UPDATE: As of 12/15/2015, LibreOffice 5.0 broke this feature. See here.  This should be fixed as of LibreOffice 5.0.5.

I do a lot of my grading in my classes electronically.  As a LibreOffice user, one issue I’ve had with the software is that I haven’t been able to insert comments into the document and then have those comments show up in the margins of the document when I save it to a PDF and return it to my students.  I was unable to figure out how to do this when I swtiched to OpenOffice (and then LibreOffice) almost a decade ago.  I’m not sure if it was possible back then, but I recently discovered that it is possible, which is exciting for me!

Here is what I mean.  Previously, when I graded students’ papers, I would track my changes.  I would insert comments into the text in parentheses, like this:



LibreOffice would print those out, like this (saved as a PDF):


It used to be the case that, if you wanted comments that you inserted in the margins printed, LibreOffice would print them all at the end of the document, which was pretty useless for providing contextual feedback.  But now you can print out comments in the margins.  Here’s how you do it.

Go to “Tools -> Options”.


Then go to “Writer->Print”.  In the resulting window, look to the right and you’ll see options for comments.



To print the comments in the margin of a PDF, choose “in margin.”  Then hit “OK.”

Now, when you add a comment, like this:


When you save the file as a PDF, it looks like this:

printcomments5Voila!  You have comments in PDFs in the margins.  Hooray!


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14 Replies to “LibreOffice: Printing with Comments in Margins”

  1. Thank you so much for posting this article. This is how I grade also. I teach Spanish. After seeing this article, I realized you were on the latest version of Libreoffice. So, I updated Libreoffice in Linux Mint (same for Ubuntu also) with the following:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    I probably would not have realized this had you not posted. I now don’t have to switch to Windows and MS Office to grade. This was the last item (at least in my mind right now) that I needed to work out before deleting Windows all together. I am very happy about this. 🙂

  2. How were you able to change the background color of the comments (ctrl+alt+c)? Mine are yellow, and it would be nice to change the color. Thanks

  3. Doesn’t work for me.
    It shows lines which should connect text to the comments, but no comments are visible. Just wide blank border on the right side of the page. Any suggestions?

    1. Peter, that’s odd. What is your setup? What version of LibreOffice? And which setting did you choose in the print options, as there are lots of options now?

      1. Interesting. I haven’t tried this with LibreOffice 5. I’m still running LibreOffice I wonder if the updates broke this feature.

  4. Finding this thread far after you’ve posted it, and though the feature no longer works this way, I was able to find the option to print comments in the margins via the printer’s settings. Woot! Thanks for spearheading my discovery—so helpful while incorporating my novel’s critique comments. Best to you!

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