Looking for a method of writing a document in a non-WYSIWYG manner

Are there any applications in which a document can be created without using a rich text editor, much like writing HTML and CSS to be rendered in a browser?

For example, can one write an ODT file and then open it in LibreOffice Writer?

It may sound odd but, if it is reasonable, it might be more efficient in the long run to learn how than to style everything within a GUI. For example, I had a 500 page document with many block quotes, color coded by source category, and if something needed changed in the styling, every one had to be performed separately through the menus in LibreOffice. The same could’ve been done in CSS in a couple lines.

I’m not criticizing LibreOffice but only asking if there is any such application in which those menus can be skipped and replaced with writing the equivalent of styles.

I read a bit about attempting to convert HTML to ODT but failed to get the soffice --convert-to approach to generate a useful result; and I don’t care for the idea of always having to convert between formats.

Thank you.

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Thank you. I came across this before butdidn’t realize what it was. I’ve installed it and will give it a try; for it sounds like what I was looking for.

I don’t know if it’s exactly for you but Kate has several tools and formatting mostly for various programming styles. Maybe it can work if LaTex doesn’t work out.

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You should learn how to use styles in LibreOffice.
Chapter 8, Introduction to Styles
Chapter 9, Working with Styles

If you don’t like LO and want a proven tool to generate a complex technical documentation/book, see docbook and pandoc.
To get a quick idea see An introduction to DocBook, a flexible markup language worth learning.


Thank you. I looked at the styles in LO before posting and may have been too quick to dismiss them as a solution once I read there were only six categories.

Thank you for the link to DocBook. I’m still a bit confused by it because it appears that it is written in DocBook but then pandoc is used to convert the docbook text file to a desired format. I don’t know if this is different than what takes place in LaTeX to convert the text file to a DVI or PDF. There appears to be an LO extension available in the official repository for Writer that works with LaTex.

I’m not trying to start a debate about which is better and don’t know enough about either one to do so if that was my intention; but I’m going to start with LaTeX first. They published a two-volume manual in 2023 and it appears to have been around since the 1980s and the first engine built in 1977 if I recall correctly.

@ftb89 Thanks. I’ve been using Kate almost every day for the past couple years (since switching to Linux) but I don’t understand what you mean. Kate won’t process the text file into a document, will it? I see that Kile made by KDE seems to be just for LaTex. There is also TexMaker but I wouldn’t know the differences between the two. Kile looks like Kate and, since I’ve liked Kate, I’ll likely try that first.

Please forgive me for being personal, here, but I’d like to say thank you to the developers, those that maintain Manjaro, and the support community. Switching to Manjaro has been a great improvement in numerous ways. I won’t bore you with the details but, apart from the OS itself, there are a lot of applications to learn of that I didn’t know existed and they have made my work more efficient.

I never learned to use LaTeX - but still write all my Documents (Letters, mostly) using it.
There is a program, called Lyx - have a look at it.
If I remember correctly, they describe it as a WYSIWYM (what you see is what you mean) editor.

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If you occasionally need something simpler than Latex there is markdown. Not sure if markdown is amongst what you are looking for but my favourite in browser markdown editor is StackEdit.

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