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:
Voila! You have comments in PDFs in the margins. Hooray!
15 thoughts on “LibreOffice: Printing with Comments in Margins”
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. 🙂
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
Unfortunately, there is no way at present to change the background color. Those are assigned based on the user. See here.
Thanks anyways for the reply. Fortunately it is just a minor personal preference thing.
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?
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?
This is exactly what I see as well.
Libreoffice 188.8.131.52 on OS X El Capitan 10.11.1
Interesting. I haven’t tried this with LibreOffice 5. I’m still running LibreOffice 184.108.40.206. I wonder if the updates broke this feature.
The updates did break this feature. I’m really stumped about how to get things back to normal.
It was a regression, but it is now fixed. LibreOffice Versions 5.2, 220.127.116.11 and 5.0.5 (not stable branches yet, but you can download and test yourself) will see the fixes. See bottom of the bug link above. Official Release schedule can be found here;
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!
Thank you, thank you. You made my life so much easier.
It looks like as of 18.104.22.168 they’ve broken it again. 🙁
Thank You so much, this really very helpfull.
I used this for grading also, but sometimes the comments were hidden in the students’ office. With your tip I can provide a pdf printout with marginal comments that show up every time..