p>In the same menu, check <strong>Word compatible trailing spaces</strong>.  Thus, LibreOffice Writer automatically adds space after a paragraph, just like Word does.  If you use blank lines instead, the paragraphs will have too much extra space in Word.</p>
<p>Click on <strong>Apply </strong>to save changes.</p>
<h2 id= 5. Import styles and templates

Templates imported to LibreOffice Writer from Microsoft Word

You can continue to use your Microsoft Word templates even if the product is deactivated. You can do the same for individual style presets, such as custom headers.

First, go to To file > Models > Manage Templatesor press CTRL+Change+NOT, one of LibreOffice’s many keyboard shortcuts. From the Templates menu, select Import. You will need to select a category or create a new one if none of the presets look right to you.


  • The templates you downloaded from Word are in C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataRoamingMicrosoftTemplates
  • Style presets for titles, lists, etc. are stored in C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataRoamingMicrosoftQuickStyles.

Don’t forget to replace “USERNAME” by your own username!

Take advantage of free Office software

With these settings adjusted, it is much easier to get used to LibreOffice Writer. You can find all the features you loved in Microsoft Word and keep working without interruption.

As you get used to the program, you should explore all the ways to customize and organize files. For example, did you know that you can merge multiple related documents into one master document?


four stacks of documents from multiple projects
How to merge documents in LibreOffice Writer with a master document

LibreOffice Writer’s Master Document feature makes it easy to work with large documents. Here’s how to merge documents using it.

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