First Look: LibreOffice 5.0 free and open source suite

The latest major release of LibreOffice FOSS package brings a streamlined look, bug fixes, performance tweaks and a lot of new cross-compatibility.

LibreOffice 5.0 is here!
LibreOffice 5.0 is here!

The landmark 5.0 release of LibreOffice, generally considered the strongest FOSS alternative to Microsoft Office as a productivity suite, is officially out today. The new version packs a lot of visible and under-the-hood changes, designed to bring it up to – and beyond – parity with its proprietary rival. Have a look.

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Style previews in the sidebar

LibreOffice Writer now displays what formatting changes would look like in a sidebar preview, handy for editing on the fly.

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Editing on Android

Previously, LibreOffice documents could only be viewed on the Android versions of the software – the new version introduces basic editing capability for your tablet or phone.

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Emoji support

It’s 2015 – what would a modern tool for written communication be without emoji support? Fortunately, users of LibreOffice Writer don’t have to contemplate that particular fate, with the introduction of emoji in version 5.

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In-app image cropping and changing

You can now tinker with embedded images right in Writer and Calc, re-sizing, cropping or otherwise modifying pics to your heart’s content.

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Engineering notation option in Calc

Engineering notation is a variant of scientific notation that uses only powers of 10 which are divisible by three – i.e., it expresses numbers in thousands, millions and so on. It’s now natively supported in LibreOffice Calc.

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Menu overhauls and new options in Draw and Impress

New color dropdown menus, slimmed-down context menus and more have been changed as part of a general re-work and redesign of the interface in LibreOffice Draw and Impress.

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Apple Pages import

Apple Pages files can now be imported into LibreOffice Writer, as long as they were created in Pages ’09 or older versions of the software.

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More general interface tweaks

A host of minor visual and UX changes have been introduced in LibreOffice 5.0, contributing to a generally more streamlined look for the new version.