Table of contents in LibreOffice Writer not working after ODT download from Google Docs

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Published on November 4th 2021 - Listed in Office Cloud

After a Google Docs document was saved on local disk and edited with LibreOffice Writer, the "Table of Contents" stopped working.

Instead of showing the different chapters using the heading styles, only an empty grey field is showing up.

Empty table of contents in LibreOffice Writer

According to a discussion in the LibreOffice forums, this is caused by a bug in Google Sheets. When the document (.odt) is created in Google Sheets and then saved or exported, somehow the association" between header styles and chapter number gets lost. However this only happens on header styles 1-6, header styles 7-10 still seem to work.

To verify and fix this, click on Tools in the menu, then select "Chapter Numbering...":

Tools - Chapter Numbering in LibreOffice Writer

Inside the "Chapter Numbering" window, the preview on the right side clearly shows the missing headers 1-6:

To fix this, select a level on the left side (here level 1) and then assign a specific "Paragraph style" to it. In this case "Heading 1" is assigned to level 1. The Preview on the right side then immediately adds the new "Heading 1":

Each level can now be fixed in the same way, assigning the corresponding header style to a level. At the end, all headings should be showing up again in the preview:

After The "Chapter Numbering" is fixed, the Table of Contents now finally shows up with actual content again:

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