Month: March 2017

LibreOffice can revive old documents from graveyard

One key difference between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office are the organizations behind them.

 Office is owned by one of the largest technology companies in the world. It charges for its office suite and gives the version that runs on its operating system the most features and applications. The corporation's goal is to sell its latest versions of Office to as many people as possible.

 LibreOffice is developed by the Document Foundation, a non-profit organization with a guiding manifesto that posits that everyone should have equal access to an office suite, regardless of their ability to pay or their native language. It also maintains that the individual user should retain intellectual property rights over their documents, as stated in its manifesto.

 The non-profit nature of LibreOffice has made the suite a good digital preservation tool. Digital preservation is a process of making sure digital information is usable and accessible, regardless of the applications used to create it are still available or not. LibreOffice uses open formats and standards, which are essential to digital preservation,  and digital preservation is important to retaining an individual's intellectual property rights.

 Many users have temporarily lost their property rights because they have old documents in formats from office applications that are defunct, or newer versions of applications no longer support their old formats.

 When you click Open in one of LibreOffice's applications and click File drop-down menu, a list with more than 100 formats will appear. This list is composed of modern and legacy formats for text editors, spreadsheet, and presentation applications.

LibreOffice Open dialog.
The files drop-down menu in LibreOffice has more than 100 formats for text, spreadsheet, presentation, and other documents.

 Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats are in the list, of course, but it also includes Apple Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, as well as Corel WordPerfect, Quattro Pro 6.0, and several other Corel formats. Some of the legacy formats include Lotus WordPro and 1-2-3, ClarisWorks/AppleWorks, and Microsoft Works.

 LibreOffice supports all of these formats because the Document Foundation values users retaining intellectual property rights. It allows them to open their documents and migrate them to open formats, such as OpenDocument Text. OS-College has a Web page with the list of formats for LibreOffice.

 Microsoft Office does not have an exstensive list of formats like LibreOffice has, though version 2016 can open Office 97-2003 format documents in compatibility mode, and they can be converted to the latest Office formats (XML-based and open) or OpenDocument Formats. The latest version cannot open older Microsoft formats, however.

The XML formats that Microsoft has been its standard for that past decade or so are easier to examine with other applications than their previous ones. However, it has zero interest in allowing users to open legacy formats from other office applications, so they can migrate them to these XML formats.

 This means that LibreOffice is a better preservation tool than Microsoft Office. While this may not be a reason to ditch the most popular office suite in the world for the open-source one. It may be a reason to include the latter in your toolbox of applications.

 You can use LibreOffice, either by installing it or running the PortableApps version on a USB drive, to open the older documents and migrate them to and OpenDocument or office open format (docx, xlsx, pptx). This can be done by simply performing a Save As.

LibreOffice integrates in ways Microsoft Office doesn’t

 

The previous article has a link to a Web page that compares LibreOffice to Microsoft Office 2016. One of the items in the Website's table is "full integration of all office components." This is a key advantage LibreOffice has over Microsoft Office.

Recent documents LibreOffice Standard toolbar
The Open icon, with Recent drop-down, is available in all six applications.

 

This article covers the ease of opening recent documents, creating new documents, and launching wizards in LibreOffice and compares that to Microsoft Office's integration. All of these are accessible from the File menu in any one of LibreOffice's six applications (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math, and Base) and StartCenter.

 

You can access any recently opened document from the File menu in any application.  If you have a document open in Writer and want to open a spreadsheet you worked on yesterday, simply click the File menu, highlight Recent Documents, and then click on the document in the list. Recent documents also can be accessed through the Standard toolbar, that is available to all six applications. Click the arrow next to the open icon to reveal recent documents.

 

 

LibreOffice New sub-menu
This shows the New sub-menu that is in LibreOffice's StartCenter and all six applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, and Math.

Creating new documents is similar. To create a presentation document while you are working on a Writer document, click the File menu, highlight the New sub-menu, then click spreadsheet in the list. The Standard toolbar has a New icon with an arrow drop-down menu, listing document types. They are as follows:

        Text Document: This creates the basic document in Writer that can be saved in OpenDocument Text, DOCX, Rich Text and several other formats.

        Spreadsheet: This creates the basic document in Calc that can be saved in OpenDocument Spreadsheet, XLSX, and several other formats.

        Presentation: This creates the basic document in Impress that can be saved in OpenDocument Presentation, PPTX, and several other formats.

        Drawing: Clicking this opens standard drawing document.

        Database: This opens the Database Wizard that allows you to create an HSQL database or open an existing database.

        HTML Document: This creates a new LibreOffice Writer/Web document.The document is similar to the standard Writer document, but it has some different tools and features for creating Web pages. This document can be saved in HTML (html), HTML Document Template (oth), and Text (txt).

        XML Form Document: This opens an XML Form Document.

        Master Document: This is a container for multiple documents that compose a complex document such as a book. The documents that are part of the master document are called subdocuments.

        Formula: This opens an untitled document in Math.

        Labels: Clicking this opens a Labels dialog that has three tabs: Labels, Format, and Options. Labels allows you to choose the database and table from where the information will be drawn. Format has settings for pitch, width, and heighth, Options lets you set whether it is a single label or entire page.

        Business Cards: Clicking this launches the Business Cards dialog that has five tabs that allow you to set up the business cards.

        Templates: This opens the Template Manager. It has tabs for Documents, Spreadsheet, Presentations, and Drawings.

 

Another sub-menu in the File menu of every application and StartCenter is Wizards. This contains a list of items that are dialogs that help you create various types of documents. However, there is not an icon in Standard toolbar.

 

The Wizards are as follows:

        Letter: This opens a dialog that helps you create a Business, Formal Personal, or a Personal letter. It takes you through list of six steps to create a letter.

        Fax: This opens a dialog that helps you create a fax page. There are five steps that help you create a Personal or Business fax.

        Agenda: This guides you through creating a template for an agenda. You can use the template to create an agenda in the future.

        Presentation: This helps you create a new presentation from a blank document, a template, or an existing template. It allows you to choose the output medium.

        Web Page: This will allow you to select documents from you hard drive to convert to a file format that can be viewed by a Web browser. It will create

        Document Converter: This allows you to convert Microsoft Office documents in a directory on your hard drive to OpenDocument formats and put them in another directory of your choosing.

        Euro Converter: This converts any numbers that are in currencies of various European countries to Euros. The figures can be in spreadsheet documents or in tables in a text document.

        Address Data Source: This allows you to set up a spreadsheet or a database as a source for address information.

 

Microsoft Office applications do not have this level of integration. If you have Word open, you only have access to Word documents. You cannot open the PowerPoint presentation you worked on yesterday without either first launching PowerPoint or going through your computer's file system to find the presentation and click on it. Each of Office's applications has its own document management system, so you can access recently opened workbooks in Excel and create new ones based on Excel templates. You, however, could not do anything with a Word document.

 

LibreOffice's level of app integration helps with workflow. It reduces the amount of steps to create or open a new document and makes it easier to work with multiple documents at the same time. LibreOffice also makes it easy to switch between documents. The Window menu lists all the documents that are open. Simply clicking one in the list makes it the active window.

 

This is just one of the features that makes LibreOffice a competitive alternative to Microsoft Office. The suite also works well with Office formats, so if you are not completely comfortable ditching Office, you can make it a companion to the Microsoft product.

 

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New blog compares Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, and Google Drive

 One of OS-College's key focuses is on applications that run equally well on multiple operating systems. They have the same features and tools, regardless of the platform they run on. The first set of applications covered by this communication and education firm is one of the most universal types of applications: office suites. Every industry and almost every person who operates a computer uses one.

 

Microsoft Office has become the most popular office suites over the past few decades. There are other suites, however, ones that work equally well on multiple operating systems. Since Office dominates the market, however, and is the standard for most workers, the purpose of this blog is to compare them and their features to Microsoft Office.

 

This article is first in the series that compares LibreOffice, and sometimes Google Drive, to Microsoft Office. Most of the articles will only compare LibreOffice and Microsoft Office. These two are most alike. They both can be installed on an operating system. They also have many more features than Google Drive and its applications. However, Google Drive has many of the same tools that the other two have and some features that they do not have, so some articles will include Drive.

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