Opening documents in LibreOffice

Opening a document is one of the most basic features of any application, and most applications offer several ways of doing it. LibreOffice is the same, giving users several ways to open documents. This page has descriptions, images, and a video of opening documents for the first time.

Open dialog

The dialog allows users to search through their computer’s hard drive and connected drives for a document they want to open. By default the drop-down in the dialog will be set to All Files. The menu, however, has a list of about 100 different file formats. It also has an option to open the document as read-only.

Once the dialog has been opened, click folders in the left column and main part of the window until the desired document is located.

If it is difficult to locate the desired document, click the “All Files” drop-down menu, and select one of the file formats in the list. This will only allow documents in that format to appear. All those in other formats will not be visible.

There is also a Read-only checkbox in the dialog that makes the document that will be opened unable to be edited without clicking the Edit Document button that appears.

Click here to see an example.

Ways to open

Users can search their computer’s hard drives and drives connected to their computers for documents they want to open. This is done through the Open dialog which is opened in four ways:

File menu

The Open item is in the File menu of all six applications and StartCenter. Click the File menu. Then click the Open item to launch the Open dialog.

Open icon

The Open icon is in the Standard toolbar of all six applications. Click it once to launch the Open dialog.

NOTE: LibreOffice also has several other user interfaces, in addition to Standard toolbar.

The Open icons in different user interfaces section has a slideshow with images of the Open icon in different user interfaces.


StartCenter has a uniquely named item in its left column, called Open File. Clicking it launches the Open dialog.

The open item also is in the File menu.


Many of the basic functions in LibreOffice can be performed by pressing a few keys. Opening the Open dialog is no different.

Its keystrokes are as follows:

  • Windows and Linux distros: Ctrl + O
  • Mac users: Cmd + O

Recent documents

  • Click here to learn about the Recent documents lists.

Other ways to open

  • Click here to see the Open icon and item in other user interfaces.