Getting Started Guide
 

Chapter 1  
Introducing LibreOffice

Copyright

This document is Copyright © 2010–2016 by the LibreOffice Documentation Team. Contributors are listed below. You may distribute it and/or modify it under the terms of either the GNU General Public License (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html), version 3 or later, or the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), version 4.0 or later.

All trademarks within this guide belong to their legitimate owners.

Contributors

Jean Hollis WeberPeter SchofieldOlivier Hallot
Hazel Russman Martin Saffron Ron Faile Jr.
Jeremy CartwrightJohn A SmithDave Barton

Feedback

Please direct any comments or suggestions about this document to the Documentation Team’s mailing list: documentation@global.libreoffice.org

Note: Everything you send to a mailing list, including your email address and any other personal information that is written in the message, is publicly archived and cannot be deleted.

Acknowledgments

This chapter is adapted and updated from previous editions of this chapter. The contributors to those editions are:

Thomas AstleitnerRichard BarnesAgnes Belzunce
Daniel CarreraLaurent Duperval Richard Holt
Ian LaurensonAlan MaddenCarol Roberts
Iain RobertsGary SchnablJanet M. Swisher
Jean Hollis WeberLinda WorthingtonMichele Zarri

Publication date and software version

Published 24 May 2016. Based on LibreOffice 5.1.

Note for Mac users

Some keystrokes and menu items are different on a Mac from those used in Windows and Linux. The table below gives some common substitutions for the instructions in this chapter. For a more detailed list, see the application Help.

Windows or Linux

Mac equivalent

Effect

Tools > Options menu selection

LibreOffice > Preferences

Access setup options

Right-click

Control+click and/or right-click depending on computer setup

Open a context menu

Ctrl (Control)

⌘ (Command)

Used with other keys

F5

Shift+⌘+F5

Open the Navigator

F11

⌘+T

Open the Styles and Formatting window

 

Contents

Copyright

Contributors

Feedback

Acknowledgments

Publication date and software version

Note for Mac users

What is LibreOffice?

Writer (word processor)

Calc (spreadsheet)

Impress (presentations)

Draw (vector graphics)

Base (database)

Math (formula editor)

Advantages of LibreOffice

Minimum requirements

How to get the software

How to install the software

Extensions and add-ons

Starting LibreOffice

Opening an existing document before starting LibreOffice

Quickstarter

Activating Quickstarter

Using Quickstarter on Windows or Linux

Disabling Quickstarter

Reactivating Quickstarter

Parts of the main window

Menu bar

Toolbars

Displaying or hiding toolbars

Sub-menus and tool palettes

Moving toolbars

Floating toolbars

Customizing toolbars

Context menus

Status bar

Sidebar

Starting new documents

Opening existing documents

Saving documents

Save command

Save As command

Password protection

Changing the password

Saving documents automatically

Opening and saving files on remote servers

Renaming and deleting files

Choosing Open and Save As dialogs

Using the Navigator

Undoing and redoing changes

Reloading a document

Closing a document

Closing LibreOffice

 

What is LibreOffice?

LibreOffice is a freely available, fully-featured office productivity suite. Its native file format is Open Document Format (ODF), an open standard format that is being adopted by governments worldwide as a required file format for publishing and accepting documents. LibreOffice can also open and save documents in many other formats, including those used by several versions of Microsoft Office.

LibreOffice includes the following components.

Writer (word processor)

Writer is a feature-rich tool for creating letters, books, reports, newsletters, brochures, and other documents. You can insert graphics and objects from other components into Writer documents. Writer can export files to HTML, XHTML, XML, Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), and several versions of Microsoft Word files. It also connects to your email client.

Calc (spreadsheet)

Calc has all of the advanced analysis, charting, and decision making features expected from a high-end spreadsheet. It includes over 300 functions for financial, statistical, and mathematical operations, among others. The Scenario Manager provides “what if” analysis. Calc generates 2D and 3D charts, which can be integrated into other LibreOffice documents. You can also open and work with Microsoft Excel workbooks and save them in Excel format. Calc can also export spreadsheets in several formats, including for example Comma Separated Value (CSV), Adobe PDF and HTML formats.

Impress (presentations)

Impress provides all the common multimedia presentation tools, such as special effects, animation, and drawing tools. It is integrated with the advanced graphics capabilities of LibreOffice Draw and Math components. Slideshows can be further enhanced using Fontwork special effects text, as well as sound and video clips. Impress is compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint file format and can also save your work in numerous graphics formats, including Macromedia Flash (SWF).

Draw (vector graphics)

Draw is a vector drawing tool that can produce everything from simple diagrams or flowcharts to 3D artwork. Its Smart Connectors feature allows you to define your own connection points. You can use Draw to create drawings for use in any of the LibreOffice components, and you can create your own clip art and then add it to the Gallery. Draw can import graphics from many common formats and save them in over 20 formats, including PNG, HTML, PDF, and Flash.

Base (database)

Base provides tools for day-to-day database work within a simple interface. It can create and edit forms, reports, queries, tables, views, and relations, so that managing a relational database is much the same as in other popular database applications. Base provides many new features, such as the ability to analyze and edit relationships from a diagram view. Base incorporates two relational database engines, HSQLDB and PostgreSQL. It can also use dBASE, Microsoft Access, MySQL, or Oracle, or any ODBC compliant or JDBC compliant database. Base also provides support for a subset of ANSI-92 SQL.

Math (formula editor)

Math is the LibreOffice formula or equation editor. You can use it to create complex equations that include symbols or characters not available in standard font sets. While it is most commonly used to create formulas in other documents, such as Writer and Impress files, Math can also work as a standalone tool. You can save formulas in the standard Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) format for inclusion in web pages and other documents not created by LibreOffice.

Advantages of LibreOffice

Here are some of the advantages of LibreOffice over other office suites:

You can read more about LibreOffice and The Document Foundation on their websites at http://www.libreoffice.org/ and http://www.documentfoundation.org/.

Minimum requirements

LibreOffice 5.1 requires one of the following operating systems:

Administrator rights are needed for the installation process.

Some LibreOffice features (wizards and the HSQLDB database engine) require that the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is installed on your computer. Although LibreOffice will work without Java support, some features will not be available.

For a more detailed listing of requirements, see the LibreOffice website, http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/system-requirements/.

How to get the software

Versions of LibreOffice for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X can be downloaded free from http://www.libreoffice.org/download. You can also download the software by using a Peer-to-Peer client, such as BitTorrent, at the same address.

Linux users will also find LibreOffice included in many of the latest Linux distributions; Ubuntu is just one example.

Mac OS X users can also get two versions of LibreOffice from the App Store: LibreOffice Vanilla (free) and LibreOffice-from-Collabora (an enterprise-ready version; small fee).

How to install the software

Information on installing and setting up LibreOffice on the various supported operating systems is given here: http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/install-howto/.

Extensions and add-ons

Extensions and add-ons are available to enhance LibreOffice. Several extensions are installed with the program and you can get others from the official extensions repository, http://extensions.libreoffice.org/. See Chapter 14, Customizing LibreOffice for more information on installing extensions and add-ons.

Starting LibreOffice

In general, you start LibreOffice the same way you start any other program on your computer.

On computers with Windows or Linux operating systems, a menu entry for LibreOffice and each LibreOffice component appears in the system menu of your computer. On computers operating Mac OS X, only a menu entry for LibreOffice is added to the Applications menu.

Clicking on the LibreOffice menu entry, desktop icon, or tile opens the LibreOffice Start Center (Figure 1) from where you can select the individual components of LibreOffice. You can also select to open an existing file or use a template.

Opening an existing document before starting LibreOffice

You can start LibreOffice by double-clicking the filename of an ODF document on the desktop, or in a file manager such as Windows Explorer or the Mac’s Finder. The appropriate component of LibreOffice will start and the document will be loaded.

You can also open files stored in remote servers running Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS). CMIS, like OpenDocument Format, is an OASIS standard. When using CMIS servers, the service will ask you for the necessary credentials for file access.