A new version of the free office software suite LibreOffice has been released, bringing with it enhanced compatibility with Microsoft Office file types.
in one blog entry (opens in new tab) When announcing the update, the manufacturer of the open source software package explained why it was so difficult to build in Office compatibility in the past.
“Microsoft files are still based on the proprietary format rejected by ISO in 2008, rather than the ISO-approved standard, so they hide a large amount of artificial complexity,” the blog post reads. “This leads to handling problems with LibreOffice, which uses a true open standard format (the OpenDocument format) by default.”
Given Office’s popularity and the sheer number of documents out there, LibreOffice needs to offer broad compatibility to draw users away from Microsoft. The team says users with this goal can expect multiple updates in quick succession.
For those who don’t know, LibreOffice is a suite of office software designed to cover the same bases as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. In the words of our reviewer, LibreOffice offers “a competing suite of office software that is just as exceptional, versatile, and feature-rich without incurring any cost to its users.”
With the cost of living rising, the open-source suite could be an excellent option for anyone looking to save on the cost of a subscription, especially with the introduction of expanded Office compatibility.
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According to the blog post, users should check for new versions of LibreOffice regularly, as compatibility upgrades come so dense and fast that “each new version improves dramatically over the previous one”.
While this is arguably the biggest, it’s not the only change in LibreOffice 7.4. In fact, there are several improvements in the latest version of the productivity suite, including the spreadsheet app Calc, which now supports 16,374 columns, and the entire suite now gets dark mode support in Windows 10 and 11.
In terms of performance, the team has also made improvements for cases like PDF export, document loading, and more.
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