LibreOffice is the flagship office suite from the open
source community. It offers the best work flow between MS Office and any other
office suite on the market. With the latest releases, LibreOffice has made even
more strides to bridge the gap between business users and open source. And with
the nightmare of licensing that is become of MS Office 2013, users are starting
to seriously look for alternatives.
But what does LibreOffice have to
offer that might make you finally make that leap from what could be a sinking
ship to a solid life boat called LibreOffice 4.1? Let’s take a look at the
LibreOffice 4.1 was released with over 3,000 bugs
fixed (400 were completed in conjunction with the Apache developers).
LibreOffice 4.1 marks a major step forward
for LibreOffice/MS Office interoperability. One of the primary focuses in this
area has been to improve the support for Microsoft OOXML import and export, plus the legacy MS Office formats (including RTF). One of the areas that saw major improvement was the addition
of font embedding in Writer, Calc, Impress, and Draw. With font embedding, it’s much easier to retain the original document formatting when the fonts used to
produce the document are not installed on the target PC.
With 4.1, LibreOffice borrows a feature from
Apache OpenOffice called the Symphony Sidebar (Figure A). The Symphony
Sidebar was actually a borrow from IBM Lotous Symphony. This feature is
considered “experimental,” but it offers immediate access to formatting tools, the
Gallery, the Navigator, and more. The standard menu-driven interface remains
intact and will not disappear for the foreseeable future.
The Symphony Sidebar at work.
Other changes in the UI include: Added “Match Case” option to search bar and a Close Search button.
Photo Album for Impress
With this new feature you can
create an Impress slide show with a series of photos (Figure B). This cuts a significant
amount of time from the creation of such slide shows. The images must be in the same folder and need to have successive file names (such as
IMG_1, IMG_2, IMG_3, etc.).
Importing sequential photos as a slide show.
- Rotate images in 90 degree increments
- Text frames now support gradients
- Import/export of graphical bullets in DOC, DOCX,
- Comments to text ranges can span over multiple
- Font embedding
- Stepped Lines line type
- Font embedding
- Ability to count number of selected cells
- Import large number of HTML documents with over
64K table cells
- New functions (such as NUMBERVALUE and SKEWP)
- Large number of new Excel formulas supported
(ACOT, ACOTH, ARABIC, BASE, BINOM.DIST.RANGE (B) [BINOM.DIST.RANGE], BITAND,
BITLSHIFT, BITOR, BITRSHIFT, BITXOR, COMBINA, COT, COTH, CSC, CSCH, DAYS,
DECIMAL, FORMULATEXT (FORMULA) [FORMULA], GAMMA, GAUSS, IFNA, IMCOSH, IMCOT,
IMCSC, IMCSCH, IMSEC, IMSECH, IMSINH, IMTAN, ISFORMULA, MUNIT, NUMBERVALUE,
PDURATION (DURATION) [PDURATION], PERMUTATIONA, PHI, RRI, SEC, SECH, SHEET,
SHEETS, SKEW.P (SKEWP) [SKEWP], UNICHAR, UNICODE, XOR)
- Disable Presenter Console
- Importing of more file types
- Font embedding
- Limit the results of a query using the Limit
- New Query Properties Dialog in Query Design View
- Export charts as vector graphics
- New Elements docking windows in Math
- Better text layout on Linux and Mac OS X
- SVG export now includes hyperlinks
- Media types: Windows Media Audio (WMA), Windows
Media Video (WMV), Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), Flash Video (FLV), Multiplexed
OGG Video (OGX), RMI MIDI Audio and SND can now be imported
The office suite is, by far, one of the most important
end-user tools in the business toolkit. LibreOffice has jumped so far ahead of
where it once was. With the release of 4.1, LibreOffice continues to shrink the divide
between Microsoft Office.