I am editing odt document in LibreOffice Writer. I have the following, very simple layout, it looks like this:

enter image description here

I would like to text in each column to stay separate from the other column.

So the same piece of text should look like this:

enter image description here

Now as you see in the picture above I simply used line breaks to create layout, but I don't want to do this because there's going to be text in second longer columns as well, so the whole layout is going to break each time I add something to one or other column.

Is there a way I can create desired layout in LibreOffice?

  • WHy not just use a table with two columns and without visible borders? Feb 3, 2014 at 20:07
  • Ah you're right! I forgot about easiest option.
    – Pawelmhm
    Feb 3, 2014 at 20:09
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    @JohannesH Because tables are for displaying tabular data. Don't use tables for styling content. Web Developers will certainly agree... Feb 3, 2014 at 20:14
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    Web developer myself - so yes, I'D agree with you, semantics are a point here. But after all we're talking about a document, which is most likely printed at the end - not machine read or processed. WHich is why I woudln't care too much about semantics here. (ANd, after all, if semantics are important, I wouldn't use any WYSIWYG in the first place, but using LaTeX or similar...) Feb 3, 2014 at 20:17
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    Actually, Adobe Reader (assuming the document is converted to PDF when published) does a pretty bad job on multi column layouts when copying, most likely contets from both columns get mixed - while it can handle tables (sure, if inserted in another editor that understands the raw data inserted into the clipboard, it might reappear as a table). ANd if the primary purpose was machine-processing, odt wouldn't be the appropriate choice, in that case we're dealing with a XY-problem here. But there is no need to argue: If I knew another way, I'd immediately recommend that one. I just don't. Feb 3, 2014 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


Don't use tables for non-tabular data.

There are better options

1. Use paragraph spacing and identation

enter image description here

To achieve this, select all the desired paragraphs and then right-click on "paragraph", the following dialog appears:

enter image description here

Or, as a much quicker shortcut, click on the ruler rightmost area and drag it to the left:

enter image description here

2. Use textboxes:

  • Activate the "drawing" tab (View -> toolbars -> drawing)
  • Click on the "text" icon
  • Drag to draw the area where you want your text to be
  • set the anchor propertiy to "as character" for it to stop flowing over the normal text
  • Thanks for answer, the thing is I need two columns adjacent to each other, and I'd like to add text to each of them, will I be able to do that with indentation?
    – Pawelmhm
    Feb 3, 2014 at 20:25
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    No. If you need multiple areas of independent text, you could use text boxes. Feb 3, 2014 at 20:31
  • Can I use text boxes in libreoffice?
    – Pawelmhm
    Feb 3, 2014 at 20:32
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    They're found under "drawing". If that's semantically any better than the table depends on the content though - so if you care about it, you might want to elaborate. Feb 3, 2014 at 20:37
  • If you do decide to use textboxes, remember you have to set their anchor propertiy to "as character" for it to stop flowing over the normal text. Feb 3, 2014 at 20:38

Select the text to put in 2 columns, Insert -> Section -> "Columns" Tab. Then simply select the amount of columns

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