LibreOffice 4.2 has just been released. The new version of the open source Office suite introduces several changes and improvements that improve the functionality, usability or performance of the application.
The first thing that existing users may notice is that the module selection options have been removed from the custom installation dialog on Windows. This may look like a big change in usability here, but it is not one as the feature only impacted the display in the start menu of the operating system before.
The custom setup option provides you with options to block the installation of optional components, such as ActiveX Controls, Windows Explorer extension, or the quickstarter.
The second thing you may notice is the new start screen that LibreOffice ships with. It displays the most recent documents on the right, and options to create a new document in one of the modules such as Draw, Cacl or Writer on the left.
Here you can also open a file from the local system, or open the templates manager to select a template to start with.
If you run LibreOffice on a Windows 7 or Windows 8 system, you may also notice that support for the operating system's taskbar has been added to the application. The jumplist view displays a list of recent documents for instance, and open documents are now automatically sorted by application -- Calc, Writer, or Impress for example -- for easier recognition and access.
System and network administrators may find the new options to centrally manage and lock-down the configuration of LibreOffice helpful. This is achieved with Group Policy Objects via Active Directory.
Experienced users find a new expert configuration option under Options > LibreOffice > Advanced > Expert Configuration. A click on it displays a large data table that looks similar to Firefox's about:config listing. It contains advanced properties and their value, so that it is possible to modify them right there.
Probably the biggest change of them all is the new engine for Calc which now supports parallel calculations using the graphics processing unit.
Here is a short selection of other changes in this release:
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.