1. hibiscus

    hibiscus New Member

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    LibreOffice Writer

    Discussion in 'Software' started by hibiscus, May 9, 2019.

    Is there anyone using it here?
    I want to know what functions you are using the most and you are using it.

    Thanks.
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    yep - its basically a word processor so the features I use are you know, writing...
     
  3. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    I want to like LibreOffice. I like the concept of open-source software, and the push for interoperability and open-source file formats. However, I do not use LibreOffice a lot, and I cannot recommend it without objections.

    This bears some explanation.

    Now, note that I'm on a Mac, and the following may only apply to the Mac version.

    One of the big problems is that it does some things its own way, without acknowledging how it is supposed to be done on the host operating system. In the case of LibreOffice, the most noticeable (for me) is the way it internally handles, and names, fonts. The main reason I use LibreOffice is to convert from and to other file formats, and every file I open with it shows fonts in italics in the toolbar, which is the warning of "font not installed". Of course the "not installed" isn't true – the files in question were made on the same system with the same fonts installed – but that Libre's font handling is different: It does not use the font/typeface family, but the specific font in use: It doesn't say "Helvetica", but the specific "Helvetica Regular 12pt" in use. (Note that if I change the font within Libre's user interface, it does only say "Helvetica", and adds the "Regular"/"Bold", "12pt" etc. separately, the way any other app does it, too.) Fortunately, in most cases the document is displayed with the correct font ... but not always. Upon cleaning up the document, via the style system, I notice that the style handling is quite messy and confusing (each paragraph has at least two sets of formatting associated with it, which are changed with identical dialog windows, it's easy to get one when one needs the other, there can be conflicting information in both, which results in that you can change one set without having any effect on your document.)

    There are a lot more issues I have with it (like the style handling, there is a lot of confusing user interface and work flow problems), but the font problem and the style handling are the most obvious, to me.

    The user interface and workflow things are enough for me to stay away from it as a main tool, even though the font issue does not appear as long as you only deal with Libre files. If you're a Mac user and want to not pay anything, I would recommend Pages. (There is a commercial app based on LibreOffice called NeoOffice, but as far as I am concerned, it only fixes superficialities and shares the same basic usability problems Libre has, including the internal font handling. To me, it's wasting money to buy Neo when you can have Libre for free.)
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
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  4. hibiscus

    hibiscus New Member

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  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    libre office doesnt have those - but i use an actual real life editor to polish my work.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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  7. jannert

    jannert Super Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yee ha. So it's not just me who didn't get too far with LibreOffice on the Mac. I also use Pages, and have always used the Mac wordprocessing programme and suite ...ClarisWorks, AppleWorks and then Pages.

    I installed LibreOffice a few years ago (when I was pissed off at the newer version of Pages which no longer exported files to Rich Text Format ...fortunately the newer version corrected this flaw). I installed LibreOffice from the Apple App Store, no problem—it seemed okay.

    Then I copy/pasted one of my book chapters into a new LibreOffice document. Still no problems. I was beginning to get excited about it.

    Then I had to shut my computer down, and when I came back ...ALL of my Pages documents would only open in LibreOffice! Yikes. I couldn't work in Pages any more at all.

    I fiddled around with Permissions, but couldn't get it to switch back. I didn't hang around to solve the problem. I quickly de-installed LibreOffice, and never went back to it. Now that Pages has restored the functions I was missing, there isn't really any need to.

    It might well have been something I did wrong, but new programme automatically replacing another as the default seemed a bit over-eager to me. I didn't hang around long enough to experience the font issue!
     
  8. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    That's the second time someone mentioned the "Open With" settings had been changed unintentionally! Both times with LibreOffice to boot. That shouldn't happen. I never had this happen (on the Mac. It happened to me on Windows aplenty.) It's not that I don't believe you – I do – but I want to figure out why it happened as it shouldn't.

    I googled around and found that the simple search terms do not find anything, leading me to think it's a rare problem, but then I stumbled upon a few forums that describe that problem and found the culprit not being LibreOffice, but weirdly Firefox (although the affected file associations were with Adobe applications, LibreOffice, image and video viewers and editors, etc., not with Firefox itself.) The workaround seems to be to go into the Firefox settings ("about:config" in the address bar), and changing the sandbox level from 3 to 2.

    If it happens again, and you have and use Firefox, that might be something to try.

    (I do use Firefox, but only occasionally, so maybe that's why I got lucky so far. There could also be some Apple related bug that allowed Firefox to do it that caused the issue to vanish with a macOS update.)

    Back on topic, I recently found LibreOffice:Mac rather bad for opening non-Libre files. It seems to have gotten worse from the last time I tried it. I tried it with a few files the last few days, and would rate Libre just "barely acceptable" to "a lot of work to fix". Among those was a Pages files, exported to .docx, and opening in Word flawlessly, which in Libre opened with the wrong line spacing, wrong margins, and wrong table contents (both wrong formatting and formula errors.) Meanwhile, with Pages, Word, Nisus Writer and Scrivener, all my trials would rate "flawless" to "acceptable" (the latter being the top and bottom margins with Nisus Writer files, as Nisus Writer defines margins and headers/footers slightly different, but this is really just a minor problem and easy fix. Ironic that Nisus Writer uses the LibreOffice libraries to convert to and from Word, but seems to do a better job with them than Libre itself.)
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  9. jannert

    jannert Super Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Oh holy moly, that might be it. I do use Firefox. It never would have occurred to me that it was a Firefox/Adobe issue! Good to know. I'm glad I didn't imagine the problem, or overlook something incredibly obvious, like Permissions. I didn't stick with it long enough to find out, as I didn't really need LibreOffice in the first place. And it scared the shit out of me ...totally losing access to working in Pages. I solved the problem by removing all traces of LibreOffice from my computer. I've been wary of it ever since.
     
  10. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    I used Pages for a while. I'm not fully informed on Pages features, but I could live with it.

    Microsoft Word, for me, is dis-inspirational. If I had to put some science behind that accusation, I'd say poor cross platform support turns me off.

    Curiously, I'm fine with Mac-only solutions. That may be because the apps I use support non-proprietary file formats, and I could move to Linux if I wanted to.

    Note taking - I'd like to find a standard setup for that. The latest update to MindNode has a nice focus function, which makes it work like a pale shadow of The Brain. It's probably enough for mapping out ideas for a short story or a novel (and how I wish I could write novels).

    The Brain would be perfect for me, except it's a little out of my budget and it's too cloud-centric. My idea of cloud support for personal applications is save files in cloud storage. I don't want per-application cloud servers.
     
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  11. frigocc

    frigocc Active Member

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    It's too unstable for me. Crashes a lot on my Linux laptop. The formatting also gets messed up when going to/from a Word document. Honestly, I've just been using Docs, and keep everything redundant by copying everything to Dropbox and a 256GB flash drive.
     
  12. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    On Linux, one of the big problems (not only for LibreOffice) is the different set of fonts. It can somehow be mitigated if you install the standard Windows fonts and use only those, but things I have on my Mac – like Helvetica – you can forget for easy cooperation between Linux and Win/Mac (Win/Mac coop works quite well). Although there are open source clones – in particular for Helvetica – they are not completely the same, are not recognized by the system (even IF you use the same open source fonts in foreseeing the problem (!) due to the same way of internally naming typefaces and fonts that plagues Libre:Mac), and I have yet to see a proper alternative font choice when going from Linux to Mac or vice versa. (Again, when going from Mac to Win or reverse, for the well known typefaces there are proper replacement font pairs coded so that design and formatting issues are not that severe, even if they are there.)

    NB: Though when going from InkScape:Mac to InkScape:Linux, it was quite funny to see a text element appearing in a completely different font with completely different metrics, but the shadow derived from it still in the shape of the original font. It's a lot of work where you have to pay a lot of attention to very innocuous details if you want to work with both Linux and Mac (or Win). I wonder how much that influences Linux adoption rates.
     
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