LibreOffice integrates in ways Microsoft Office doesn’t

 

The previous article has a link to a Web page that compares LibreOffice to Microsoft Office 2016. One of the items in the Website’s table is “full integration of all office components.” This is a key advantage LibreOffice has over Microsoft Office.

Recent documents LibreOffice Standard toolbar
The Open icon, with Recent drop-down, is available in all six applications.

 

This article covers the ease of opening recent documents, creating new documents, and launching wizards in LibreOffice and compares that to Microsoft Office’s integration. All of these are accessible from the File menu in any one of LibreOffice’s six applications (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math, and Base) and StartCenter.

 

You can access any recently opened document from the File menu in any application.  If you have a document open in Writer and want to open a spreadsheet you worked on yesterday, simply click the File menu, highlight Recent Documents, and then click on the document in the list. Recent documents also can be accessed through the Standard toolbar, that is available to all six applications. Click the arrow next to the open icon to reveal recent documents.

 

 

LibreOffice New sub-menu
This shows the New sub-menu that is in LibreOffice’s StartCenter and all six applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, and Math.

Creating new documents is similar. To create a presentation document while you are working on a Writer document, click the File menu, highlight the New sub-menu, then click spreadsheet in the list. The Standard toolbar has a New icon with an arrow drop-down menu, listing document types. They are as follows:

        Text Document: This creates the basic document in Writer that can be saved in OpenDocument Text, DOCX, Rich Text and several other formats.

        Spreadsheet: This creates the basic document in Calc that can be saved in OpenDocument Spreadsheet, XLSX, and several other formats.

        Presentation: This creates the basic document in Impress that can be saved in OpenDocument Presentation, PPTX, and several other formats.

        Drawing: Clicking this opens standard drawing document.

        Database: This opens the Database Wizard that allows you to create an HSQL database or open an existing database.

        HTML Document: This creates a new LibreOffice Writer/Web document.The document is similar to the standard Writer document, but it has some different tools and features for creating Web pages. This document can be saved in HTML (html), HTML Document Template (oth), and Text (txt).

        XML Form Document: This opens an XML Form Document.

        Master Document: This is a container for multiple documents that compose a complex document such as a book. The documents that are part of the master document are called subdocuments.

        Formula: This opens an untitled document in Math.

        Labels: Clicking this opens a Labels dialog that has three tabs: Labels, Format, and Options. Labels allows you to choose the database and table from where the information will be drawn. Format has settings for pitch, width, and heighth, Options lets you set whether it is a single label or entire page.

        Business Cards: Clicking this launches the Business Cards dialog that has five tabs that allow you to set up the business cards.

        Templates: This opens the Template Manager. It has tabs for Documents, Spreadsheet, Presentations, and Drawings.

 

Another sub-menu in the File menu of every application and StartCenter is Wizards. This contains a list of items that are dialogs that help you create various types of documents. However, there is not an icon in Standard toolbar.

 

The Wizards are as follows:

        Letter: This opens a dialog that helps you create a Business, Formal Personal, or a Personal letter. It takes you through list of six steps to create a letter.

        Fax: This opens a dialog that helps you create a fax page. There are five steps that help you create a Personal or Business fax.

        Agenda: This guides you through creating a template for an agenda. You can use the template to create an agenda in the future.

        Presentation: This helps you create a new presentation from a blank document, a template, or an existing template. It allows you to choose the output medium.

        Web Page: This will allow you to select documents from you hard drive to convert to a file format that can be viewed by a Web browser. It will create

        Document Converter: This allows you to convert Microsoft Office documents in a directory on your hard drive to OpenDocument formats and put them in another directory of your choosing.

        Euro Converter: This converts any numbers that are in currencies of various European countries to Euros. The figures can be in spreadsheet documents or in tables in a text document.

        Address Data Source: This allows you to set up a spreadsheet or a database as a source for address information.

 

Microsoft Office applications do not have this level of integration. If you have Word open, you only have access to Word documents. You cannot open the PowerPoint presentation you worked on yesterday without either first launching PowerPoint or going through your computer’s file system to find the presentation and click on it. Each of Office’s applications has its own document management system, so you can access recently opened workbooks in Excel and create new ones based on Excel templates. You, however, could not do anything with a Word document.

 

LibreOffice’s level of app integration helps with workflow. It reduces the amount of steps to create or open a new document and makes it easier to work with multiple documents at the same time. LibreOffice also makes it easy to switch between documents. The Window menu lists all the documents that are open. Simply clicking one in the list makes it the active window.

 

This is just one of the features that makes LibreOffice a competitive alternative to Microsoft Office. The suite also works well with Office formats, so if you are not completely comfortable ditching Office, you can make it a companion to the Microsoft product.

 

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