What is LibreOffice?

LibreOffice is a suite of programs for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, and vector drawings. It is free to download, use, and distribute. It is available in many languages and runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

LibreOffice’s native file formats are OpenDocument (*.ODT, *.ODS, *.ODP, etc.), but it can open and save to many other formats, including Microsoft Office formats (*.DOC, *.XLS, *.PPT, etc.).

To download LibreOffice, go to the LibreOffice website.

LibreOffice is a project of the not-for-profit organization, The Document Foundation.

Two new user guides: Impress and Calc

Cover of Impress 7.2 GuideCover of Calc 7.2 GuideThe latest user guides from the LibreOffice documentation team are LibreOffice 7.2 Impress and LibreOffice 7.2 Calc, available in free PDF, ODT, or to read in a browser. Low-cost printed copies are available from Lulu.com.

Visit the Documentation page on the LibreOffice website for links.

Workaround for a bug in Base on macOS

On macOS (but not on Windows or Linux), in versions 7.1.x and 7.2.x of LibreOffice, a bug in Base causes the Memo (LONGVARCHAR) field type to have a dark background, so the contents are not visible. Other field type [date, number, TEXT (VARCHAR), and so on] have a normal white background. When clicked, the black fields turn white and I can type into them, but when I click or Tab to another field, they return to black. When I use a form to enter data, the form fields are normal, but the results in the database itself have the black field background. The database otherwise works as it should.

This behaviour has been reported as Bug 140854. The workaround is to use an older version of LibreOffice, such as 7.0.x, where the bug does not occur. You can find a link to version 7.0.6 near the bottom of the download page.

Fortunately, it is easy to install more than one version of LibreOffice on macOS, so you don’t have to completely give up the latest version if you want to use it for other components. Simply rename the existing version to something else; I usually change “LibreOffice” to “LibreOffice721” or similar. Then install a second version as usual by double-clicking the downloaded DMG file. Both versions will share the same user profile, so it’s easy to switch among them. Note: You can set up separate user profiles (for example, for testing purposes), but that’s beyond the scope of this article; see this wiki page if you want to go there.

Getting Started Guide 7.2 published

Cover of Getting Started Guide LibreOffice 7.2The latest user guide from the LibreOffice documentation team is Getting Started with LibreOffice 7.2, available in free PDF, ODT, or to read in a browser. Visit the Documentation page on the LibreOffice website for links.

Low-cost printed copies are available from Lulu.com.

Writer Guide 7.2 published

Cover of Writer Guide 7.2The latest user guide from the LibreOffice documentation team is Writer Guide 7.2, available in free PDF, ODT, or to read in a browser. Visit the Documentation page on the LibreOffice website for links.

Low-cost printed copies are available from Lulu.com.

Designing ebooks with free software

Bruce Byfield has written Designing ebooks with free software, which teaches several methods that help you to gain control over the creation of your ebooks. All it takes is two open-source tools that are free to download: LibreOffice and Calibre, plus some trial and error to get the precision and professionalism you want.

Designing ebooks is available as a free download in PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and ODT versions, as well as a low-priced print edition. Links to all versions are on the book’s website.

Designing ebooks is a companion volume to Bruce’s 2016 book, Designing with LibreOffice.