Is there a way to identify content of a document based on the date it was typed in Office Writer?

@Mark Baker - yes that is my question. I did find a revision option under file. If you choose it, in the next window you can configure the document to save previous versions. But that is not what I am after. I am looking for a functionality similar to what you get if you turn on tracking in word. I like to know if there is a way to see all the changes I made to a file yesterday for instance.

@Joe - Track changes would work for what I need, but I did not turn it on. Even a daily tracking of modifications would work for me. As for Git, I do have Git installed. I am not familiar with all the features, and this may be a good opportunity to learn it. Do you know if I can use Git to track the different versions of a document and keep the file on my own machine? That would work for me. Let me make sure I understand what you are suggesting regarding the compare files functionality of the writer. You mean if I used Git or some other VCS to track different versions of file, I should then use compare files to see the delta because .odt files have meta-data? I do not follow why I would see one whole file, and where I would see it. I really appreciate the last post; that looks more like what I was after.

  • Do you mean a way to isolate the content that was typed on a particular date? (I have no idea what the answer is; just trying to clarify the question.)
    – user16226
    Dec 26, 2016 at 14:41
  • I was going to suggest Edit - Track Changes - Manage Changes. It seems that's not what you want. I haven't used it, but I believe it's based from revision to revision - not by date. If you need something more powerful, you'll probably have to use a VCS like Git. Since, the odt format is not plain text, you'd probably see one whole file vs. another whole file - which you could run through the Compare Files functionality in writer - still not really what you want.
    – Joe
    Dec 28, 2016 at 1:21
  • I just created a test document and turned that feature on. I made a few changes, saved, and went into manage changes. It showed me the date and time of the changes and allowed me to accept or reject them. There was no option for viewing all changes within a date/time range.
    – Joe
    Dec 28, 2016 at 1:31
  • Kept looking and found these which might be helpful. extensions.libreoffice.org/extensions/review-toolbar extensions.libreoffice.org/extensions/ooosvn
    – Joe
    Dec 28, 2016 at 1:34

1 Answer 1


A program can only show you information that it records as part of its file format (metadata). If LibreOffice records the data on which date each line is written as part of the normal file format, then, in theory, it could show it to you. And if it didn't show it to you in the interface, you could open up the ODT file (it's a zipped set of XML files) and see for yourself. But it is vanishingly unlikely that it records that information when review changes is turned off.

GIT is a version control system. It records the differences in a file each time you check that file in. So it can tell you the difference between a file on any two dates. Which means it can tell you all the changes that were made to a file on any given date.

But that does not actually tell you what day the changes were made in the file. It tells you what day the changes were checked into the GIT repository. In other words, it does not tell you what you wrote yesterday; it tells you what you checked in yesterday. If you make it a habit to check in at the end of every work day, then what you checked in yesterday is the same as what you wrote yesterday.

But this may not work with LibreOffice files because LibreOffice files are binary files and GIT is designed to work with text files. If you check in binary files, it won't store the differences, it just stores a new copy of the whole files. It is possible that there might be an ODT plugin for GIT that would allows it to unzip the file and store the differences of the XML files inside, but that could get complicated to manage.

If you did have complete versions of the files from different days, however, you could always use the compare version feature of LibreOffice to tell you the difference between them.

  • you can configure LibreOffice to use text xml and not binaries. to my understanding at least.
    – Thufir
    Dec 3, 2017 at 16:35

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