I am using OpenOffice.org Writer to write a book. I foresee the possibility of some characters' names changing, so I am using variables where their names go "Insert > Fields > Other". However, I find that I cannot do a quick text search in the document to find the places I have used these variables, how would I go about doing that?

4 Answers 4


Nothing related to this functionality is specified in https://help.libreoffice.org/Writer/Variables. The best shot could be setting a unique text, for example numbers mixed with letters, and search for it.

  • yeah I was looking at that page and couldn't find the answer to my problem.
    – insaner
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 22:36

OK I found an alternate (non-native) solution. I did some more searching, and remembered I had previously installed Alternative dialog Find & Replace for Writer (AltSearch) so I started poking around the search box and found, under "Extended" (I am using 1.3.2), the ability to search for substrings in "Text fields" like this:

[::Field::]variable value

where the string [::Field::] has to be exactly as above (case sensitive) and "variable value" is the value you want to search for (not the variable name).

Hope that helps someone out there, at least until we can find a native solution.


Why not use "character1" & "character2" throughout as you write the story, and then when you're ready to apply names do a search/replace on "character1" and put in the actual name of this character.

  • Mostly because I like the names I have chosen so far, and calling them "character1", etc, would add a layer of confusion for me. Plus it adds problems when I reach character10, if I were to run a blind search and replace forgetting what I had done. In any case, I found an acceptable solution, check it out.
    – insaner
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 22:44
  • Glad you solved it. You could just do character01, character02, or whatever padding is required to give you enough unique names.
    – slm
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 23:26

This will make searching with your eyes easier:

"View" > "Field Names" Ctrl+F9

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