LibreOffice 6.3 with performance improvements - gHacks Tech News

LibreOffice 6.3 with performance improvements

A new version of the open source Office suite LibreOffice, LibreOffice 6.3, is now available. The new version can be downloaded for all supported operating systems from the official project website or by using built-in updating functionality.

The development team released the last major update in February 2019. LibreOffice 6.2 introduced an optional tabbed ribbon-like interface at the time.

The new version features performance improvements, a new document redaction option, Twain support in the 64-bit version on Windows, and improved compatibility with certain Microsoft Office document formats.

LibreOffice 6.3 introduces several major changes and improvements. One of the notable changes improves the program's loading and saving performance. The two core programs Writer (Word) and Calc (Excel) load and save some documents significantly faster in the release.

libreoffice 6.3 update

Writer loads certain ODT files, e.g. those with lots of bookmarks, as well as documents with large tables or embedded fonts significantly faster. Calc's loading performance of XLSX and ODS files, saving of XLS spreadsheets, and loading and rendering of files with VLOOKUP was improved considerably as well.

The new release features additional improvements. Copying of filter cells from Calc to Writer copies and pastes only the filtered cells into a table in Writer. Version 6.2 of LibreOffice pasted all cells, and pre-6.2 versions did not display a proper table in the document.

Other Writer improvements include that page backgrounds -- color, gradient and tiled bitmaps -- cover the entire page, new bottom-to-top and left-to-right writing directions in table cells and text frames,  support for the importing of charts from Docs drawingML group shapes, and support for Word form controls as of this release.

The latter needs to be enabled under Tools > Options > Writer > Compatibility > Reorganize Forms menu to have it MS compatible.

The spreadsheet application Cacl features reworked sampling options and support for new spreadsheet FOURIER() functions.

Here is a quick overview of other improvements and changes:

  • Writer, Calc, Impress, and Draw have full Tabbed Compact UI versions. Select using View > User Interface.
  • Multiple Impress animations may now be reordered using drag and drop.
  • Fixes for OOXML preset shapes.
  • Import of SmartArt from PPTX files improved.
  • Firebird Migration Assistant is now enabled by default in Base.
  • Math introduces support for harpoon and wideharpoon attributes.
  • TWAIN module is now available as a standalone 32-bit shim executable (twain32shim.exe) so that 64-bit versions of LibreOffice for windows may use scanner.
  • Option to adjust the number of saved searches in Find & Replace under Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced
  • Tip of the Day shows a tip a day on start. Can be disabled.
  • Release notes link displayed in the application after updates.
  • Option to react documents. To use it, select Tools > Redact from the menu.

libreoffice redaction

Redacted documents can be exported as PDF or ODG documents.

The full release notes of LibreOffice 6.3 are available on the Document Foundation Wiki website.

Closing Words

LibreOffice 6.3 is a big release that introduces several improvements and new features to the Office suite.  Better loading and saving performance, the redaction tool, and other changes need to be mentioned specifically in this regard.

Now You: which Office suite, if any, do you use?

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LibreOffice 6.3 with performance improvements
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LibreOffice 6.3 with performance improvements
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A new version of the open source Office suite LibreOffice, LibreOffice 6.3, is now available featuring performance improvements, a new redaction tool, new interface options, and more.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. rip said on August 8, 2019 at 7:49 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for this update, Martin. I have so many different systems running Linux/Windows that I don’t always keep up-to-date. You are doing a good service by posting these news articles.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 8, 2019 at 8:14 pm
      Reply

      You are welcome. I try to cover the major releases at the very least.

  2. chesscanoe said on August 8, 2019 at 8:54 pm
    Reply

    I do not use LibreOffice because it is free, but because it is easier for me to get the result I want. I deleted the included Microsoft Office on my laptop about 3 years ago, and have not missed it since. I am a light user of an office suite, so my comments probably are not valid for an experienced Office user.

    1. Kommenter said on August 9, 2019 at 10:07 pm
      Reply

      Same boat, I am a casual user, had LO for a minute now. How does it compare to MSO these days?

      1. Liberty said on August 10, 2019 at 7:55 pm
        Reply

        I think it compares very well. I don’t write complex documents., but I’ve found compatability with Microsoft Office pretty good. I find Writer pretty much equal to Word, but Calc better and easier than Excel. The ease to export files to M$soft and PDF makes it a winner.

        The thing is LibreOffice keeps getting better. Although there are updates in Office, I don’t think it has got any better.

        One thing I would love to see someday is an integration with Thunderbird. Access to the database with Base and using writer as the editor would be awesome.

    2. Peterc said on August 10, 2019 at 9:08 pm
      Reply

      @chesscanoe:

      For light, casual use, LibreOffice is a no-brainer substitute for MS Office. The only thing I really miss for that kind of use is MS Word’s envelope wizard (or whatever they call it), which automatically generates and places a US Postal Service barcode in the right place. Last I checked, you’d have to download a barcode font from USPS (which I did) and be an expert LibreOffice macro-writer (which I’m not) to even come *close* in LibreOffice.

      For advanced use, there is a definite learning curve if you switch, and if you rely heavily on certain functions and features that are (currently) exclusive to MS Office, you might not want to switch at all. I hear this most often from Excel users.

      One thing not brought up so far is that MS Office seems to be moving in the direction of becoming a cloud-only (or at least a hybrid local+cloud) suite, which has serious privacy implications. Just a week or two ago, the Dutch government told its employees not to use Office Online — recently renamed to just “Office,” hint, hint — because they had (once again) caught Microsoft storing data on US servers not subject to EU privacy laws. The South Korean government is switching from Windows to Linux because of similar concerns with Windows 10. In short, if you want to keep your data private, LibreOffice is a much more attractive option than MS Office, notwithstanding any learning curves and missing features.

      PS: My biggest problem is that all three of my laptops are, like, *one* generation too old to support LibreOffice’s advanced font-handling features, so the horizontal character spacing in my documents looks *awful* to anyone who’s not completely blind to good typography. But I should be getting a new computer within a year or two, and at that point I will supposedly be able to produce professional-typesetting-caliber output. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. Franck said on August 8, 2019 at 10:02 pm
    Reply

    It looks very promising, I am eager to install it !

  4. ULBoom said on August 8, 2019 at 10:22 pm
    Reply

    Libre, works great!

  5. Mark Hazard said on August 8, 2019 at 11:46 pm
    Reply

    I use LibreOffice and I like it.
    Will install the new release anon.

  6. Clairvaux said on August 8, 2019 at 11:48 pm
    Reply

    Sorry for a maintenance post.

    I have started receiving email alerts about comments that seem to be duplicates. They arrive in bulk (maybe 50 at a time, or more) and are relevant to many old posts. So I assume this is a bug, or a mistake. I had to write a rule to bin them all. Has anyone else seen that ?

    As I am writing this, I see that there is no more option to subscribe to alerts for new comments. Cloud that be part of the bug / change ?

    1. Yuliya said on August 8, 2019 at 11:57 pm
      Reply

      Interesting, yesterday that option was in place, I remember I was staring at it as I tested something in firefox and that browser can’t render it properly. Regardless, it’s gone, but I’m not receiving any e-mail. I never did as I never subscribed to e-mail responses.

    2. Klaas Vaak said on August 9, 2019 at 9:44 am
      Reply

      @Clairvaux: I also received those old email alerts – 200 odd. I am not as tech savvy as you are so did not write a rule but deleted them manually.

    3. Martin Brinkmann said on August 9, 2019 at 9:51 am
      Reply

      Apologies for that: mail sending was enabled again on the host and the old queue was sent out. It won’t happen again, I had to disable the subscribe to comments plugin because it caused quite a few issues on the site.

  7. stefann said on August 9, 2019 at 12:29 am
    Reply

    A no go for me – it wants to install an update from Microsoft ! No thanks ! (My Windows 7 x64 hasn’t been updates since May 2017 and is stable. Any later update will make it buggy !)

    1. ilev said on August 9, 2019 at 7:54 am
      Reply

      Wait for the portable version in a couple of weeks.
      I use only the portable versions.

    2. pbr said on August 10, 2019 at 4:51 pm
      Reply

      The update in question is KB2999226 and is discussed here: https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=122134 . Fwiw, I noted the attempt to install the update during installation; however, it is nowhere to be found on my computer after installation is completed (Win10, build 1803) because, I’m guessing, it is not needed by the current OS.

  8. pbr said on August 9, 2019 at 1:13 am
    Reply

    Does this release address the LibreLogo vulnerability which was supposed to have been fixed in 6.2.5 but apparently wasn’t? Or does the fix still consist of not installing the LibreLogo component, per the 30 Jul 2019 Register article “Fix LibreOffice now to thwart silent macro viruses – and here’s how to pwn those who haven’t”? (Sometimes I wish The Register wouldn’t go out of its way to throw snark into their headlines — but that’s The Reg.)

  9. Anonymous said on August 9, 2019 at 6:47 am
    Reply

    You note “The new version can be downloaded for all supported operating systems from the official project website or by using built-in updating functionality.”

    That built-in updating feature never worked for me.
    If I select “Check for Updates” it returns “LibreOffice 6.2 is up to date”

    Does “Check for updates” work for you?
    I am running it on Windows 7 and 10.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 9, 2019 at 6:49 am
      Reply

      It may return an older version at this time, but this should change soon. If you cannot wait to upgrade, do a manual download and install instead as this will work 100%.

    2. sunnytimes said on August 9, 2019 at 2:37 pm
      Reply

      use ninite.com .. works like a champ for me on the many many computers i need to keep updated.

      thanks for the article Martin , the best office suite gets better!

  10. JohnIL said on August 9, 2019 at 4:57 pm
    Reply

    I think its a decent suite of office apps for many people, if you need or work in a Microsoft Office environment maybe not. But certainly its a option for some wanting to avoid fees for something they may not use enough to justify paying for.

  11. Peterc said on August 10, 2019 at 3:35 am
    Reply

    In Windows, I just updated to LibreOffice 6.3.0.4, the full version number of the release this article is talking about. The only “hassle” was that I had to respecify my Java Runtime Environment, in Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced.

    In the first document I loaded, there were three sequential nag banners for (1) reading the release notes, (2) getting involved, and (3) donating, but that was it.

    By default, the “Tip of the Day” pops up (at least in Writer). I actually appreciated that, since it’s a good way to learn new things that might come in handy and that you wouldn’t otherwise necessarily think to look for. Apparently, it only pops up once a day, and you can disable it if you want to.

    Finally, my Windows computer is a nine-year-old middle-of-the-road laptop, and I wasn’t blown away by faster document load and save times for a moderately complex ~5MB Writer document with hundreds of index entries, a table of contents, and a moderate number of big embedded graphics. I suppose they might be *somewhat* faster than they were before. A 14MB Writer document with no index entries or table of contents but with at least a couple hundred small embedded graphics *loaded* pretty quickly, but its save speeds didn’t blow me away, either. I guess I’m not surprised; there’s only so much speed you can expect from a machine as old as mine.

    In Linux Mint 19.2, the repo version of LibreOffice (from the Ubuntu 18.04 base repo) is still at 6.0.7.3, which is starting to get a bit long in the tooth, so I just installed the Flatpack for LibreOffice Fresh. It’s currently at 6.2.5.2 (6.3.0.4’s stable predecessor, the one I just updated from in Windows), but one can hope that it will soon be updated to 6.3.0.4.

    The problem is, I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get the Flatpak app to use my regular, non-Flatpak LibreOffice user profile. (I’ve put a lot of work into my profile — macros, custom toolbars, custom dictionaries, and the like — and I prefer to maintain a single copy of it rather than sync it between two different locations.) There’s obviously something in the Flatpak that’s overriding or redirecting the profile path in the Flatpak’s boostraprc file, but after a few hours of googling and checking out different possibilities, I’m no closer to figuring out what it is.

    I’m still pretty much a beginner at Linux and close to an absolute noob at Flatpak. All I know for *sure* is that the folks at Flatpak think it’s *bad practice* for a Flatpak app to access regular configuration files. I never had a problem sharing my registered LibreOffice 4+ installs’ user profile with a bunch of different parallel (portable) LibreOffice 4+ installs in Windows, for regression testing, but whatever. It may be true that “Linux is not Windows,” but LibreOffice is LibreOffice, right? Do Flatpak apps not lock in-use external configuration files or something?

    Long story short, the official LibreOffice “Fresh” PPA is starting to look *pretty good* to me, potential library conflicts be damned. ;-) One can hope that *it* will soon get updated to 6.3.0.4 as well.

    PS: Boy, do Catfish and the Drill AppImage file-search app ever *suck* compared to Everything. (This is not really a non sequitur. I had to search for a number of different files trying to fix my LibreOffice Flatpak user-profile problem, and if I had been able to use Everything in Linux, it would have saved me *at least* 45 minutes and probably closer to an hour.) Everything is not enough to make me stick with Windows when 7 hits end of life, but I *sure am going to miss it*. Everything’s author mentioned that he was thinking about porting it to Linux. I really hope he follows through!

    1. Peterc said on August 12, 2019 at 7:13 pm
      Reply

      I ended up posting a question about the user-profile problem at Flathub, but (being impatient) I then copied and pasted my regular user-profile directory over the Flatpak’s user-profile directory. And after I did that, the LibreOffice Flatpak *whined* when I tried to launch it and wouldn’t load. (It was then that I realized why Flatpak-specific user profiles are so heavily sandboxed and protected: they contain the NOC List from the first Mission Impossible movie. Tom Cruise had to get *Ving Rhames* to hack into the CIA’s mainframe to get it. What chance did a clueless noob like me have with a *Flatpak*? ;-)

      Anyway, I ended up uninstalling the Flatpak and replacing it with the LibreOffice Fresh PPA. Like the Flatpak, the PPA is still at the previous Fresh release (6.2.5.2), but I’m pretty sure it will get updated sometime soon. (I’ve used the Fresh PPA in the past, in Mint 17.3 and 18-18.3, and it always has.) My existing profile loaded just fine and it works a charm. WAY easier, and — I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I wasted trying to troubleshoot and fix the Flatpak issue — a good three hours faster! Sheesh!

  12. Jeff said on August 10, 2019 at 8:01 am
    Reply

    Do they finally have the concept of updates, as in, not downloading the full installer again? They use Windows Installer (MSI) which already has a feature to do MSP patches/delta updates but they don’t use it. And MS Office’s updating is so sophisticated that they have moved on even beyond MSI. The Click-To-Run technology downloads just the newest bits over the cloud.

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