I have Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and LibreOffice installed. The current instructions for LibreOffice Writer are WAY out of date. I want to make a default template that automatically opens, with my settings, every time I launch LibreOffice Writer. The instructions do not correspond to what appears on screen and must be from an earlier version.

In plain, simple terms, how do I make such a default file that will open -- with my settings -- each time I launch LibreOffice Writer?

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    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 21:04

3 Answers 3


This answer illustrates the procedure for LibreOffice 5.1.4 (using the "Galaxy" icon theme) on Ubuntu 16.04 with Unity Desktop and consists of 4 parts:

  • Step 1: Create / load the document you want to use
  • Step 2: Store your document as a template
  • Step 3: Configure the new template as default
  • How to reset the default template?

Step 1: Create / load the document you want to use

First, create your template like a normal LibreOffice Writer document. You don't even have to save it as ODT anywhere if you don't want to - but you can do, of course - or just load any document.

I've just thrown together this stupid simple page as an example for now:

my template document

Step 2: Store your document as a template

Navigate to the File → Templates menu and click Save as template...

Menu File → Templates → Save as template...

A Template Manager window with a Save button will open. Just select the My Templates category (or wherever you want to put it) and click Save. Enter a name for your template in the appearing dialogue window and hit OK.

save template

The Template Manager window closes and your template got stored successfully.

Step 3: Configure the new template as default

Now you want to set up your template as default, so that it automatically loads when you launch LibreOffice Writer.

To do that, navigate again to the File → Templates menu, but click Manage this time. Alternatively, the keyboard shortcut to open the Template Manager is Ctrl+Shift+N.

Open the category you stored your template in and select it. Then you can click the Set as default button from the Template Manager's toolbar. Nothing obvious will happen, but your template got set as default now.

set template as default

Close the Template Manager. The next time you restart LibreOffice or create a new empty document, it will be based on your new custom template.

How to reset the default template?

If you want to undo your changes and get the default template (plain white page) back, simply open the Template Manager again, as described above.

Click on the little cogwheel button in the right side of the Template Manager's toolbar and select Reset Default Template → Text Document from the drop-down menu.

enter image description here

If there is no Text Document entry in the Reset Default Template menu, this simply means that you already use the default text document template. Other entries like e.g. Presentation may also appear there in case you have set a template for in that case LibreOffice Impress presentations, but we don't have to care about that here.

That was it, you're back to the roots.


We will call your new default template My Template for these steps.

Make your custom Default

1) Configure a document the way you want LibreOffice to start by default.

2) Save the document as a template (My Template).

3) Import your new document template file into the Documents Templates.
(Click) File -> (Point to) Templates -> (click) Manage -> (Go into the category) My Templates -> (click) the Star on the left side of the window to Import - (Browse to where you saved the new template with your desired default settings) -> (double click) My Template (the one you saved)
4) Make this your default Template
(Select) My Template -> (Click) the Check Mark to Set as default -> (click) Close

Now Close Libreoffice. When you open it'll open up into your new Default Settings.

Restore Original Default

Restore the template back to the distribution default

1) Load the Template Manager
(click) File -> (point to) Template -> (click) Manager.
2) Restore the default
(click) Action Menu (the icon to the left of the second star) -> (click) Reset Default Template

This works great for writer, but not for Calc. Any ideas how to change the default Calc Template? I tried saving modifications as an ots file and then using Templates>Manage>Spreadsheets>My Templates>(Star) Import but I get an error every time.

The SOLUTION is that even though the writer and calc templates have different extensions - ott and ots - they have to have different names as well.

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