LibreOffice is an office productivity suite that is similar to Microsoft Office Suite. It has a word processor program called Writer, spreadsheet known as Calc, and presentation as Impress. Other than these programs it also has a Draw, Base, and a Math program. LibreOffice can be installed on almost all platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux and certain UNIX OS.
LibreOffice 6 is the newest version released in 2018 with many new features and refinement. I’ll be covering them a bit later. One can download and install LibreOffice 6 from their official website libreoffice.org.
However, upgrading distribution specific LibreOffice release to version 6 is not possible. We’ll have to stick to the old version (probably version 5.2 to 5.4) until the developers decide to work on its stable release cycle sometime later.
Brief Overview Of What’s New In LibreOffice 6
Below are the brief overview of new features in LibreOffice 6 that is not tied to specific module/program but the overall LibreOffice suite.
New ePUB export
This will be a great relief to those users who’ve been wanting ePUB feature on LibreOffice. Like PDF you’ll be able to export your document to ePUB format for distribution. This is a great way to keep your document formatting consistent when viewed/opened on different Operating Systems.
To export your document to ePUB click on ‘File’ menu and select ‘Export as’ then choose EPUB option. You may have to specify the document version too before successfully exporting.
Much has been done on dialog boxes and tool options, for instance, different tabs in Properties dialog box has been expanded horizontally. While the usual standard toolbar, menu bar, status bar and document body of Writer, Impress, and Presentation program retain the same look and feel like the ones we currently use.
Special character dialog box has two new sections below: Recent and Favorite Characters. Don’t forget to check out its toolbar icon too.
Open source Noto font family is included by default and fonts for Hebrew and Arabic has been added as well.
And much more including –
Improved user help or manual program which has been redesigned to make it look more modern and user-friendly. Saving of images from within the document and the ability to now use OpenPGP to encrypt and secure documents.
LibreOffice Writer is a word processor program that enables one to create professional looking documents, basically design a web page or document a project. Writer is the most common program as its heavily adopted by home users, students and employees in their day to day life.
It has been upgraded with many improvements than Calc and Presentation. Some of the new features include:
- A new Form menu in the menu bar for easy access. Earlier Form Control used to be in ‘Insert’ menu which was tedious to access.
- The ability to rotate images at any angle other than 90 degrees steps.
- More flexible custom dictionaries to better suit journalists and users alike.
- Ability to have split sections inside tables.
Calc is a spreadsheet program that allows one to maintain data in tables. Data which are either texts, numbers or formulae are entered in cells of a table and is operated upon by the spreadsheet program. Engineers and Accountants are likely to use Calc program more often.
The new updates to Calc are the ability to export selected cells in JPG or PNG format, including new commands for selecting unprotected cells on spreadsheets and implementing three new ODF 1.2-compliant functions; for finding and replacing text using byte positions.
LibreOffice Impress is a presentation program that displays documents as slide shows. It allows the speaker in a discussion or meeting room to connect his ideas to the audience with graphical illustration. Marketing strategist and teachers are some of the users of the presentation program.
New interesting features are the addition of ten new templates (take a look below) and changing the default aspect ratio to 16:9 which is a great way to better utilize wide monitor screens.
If you really need to save a word file to MS Word format i.e., DOCX and not ODT (LibreOffice format), revert to DOC instead as it will guarantee your document stays consistent when you open it later in MS Word.
LibreOffice is a great office program for home users, students, and workers. By the way, it comes at no price, free to download and distribute, unlike Microsoft Office Suite which you can’t. Check out the website LibreOffice and try it for yourself. Let me know what you like about it in the comments section below.