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LibreOffice 5.3 Is The ‘Most Feature-Rich Release’ Ever

libreoffice app icons

A new month, and a brand new version of open-source office suite LibreOffice is now available to download.

And what a release it is.

LibreOffice 5.3 introduces a number of key new features and continues work on improving the look and feel of the app across all major platforms.

The Document Foundation describes LibreOffice 5.3 as ‘one of the most feature-rich releases in the history of the application’.

That’s a pretty bold claim. Does it live up to it?

Let’s take a look…

LibreOffice 5.3: New Features

The latest update to roll out under the steerage of The Document Foundation introduces (among many things) some experimental new UI layouts designed to make the app easier to use.

We’ve told you about the MUFFIN interface project — MUFFIN stands for My User Friendly & Flexible Interface — a fair bit over the past few months, but if you haven’t heard of it it’s a new UI initiative that introduces 4 different layouts for LibreOffice applications, including a Microsoft Ribbon-esque tabbed UI and a slim, simplified, single panel toolbar.

libreoffice 5.3 notebookbar

The “Ribbon” Style Interface in LibreOffice 5.3

Writer gains a new ‘Go to Page’ dialog box to help users jump to specific pages within a document; a selection of table styles has been implemented in Writer; and the app now boasts a small set of drawing tools.

A new safe mode feature has been added. This let you start LibreOffice with a temporary clean user profile, and will be of help when trying to troubleshoot or fix a broken configuration. The feature can be found in the Help menu.

Anew text layout engine using HarfBuzz is included. This will help ensure ‘consistent text layout across all platforms’, the TDF say. ‘All text layout now goes through HarfBuzz, there is no longer any distinction between so-called simple and complex scripts.’

libreoffice emoji picker

Yup, emoji support in LibreOffice

If you’re regularly opening and editing documents that originate from Microsoft Office you’ll be happy to hear that Office URL Schemes are now supported in LibreOffice.

Keyboard shortcuts appear in context menus. This helps you discover and learn keyboard shortcuts for features. If you don’t like their presence you can turn them off via the Tools > Options > View > Menu menu.

  • Simplified document recovery dialog
  • The Emoji One font included to offer Emoji support
  • Experimental toolbar to insert Emojis
  • New color palettes, including recently used
  • Redesigned extension manager
  • Media playback panel
  • Preview option in Styles & Formatting sidebar
  • Insert PDFs into your documents as images

No new release would be worth its salt without some the usual shrinking of interoperability tweaks for Microsoft Office and other documents, bug fixes, and general performance tweaks.

LibreOffice 5.3 also sees the first source release of LibreOffice Online. This is a cloud-based office suite which provides basic collaborative editing of documents in a browser using the LibreOffice “core engine”.

This is solely a server service for enterprise and large organisations and is not something any Jane or Josh will want to write.  Builds of LibreOffice Online source code are available as Docker images @ hub.docker.com/r/libreoffice/online.

You can find a comprehensive rundown of every change, big and small, in the official release notes for LibreOffice 5.3.

Download LibreOffice 5.3

LibreOffice 5.3 is available to download for Windows, macOS and Linux right this very second. You’ll find installers and full release information on The Document Foundation website:

Download LibreOffice

LibreOffice is also available to install as a Flatpak app, and various PPAs providing the latest version to Ubuntu users are also available.