LibreOffice has long since moved on from being an offshoot of the OpenOffice project. It's now the go-to alternative to Microsoft Office, enjoying regular development and a constant tweaking to keep it up to date, stable and secure.
While LibreOffice lacks the slick presentation of rival Windows freebie Kingsoft Office Suite Free and its Office-inspired ribbon interface, it has the major advantage of offering a full set of office applications, including database, drawing package and mathematical tool on top of the requisite word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tool found in most free office suites.
While it’s definitely more navigable than before thanks to better placement of tools and visual previews of styles direct from the main toolbar, it still looks a little dated, despite the refreshed icon sets. Nevertheless, this is still a powerful suite capable of meeting most people's needs, making this zero-cost alternative to Office a valuable tool to have in your armoury.
Ever-improving support for third-party file types (including both new and classic Office formats) means you're not cutting yourself off from industry standards while cross-platform support means you can run LibreOffice on Windows, Mac or Linux without having to retrain yourself to a new way of working each time.
Don’t be put off by the dated user interface – LibreOffice is a powerful tool that includes all the core functionality most people will ever need.
What else is new in LibreOffice 7.2 (see changelog for more info)?
- Alphabetical indexes, tables of contents and user-defined indexes will now generate clickable hyperlinks to document index entry marks core commit 7685c074 (Michael Stahl, allotropia)
- Writer showing various indexes, and the mouse-over tooltip for a hyperlink to a document index entry mark
- All background fills can now be set to either cover the page inside the margins or the entire page core commit 56d8007a (Michael Stahl, allotropia)
- Writer showing pages with BackgroundFullSize on and off
- Page styles can now have a gutter margin blog post (Miklos Vajna, Collabora)
- Gutter margin in Writer
- Bibliography improvements: tooltip for bibliography entry fields and clickable URLs in the bibliography table blog post (Miklos Vajna, Collabora)
- Added label and business card paper (A-One, Hisago, Sanwa Supply, Daiso) data used in Japan. This work is based on data included in the "Default Settings for Japanese" extension, which was developed mainly by Masahisa Kamataki. core commit baddf594 (JO3EMC, Jun Nogata)
- The Word-compatible table border painting now has better support for merged cells blog post (Miklos Vajna, Collabora)
- As-char images can now have a size larger than 65k twips (about 116 cms) blog post (Miklos Vajna, Collabora)
- When Writer document is exported to PDF, links between anchors and footnotes or endnotes (even if not on the same page) are now available in both directions core commit 51d1952c core commit 38cff2a3 (Georgy Litvinov)
- Support for list format strings in ODT files: right now complex numbering rules from DOCX are supported also for ODT core commit 9987b518 (Vasily Melenchuk, CIB)
- Spell-checking for indices is disabled now (language set to None for paragraph style Index and children) tdf#143066 (Heiko Tietze, TDF)
- Image file type is now displayed in the Image Properties dialog (Format ▸ Image ▸ Properties... ▸ Image), not just the Compress dialog. tdf#138843 (Shubham Jain)