Graphic design apps extend LibreOffice

Office applications are not closed entities that do not interact with other applications. Various elements created by other applications can be imported into an office document, such as a graphic or image. Other applications, such as financial software, can import office documents as well.

The focus of this article how applications outside an office suite can extend the capabilities of that suite. LibreOffice and Microsoft Office can import documents native formats of other applications.

These are typically graphics design and image manipulation applications that have unique formats they save documents in. An example is Adobe Photoshop. Its native format is Photoshop Document (PSD).

They also can export documents to standard formats, such as JPG and GIF, that any office application can import. However, exporting to these formats will typically affect the quality of the image.

An office application that can import or open a native format, therefore, will be able to insert graphics into documents that are of the original quality.


LibreOffice has been designed to open and import many formats. It can open native formats of several graphic, image manipulation, and desktop publishing applications.

These formats include the following:

  • SVG – Scalable Vector Graphics (Inkscape)
  • CDR – CorelDraw
  • PSD – Photoshop Document
  • QXD, QXT – QuarkXpress

Since LibreOffice can handle these formats, it extends the free office suite beyond the six applications that compose it. This allows you to create (or edit) a document in another application, save it its default format, then import that document (image, graphic, etc.) into a LibreOffice document. This can be a Writer, Calc, Impress, or Draw document.

A PSD image can be integrated into a report without having to convert the image to JPG or another format with PhotoShop. This is useful if the image’s purity is important.

Even if you convert an image to a lossless format, like TIFF, there can be issues that make the image look different than the original formatted image.

Other applications, therefore, can be added to the LibreOffice suite. You may not be able to create a blank Photoshop (or other type of app) document from StartCenter. However, the document itself will be listed in the Recent Documents section.

If you open an image document in LibreOffice (File>Open or one of the other methods), it will be inserted in a Draw document. When you see it in the Recent documents list, it will be a Draw document.

To insert an image into a document that has already been created, use Insert>Image in Writer, Calc, Impress, or Draw.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office applications, like most other office suites, have similar capabilities. However, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher can mostly open standard image formats: JPG, PNG, and GIF. SVG is the only native format that they can import.

This means that graphics designed and saved in Inkscape can be inserted into a Microsoft Office document, so Inkscape can extend Office.

The applications cannot open a graphics or image document. They only can import them.

To import a graphic or image, click the Insert ribbon in any of the four applications, then Pictures to insert a document into one of these application documents.


Graphics applications can extend the capabilities of an office suite. LibreOffice has features and an application give it the ability to complete some desktop-publishing tasks and graphics design projects. However, applications like QuarkXpress, Photoshop, and Inkscape are far better tools for these tasks.

The open-source suite can open or insert all of these applications’ native formats. There is no need to convert a document to a more universal format before LibreOffice can import them into a document created by it.

This reduces the risk that they will look different from the originals and even distorted. It also reduces the number of steps to completing projects and does not take up as much storage on a hard drive.

The number of native formats that LibreOffice can import far outnumbers the ones Microsoft Office can import. This makes it more flexible than the most popular suite.

It is a good reason to use LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Office, at least for projects where graphics created by the previously mentioned applications are used. If needed, documents created in LibreOffice can be opened in Microsoft Office – both Office Open Documents and OpenDocument Formats.

However, it may be best to convert the finalized documents to PDF. LibreOffice has advanced features for converting documents to PDF. There is a setting for lossless compression for images (and graphics).