Saturday, 29 July 2017 06:37

LibreOffice releases last major version in 5.x series

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The open-source office suite LibreOffice has released version 5.4, the last major release in its 5.x family, for Windows, macOS and Linux.

A statement from The Document Foundation, the organisation that oversees the project, said the release was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's phrase "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication".

The TDF claimed that this principle had resulted in Open Document Format (ODF, the default file format for LibreOffice) and OOXML files that were more robust and easier to exchange with other office suites, than similar documents generated by other office suites.

Additionally, an XML description of a new document in LibreOffice is half the size in the case of ODF files and about 90% smaller in the case of OOXML files, compared to files generated by Microsoft Office.

Highlights of the new release include:

  • A new standard colour palette has been included, based on the RYB colour model.
  • File format compatibility has been improved, with better support for EMF vector images. This helps when importing detailed diagrams from other office software.
  • Imported PDF files are rendered with much better quality, also when inserted into a document, while exported PDF files - from Writer and Impress - support embedded videos (and linked videos if opened with Acrobat Reader).
  • LibreOffice 5.4 supports OpenPGP keys for signing ODF documents on Linux. If one already uses GPG/PGP for signing emails, it ensures the authenticity of ODF documents regardless of the mode of transport or storage.

libreofficewriterlinux

A comparison of XML generated by LibreOffice Write (on Linux) and Microsoft Word.

Write (the equivalent of Microsoft Word)

  • AutoText can now be imported from Microsoft Word DOTM templates.
  • When exporting or pasting numbered and bulleted lists as plain text, their full structure is preserved.
  • In the Format menu, custom watermarks can be created for documents.
  • New context menu items have been added for working with sections, footnotes, endnotes and styles.

libreofficecalcmac

Charts in Calc on the Mac.

Calc (the equivalent of Microsoft Excel)

  • Calc now includes support for pivot charts, which use data from pivot tables. When the table is updated, the chart is automatically updated as well.
  • Comments are now easier to manage, with menu commands to show, hide and delete all comments.
  • When applying conditional formatting to cells, the priority of rules can be easily changed with up and down buttons.
  • Extra sheet protection options have been added, to optionally allow insertion or deletion of rows and columns.
  • When exporting in CSV format, settings are remembered for the next export operation.

Impress (the equivalent of Microsoft PowerPoint)

  • When duplicating an object, fractional angles can be specified and settings are saved for the next duplication operation.

Online version

  • LibreOffice Online performance is better, while the layout adapts responsively to mobile devices. 
  • A read-only mode has been added.

The new version can be downloaded here while donations can be made here.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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