How to Create, Open and Save Documents in LibreOffice

One of the fundamental skills of operating a powerful word processor like LibreOffice writer is to be able to create, save, and open document files efficiently. This is a simple, yet crucial function that allows you to compose, edit, and share your documents with others.

In this tutorials, I’m going to show you the ways you can create, save, and open documents in LibreOffice, and some of the basic file management features in detail.

Please keep in mind, that the screenshots below were taken using the GNU/Linux operating system. I use Linux Mint (XFCE) as my primary operating system, so if the given screenshots don’t look like it’s from Windows OS, don’t worry; the steps shown below are the same for all operating systems where LibreOffice runs, whether Windows, Mac, or Linux.

Creating Document From The Start Center

When you install LibreOffice, all its applications such as Writer, Calc, Impress etc. are also installed, and their context menus are automatically integrated in your system. These context menus can be accessed by right-clicking on the desktop or in any folder.

However, LibreOffice lets you create and manage new documents inside its Start Center. It is the first screen you see when launching LibreOffice. It’s the document management page where you can create new documents and access or manage recently opened files.

On the Start Center you got two options to create new documents.

Step 1. Through the top menu-bar: To create a new document through the top-menu bar, click on Files > New > Click one from the given list of document types (Text Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Drawing, and so on).

Step 2. Through the Create Section in the left side-column.

Create Documents With Keyboard Shortcuts

LibreOffice has an extensive list of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to boost your efficiency while working on the software, such as creating new documents, saving, or opening them.

The keyboard shortcuts for creating, saving and opening documents:

 Windows/Linux OSMac OS
Creating new documentCtrl + NCmd + N
Saving the documentCtrl + SCmd + S
Opening an existing docCtrl + OCmd + O

Note: These shortcuts only create new documents of the same type from which the keystrokes are pressed. For example, if you’re working on a text document in LibreOffice Writer, the keystrokes will open a new text document. Similarly, if you’re working on a Calc spreadsheet, the keystrokes will open a new spreadsheet.

Create a Document from a Template

If you have noticed, the Start Center of LibreOffice offers a feature where you can create new documents from a list of existing templates. Some of these templates are provided by LibreOffice, which come pre-installed, and some are user-created. This means that if you’ve created or will create a template in the future, those will be shown in the template section.

To create a document from templates, navigate to File > Templates or, if you have a document currently open, to File > New > Templates. Once clicked, a new dialog window will open, showing all the templates that are currently available for you to choose from.

Then, you need to select a template and click Open. It will load the template into a new document. Other than creating a new document from these templates, you have other options such as deleting, renaming, or setting as default, etc.

Saving Documents In LibreOffice

After you have learned how to create new documents, you need to save them on computer too for later use. LibreOffice offers several ways to perform the save function on a document. However, there are basically three ways in which you can save a document.

  • Save
  • Save As
  • Save a Copy

Keyboard Shortcut: User who knows and uses computer must be familiar with the Ctrl + S shortcut. It’s a global standard shortcut for saving any file to a computer.

Save through the top Menu-bar – LibreOffice has a global menu-bar at the top by default. If you haven’t manually hidden the menu-bar, you can find the Save option under File > Save. In addition to the normal Save function, you can also find Save as and Save as Copy.

Save as – This function saves a new copy of the currently open document. When this is performed, the original document is closed, and all its content is saved to a new file with a different name or location. The keyboard shortcut for performing this operation is Shift + Ctrl + S.

Save as Copy – This is similar to Save as but with one difference. This function saves a copy of the currently open document to a new file, but the current document remains open in LibreOffice.

Save Document in Different File Formats

When saving a document, LibreOffice allows you to select the file extension to be used for the document. It offers a list of supported file types that you can choose from. You can read more about the complete list of supported file types for LibreOffice Writer and Calc here.

For example, when saving a new text document for the first time, LibreOffice will prompt you to name the file and select its extension. The default extension of all text documents is .ODT (Open Document Format), but you can change it to another supported file type if needed. Or, you can change the default file extension from the settings as well.

Never Lose File With Auto-Saving Feature

LibreOffice has a robust auto-saving feature, in addition to the normal saving feature, to ensure that you never lose hours of hard work on a document due to a computer malfunction or crash.

By default, the auto-saving feature is turned on, and it save all currently open documents at every 5 minutes of interval. I have already written a detailed tutorial on the Auto-Saving feature here.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, the File menu at the top menu bar provides all the essential file management features, from creating new documents, saving, printing, and exporting them in different formats such as PDF, image, and HTML. If you still have doubts, leave a comment below, and I’d be happy to help.

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Shiba Prasad
Shiba Prasad

I’m the creator behind, and Professionally, I’m a freelance technical writer who shares a passion for open source technologies. Learn more, or follow me here → Instagram, Linkedin, Medium

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June 16, 2023 2:31 PM

Ever since I exported a writer document to PDF all writer documents are now saving as a PDF file even though saved as .odt can you please advise.

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