How to add fields to a LibreOffice document

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Create a document and set current date, number of pages, document author, time, chapter, file name, document stats, company name or more?

You can manually add that information at any time, but what if this is a document you use over and over again and you don’t have to type in those bits each time you reuse the file?

This is where the document field comes in handy.

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

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

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Or maybe you want to add page numbers to your document, but don’t want to go through the painstaking work of adding them manually. You can add a page number field that automatically updates based on the number of pages in your document.

Fields are a very convenient way to not only add valuable data to your documents, but also to reuse data more efficiently.

We’ll show you how fields work in the open-source, free LibreOffice office suite.

How to Add Fields to LibreOffice Documents

Requirements

All you need for this is a running instance of LibreOffice. It doesn’t matter which operating system you use (Linux, MacOS or Windows) as the features work the same. That’s it. Let’s go to the fields.

The first thing to do is open LibreOffice. After opening the application, you can either work with a new document or bring up an old document that can utilize a few fields.

The first thing to do is add a date field. Let’s say you want to create a document template that you will use over and over again. At the top of the template we have:

to:
at:
reply:
date:

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

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If you open the same file tomorrow, the date will change to reflect the new date. You’ll notice there are other fields you can add to the Fields submenu. Click Add Field to open a field pop-up where you can choose from several fields to add to your document.

LibreOffice Additional Fields window.

LibreOffice includes many preconfigured fields to add to your documents.

Image: Jack Wallen

Page numbers can be displayed in the document footer. For that, LibreOffice makes it even easier. Click anywhere at the bottom of the page and a blue footer (default page style) button will appear. Click + to activate the footer, then click anywhere inside the footer to place the cursor.

The footer (default page style) button now has a drop-down arrow. Place your cursor in the footer, click the dropdown, and select Insert Page Number. The page number appears in the left corner of the footer and updates automatically as you add more pages to your document.

LibreOffice footer dropdown.

Insert page numbers into LibreOffice documents.

Image: Jack Wallen

Add another field

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

If no author is listed, you have not configured LibreOffice with your own name. To do so, click Tools > Options. In the resulting window, add the First Name and Last Name to the User Data section.

LibreOffice Options window.

Add personal information for use in documents by LibreOffice.

Image: Jack Wallen

Another useful way to add fields is to use the document properties feature. Let’s say this is going to be a long document and you want to be able to add company addresses in various places throughout the document. Instead of typing it in every time, you can add a new custom property to your document and then add that address as a field.

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To do this, you must first add a custom field to your document by clicking File > Properties. In the results pane, click Custom Properties and then click Add Property. Click the leftmost dropdown and select About. Select Text from the middle drop-down, then enter the address of the value. Click OK to save the new custom property.

LibreOffice Document Properties window.

Add custom properties to LibreOffice documents.

Image: Jack Wallen

You can now add that field anywhere in your document by clicking Insert > Field > Add Field. In the resulting pane, expand Customizations, select Information, and click Insert. The field is inserted into your document. If you go to the document properties and change the address, it will be automatically updated in the document.

Custom properties for the LibreOffice Fields window.

You can now add new custom properties as fields.

Image: Jack Wallen

That’s the point of adding a field to a LibreOffice document. Once you know this feature, you will use it regularly to make your workflow more efficient.

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