Power LibreOffice Tips

Takeaway: Once you begin to know your way around the LibreOffice suite, you can add a few advanced techniques to your repertoire. Jack Wallen offers five tips to get you started.

In a recent post, I introduced LibreOffice and shared some pointers to help ease the transition from Microsoft Office to this newly forked piece of software. After you get your bearings with these tools, you may want to expand your LibreOffice prowess and become a power user. How do you do that? You learn some advanced techniques. Here are five tricks that will get you up to power-user speed fairly quickly.

1: Use the slideshow Presenter Console

This feature will be a boon to power presenters. Most presentation modes offer the presenter the same view the audience sees. Because of this, presenters tend to rely on notes to deliver a more professional presentation. This is no longer a necessity with LibreOffice. Thanks to the Presenter Console, the presenter sees a different view from the audience. The presenter can see:

  • The current slide
  • Notes on the current slide
  • A preview of the next slide
  • The current and/or elapsed time

This feature (included as an extension of LibreOffice) will go a long way toward making your delivery as seamless and professional as possible.

2: Apply languages on the fly

Have you ever added a sentence or paragraph to your document in another language, only to have the spell-checker or thesaurus blow up when it comes across that section? That is not an issue with LibreOffice. Say you have entered a Spanish paragraph in your document. You can make LibreOffice aware that it needs to use a different dictionary for that section by highlighting the section, clicking Tools | Languages, and selecting the correct language for the paragraph. (Note: You must have that language pack installed for LibreOffice.) Now, when you use the spell checker or thesaurus, the correct dictionary will be used.

3: Don't overlook templates in Impress

If you recall, the templates included in OpenOffice Impress were less than stellar. Actually, they were less than usable. To create a professional-looking presentation in Impress, you had to either download templates or create your own. This is no longer the case, as LibreOffice includes numerous professional-quality templates. To make use of these templates, click on the New drop-down, select Presentation, choose From Template in the first window of the wizard, and then select the template you want to use. You will find templates for numerous looks and feels. And of course, you can modify these templates to suit your needs.

4: Add extensions to the pre-bundled list

When OpenOffice was installed, you might have opened up the Extension Manager only to find nothing there. LibreOffice changes that and includes a number of extensions that handle a variety of tasks. If you don't find what you're looking for, you can search and download more. To open the Extension Manager, click Tools | Extension Manager. From within the Manager, you can click Get More Extensions Online to find the extension you need. You can also add a previously downloaded extension (or an extension you've created in-house) by clicking the Add button and navigating to the location where you saved the extension.

5: Import PDFs with ease

In previous iterations of OpenOffice, the PDF import was a kludge at best. Although LibreOffice handles the importing of PDFs the same way (imports them as LibreOffice Draw documents), the results are far better. Once you have imported your PDF (you do so by using the Open dialog), you can edit text, images, and layouts by clicking and dragging (for images/layout) or double-clicking a line of text to edit. (You can edit only a single line of text at a time.) When you finish editing your PDF, don't save the document — instead, export it as a PDF by clicking File | Export as PDF.

More tips

Obviously, this only scratches the surface of advanced tips for LibreOffice. But since this suite is "new," this set of tips will get you started. We will revisit this topic again and bring up some additional tips to satisfy every level of power user out there. If you have a favorite LibreOffice tip, share it with your fellow TechRepublic members in the discussion below.

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Nguyen Hung Vu [aka: NVH] (in Vietnamese: Nguyễn Vũ Hưng, グェン ヒュン ウー, 阮武興)
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The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.0.3

The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.0.3

Berlin, May 9, 2013 - The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 4.0.3, for Windows, OS X and Linux, the third minor release of LibreOffice 4.0 family. OS X Intel packages are now signed by The Document Foundation, to pass OS X Gatekeeper security without user intervention.

In the meantime, another large migration to LibreOffice has been announced, as the government of Spain's autonomous region of Extremadura has just begun the switch to free software of desktop PCs and expects the majority of its 40,000 PCs to be migrated by the end of 2013. Extremadura estimates that the move to open source - including LibreOffice - will help save 30 million Euro per year.

Community is growing too. After the success of the LibreOffice Impress Sprint in Germany, it is now the turn of the first LibreOffice Bay Area Meetup. It will take place on May 11, 2013 starting at 2pm in the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, California. Bjoern Michaelsen will be there for some good Q&A, and most importantly for some hands-on work on how to get involved in the project, with Simon Phipps keynoting about "Foundations and Empires".

The Document Foundation and LibreOffice are still growing at a steady pace: +13% year over year according to data parsed by Ohloh, with an average of over 100 active developers per month since February 2013. These figures tops the cumulative number of over 650 new developers attracted by the project since the announcement on September 28, 2010.

Developers are contributing not only to the code but also to the quality of the software, as in the case of Markus Mohrhard's python script for LibreOffice that automatically imports some 24,500 documents and tests if the program crashes in the process (http://mmohrhard.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/automated-import-crash-testing-in-libreoffice/), or Florian Reisinger's LibreOffice Server Install GUI which performs a parallel installation of LibreOffice without using the command line, for QA purposes (http://flosmind.wordpress.com/libreoffice-server-install-gui/).

LibreOffice 4.0.3 is another important step in the process of improving the quality and stability of the bleeding edge version of the suite, and facilitating migrations to free software by governments and enterprises.

The new release is available for immediate download from the following link: http://www.libreoffice.org/download/. Change logs are available at the following links: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/4.0.3/RC1 (fixed in, https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/4.0.3/RC2 (fixed in, and https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/4.0.3/RC3 (fixed in

Short link to The Document Foundation blog:

About The Document Foundation (TDF)

The Document Foundation is an open, independent, self-governing, meritocratic organization, which builds on ten years of dedicated work by the OpenOffice.org Community. TDF was created in the belief that the culture born of an independent foundation brings out the best in corporate and volunteer contributors, and will deliver the best free office suite. TDF is open to any individual who agrees with its core values and contributes to its activities, and warmly welcomes corporate participation, e.g. by sponsoring individuals to work as equals alongside other contributors in the community. As of November 30, 2012, TDF has over 150 members and over 2.000 volunteers and contributors worldwide.

Media Contacts

Florian Effenberger (based near Munich, Germany, UTC+1)
Phone: +49 8341 99660880 - Mobile: +49 151 14424108
floeff@documentfoundation.org - Skype: floeff
Charles H. Schulz (based in Paris, France, UTC+1)
Mobile: +33 6 98655424 - E-mail: charles.schulz@documentfoundation.org
Eliane Domingos de Sousa (based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, UTC-3)
E-mail: elianedomingos@documentfoundation.org - Skype: elianedomingos
Italo Vignoli (based in Milan, Italy, UTC+1)
Mobile: +39 348 5653829
- E-mail: italo.vignoli@documentfoundation.org - Skype: italovignoli - GTalk: italo.vignoli@gmail.com