Page Background in LibreOffice Writer

Although all the steps indicated in this article are carefully explained in the different chapters of my book, the situation that I present here was not explicitly considered (you cannot put everything in one place), so let’s gather everything together and enter the “screenshot mode.”


Suppose we want to create a “particular” document in which we have full control of the page background and the text margins. Something like what can be seen in the following screenshot:

The challenge has several parts, so let’s go in order.

Use a custom background

When editing a page style in the Area tab we have several preloaded images, but adding a new one is not a problem: simply press the Add / Import button

We can choose any type of image, including vector images (ie, ignore the “bitmap” thing), in addition to selecting the position options on the page, scaling, and so on.

Apply a background to the entire page

IMPORTANT NOTE: Starting from 6.3, the trick commented in this section is not needed anymore. In fact, LibreOffice Writer 6.3 apply the page background to the whole page by default.

When a color or a background is applied to a page we are actually modifying only the “text area,” that is, if we choose for our page style a background of a certain color, or a certain background image the margins will be excluded from this configuration.

NOTE: In Writer, both the header and the footer belong to the “text area.”

How can we apply a background to the entire page?

Two simple steps:

  1. Set page margins to zero (Page tab)
  2. On the Borders tab, under Padding, type the size of the margins (if you want different “margins” on the four sides of the page, uncheck “Synchronize”). It is not necessary to pick a border, just set the padding.

Build “holes” in the text

To achieve the “gap” in the text, or a “free” margin, we will have to resort to the drawing tools.

By activating the drawing toolbar in Writer we can create a closed figure showing the desired profile. Now we must select the drawing thus created and with a right click → Wrap mark both Page Wrap and Contour to get the text follow the profile of the figure. Now, with the figure selected, we must fix its anchor to the paragraph whose “profile” we want to modify and, in the figure Properties, select a transparency of 100%.

And that’s it!