Category: File formats

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.

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Open formats give LibreOffice advantages over Microsoft Office

During the 1980s, software companies were started, developing application types that are popular today. During this time there were several popular operating systems and computer manufacturers. When Microsoft started to dominate the market in the 1990s and early 2000s, many of the companies went out of business, or they were bought out.

For example, when the first Macintosh was released in 1984, its word processor MacWrite was one of the most popular on the market. However, in the 1990s, like many word processors it took a backseat to Microsoft Word.

Many applications were discontinued due to Microsoft Office’s market share, and many people and organizations did not migrate their old documents to active applications and formats.

As technology evolved, and they acquired new technology, many old documents could no longer be opened. This is one aspect of data rot, when data can no longer be accessed. A YouTube video gives more details.

Now there is much less concern over data rot.

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StartCenter makes LibreOffice great tool for multiple documents

LibreOffice has an element and feature that Microsoft Office doesn’t have. The feature is document centralization.

Users can open any recently created and opened documents from any of the applications. A spreadsheet that you created last week can be opened from Writer. You can open the Draw document that you worked on yesterday from Impress.

These documents are listed when you click the arrow next to the Open icon in the Standard toolbar and the Recent Documents sub-menu in the File menu of any of the six applications.

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If you have Visio documents, you need LibreOffice

One interesting advantage LibreOffice has over Microsoft Office is that it works with some Microsoft products and formats that Office does not. One of those products is Visio.

LibreOffice Draw can open standard Visio documents, which are in VSD and VSDX formats. These formats cannot be opened by Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, even though Visio is considered to be an Office application.

There are several other vector-drawing applications that can directly open and edit Visio documents. These include Inkscape and CorelDraw.

Visio is a vector application, but it is different than Adobe Illustrator and those just mentioned. Visio’s purpose is mainly to create diagrams, flowcharts, and similar types of drawings. The other applications are for graphic artists. While they have shapes and flowchart symbols, they also have free-drawing tools that are not present in Visio.

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LibreOffice new EPUB feature a step in the right direction

Modern technology has allowed the individual to share his ideas and stories more easily. It has also given people low-cost or free access to more books.

Readers can enjoy their favorite books on any device, and they can read them on the go. Literature students can start Hamlet on their tablets in their dorm rooms and continue reading it on their phones in between classes.

A computer engineer, at his first job after graduation, can read “The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary” during lunch breaks on his laptop and continue reading on his phone during the train ride home.

Ebooks have changed how humans interact with books. They have been around for decades, but they became popular when Amazon released the Kindle in 2007 and Kindle apps in 2009. Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, and others released e-readers later.

New file formats, designed for e-books, were created at about the same time as these devices were released. One of the most widely used formats for e-books is EPUB (Electronic Publishing). Many e-book stores accept publications directly in this format, or they will convert the submissions to a proprietary format based on EPUB. Amazon uses a file format that is similar to EPUB, and will accept author submissions in the format.

Books are best converted from their original formats to EPUB through special software. Recently, several word processors have been released with basic export features to EPUB. LibreOffice Writer 6.0 has this as a new feature. Previous versions required an extension to be installed.

Another popular application, for Apple users, however does. Apple Pages allows users to export their documents to the EPUB format.

Microsoft Word 2016 does not have an EPUB export feature. However, Amazon has created a plugin for Word, so authors can format a book before submitting it to the Kindle store.

This article will give a brief overview of the format, then compare Writer and Pages capabilities of exporting to the format.

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LibreOffice makes Linux distros viable alternatives to Windows

You leave work for a short lunch break. You don’t have time to sit and eat at a fast food restaurant or cafe, so you use the app for of one of those establishments to place an order that will be ready for you when you arrive.

It is highly likely that you interacted with a server running a Linux operating system when you placed the order. These flexible operating systems are widely used on servers, smart devices, and many other computers that people use every day. They typically use them without knowing the operating system.

However, if you had more time to spend in a restaurant and observe people sitting in it and working on their laptops, one thing that would be rare to find is one of those computers running a Linux distro and the person editing a document in LibreOffice. This would be a rare sight at any restaurant, office, or even home around the world.

Linux distros run on about 2 percent of the desktop computers worldwide. Microsoft continues to dominate the work world with its operating systems and office suite.

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LibreOffice can migrate legacy graphic formats into open ones

Incorporating images in documents is commonplace in modern office work. Most office-suite applications can easily import an image from a hard drive into a document and integrate it into a paragraph, so the text wraps around it.

Both LibreOffice and Microsoft Office 2016 have had this capability for a long time. They can import common bitmap and vector formats. These formats can be produced by graphics creation and photo manipulation programs, such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

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Impress needs video export option

Videos are great ways to share ideas on the Web. Create one, upload it to your server or a video hosting service, like YouTube, and embed the video in a blog or other type of Web page.

NOTE: PowerPoint for Mac can export recorded slideshows to MP4 and MOV videos, but the audio may not be included in the video.

Turning a presentation into a video is a great way to share it, and if audio is included in the presentation, converting it into a video format is usually an effortless way of preserving the animation and audio of the original file. Currently, only Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows and Apple Keynote have easy ways to convert presentations to videos.

The current versions of LibreOffice Impress do not have this feature without adding a plugin. It has many of the same features as PowerPoint and several that the Microsoft application does not.

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Calc make saving charts as stand-alone images simple

Microsoft graphs and charts are easy to work with. They are created from data in an Excel spreadsheet. Then they can be inserted into a Word document or PowerPoint presentation, where they also can be edited.

This makes it easy for students and professionals to insert charts into reports and presentations as long as they are using Microsoft Office.

However, Microsoft’s charts do not work as easily outside of the suite. Many people may want to post their charts in a blog or Web page. They may want to email it to colleagues or send it to them during a chat session on Skype or a similar application.

Others may want to include a chart in a larger graphic element with professional drawing applications, such as Photoshop or Illustrator.

These require charts to be saved as images. The images are then inserted into a document or attached to a chat.

Excel requires the user to perform several steps to save a chart as an image. There are several different ways to do it.


LibreOffice Calc is different. It allows charts created from its data to be exported into several graphic and image formats with one simple step.

This article covers the steps it takes to save a chart as an image in Calc and Excel. It also covers the formats they can be saved in.

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LibreOffice, Google Drive: two great companions for collaborating on documents

Office suites are almost as old as the personal computer, and like the personal computer, they have evolved over the decades. Modern office suites can open and edit universal formats and directly connect to the Internet.

Two of the most popular office suites are free for everyone and work well with each other: LibreOffice and Google Drive. Both are compatible with almost every operating system.

LibreOffice was designed to work equally well on Windows, Mac, Linux distros, and several other operating systems. Google Drive can be interacted with most Web browsers. It officially supports FireFox, Chrome, Safari, Explorer, and Edge. Firefox and Chrome have versions for the previously mentioned operating systems.

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