Category: File formats

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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LibreOffice, Microsoft Office can work together when it comes to graphics

Photographs and graphics have been used in text documents since desktops started having GUI interfaces in the early to mid 1980s. Users had to copy and paste images into documents created by those early word processors.

 As technology evolved, different file formats and applications that create them have come and gone. Since office-suite applications have been the standard tools used to create documents to share with others for various business and personal purposes, many of these image formats can be integrated into documents created by them.

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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.