LibreOffice 5.4 Free Cross-Platform Office Suite is out

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 28, 2017

LibreOffice 5.4, a new version of the popular cross-platform open source Office suite, has been released on July 28, 2017 to the public.

The new version, which is the last major release of the LibreOffice 5.x family, improves Microsoft Office compatibility, new features in all modules, and better PDF rendering for imported PDF documents.

The new version can be downloaded already from the official project website. Update checks in LibreOffice, which you can run with a click on Help > Check for Updates, don't pick up the new LibreOffice 5.4 release yet. It is only a matter of time though before they do.

Users on Windows and Mac devices need to know that LibreOffice 5.4 is the last version of the Office suite for some older versions of the operating systems.

It is the last version that supports Windows XP and Windows Vista, and Max Os X version 10.8.

LibreOffice 5.4

LibreOffice 5.4 has been released for all supported operating systems -- Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux -- and for the cloud.

The most important changes of the new LibreOffice release are:

  • General -- Use OpenPGP under Linux to sign ODF documents.
  • General -- Support for ECDSA keys on Linux and Mac OS X.
  • General -- Signature status of a document is shown with colored infobars.
  • General -- Improved import of EMF+ vector images.
  • General -- Improved rendering quality of imported PDF documents.
  • General -- New standard color palette based on RYB color model.
  • Writer -- The RTF filter supports all custom document properties.
  • Writer -- Exporting of bullet and number lists improved when using copy and paste.
  • Writer -- Custom watermark insertion via Format > Watermarks.
  • Writer -- AutoCorrect options for strikeout and italic markup.
  • Calc -- Calculate with precision as shown works with fraction format, several subformats, engineering notation and thousands divisors.
  • Calc -- CSV export settings are remembered.
  • Calc -- Option to change the priority of conditional formatting rules.
  • Calc -- New cell commands: comments, delete all comments, show or hide all comments.
  • Calc -- Use of absolute sheet references instead of relative references while building formulas, selecting a cell or range on another sheet with the pointer.
  • Calc -- New Cell Protection toggle through Edit > Protection.
  • Calc -- Four new Sheet protection options: insert columns or rows, delete columns or rows.
  • Impress & Draw -- Duplicate Dialog box (Shift-F3)
  • Impress -- Ctrl-M to insert a new slide.
  • Chart -- New Pivot Charts feature.
  • Online -- Performance improvements.
  • Online -- Responsive design of the document iframe, and read-only mode.
  • Online -- Number of rows in calc increated to 10000.

Plus a lot more. You can check out the LibreOffice 5.4 full changelog here.

Now You: Which Office program do you use?

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  1. chesscanoe said on August 4, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    I’ve only submitted one bug report (along with my circumvention) when installing a new version of LibreOffice recently. The problem got quick attention and is resolved.

  2. Anonymous said on August 4, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I love Draw, and am looking forward to testing out its improvements to importing and working with PDF files.

    But there are small but essential (to me) things still missing from Writer vs. MS Word.
    Although the View->Hide Whitespace is a step in the right direction, it still is not Word’s “normal” mode that totally gets rid of the faux page-layout and instead devotes 100% of the window-width to your document. Becomes an issue if you narrow the width of the window in order to place another Writer window side-by-side. Try it. That grey border on the left and top is useless, wasted space. Yeah, there’s Web View, but that mode eliminates Everything – margins, page-break indicators, everything.
    In Word, if you click in the white-space in the left margin of a line, the whole line gets selected. Writer doesn’t do this.
    To work fast, I can no longer live without it.
    The “Format Painter”. Probably most people don’t know what that little paintbrush is for in a word-processor, but click in a paragraph, click the paintbrush, “paint” over another paragraph and the other paragraph adopts all the formatting of the first one. Neat huh? Except in Writer, this doesn’t work between different documents, or even different windows displaying the same document – the paintcan disappears as soon as the mouse exits the one window, meaning you have to scroll in the same widow to the paragraph you want to change, throwing off your train of thought and increasing the chance you’ll accidentally click the mouse somewhere else in the document with all that hunting and scrolling and inadvertently cancel the mode (so, now you have to start over).
    I’ve been waiting for the Find feature in Writer to improve, particularly with the Find All feature, so that merely clicking in the document doesn’t cause all the Find highlights to disappear, totally defeating the purpose.
    So, I’m still stuck with Word 2003 to work most efficiently. Microsoft, at one time, did a pretty good job figuring out what people needed in a Word processor, particularly when the competition was WordPerfect. Once that was over and their only competition was old versions of their own product, they lost touch and went stupid – it’s not like I totally hate the Ribbon, I hate that they REMOVED the menus and REMOVED the fully customizable toolbars (even draw your own icons!) of Office 2003.

    1. A different Martin said on August 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Have you submitted feature requests or (if you feel a problem qualifies) bug reports? Or added useful information to existing ones? I can’t speak to how the LibreOffice team deals with feature requests, but I have submitted a number of bug reports over the past couple of years. The major ones got fixed, and I honestly haven’t paid attention to whether the minor ones were.

      I don’t remember how often I clicked in the left margin to select a line in Word. In LibreOffice Writer, you have to drag the mouse down one line after clicking, which I don’t find too onerous (even on a ThinkPad with a TrackPoint). But I don’t need to select lines as often as I need to select complete sentences, and in Writer you can do that by triple-clicking inside the sentence. (Double-clicking selects the word, triple-clicking selects the sentence, and quadruple-clicking selects the paragraph.)

      As a heavy user of styles going all the way back to Word for DOS, that’s my fundamental approach to getting consistent formatting within and across documents. I rarely used the format painter in Word, and I don’t think I’ve ever even tried it in Writer. I’ll have to check it out, for quick-and-dirty work in short documents. (I see that you can’t split a Writer document into dual, independently scrollable panes as you can in Word, so that scotches that idea.)

      If you find yourself stuck using a more recent version of Office on someone else’s computer, check out UBit Menu, which adds a classic Office 2003 Menu (and toolbar) section to the Ribbon. It’s free for personal use and I install it whenever I find myself in that situation. I don’t know whether it allows you to customize its classic toolbars, but I doubt it. Martin covered it here:

      Microsoft Office Classic Menu Add-on – gHacks Tech News
      By Martin Brinkmann on March 7, 2009 in Microsoft – Last Update:May 26, 2017

      Just make sure Office isn’t running when you install it. It works with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in Office 2010, 2013, and 2016.

      A commenter at Martin’s article said that “Classic Menu for Office” at supports more Office programs (not just Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), includes more (both?) old commands and new commands, and can hide either the Ribbon or the Classic Menu (I think) instead of just being an additional Ribbon section. It’s a paid program with a lifetime license. Again, I don’t know whether you can customize its toolbars.

      I used to be a pretty heavy, pretty advanced user of Word and Excel (except for the format painter!), and if I had still been using them as heavily at the time I switched to LibreOffice, I’m sure I’d have even more complaints than you. It’s very frustrating not to be be able to do things as quickly and easily (or as well) as you used to. But I’m getting used to LibreOffice, am now more familiar with it than I am with MS Office, find it more than adequate for the things I do, and would like to help make it better — through feedback, since I’m not a coder — rather than switch back.

  3. OppaErich said on July 31, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Why do upgrades break stuff ?

    I’m running Debian and the menus are text only now with Ugly and not usable.

    1. A different Martin said on July 31, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      I’ve never tried Debian and I’m curious as to how you installed and updated LibreOffice.

      I’m a Linux beginner who’s trying out various distros in virtual machines. With the exception of Pale Moon, I’ve only installed and updated software from the standard repos, using the distros’ default GUI software management utility. In Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon, the latest “officially supported” version of LibreOffice seems to be In Fedora 26 Cinnamon, it’s as of this instant. (Writer crashed at start-up until I imported my LO profile from Windows — apparently because it kept wanting to recover a “crashed” document that was never there in the first place — but Calc, Draw, and Impress worked fine from the start.) In Fedora 26 KDE, it doesn’t seem to be pre-installed or even available in the repo, although I suspect a bug in the “Discovery” software management utility is to blame. In Chapeau 24, it’s

      Fedora 26 is supposed to be leading/bleeding edge, so I expect LibreOffice 5.4 will show up in the repo sometime soon. I’ll try to remember to post here about how it works in Fedora 26 Cinnamon once it does.

      1. A different Martin said on August 30, 2017 at 10:36 pm

        Update: I updated Fedora 26 KDE a few days ago, and the only LibreOffice program in the default repository seems to be LibreOffice Base (the database program). Maybe Fedora 26 KDE favors the “K” series of office applications and doesn’t want the hassle of having to make sure all the LibreOffice apps work correctly. I’m just guessing; I just found it odd that the entire LibreOffice suite didn’t show up in the default repo using the software management utility.

  4. A different Martin said on July 29, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Which Office program do you use?

    Yesterday morning I was using LibreOffice “Fresh” v. for Windows x86_64.

    By yesterday evening, I was using LibreOffice “Fresh” v. for Windows x86_64. (And I could’ve used the new version earlier in the day, since I actually ran into that numbered-list copying-and-pasting bug that got fixed!)

    The list of improvements in the release notes is pretty satisfying. LibreOffice has come a long way from the OpenOffice I used for a while ten years ago.

    One thing I’d like to see a LibreOffice team pay attention to is “professionalizing” the character spacing and kerning. I haven’t gone looking for problems in Calc, Impress, or other modules, but in Writer, it’s just awful to a typesetter’s or typographer’s eye, and amateurish to an untrained eye. (A hanging punctuation option would be cool, too!)

  5. kosiarzkredek said on July 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Did they finally fix bug with disappearing images in .odt documents?

    1. A different Martin said on August 2, 2017 at 6:36 am

      I didn’t want to say anything, because there are too many variables — different OSes and different user profiles, to name only two — but I’ve had multiple ODT documents containing multiple embedded images from LibreOffice 4.something-or-other x86 through LibreOffice x64, and I’ve never had a problem with disappearing images. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened to other people with different setups.

    2. Just a Guess said on August 2, 2017 at 2:39 am

      I suspect this is because the image in the document is referenced to a link, either on a local drive or the internet. Once the internet is unavailable or the original image file is deleted or moved, the link breaks.
      There has always been a way to embed an image rather than it just being a link.

  6. Al CiD said on July 29, 2017 at 10:05 am

    LibreOffice is a good way to recover broken MS-Office-Documents.
    Every time my customers need help with broken documents I first try them open in LibreOffice, mostly sucessfull.

    Sorry for my english

    1. A different Martin said on July 29, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      I’m not a pro, but I had to do that for my dad a few months back. The document — I think it was a *.dotx file that some grant-reviewing agency had sent him — could not be opened in Word 2010 or Word 2016, but LibreOffice 5.x opened it right up and the day was saved. (The document was from an agency that was reliable in terms of friendly intent, if not technical competence, so I wasn’t too worried about rogue macros. Still, I scanned it with two different AVs before trying to open it in any program.)

      Your English is perfectly understandable. The only changes I’d make would be I first try to open them in LibreOffice, mostly successfully. And English is always capitalized when referring to the language or nationality (but not to the spin imparted to a billiard or bowling ball). But trust me, native speakers who are careless typists and proofreaders do a lot worse than you did every day … including me. I always do my best to blame it on poor eyesight, and sometimes it’s even true.

  7. seeprime said on July 29, 2017 at 8:16 am

    We’ve installed LibreOffice on hundreds of customer PC’s. Most can’t afford MS Office. We set the default format to the latest MS Office formats and Writer’s default font to Calibri. You can’t see a difference when opening a Writer document in MS Office. When printing the page looks identical to the eye, but overlaid one prints out about 1 mm longer on a page than the other. No one cares about these minor differences. Issues with compatibility occur when LibreOffice is set to save in the default Open Document formats with it’s own fonts, instead of in MS Office’s format and default Calibri font.

  8. Anonymous said on July 29, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I tried both, v5.4.0 x86 and x64 on W7 x64. Far less efficient than the v, eg the menus are much longer to open, they are grayed before you can see the text. Disappointed.

    1. A different Martin said on July 29, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      Addendum: Maybe it’s just because I’ve started and exited it several times this morning and parts of it are cached, but the new version is loading and responding dramatically faster than the previous version did for me. And that’s with a profile with a bunch of macros, custom toolbar buttons, and custom dictionaries in it. I suppose it could just be a fluke.

      1. Anonymous said on July 29, 2017 at 9:51 pm
    2. A different Martin said on July 29, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      I’m running x64 on W7 x64 on a seven-year-old ThinkPad T510 with an i5, 8GB of RAM, and no GPU and I am not seeing that issue. If anything, it seems snappier that was. Are you sure it’s not a profile problem?

      1. Anonymous said on July 29, 2017 at 6:32 pm

        New installation, fresh profile. Intel Core2Duo E7500 4GB ram, Nvidia Graphic Card 9800GT. Absolutely no problem with other programs even graphic or video. First this version has a problem to load menus. Not tried with the x64 version as last time I tried it I found it less stable and it had a few strange graphical artifacts (line overlay problem etc) as already reported, don’t know if they have fixed that. Uninstalled.

  9. ilev said on July 29, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Never used Microsoft Office. Used OpenOffice and now LibreOffice, for years.

  10. Jeff said on July 29, 2017 at 6:45 am

    It still does not have the concept of delta patches/updates, does it? Every time you update, it downloads the huge bloated installer again. No thanks, this is why I use Microsoft Office 2007.

    1. A different Martin said on July 29, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      If you have slow Internet service with data caps, or limited drive space, I get it. Otherwise, it’s not too onerous a thing to do once every month or two (and that’s if you use the “Fresh” branch rather than the more conservative “Still” branch).

      Still, I’ve accumulated nearly 13GB of checksum-confirmed LO installers and over 29GB of parallel (~portable) LO installs, and I stopped downloading 32-bit installers and doing parallel installs maybe … nine months ago? It’s a big program.

  11. Jeff said on July 29, 2017 at 6:44 am

    It still does not have the concept of delta patches/updates, does it? Every time you update, it downloads the huge bloated installer again. No thanks, this is why I use Microsoft Office 2007.

  12. Anders P. said on July 28, 2017 at 11:48 pm


  13. john said on July 28, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    i use microsoft office products: word powerpoint and excel

    i use libre office to see what is going on and for friends that use it

    i must say impress has been improved sinced 5.3 version and you can achieve things like office or almost

    there are differences anyway and it’s hard to convert any document from an office to another perfectly

    you can work faster with MS products and for me it’s what matters since i had to do things as quick as possible

    but i got myself working with draw on PDFs not to create but to modify existing stuff

    uh! don’t they “increased” the number of row to 10000

    1. A different Martin said on July 29, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      For MS Office users who do basic, garden-variety things in Word and Excel, the transition to LibreOffice is pretty easy, especially if the users were/are familiar with the classic menu interface of Office 2003 and earlier. For more advanced, sophisticated features, there can be a learning curve (just as there was to learn them in Office).

      The things I miss most from MS Office are:

      * Word’s envelope wizard (or whatever they call it), which can automatically generate and place a US Postal Service barcode in the right position. Reading about what you have to do just to get USPS barcodes installed in LibreOffice gives me a headache.

      * Word’s dramatically better character spacing and kerning.

      * Word’s collapsible outline feature. (However, the last time I used it, on a friend’s copy of Word 2010, I didn’t find it as easy to use as it had previously been. Could be one of those learning-curve issues…)

      * Better-working conditional formatting in Excel, but according to the release notes, that may be changing.

      On balance, I’m happy I switched. No more licensing restrictions (install wherever, whenever, and how many times you wish). Far fewer security vulnerabilities. No bork-o-genic security patches. Much more respect for back-compatibility. A much more public-spirited publisher. Some pretty dedicated coders. And free, with donations gladly accepted.

      1. A different Martin said on August 30, 2017 at 10:21 pm


        Check out this list of bug reports and look for the titles that directly relate to scrolling:

        Maybe your problem is in there, and maybe someone has found a solution, workaround, or at least an explanation.

        If not, maybe you can improve your scrolling performance in LibreOffice by using a utility that allows you make custom mousing/scrolling settings for individual applications. Your hardware manufacturer may offer such a utility (like Logitech’s SetPoint) or you might be able to find a generic third-party utility. (I still have an old third-party freeware utility for Windows called KatMouse that allows you to specify different mouse-wheel-scrolling speeds for different apps.) I use TrackPoint scrolling on my ThinkPad, and to customize scrolling for some apps (and sometimes just to enable it in the first place), I have to manually edit the tp4table.dat file and reboot. There doesn’t seem to be any publicly released documentation for the file, so it’s an iterative, informed-guesswork process. Horizontal TrackPoint scrolling didn’t work out of the box for me in Calc, so, prodded by your comment, I’m editing my tp4table.dat file right now. (It didn’t annoy me quite enough to do anything about it before.) So … thanks for the prodding, I guess!

        You’ve also prodded me to file a LibreOffice bug report or enhancement request, suggesting that they include appropriate updates to the tp4table.dat file as part of the installation process. I can’t guess how many TrackPoint (or differently branded pointing stick) users are also LibreOffice users, but if my request is acted on, all of them will be indebted to your prodding as well.

      2. Abizar said on August 30, 2017 at 7:27 pm

        Like LibreOffice quite a bit except for one “feature” that is driving me nuts! The crappy scrolling. It is so hard to get a section of the document with the erratic scrolling. Quite a bit of fun when you have a large number of pages in the document!!

      3. chesscanoe said on July 29, 2017 at 8:50 pm

        Even though Microsoft Office was part of the “deal” when I bought my latest laptop almost 2 years ago, I ditched it for your positive reasons, and am no longer annoyed by its constant need for huge forced updates.

  14. Anonymous said on July 28, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    My portable office suite, not bloated or unusable with the French language destroyed like others. Can open and convert a lot of extensions etc. However I will never understand at start why in options/language settings I have to uncheck “Identique au paramètre de la locale” to have the comma instead of the point??? still a mystery. Long life to you LibreOffice.

    1. A different Martin said on July 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      What are your LibreOffice Paramètres locaux?

      When I change my user interface and locale setting to Français (France), leave the decimal separator checkbox checked (so that LO uses the locale’s default separator), and restart LibreOffice, LO correctly uses decimal commas instead of decimal points. (I tested it in Calc.)

      Is it possible that you are in a multilingual country where the decimal separator convention for the locale is the decimal point rather than the French language’s decimal comma? That’s the only thing I can think of off the top of my head.

      1. A different Martin said on July 30, 2017 at 7:36 am

        Hey, if it works, no need to look for the little beast, cut hairs in four, or do unspeakable things to flies, right? ;-) (One of my favorite pastimes is to do horribly unsuitable literal translations of song lyrics and idioms from French to English and vice versa. I had to clean that last one up a little, since this is a family blog. Anyway, I have fun with it and hope it didn’t take your cabbage.)

      2. Anonymous said on July 29, 2017 at 10:15 pm

        I redownloaded the portableapps installer, removed all other languages before a fresh installation and now it works fine for the first time, no need to uncheck that setting :D cool!

  15. Mark Hazard said on July 28, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I noticed that they haven’t done anything for Base (again).
    I do use Calc, but for word processing I use an older edition of WordPerfect (legally).

    1. A different Martin said on July 30, 2017 at 3:47 am

      I used WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS for years — it used to be standard in American law offices — and I never ran into a single bug. Maybe I was just lucky, but I don’t think I can say that about any other moderately sophisticated, moderately featured program I’ve ever used. (I never used a Windows version of WordPerfect; from what I hear, the initial versions were pretty problematic. Another instance of “we’re not done till 1-2-3 won’t run”?)

  16. CHEF-KOCH said on July 28, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Using it since years and fully replaced MS office.

  17. jern said on July 28, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    LibreOffice 5.4.0 is “The latest “fresh” version of LibreOffice, recommended for technology enthusiasts.”
    LibreOffice 5.3.4 is “The latest “The mature “still” version of LibreOffice, recommended for enterprises.”
    The Help/Update on my Mac (OSX 10.11.6) still shows me up-to-date at v.

    Two thumbs up for LibreOffice. Free is good.

  18. Valrobex said on July 28, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I’ve been using Libre Office now for quite a while since I’ve switched over to Linux Mint and it does everything I need for an office suite. However, I must admit I still have M$ Office 2003 on one of my machines. When I finally switch that machine over to Linux I’ll probably run M$ 2003 under VBox, more for sentimental reasons than for practical use.

    1. dark said on July 28, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      M$ Office 2003 looks like works under WineHQ.

      1. A different Martin said on July 30, 2017 at 3:36 am

        I recall checking Office 2010 for a friend, and I recall that it got very good compatibility reports on WineHQ, too.

  19. chesscanoe said on July 28, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    I made a finger-check earlier today and installed LO x32 over LO x64 under Windows 10 x64 CU home. The installer handled what I asked for in a smooth way and after several hours of informal and incomplete testing, I am very pleased with LO and have no immediate plan to install LO 5.4 x64.

    1. chesscanoe said on September 3, 2017 at 3:43 am

      I installed LO x64 over LO x32 from with no problem. FYI

    2. A different Martin said on July 29, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      When the Document Foundation first started offering LO for Windows in a 64-bit version, starting with version 5.x, some people (including me) noticed that the 64-bit version seemed to load significantly faster than the 32-bit version. Since then, I’ve installed LO for Windows x86_64 (64-bit) on computers with more than 4GB of RAM. There’s still one computer in my extended family that has only 4GB of RAM, and I still use the x86 (32-bit) version on that. I don’t know whether LO x64 still loads faster than LO x86, however, as it’s been quite a long time since I ran a side-by-side comparison on the same computer. (I used to do “parallel,” i.e., portable, installs of both x64 and x86 versions for regression testing, but they started taking up a fair amount of drive space. Also, I haven’t run into a bug that was annoying enough to test and report for a while.* To be a good LO citizen, I suppose I should resume doing parallel installs and just keep them on an external drive until I actually need them.)

      *At one point, I ran into a CPU-overuse bug in the 64-bit version of Writer 5.x that didn’t occur in the 32-bit version — when the document I was working on had long, unbroken paragraphs, I seem to recall — but my bug report was acted on quickly and I believe the bug was fixed by the next “Fresh” release.

  20. TianlanSha said on July 28, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Since I rarely use office software, I don’t know how much has LibreOffice improved over the past couple of years, last time I checked it was still dragging behind M$ Office. I’d like to believe that now it’s on par if not better.

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