Brief: LibreOffice is an excellent office suite. These LibreOffice tips will enable you to use it more effectively.
There is little doubt that LibreOffice is the best open source office product out there. While you might use it for writing documents, creating spreadsheets or making presentations, there are a few tricks you can use to get more out of it.
LibreOffice tips and tricks
Some of these ‘tricks’ might be obvious to you while some might be surprising. It all depends if you have used them in the past or not.
0. Download free LibreOffice guide
Alright! It’s not really a trick but it will help you nevertheless. If you are new to LibreOffice, you can learn how to use its features from the official guide.
This LibreOffice Getting Started Guide is available to download for free. You can get it from the link below.
1. Save files as PDF in LibreOffice
I’ll start with the no-brainer. If you have a word document, you can save it as PDF in one click. No external tool required for it. You can also export your presentation slides in LibreOffice Impress as PDF.
In fact, if you have to share the document with someone else who won’t edit it, use the PDF format. The main reason here is that document format gets messed up between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office. If you are sending an important document like your CV, always use PDF.
Of course, you should also save a copy in the regular document format for future editing. And this is where you can save some time by opting for the Hybrid PDF.
A Hybrid PDF embeds the ODF file (your document in LibreOffice format) in the PDF. It will look like a normal PDF but you can open it in LibreOffice Writer and edit it like normal ODF document.
To enable this option, go to File Menu->Export as PDF and then check the option of Embed OpenDocument File.
2. Edit PDF files in LibreOffice
Yes, you can totally do that. And it works quite good if the PDF was generated from a text file like what you saw in the previous point.
You can use LibreOffice Draw tool for this task. It comes bundled with LibreOffice suite. Just open the PDF file in Draw and you’ll see the option to edit the text.
You can also edit PDFs in LibreOffice Writer using OCR extension. The next entry explains what are extensions in LibreOffice.
3. Find and use extensions to enhance your LibreOffice experience
An extension is basically a tiny piece of code that you can install in LibreOffice to perform some exclusive task. For example, you can install MultiSave extension to save a document in OpenDocument, MS Office and PDF formats in a single click. Saves you time in exporting them one by one in different formats.
Extensions are often the overlooked part of LibreOffice. Perhaps because people are just not aware that such a thing even exist.
You can go to LibreOffice website and browse through the available extensions. You can download the extension in OXT file format.
In LibreOffice go to Menu->Tools->Extensions Manager.
You’ll see if there are already installed extensions here. Click on Add and browse to the downloaded extension file. It will be added and enabled immediately.
However, to see the changes in effect, you’ll have to restart LibreOffice.
A word of caution: you should also check if a certain extension has been tested with your version of LibreOffice or not. An outdated extension may break the functionality of your LibreOffice. You can find this info on the extension page from where you would download it.
4. Speed up LibreOffice
If you think LibreOffice is slow and takes quite some time in opening, you can speed it up by allowing it more RAM (if your system can afford it).
Go to Tools -> Options.
In the left sidebar, select LibreOffice, then select Memory. Change “Use for LibreOffice” to a bigger amount like 200 MB and “Memory per Object” to 10 MB or even 20 MB. Also enable the Quickstarter option.
If you do not use database tool Base in LibreOffice, you don’t even need Java runtime. In the Tools->Options, go to Advanced in the left sidebar and then uncheck the Java runtime environment option. This will also speed up LibreOffice.
5. Password protect a document in LibreOffice
Password protecting a folder in Linux might be a tricky task but password protecting a document in LibreOffice is literally a child’s play.
All you have to do is to use the ‘save as’ option while saving the document.
And when you are doing that, just check the option of ‘save with password’.
It will ask you to enter a password and confirm it.
Now when you try to open this file, it will ask you to enter the password. This will be the same if you send this to someone who doesn’t use Linux or LibreOffice.
Please note that you must remember the password. If you forget the password, you should also forget about the document because you won’t be able to open it.
6. Create read-only documents in LibreOffice
If you don’t want others to edit the document, you can create the document in read-only format. You can password protect it so that anyone can read it but not edit it without the password.
You can also create a read-only document without a password. It will display the notification that the document is in read-mode, however, people could still edit it. This is a way to notify to take extreme care while editing the documents.
To create a read-only document, you’ll have to follow the exact same steps as you did with password protecting a file.
Choose ‘save as’ and then check ‘save with password’ option. In here, click on the Option to show more options.
The first password field (under File Encryption Password) is to lock the file from opening altogether (as we saw in the last point). The second password field (under File Sharing Password) is to lock the file from editing. Anyone who tries to click ‘Edit document’ option will have to enter the password.
You can choose to not set any passwords at this step. This way your document will show the “read-only” notification but clicking on “Edit document” will allow people to edit the document.
7. Make LibreOffice Writer remember your last cursor position
By default, LibreOffice Writer opens at the beginning of every document. It’s not a big deal unless you are working with long documents where it helps to know where you were editing the last time.
With a simple trick, you can make LibreOffice remember the last cursor position in a document.
Please note that this trick only works with Open Document formats such as ODF, ODT etc. It won’t work with Microsoft document formats such as DOC, DOCX etc.
Here are the steps to make LibreOffice remember last cursor position:
In the menu, go to Tools->Options.
From the left pane, select User Data. In here, add your first name and last name. It could be anything. You don’t have to match it with your account name.
Once done, save and exit. That’s it.
Now when you open a document in open document format, you’ll see that it opens at the last editing point instead of the beginning of the document.
But what difference does the user data make here? Well, it’s a way for LibreOffice to know that the document is being opened by the same user who was editing it last time. This helps in the scenario where there are multiple user accounts on the same computer.
Bonus Tip: Extract all images from a document at once
If you have got a document with multiple images then saving all those images one by one would be a difficult and time-taking task.
To extract all the images from a document quickly, you can save a document as HTML.
All you have to do is to click on the Save As option and then save the document as HTML, preferably in a new folder.
It will give you a warning but you can ignore it.
Once you save the word document as HTML, you’ll see that all the images have been extracted in the folder where you saved the HTML document.
Your favorite LibreOffice trick?
One of It’s FOSS readers, Daniel Baran, shared a little spreadsheet he developed for tracking time. It works with LibreOffice Calc and aims for tracking time spend on projects and clients, specially focused on freelancers. You can find more details on using this spreadsheet here.
I know this is not an extensive list of LibreOffice tips. So why don’t you share a quick tip that you frequently use in LibreOffice and help me expand this list? The comment section is all yours.