How to Use, Customize, or Disable AutoComplete in LibreOffice Writer

LibreOffice Writer bundles in a free auto-complete system, similar to the one you’re probably familiar with on your smartphone’s keyboard. But LibreOffice’s is a lot more powerful, and a lot more customizable—you can more or less tell it exactly which words you want to auto-complete, and which ones you don’t.

How to Enable and Disable the AutoComplete Feature

By default, the AutoComplete feature is already enabled. You can see it by typing any medium-to-long word more than once. A small word will appear above your cursor as you’re typing: whenever you see a word in this manner, you can press the Enter key and finish the rest of the word instantly.

Press Enter whenever you see a word in this menu to instantly finish it.

To turn this off, click the Tools menu, then hover your cursor over AutoComplete, then click “AutoComplete Options.”

In this window, click the “Word Completion” tab on the far right. The first option here is “Enable word completion.” If it’s on and you want it off, remove the check mark. If it’s off and you want it on, click the check mark in place. Click “OK” to return to your document.

Adding And Removing Words to the AutoComplete List

LibreOffice watches what you write, and any word that’s eight letters or longer gets added to the Word Completion list for that document. When you type the word again, it’ll give you the option to autocomplete it.

We can adjust some of the settings for this. Open the AutoCorrect menu to the Word Completion tab again. Note that in the right of the screen is a list of all the words currently enabled for the AutoComplete function.

You can click any word in the list, then click “Delete Entry” to permanently remove the option to automatically finish it.

There’s no way to manually add a word here, but you can do that by leaving the default settings enabled and simply typing a word longer than the minimum letter length.

Advanced Settings

The other options on this menu allow you to do some deeper customization. Here are the ones you’ll want to pay attention to—enable or disable them as you like.

  • Append space: adds a single space to an autocompleted word after you press the accept button (Enter by default). Literally just saves you from pressing the spacebar.
  • Show as a tip: the default behavior for later versions of Writer, as seen above. If you disable this, autocompleted words will appear highlighted in blue, like this:

  • Collect words: automatically adds words as you type. Disable this if you don’t want to add any new words to the list:
  • When closing a document: removes the collected words every time you close your current document.
  • Accept with: choose the key you want to activate AutoComplete with. Enter is default, but End, the right arrow, Tab, and the space bar are also options.
  • Minimum word length: adjusts the length of letters necessary to add a word to the AutoComplete list. Eight letters is a pretty good number, but you can raise or lower it to your liking.
  • Max Entries: the maximum number of AutoComplete words in the list at any one time. If the list is exceeded, you’ll add new words as you type them and drop the least-used words from the list. The maximum value is 65,525, which you’ll probably only reach if you’re writing a book that’s thousands of pages long.

Click “OK” to apply your changes, or “Reset” to change them back to the LibreOffice default.

Some users find this feature handy, some find it distracting. Whichever camp you fall into, now you can customize AutoComplete however you like.

Michael Crider has been covering technology on the web since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order. He wrote a novel called Good Intentions: A Supervillain Story, and it's available on Amazon. You can follow him on Twitter if you want.