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.

Documents are accessed through the open dialog, which can be accessed from several places in the StartCenter and several places in each application. The six applications – Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, and Math – have an icon to access the Open dialog in most of its user interfaces. Opening also can be performed through the File menu of StartCenter and the applications.

The Open dialog is the way to access a document in LibreOffice that has never been opened before or that hasn’t been opened in awhile. The dialog is part of StartCenter and every application. Here it is in Manjaro.

Page Contents

One way to open documents in any LibreOffice application is through the Open dialog. This dialog can be accessed in several different ways through each application.

Opening the dialog

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. They are in the sub-sections below.

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 that is depicted above.

The Open item is shown in the File menu of LibreOffice Writer in Ubuntu 20.04. This menu is also in the File menu of StartCenter and the five other applications.

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 is in located in different places in the different user interfaces of LibreOffice.


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, as stated in the File Menu section.

The left column in StartCenter the document manager, for LibreOffice contains Open File, which launches the Open dialog. StartCenter is shown in Ubuntu 20.04.


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

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.

Opening a document video


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