LibreOffice 5.4 has improved MS Office document compatibility

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The free office suite, LibreOffice, has released with better Microsoft Office compatibility and a sly dig at their bigger rival.

LibreOffice 5.4 has its own Open Document Format (.odt etc.) which is similar to Microsoft’s .docx format.  LibreOffice can work with both formats.

v5.4 has improvements in the Microsoft Office document compatibility.

They’ve also streamlined the Open Document Format to make the file sizes smaller with less unnecessary XML.  There’s a dig at Microsoft’s OOXML format and it’s tag heavy system.

LibreOffce would write the underlying XML as:

<text>To be, or not to be, that is the question</text>

Microsoft Office would write it adding a large number of redundant XML tags, as follows:

<text>To</text><preserve><text>[space]</text><text>be</text><text>, </text><preserve><text>[space]</text><text>or</text><preserve><text>space]</text><text>not</text><preserve><text>space]</text><text>to</text><preserve><text>space]</text><text>be</text><text>,</text><preserve><text>[space]</text><text>that</text><preserve><text>space]</text><text>is</text><preserve><text>space]</text><text>the</text><preserve><text&gt[space]</text><text>question</text>


LibreOffice 5.4 highlights

  • 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 you’re 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 you already use GPG/PGP for signing emails, it ensures the authenticity of your ODF documents regardless of the mode of transport or storage.


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


  • 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, you can now easily change the priority of rules with up and down buttons.
  • Extra sheet protection options have been added, to optionally allow insertion or deletion of rows and columns.
  • Lastly, when you’re exporting in CSV format, your settings are remembered for the next export operation.


  • In Impress, when you’re duplicating an object, you can now specify fractional angles. In addition, your settings are saved for the next duplication operation.


  • Finally, LibreOffice Online has been improved as well. Performance is better, while the layout adapts responsively to mobile devices. In addition, a read-only mode has been added.

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