A new version of open-source office suite LibreOffice is now available for download and the hands behind it are calling it ‘the most beautiful’ release ever.

Jan Holesovsky, leader of the LibreOffice design team, says “LibreOffice 4.4 has got a lot of UX and design love, and in my opinion is the most beautiful ever.”

The productivity suite, which was spun out of the slow moving OpenOffice project back in 2010, has certainly upped its game in the design department over the past few years, with each release of the 4.x series adding finesse.

In LibreOffice 4.4 that finesse extends everywhere — from redesigned menu bars, toolbars and context menus to cleaner, more visible in-page rulers. There’s a new color selection picker, sidebar improvements and a bunch of “reworked…interface details to follow today’s UX trends”.

The Sifr monochrome icon theme, which debuted a year ago, is now used as the default icon set on OS X (it’s a click or two away on Ubuntu).

If you have a spare couple of hours you can pour over the entire changelog for this latest update on the Document Foundation wiki at wiki.documentfoundation.org/ReleaseNotes/4.4.

To help illustrate a few of the GUI changes The Document Foundation has made this fancy graphic:

Image: The Document Foundation

Other changes include:

  • Writer: Sidebar enabled by default
  • Writer: Cut, Copy and Paste actions at the top of right-click menu
  • Writer: ‘Paste Special’ now a sub-menu in right-click menu
  • Writer: Infobar to indicate ‘read-only’ mode
  • Firefox Themes now apply to bottom bar
  • OpenGL framework improvements
  • Support for connecting to OneDrive directly from LibreOffice
  • ‘Carlito’ and ‘Caladea’ fonts (Windows)
  • New default templates
  • Visual editing of Impress master pages
  • ‘Track Changes’ improvements
  • Improved import filters for a wider range of file formats from other software
  • Expanded support for media capabilities on each platform

Download LibreOffice 4.4

LibreOffice 4.4 is available to download on Windows, Mac and Linux from the libreoffice.org website.

Ubuntu 15.04 will ship with this major release installed by default.

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