Sunday June 28, 2020

Aside from posts dedicated to particular LibreOffice-related topics, I decided to provide a single special place reserved for more general curiosities, regarding both the suite’s apps and LibreOffice as a whole. As usual, it won’t be a complete set of tips & tricks - it will just reflect my personal experience and needs, unveiling and expanding themselves alongside my own LibreOffice adventure.

So here You are: LibreOffice curiosities, the first release :) .

Updated: June 28, .2020

Quick survey on what’s coming:

  1. Settings Backup.
  2. Reset User Profile.
  3. Dark-Themed Start Center.
  4. Writer: Smooth Scroll.
  5. Writer: Language for the Current Document.
  6. Writer: Applied Styles.
  7. Writer: Disable Links Underlining.
  8. It’s Lightweight.
  9. LibreOffice Portable.
  10. Ribbon » NotebookBar.
  11. Free Books on the Suite’s Apps.
  12. Ask LibreOffice and BugZilla.
  13. Need Off-Line Help?

Settings Backup.

Once I carefully adjusted colors of many different LibreOffice’s aspects to my own liking, I was deeply interested if there is a way to backup all those settings. I’ve found that they are stored within registrymodifications.xcu file, which also stores many other LO-related settings. Under Windows 7 the file may be placed under similar location:

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\4\user

Reset User Profile.

If You stumble upon some more serious issue with the suite, one thing which may help is to simply reset Your user profile.

“Many problems in LibreOffice can be caused by corruption in the user profile. When noticing strange behavior in LibreOffice the first thing to do is to reset the user profile.”

To do so You need to close all the LibreOffice windows, and then rename or delete a numbered-named folder (e.g., 4) placed under the following path:

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\

Find the location of your user profile from the Start CenterTools › Options › LibreOffice › Paths.

“The number (...) refers to the last major version of LibreOffice that created that kind of profile. The format has changed from LibreOffice 3 to LibreOffice 4. You might wonder why the number has not increased with LibreOffice 5; this is because the format has not changed since LibreOffice 4.”

Dark-Themed Start Center.

LibreOffice has a fantastic concept of the Start Center, from which You can, for example:

  • launch each of the suite’s app,
  • create a new document based on a template,
  • have a quick look on all the docs You’ve been working with recently;

If You prefer a dark theme, You can enable such one within the suite - but unfortunately it does not include the Start Center window. You can, however, perform a little workaround here, harnessing so-called expert settings:

  1. From the Start Center window go through its menu: Tools › Options... (or Alt+F12) › Advanced › Open Expert Configuration (on the bottom right).
  2. Paste the following string into the “Preference Name” field: StartCenterBackgroundColor, confirm by the Enter key.
  3. Double-click the StartCenter line and change its value to 0 (which stands for black color), confirm by OK.
  4. Paste the following string into the “Preference Name” field: StartCenterTextColor, confirm by the Enter key.
  5. Double-click the StartCenter line and change its value to 16777215 (which stands for the white; both values are hexadecimal), confirm by OK.
  6. Once more confirm by OK, and again: Apply and OK.
  7. Close the Start Center and launch it again - You should already see the modified look.

img1

Writer: Smooth Scroll.

One of interesting touch-ups You can do is the one improving Writer’s overall aesthetics and user experience, especially regarding everyday use - by changing the way it scrolls pages. By default, the scrolling seems to be made by small “jumps”: quick jumping line by line, till You stop scrolling a mouse wheel. Once You’ve enabled smooth scroll, however, it looks much more fluid and seamless (smooth, indeed).

To enable this feature, check theSmooth scroll under Writer’s settings (Alt+F12) › LibreOffice Writer › View.

Writer: Language for the Current Document.

In LibreOffice’s settings (Alt+F12 within the Start Center window) You can easily set up languages for various aspects of the suite. If You, however, often work with multi-language documents, You may find helpful to temporarily set the language only for the document You’re working with at the moment. This way it won’t confuse Your spell checking: even if You have set up the ‘X’ language as the overall language used across LibreOffice, You can still have particular documents treated respectfully according to their own language rather than the overall one.

To set a specific language only for the current document in Writer, go to menu bar › Tools › Language › For All Text and choose the language.

Writer: Applied Styles.

There are several side panes for You to enhance Your Writer’s workspace for the effectiveness and optimization purpose. One thing which may especially come in handy, is the style pane, displaying a long list of various styles to peak and choose, and apply across Your document. You may, however, rather prefer to create Your Own styles, with recognizable names and all the characteristics tailored carefully from scratch to Your Own needs and liking. Such a handful of “hand-made” styles may be of a great help in a everyday work, but given the list of all existing styles is pretty long, You are constantly in the need to search for the style You need at the moment. Fortunately, Writer has a fantastic feature which allows the style pane to display only those styles which are actually applied within the current document. This way the list becomes much shorter and, therefore, much more readable - thanks to which the work becomes much easier and convenient.

For the style pane to display only those styles which are applied within the currently displayed document, choose Applied Styles from the bottom drop-down list within the style side pane (F11).

Probably due to my designer spirit I much prefer links to be distinguished in some nicer manner than an ordinary underlining with a straight, far-from-thin line ;) . Therefore, on websites I design I often apply my own style of underlining hyperlinks; my favorite app to stay up to date with all my passions and interests also has the ability to disable links underlining. And now, LibreOffice Writer joins this happy company, by allowing You to abandon this rough side of the links ;) .

To explore a whole new possibilities, first You need to have at least one hyperlink already in place within the currently displayed document. Then, on the style side pane, click an icon labeled “Character Styles” (the second from the top left - You’ll see the label once You hover the cursor over the icon). Then, a little below, You should see the “Internet Link” style - right click on it and choose Modify... › Font Effects (tab) › Underlining and simply change “Single” to “(Without)”. Confirm via Apply and OK buttons.

It’s Lightweight.

One of amazing things about Free Software is that pretty often Free/Libre apps are significantly fast and lightweight, to a such surprising degree which might impress You whenever to compare it with conventional, often proprietary ones. For example, think about Microsoft Office (for Windows) in one of its older - 2010 - release, which takes about 647 MB space of the installation disc, while the newest LibreOffice (also for Windows; the version 6.4.0 (32-bit) at the time, which You might call ‘2020’) weighs... 318MB! Isn’t that amazing??? What about its predecessor (v. 6.3.4) which weighed 283MB? - or its successors: either v. 6.4.1 or v. 6.4.2 with its 277MB :) I don’t even wonder how much the newest desktop release of Microsoft’s suite weights - whereas it’s almost mind blowing to learn that LibreOffice weighs so little, being the newest and greatest in the same time (!!!).

LibreOffice Portable.

If the weight case alone is not so impressive, You can add one more thing to the big picture: a portable release. If You are familiar with portable apps, You already may smile at the thought that it is possible to use LibreOffice even without a need to install it. Just download the files and put them on a memory stick, launch on multiple PCs without a trace and... enjoy :) . How awesome is that?

Ribbon » NotebookBar.

I’ve liked Microsoft’s ribbon interface from the very beginning, when it has been first introduced with Microsoft Office 2007. Interestingly, since ver. 6.2, LibreOffice also has its own ribbon GUI, introduced as the NotebookBar.

To enable Notebookbar interface within Writer (for example), go to its menu and choose View › User Interface › Tabbed.

img2

Free Books on the Suite’s Apps.

If You feel like really into the LibreOffice apps, You may find a really good news that there are full-length, volume-rich manuals out there (like Writer Guide, for example), available in the same Free Software spirit, ready for You to grab them :) . More importantly, they are constantly updated in order to keep step with all the new releases of the suite down the road. I suppose they are fantastic body of reference, whenever You’d like to really dive deep into it. Available both in .odt and .pdf, to Your Own liking :) .

Ask LibreOffice and BugZilla.

Manuals, however, sometimes may turn out to be not sufficient enough. In such a case You can always drop a question on Ask LibreOffice, or - in case of bugs or improvement ideas, You can reach to BugZilla, when You can be even closer to the people who are actually developing the whole suite. Both places seem to be pretty alive and responsive, so to speak (some points I’ve included in this post are outsourced from there), so feel free to participate in the growth of this fantastic piece of software, which literally may change the world.

Need Off-Line Help?

It seems rare to encounter someone who still cares about off-line access to information nowadays - therefore it may be seen as a true rarity. One such an example is the ability to gain LibreOffice help off-line. By default the LO help is loaded each and every time directly from the Internet - but You can change it by installing an additional thing called “help pack” (a file name may be, for example, LibreOffice_6.4.0_Win_x86_helppack_en-US.msi). Once installed, every time You press F1 key on Your keyboard while using a LibreOffice app, You should see the help loaded into Your web-browser, even if You don’t have access to the Internet right now. You can find the off-line help pack here (“Help for offline use”).

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