Linking .odt files and applying paragraph styles

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LibreOffice has a very nice "Master Document" feature that allows you to build a book by linking in any number of .odt files such that changes to the linked files are automatically inherited by the master document whenever it is newly opened. This is similar to how images are placed in Scribus documents, such if you modify the image, say in Gimp, the modified image is automatically updated in the Scribus layout.

Also, in LibreOffice, when you link in an .odt file, if the paragraph styles used in the linked file have matching names to paragraph styles already existing in the master document, then the text in the linked file is rendered according to the styles in the master document, not the identically-named styles in the original document. This is a very useful feature, allowing a particular article to be styled differently in different publications.

These two features of LibreOffice make it possible to produce multiple publications with different layout styles that include the same articles such that only the original article needs to be edited when the content needs to be revised, and that revised content is automatically reflected in all the publications that are linked to that source document.

The only problem is that LibreOffice does not have all the page layout features of Scribus. So I am wondering whether Scribus offers a way to do the same thing.

So far, I have found that .odt files imported into Scribus text frames do not automatically take on the attributes of identically-named styles already defined in the Scribus layout. Instead, new styles are defined in Scribus with names derived from but not identical to the original styles in the .odt file.

Also, evidently, the .odt files are merely copied into the Scribus layout, not linked in as image files are, therefore changes in the original source document are not reflected in the Scribus layout.

Am I missing something?


hi zerubbabel

i'm not sure, if this automatic style conversion can be done with scribus. as a workaround you could hang a 'master document' between the original file and scribus. then you might change your settings there without touching the original file. (don't really know, if it works – haven't tryed...)

imported text is safer than linked text. if you change something in the original file, you have to check the layout in every publication where the text is placed. if you have to reimport it, you may miss a publication. but there are at least no 'silent' changes with a smashed layout...



hi zerubbabel,

the idea of master document for scribus was the topic of two of this year's Google Summer of Code projects. sadly, both students failed.

so we will have to wait longer for it to be available.

second question: yes, scribus can import styles and formatting from an .odt file. you will have to test with the different settings in the load text dialog to get what you want. if i understood it correctly, it's possible to cover almost any wish with it, but i have personally failed to use it in the past (and i personally don't really have a use for it...)

third: the linked text are a wish that is often brought. personally, i see as a very hard task to get a correct linking to .odt files. too many things can get wrong! both scribus and libreoffice are too complex software to get it to work correctly.

but i'm, slowly, working towards a simpler way to manage text externally from scribus. if everything goes well, it will be based on html and css (with custom tags).
if somebody wants to give a hand, there is lot to do there! (an not only programming tasks!)

have a nice sunday


Thank you for the replies. So I'll just keep trying to get the styles to work the way I want them to on import.


You might take a look at teaming Scrivener with Scriptus as I wrote here ..,712.0.html

I'd be interested in second opinions.