Finding text, objects in Writer

This page explains how to use the Find Toolbar. It covers finding texting and objects in a document.

The parts of the toolbar are as follows and the sections of this page:

The Find toolbar allows users to quickly search for text or use the Navigate By drop-down menu to cycle through various objects. This toolbar is not as sophisticated as the Find & Replace dialog.
Click an item to learn about it: Table Text Frame Graphics OLE object Headings Reminder Drawing Control
Section Bookmark Selection Footnote Comment Repeat search Index entry Table formula Wrong Table formula

Long documents typically contain a lot of text, making them difficult to edit. LibreOffice has an extensive tool that helps you find and replace text and other objects. The two tools are Find and Find and Replace.

Find will be covered in this article. It is a toolbar that opens at the bottom of the document window.

Text field

To find a word, phrase, or string of characters in a document, type them in the Text field. Then click either the up or down arrow buttons to cycle through the matches in the document.

  • The search begins where the cursor is located.
  • Clicking the up arrow will move it to the nearest match. Each time it is clicked, the next match is highlighted and the previously highlighted one ceases to be highlighted.
  • If the first match in the document is highlighted and the up arrow is clicked one more time, you will be moved to the last instance of the match in the document.
  • The down arrow cycles through the matches in the opposite direction.

Find All button

After typing “ch” in the Text field then clicking the Find All button that is to the right of first set of arrows, all the matches will be highlighted.

The Find All button will cause all the matched instances to be highlighted. This toolbar only can be used to find these matches. It will not allow you to make changes to one, if an error is discovered.

To edit one of the matches that you want to change, either:

  • Double click the one that you want to change to exit the search. Then make the changes.
  • Exit out of the search. Then open the Find and Replace dialog to make the changes. This page shows you how to use the Find and Replace dialog.

Match Case

Placing a check in this box will limit the search so only the strings of characters will be highlighted if they match the case exactly to what is entered in the text field. If “LibreOffice” is typed in the field, only instances in the document that are “LibreOffice” would be highlighted.

“Libreoffice”, “libreoffice”, and other cases would be ignored.

Find & Replace button

This button will launch the Find & Replace dialog that allows for more sophisticated text searches. It will place the string typed in the Text field in the Find field of the dialog.

Click here for a detailed tutorial on the Find & Replace dialog.

Navigate By menu and Navigation dialog

The Navigate By drop-down menu in the Find toolbar is a list of various kinds of objects and items that you can use the arrow buttons to the right of the menu to cycle through the objects in the document.

This image depicts two versions of Writer next to each other. On the left is version 6.1, running in Windows. On the right is 5.3, running in Fedora. Version 6.0 of Writer and later no longer have the Navigation dialog. Instead it is a menu in the Find toolbar. It contains the same items as the older Navigation dialog.

If you are using version 6.0 or later, this is a drop-down menu. In earlier versions, this is a button that launches a Navigation dialog with the same items in it.

The Navigation dialog and Navigate By drop-down menu allow you to cycle through the objects in a document.

There is also a Navigator dialog that has a list of objects in a particular document. Clicking an item in the list will allow you to jump to the corresponding object in the document. Navigator is also a tab in the sidebar. The two are the same.

This page will focus on the drop-down menu and Navigation dialog. Visit this page to learn more about the Navigator dialog and sidebar tab. Here are the items in the list.

Table

Select this item to use the arrows to cycle through the tables in a document. Each time one of the arrows is clicked, the cursor is placed in the top, left cell of each table.

Once the cursor reaches the top or bottom table, the cycling stops. One more click will not move the cursor to the top or bottom table.

Tables is located in the Navigator dialog and the Navigator tab in the sidebar.

Text Frame

A text frame places selected text in a box so it can stand out from the rest of the document. The frame can be moved around in the document, as well. It is treated the same way an image or shape is treated.

After creating a frame with highlighted text, clicking the up and down arrow button will cycle through each one of these text frames. Once the top frame is selected, clicking the up button one more time will select the bottom frame in the document.

In addition to the Find toolbar, Text Frame is located in the Navigator dialog and the Navigator tab in the sidebar.

Graphics

This cycles through images and graphics in a document. Graphics include images and items from the Gallery, and OLE objects. Only OLE objects that are in the OpenDocument Drawing (odg) format will be recognized by this setting.

Any graphics format that LibreOffice can insert in a document will be included in the cycle. They include JPG, PNG, SVG, GIF, and more.

The sidebar and Navigator dialog does not have the graphics item, but they have an images item. However, this cycles through the images and graphics, like the toolbar setting.

Shapes from the Insert menu are not included in the cycle. Neither are drawings created with the tools in the Line sub-menu.

OLE object

OLE objects are other documents that have been inserted into another document. These documents can be either embedded or linked in the document. Embedding a document will make it a static object. Changes made to the actual document will not be seen in the embedded object.

If the document is linked, the object is a window. Changes made to the original document.will be seen in the object.

The up and down arrow buttons will cycle through the OLE objects continually. Clicking the up arrow when the top object is selected will move the selection to the bottom object in the document. The down arrow will move the object selection in the opposite direction.

  1. Click the up arrow to the right of the drop-down menu. This will make the cursor stop flashing where it is located and select the first OLE object above it. (The down arrow button will move the cursor from its current location and select the first object below it.)
  2. Continue clicking the up or down arrow buttons until the desired object is selected.

NOTE: If you are using the sidebar tab or Navigator dialog, It may be easier to click on the desired object that are under the OLE object in the list.

Headings

Clicking the arrow buttons when this item is selected, cycles through the headings. Each time one of them is clicked, the cursor is moved to the beginning of the next heading.

Once the cursor reaches the first or last heading, the cycling stops. Clicking the up arrow when the cursor is in the top heading, does not move the cursor to the last heading in the document. The same is true if the cursor is in the last heading and the down arrow button is clicked.

Reminder

Reminders are temporary and invisible bookmarks in a document. Insert one in a location that you quickly want to jump to. Up to five can be inserted in a document.

Unlike bookmarks, however, Writer removes them when the document is closed. They are good for putting placeholders in a document for one editing session.

To set a Reminder do the following:

  1. Click in the document where you want there to be a reminder.
  2. Open either the Navigator tab in the sidebar or Navigator toolbar.
  3. Click the Reminder icon, which is a paperclip.
  4. Repeat these steps if you have more reminders to insert. Up to five can be inserted.

Drawing

This item will allow you to cycle through shapes inserted and drawings created with the line tools in a document. Shapes and drawings that are grouped together will be treated as a single object. They will not be selected individually.

  1. Click the desired shape from the list. The cursor will change to a plus sign.
  2. Move the cursor to the desired place in the document
  3. Hold down the left-button on the mouse.
  4. Start dragging until the shape is to the desired size. For creating drawings with lines, visit this page.

Drawings and shapes can be inserted by selecting one from the Shape sub-menu in the Insert menu.

This choice does not include clipart items and other objects.

Control

With LibreOffice Writer, you can create forms that can feed a database with data. These forms are composed by controls that are found in the Form menu. They can be selected and dragged to the document, like clipart.

This choice in the Navigate By drop-down menu allows you to cycle through the controls in the document. The form must be in Design Mode for the arrows to work.

  1. If the form is not in Design Mode, click the Form menu.
    • Click Design Mode in the menu.
  2. Select Control in the drop-down menu or Navigate toolbar.
  3. Click the up or down arrow buttons to cycle through the controls.

The buttons will continually cycle through the controls. Once the first control is selected, clicking the up arrow will select the last control in the document. If the last control is selected, clicking the down button will select the first control.

Section

These allow you to add content to a document that is not part of the regular flow of paragraphs. The Sections dialog can be launched by clicking Section in the Insert menu.

The arrows allow you to cycle through them but not continuously. Once you reach the bottom section, the down arrow won’t take you to the top section. If the top section is selected the up arrow will not take you to the bottom section.

Click here to learn more about creating a Section.

Bookmark

Bookmarks set places in a document that you can jump to. They can be connected to a hyperlink. Unlike reminders, they are not removed when the document is closed.

To insert a bookmark do the following:

  1. Click in the document where you want to insert a bookmark.
  2. Click the Insert menu.
  3. Click the Bookmark item to launch the Bookmark dialog.
  4. Type a new name in the Text field.
  5. Click the Insert button.

The up arrow will cycle the cursor through all the bookmarks above it. If you click the up arrow when the cursor is on the top bookmark, the cursor is moved to the beginning of the document. The down arrow does the same in the opposite direction.

Click here to learn more about bookmarks.

Selection

The Selection choice allows you to cycle through multiple strings of text that you can select in a document and are not adjacent.

To select different strings of text:

  1. Move your cursor over the Selection section in the Statusbar. It has the icon that looks like a cursor, the fifth one from the left.
  2. Click it to reveal a list.
  3. Highlight and click the Extending selection item.
  4. Next, move the cursor to the right of the last character that you want to add to the previous selection. If the new selection comes before the text that is already selected, move the cursor to the left of the first character in the new selection.
  5. Click the left mouse button.

Clicking the up and down arrow buttons will cycle the cursor through the highlighted choices. This is continuous. Clicking the up arrow while the cursor is in the the first selection in the document will place the cursor in the last selection in the document.

The down arrow will move the cursor to the first selection in the document if the cursor is located in the last selection in the document.

Footnote

Clicking the up and down arrows moves the cursor to the numbered footnotes within the document, not the references at the bottom each page.

A footnote can be inserted through the Insert menu. The Standard toolbar and several of the experimental user interfaces also have the Insert Footnote icon.

If you click the up arrow when the cursor is on the top footnote, the cursor will remain in the top footnote. It will not move it to the top of the document or to the last footnote. The same thing happens when you click the down arrow but in the opposite direction.

Click here to learn more about inserting footnotes.

Comment

Comments are notes that can be attached to a string of text in a document.

The arrows cycle the cursor through the comments. If you click the up arrow when the cursor is on the top comment, the cursor will remain in the top comment. It will not move it to the top of the document or to the last comment in the document.

The same thing happens when you click the down arrow but in the opposite direction.

Click here to learn more about Comments.

Repeat search

If you perform a search on a string of text, then perform a different type of search, such as cycling through graphics. The Repeat search allows you to go back to the last string of text search.

Index entry

When a word is added to the index in a document it is highlighted.

Setting the Navigate By menu to Index Entry, then clicking the up and down arrow buttons cycles through the index entries. If you click the up arrow when the cursor is on the top index entry, the cursor will remain in the top entry. It will not move it to the top of the document or to the last entry. The same thing happens when you click the down arrow but in the opposite direction.

Click here to learn more about indexes.

Table formula

In Writer, advanced formulas can be inserted in a table cell. All users see is the results of a formula. The formulas themselves cannot be seen unless the formula toolbar is open, so this type of search is helpful for finding formulas in tables.

The up and down arrow buttons will cycle through all the formulas in all the tables in the document. It is not continuous. Clicking the up arrow while the cursor is in the first cell with a formula will not move the cursor to the last cell with a formula. This is also true when the down arrow is clicked while the cursor is in the last cell with a formula.

Wrong Table formula

This will cycle through the formulas in cells that have errors in them.

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