The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.0, a major release and a dramatically improved free office suite, which celebrates the 7th anniversary of the availability of the very first version of LibreOffice. Today LibreOffice is more powerful, simple and secure, and offers superior interoperability with Microsoft Office documents.
LibreOffice 6.0 is immediately available for Windows, macOS and Linux, and for the cloud. The new major release adds a large number of significant new features to the core engine and to individual modules (Writer, Calc and Impress/Draw), with the objective of providing users with the best in terms of personal productivity.
A video summarizing the top new features of LibreOffice 6.0 is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHBve8v13VY.
The Notebookbar, although still an experimental feature, has been enriched with two new variants: Grouped Bar Full for Writer, Calc and Impress, and Tabbed Compact for Writer. The Special Characters dialog has been reworked, with the addition of lists for Recent and Favorite characters, along with a Search field. The Customize dialog has also been redesigned, and is now more modern and intuitive.
In Writer, a Form menu has been added, making it easier to access one of the most powerful – and often unknown – LibreOffice features: the ability to design forms, and create standards-compliant PDF forms. The Find toolbar has been enhanced with a drop-down list of search types, to speed up navigation. A new default table style has been added, together with a new collection of table styles to reflect evolving visual trends.
The Mail Merge function has been improved, and it is now possible to use either a Writer document or an XLSX file as data source.
In Calc, ODF 1.2-compliant functions SEARCHB, FINDB and REPLACEB have been added, to improve support for the ISO standard format. Also, a cell range selection or a selected group of shapes (images) can be now exported in PNG or JPG format.
In Impress, the default slide size has been switched to 16:9, to support the most recent form factors of screens and projectors. As a consequence, 10 new Impress templates have been added, and a couple of old templates have been updated.
The old WikiHelp has been replaced by the new Help Online system, with attractive web pages that can also be displayed on mobile devices. In general, LibreOffice Help has been updated both in terms of contents and code, with other improvements due all along the life of the LibreOffice 6 family.
User dictionaries now allow automatic affixation or compounding. This is a general spell checking improvement in LibreOffice which can speed up work for Writer users. Instead of manually handling several forms of a new word in a language with rich morphology or compounding, the Hunspell spell checker can automatically recognize a new word with affixes or compounds, based on a “Grammar By” model.
OpenPGP keys can be used to sign ODF documents on all desktop operating systems, with experimental support for OpenPGP-based encryption. To enable this feature, users will have to install the specific GPG software for their operating systems.
Document classification has also been improved, and allows multiple policies (which are now exported to OOXML files). In Writer, marking and signing are now supported at paragraph level.
OOXML interoperability has been improved in several areas: import of SmartArt and import/export of ActiveX controls, support of embedded text documents and spreadsheets, export of embedded videos to PPTX, export of cross-references to DOCX, export of MailMerge fields to DOCX, and improvements to the PPTX filter to prevent the creation of broken files.
New filters for exporting Writer documents to ePub and importing QuarkXPress files have also been added, together with an improved filter for importing EMF+ (Enhanced Metafile Format Plus) files as used by Microsoft Office documents. Some improvements have also been added to the ODF export filter, making it easier for other ODF readers to display visuals.
LibreOffice Online is fundamentally a server service, and should be installed and configured by adding cloud storage and an SSL certificate. It might be considered an enabling technology for the cloud services offered by ISPs or the private cloud of enterprises and large organizations.
New features introduced with LibreOffice 6.0 aim to align the functionality of the desktop and cloud versions, especially in areas where users expect similar behavior. For instance, a Save As feature has been added, while the amount of rows managed by Calc has been increased to half a million. In addition, a Find and Replace dialog and spell checking support have been added to Writer, Calc and Impress.
Builds of the latest LibreOffice Online source code are available as Docker images: https://hub.docker.com/r/libreoffice/online/. Background on LibreOffice Online: https://nextcloud.documentfoundation.org/s/scDjtQPATAzpeyE.
LibreOffice Viewer for Android
The upcoming release of LibreOffice Viewer for Android will be able to create new documents, will offer a tab-based toolbar with formatting options, and will let users add pictures either from the camera or from a file stored locally or in the cloud. In addition, the Calc user interface will be improved with column headers, while Impress will offer a presentation mode. The release is planned during the first quarter of 2018.
LibreOffice 6.0 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open source office suites, and as such is targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users.
For enterprise class deployments, TDF maintains the more mature 5.4 family – now at 5.4.4 – which should always be supported by certified professionals (a list is available here: http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/professional-support/).
Several companies sitting in TDF Advisory Board (http://www.documentfoundation.org/governance/advisory-board/) are providing either value added Long Term Supported versions of LibreOffice or consultancy services for migrations and trainings, based on best practices by The Document Foundation.
LibreOffice is deployed by large organizations in every continent. A list of the most significant migrations announced in the media is available on TDF wiki: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/LibreOffice_Migrations.
Availability of LibreOffice 6.0
LibreOffice 6.0 is immediately available from the following link: https://www.libreoffice.org/download/. Minimum requirements for proprietary operating systems are Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 and Apple macOS 10.9.
LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can support The Document Foundation with a donation at https://www.libreoffice.org/donate.
LibreOffice 6.0 is built with document conversion libraries from the Document Liberation Project: https://www.documentliberation.org.