LibreOffice 7.2 is now available to download.

”Over 60% of code commits for the brand new version […] are focused on interoperability with Microsoft’s proprietary file formats,” The Document Foundation say of the update, the first major release since February.

Reading and writing to Microsoft Office file formats, like .docx and .pptx remains a key ask of this open source office suite, and something its millions of users rely on daily. Every entry in LibreOffice suite gains speed improvements with this uplift, with Calc’s opening and scrolling through large .xlsx files a notable highlight.

But enough about Interoperability. LibreOffice 7.2 (aka ‘LibreOffice 7.2 Community Edition’) naturally comes with a set of small-sounding changes that add up to a big impact. There are even some major new features in LibreOffice 7.2 designed to improve productivity and document quality.

For me, the headline addition in this update is the new command HUD (“Heads-up display”).

This tool is available in each of LibreOffice’s individual suite components. It lets you search for and run commands, much like the HUD in Ubuntu’s Unity desktop did. You can access the LibreOffice HUD from the Help > Search Commands menu item, or by pressing the shortcut shift + esc:

an animated gif of the command hud in libreoffice 7.2
Quickly find commands with the new HUD

Some other general improvements of note include a scrollable style picker in the NotebookBar (which remains optional and not enabled by default); the ability to access Fontwork options in the sidebar; and browse LibreOffice templates in the Templates dialog as a list, rather than a collection of thumbnails.

Dark mode fans will be pleased to hear this release includes a new LibreOffice dark mode colour scheme. This id designed to compliment the dark theme enabled by your system. To enable it, head to Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Application Colors, select the ‘LibreOffice Dark‘ option, and hit Apply.

A screenshot of the applications colours panel in LibreOffice 7.2
LibreOffice 7.2 include a dark colour scheme

The Writer app now supports background fills (beyond margins) for whole pages; adds the ability to set gutter margins for page styles; and intros RDF metadata in the Style Inspector. Bibliography entry fields also gain tooltips and, rather usefully, clickable links in the generated bibliography section.

The Calc app can now filter by color in AutoFilter, and show captions for HTML tables listed in the External Data dialog. The app also picks up an improved ‘Paste Special’ dialog, which should make transposing data from one source to another a bit easier.

Not to be left out, Impress gains 5 new presentation templates, adds support for multiple column text boxes; and surfaces access to scaling factor in the status bar:

a screenshot of libreoffice impress text box attributes
New templates and new options for text boxes

Finally, LibreOffice 7.2 is available natively for Apple Silicon. Don’t get too excited; it’s an early-stage development preview that The Document Foundation stress “should not be used for any critical purpose at this stage.”

See the LibreOffice 7.2 release notes for even more changes.

You can download LibreOffice 7.2 for Windows, macOS and Linux from the LibreOffice website.

LibreOffice is also available from Flathub, and the Snapcraft store. LibreOffice 7.2 will be available to install using the LibreOffice Fresh PPA, though builds for v7.2 are NOT present in the PPA at the time you read this.

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