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LibreOffice tips & trick

LibreOffice is a good if not the best free Office suite existed in the world. However, its default interface looks outdated, if you often use Office (up from 2007 version). There are some ways to make the UI of LibreOffice a little bit modern without sacrificing features or performance. Without any further ado, lets begin.

Tabbed Ribbon UI

A lot of people don’t like to use LibreOffice because of its interface, which is similar to Office 2003 and below. It doesn’t appealing to modern users, or old users who has already used to navigate within ribbon design of Office 2007 and up. Lets compare it in a quick screenshoot:

screenshot of Office 2013 with toolbar enabled
Office 2013

screenshot of Libreoffice 7 with classic toolbar
LibreOffice 7
Microsoft Office clearly is the winner here. It got a modern looking styles, button, interfaces, and the most important one: Ribbon Tabbed menu. Fortunately, a lot of people requesting this features, and well, it gets implemented. Starting from LibreOffice 6.4, you can enable Ribbon UI (Notebookbar) from settings. Here’s how to do that:

First, open any LibreOffice apps (preferably Writer), then go to View > User Interface. Second, from the sidebar select “Tabbed”, and press “Apply To All.”

dialog titled select user interface, with a bunch option of UI
User Interface option in LO

And its done. Apparently now (7.1) we still can’t customize what button shows up on the toolbars, but I have applied the suggestion to do so in LibreOffice forum. Even though this is still far from perfect, its definitely make LibreOffice easier for those who migrate from Microsoft Office.

LO notebookbar showed
"Result after changing UI to tabbed mode

Icons & Templates

Did you know that you can choose a bunch of different icons in settings? Navigate to Options → View and select your favorite icons pack on “Icon Style” dropdown. Custom Icons available at LibreOffice extensions site.

Have you ever use templates on LibreOffice? Its not as attractive as MS Office have, but it still functioning. Open LibreOffice (the main program), press ↓ beside the “Templates button”. I recommend you to choose template especially when using Impress, so you don’t need to spend a lot of hour making the slide design all you

template option screenshot on LO

You can also install custom templates from templates section on LibreOffice extensions site. Some of them are old-school looking, while some other are modern-ish. To install it, just double click on the downloaded templates, and LO will install the template automatically. After that you may need to restart the program.

Graphics Performance

Skia/Vulkan rendering

Starting with version 7.0, LibreOffice supports Skia/Vulkan rendering method. Vulkan is basically “The next OpenGL”, offering multithreading support for newer processors. Expect a better anti-aliasing after you activate this feature.

How to do it? Open Options → View. In Graphics Output section, checkmark on “Use Skia for all rendering”, and make sure “Use anti-aliasing” is also checked. Then go to Font Lists section, checkmark “Screen font antialiasing”, and reduce the pixels from 8 pixels to 1 pixels. Press OK, and press “Restart Now”.

screenshot of graphics settings window on LO
Menu to enable Vulkan/Skia

If somehow your LibreOffice becoming more buggy and often crashes, update your Graphics Card Drivers. Still doesn’t work? then checkmark “Force Skia software rendering”. If it works in that mode, consider to apply a bug report on LibreOffice bug report section on their website.

Disable Java Runtime Environment

If you don’t use LibreOffice Base (or database function), then you’ll probably don’t need Java Runtime Enviroment to be activated. For some reason it is heavy and slowing down LO performances. To deactivate it, go to Options → Advanced → Deselect “Use a Java Runtime Environment”. Press OK and Restart Now.

Undo function “fix”

Not really a fix to bug or anything, but it is useful to reduce memory consumption. If somehow your LO taking up hundreds of your RAM, do this simple tricks. Open Options → Advanced → Open Expert Configuration. In the search bar, type Undo.

screenshot of LO expert config with undo memory entries highlighted
LibreOffice expert configuration. Do not touch anything else than the undo entries
The default values of this are 100, that means you can undo for 100x. Its not necessary (too much). To reduce this, double click on the Undo entries, type 50 instead of 100, press OK 3 times, and you’re done.

Maximize Spelling & Grammar tools

If you’re not writing English documents, the spelling and grammar tools will probably “red mark” all of your text (you know, that underlined red thing). Its annoying, because you need to deactivate grammar tools every single time. There are a few solutions to this, such as:

Install your language dictionaries

Go to LibreOffice extensions site and use the search bar to search for your document language.

Customize Spelling Tools

If you’re creating a document in English, you can even increase the usefulness of Spelling Tools. Navigate to Options → Language Settings → English Sentence Checking. Then check all boxes on that pages, and press OK.

That’s it for today tips & trick, I hope this help you to ease the transition process from Microsoft Word to LibreOffice.

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