LibreOffice 5: Adding Furigana to your Japanese Text

This process seems to be alittle scattered on the internet, so I’ve consolidated it.
This guide will show you how to enable and edit Furigana in LibreOffice Writer and set its font style and size (the size of the “Rubies”).

First, you need to enable the Asian Phonetic Guide. This option is in the Format menu, but it’s disabled. As you will need this button alot, you will want to have in on a menu bar. I’ll show you how to add it to the Formatting menu bar.

To enable the Asian Phonetic Guide:
1) Go to the main menu bar option “Tools” and select “Options” from the pop-down menu. This will load a menu screen. On the left side are a list of options.
2) Select the one that says “Language Settings” and its sub-option “Languages”. What should come up is a screen that gives you the default languages for the document. There is no “enable Asian Phonetic Guide” option. Instead, you have to add Japanese (or Chinese) as one of the default languages.
3) Under the heading “Default Languages for Documents”, you should have a check-box next to text that says “Asian”. Select that, and you’ll be allowed to pick Japanese (or Chinese) from the drop-down menu that is enabled.
4) (Optional) In the lower-right corner is a check-box that will allow you to set this for this particular document only.
5) Click the “Ok” button to confirm the changes.

In the Format menu option on the main menu bar, you can now click the “Asian Phonetic Guide” button.

Adding the Asian Phonetic Guide to a menu bar

To add this button to the Format menu bar, follow the following procedure:
1) Go to the main menu bar and select “View” -> “Toolbars” -> “Customize”. A new panel with a row of tabs should appear.
2) Select the tab that says “Menus”. It should be the first option. What should appear is a panel with a section that says “Menu Content” and contains a list of items, beside which are a couple of buttons. There should also be a section with the label “LibreOffice Writer Menus”.
3) From the drop-down menu in the “LibreOffice Writer Menus” section, select “Formatting”. This allows us to edit the Formatting menu bar.
4) In the “Menu Content” section, click the “Add” button. This opens up another window, which contains two lists labeled “Categories” and “Commands” respectively.
5) In the “Categories” list, select “Format”.
6) In the “Commands” list, select “Asian Phonetic Guide”. You may need to scroll down the list to find it.
7) Click the button that says “Add” in the upper right corner.
8) You may now close this window. Changes are saved.
9) Click the “Ok” button in the remaining open window.

Optionally, you could use the arrow buttons in that window to reposition the Asian Phonetic Guide button.

Adding Furigana and setting font size and style

Now select some text in your document. (If you have none, type some in, please.) This text should be selected as a single word. Click on the Asian Phonetic Guide button/option. This will bring up a window. The window will contain a table. On the left will be your base text. This is the text that appears on the bottom. On the right side of the table is the “rubies” text, which for our purposes is for furigana. You can enter your furigana text in here.

You can change the style by selecting one of the character styles from the dropdown menu. Unfortunately, this list is rather limited and may not have the style you want, so you will need to edit or create a style. The “Style” button in that window will open up the styles panel in the main view, but deceptively, it shows you the PARAGRAPH styles, not the CHARACTER styles first. For the character styles, you will need to select the “Character Styles” button that appears above the list of styles. As of this version of LibreOffice, it appears to be a notebook with a letter “a” on it. Within this list, find the “Rubies” option. Right click on it and a pop-up menu should appear with the options “New” and “Modify”. Select “New” will create a new style that inherits attributes from that particular style (in this case, “Rubies”). A window will appear in which you can rename the style before saving. The window contains a list of tabs, one of which says “Font”. Select this, and you will be presented with some controls for changing the font type for your primary language and the asian language. With these controls, you can set the font size.

NOTE: You can only change the style of the “rubies” within the Asian Phonetic Guide window. That’s why it’s convenient to have the button available on the main menu.

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