back to article LibreOffice improves Microsoft compatibility with version 7.4

Just over six months on from version 7.3, LibreOffice 7.4 Community has arrived, boasting improvements in Microsoft Office compatibility. File compatibility has long been a significant roadblock for users and organizations seeking an alternative to Microsoft's ubiquitous productivity suite. "Microsoft files are still based on …

  1. boblongii

    My God!

    Microsoft ignoring the very standard that they stuff the panel for to get it approved so that competitors still have to do the work to meet it while they do whatever they like!?

    It's almost as if ISO standards aren't worth the very expensive process of meeting them or something.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: My God!

      What it seems to be referring to is that the initial standard produced by that stuffed panel was supposed to be transitional and replaced by a strict version but MS ept using the transitional. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardization_of_Office_Open_XML doesn't actually use the word deprecated in its account of the shenanigans.

      However as far as the ODF is concerned the true open standard isn't ISO/IEC 29500 \t all, it's ISO/IEC 26300:2006.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: My God!

      That's not true. It's more complicated than it should be but there are reasons. There are only minor differences in detail between the "transitional" version of OOXML used by MS Office since 2010 and the strict version which was ratified. However, they both use completely different XML namespaces, which makes switching between them or migrating unnecessarily complex. MS Office can happily save things using the strict specification but few applications can actually read it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My God!

      It's almost as if ISO standards aren't worth the very expensive process of meeting them or something.

      ISO standards in general are, just not the one that Microsoft forced and bribed through a process that should have been impervious to it.

      The key issue is, however, that Microsoft no longer needs this. Now it has people on subscriptions it's raking in a lot more money in a far more reliable way without having to offer pesky new features and as long as LibreOffice's Calc is not offering the more advanced facilities of Excel and there is no real Open Source replacement for Outlook it really does not need to play the standards game anymore - heck, it does not even have to bother with the update game if it wasn't for the continuous veritable flood of security problems.

      Add to this that it gets away with blatant privacy violations in certain countries where politicians are working hard to remove the independence of Privacy Commissioners who already have been told not to look to hard at the problems that the use of Microsoft is causing in government and yes, for the moment Microsoft is not worried.

      It has become a cult, really.

      1. gerdesj Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: My God!

        "and there is no real Open Source replacement for Outlook"

        We've been using Evolution EWS (you can use more than just EWS) for many years now and you get full interoperability with Outlook apart from the crashes/freezes. It also lacks a ribbon which suits me.

        I think Evo looks a lot nicer too but that is subjective. It is much faster than Outlook on the same hardware.

        I own a MS Partner but insist on Arch (BTW) on my own gear, so I think I have a decent sized foot in both camps.

        1. James O'Shea

          Re: My God!

          There's a problem. Outlook is cross-platform. It works on my Windows boxes, it works on my Macs, it works on my iOS boxes. Evolution in Linux-only. There used to be Mac and Windows ports, but they're gone. No, I'm not moving to Linux to use it.

          1. NoneSuch Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: My God!

            @James O'Shea

            "There's a problem. Outlook is cross-platform. It works on my Windows boxes, it works on my Macs, it works on my iOS boxes. Evolution in Linux-only. There used to be Mac and Windows ports, but they're gone. No, I'm not moving to Linux to use it."

            That's your choice. However, by not exploring alternatives you may find your self paying Microsoft a monthly fee for an endlessly bloated email client forever. Don't say we didn't try to warn you.

            1. James O'Shea

              Re: My God!

              1. MS still has the old non-rent Office... and we have that. And, frankly, we're never going to Win 11, so if MS ever tries to force movement to the rental for 'compatibility' reasons, we'll just ignore them.

              2. Last I looked, 3rd party email clients such as Thunderbird still existed.

              3. A substantial portion of our users are on Macs. Apple Mail still exists.

              No, we won't be moving to Linux just to use Evo. We might move to Macs, and just toss Office completely. No-one here uses Access or (ugh) Publisher, Pages works, Keynote works, Numbers might be a problem, the spreadsheet guys camp on Excel and snarl and flash their fangs whenever anyone even thinks of touching Excel, they're a major reason why we still use Office. They also all use legacy hardware which will never go to Win 11, ever. They can just growl over in their corner. We feed them raw meat and the occasional intern and they don't come out of their lair.

              I've tried LO, several times, usually after a new, imp[roved, more compatible version came out. I wasn't impressed in the past. I'll look again, but I doubt that I'll be impressed this time, either.

              And getting lots of downvotes plus supercilious comments tends to not impress me even more.

              If there was a cross-platform version, I might look at Evo. There used to be cross-platform versions for Win and Mac. They're gone now. Evo does not support my hardware. I see no reason to move to it.

              1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                Re: My God!

                > And getting lots of downvotes

                Not in this thread. Touch the pro-contra nuclear power thing and bam - I never got so much downvotes. Probably 'cause I'm from Germany :D, and our opinion is generally different from UK.

      2. VicMortimer
        Flame

        Re: My God!

        The real problem there is that Outlook sucks.

        Apple got this one right. An email client should NOT be a calendar, a calendar should NOT be a contact manager, and a contact manager should NOT be an email client. Separate apps is the only way to go if you want to do this right. Yes, the apps should interact, but they should not be a monolith.

        The entire Outsuck concept is a bug, and that's before you even start thinking about how incredibly buggy the app is.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another question is...

    Will MS seek to protect its fiefdom by making changes to its file formats and thus breaking LibreOffice?

    Once upon a time, this was SOP for MS.

    It will interesting to see if the MS of 2022 (and beyond) actually does care about ISO standards.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another question is...

      No need now it has locked in people w subscriptions, OneDrive and Teams. It's kinda entertaining to watch companies switch over to Teams without realising that they're removing their independent phone redundancy in favour of network and Microsoft-dependent VoIP>

      I just did a network upgrade over the weekend of a major plant, and we had to keep certain sections moving because they cannot be shut down. Because we had DECTs which were on an independent circuit we could do what was needed without breaking communication (although we had some radios on standby, I prefer safe over sorry).

      If they had switched to Teams that would not have been possible.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Another question is...

        I keep telling people this: MS is locking people in forever in every way possible.

        Oh well, as always, there is going to be a lot finding out the hard way.

  3. AMBxx Silver badge
    Holmes

    Sharing documents

    Genuine question - how important is total document compatibility?

    Customers don't send me word files that do more than you can do in Notepad.

    The Excel files are rarely more than data dumps.

    I'm not using Libre Office, but I doubt there'd be any problems if I did.

    What are others experiences?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Sharing documents

      Having recently had two erroneous bug reports for my own OOXML library submitted by people using LibreOffice I'm sorry to say that they're more common than you'd expect.

      1. gerdesj Silver badge

        Re: Sharing documents

        Perhaps but you are too close to the coal face.

        Many moons ago I insisted that my company had quite an involved document structure and style hierarchy. I used to teach DTP (int al) Our ISO9001 Quality Manual was quite a beast and still is. I have used Arch Linux n LO for over a decade (OK I used to use Gentoo).

        Yes there are bugs in all software but LO is starting to come together quite nicely.

        All the wankery about LO lacking something is quite literally that - wankery. Calc has a decent function set and is extensible. Writer does the job too and so does Base and the rest of the suite - I regularly query my work financials via JDBC for example.

        MSO is basically all about getting you on a sub and seemed to have forgotten about innovation.

        Sad really,

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Sharing documents

          I still use OpenOffice for my own correspondance. LO on a Mac seems to have all kinds of problems, including stability, but some of the bugs I've seen with OOXML are just sloppy. The code for reading and wirting it should be largely frozen so seeing new bugs is really inexcusable.

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Sharing documents

      In my past experience there are issues, but largely due to corporate supplied (and mandated) masters.

      It isn't for us anyway as we have, for example, add-ons supplied by the Finance system provider that run solely through Excel and our general requirements are probably too complex.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sharing documents

        Yes, that's why we started our outfit on LO.

        Using MS Office is like a drug addiction: easy to get, almost impossible to shake and just as bad for you(r company).

    3. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Sharing documents

      Powerpoint and Impress slide decks are still not entirely compatible Designing on one and presenting on the other (either way) often breaks layouts, particularly if animation is used.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Sharing documents

        To be fair, it's the MS market dominance that has caused that in the first place. After all, WHY should LO be led by the nose through the MS hoops? It's different. 100% compatibility is never going to happen. So why not celebrate the difference and be thankful there is some compatibility? It's not as if WordStar and WordPerfcet were competing on who was the most compatible with the other. They were just different and people learned one or the other. Or both.

        When did we stop thinking of computers and software as tools to do a job and start thinking of them as Microsoft computers with Microsoft standards that everyone and everything must aspire to match?

      2. Korev Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Sharing documents

        > Designing on one and presenting on the other (either way) often breaks layouts, particularly if animation is used.

        You make it sound like breaking animations is a bad thing...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sharing documents

        We use LO on MacOS. Apart from the absent support for the accent entry it's very usable and on M1 it's so fast that I wonder what on Earth they did (but even 7.4 STILL does not use the MacOS system for entering accents :( ).

        When it comes to presentations, however, we found Keynote far superior as it promotes better presentation habits by default. It's easy to get a very polished presentation together in no time to the point that we don't even bother with Impress. The rest of the Apple office suite is less useful (in our opinion, of course), but Keynote is very good indeed.

        1. Tim99 Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: Sharing documents

          I’m retired from paid work, but knock out specialized spread sheets to help organizations confirm to a basic ISO standard. I prototype in Apple Numbers, then export to Excel. It is much quicker and easily matches requirements. Is Notes perfect? Certainly not, a couple of obscure statistical functions are not supported, and the inability to lock individual columns, rows, and cells is a pain.

          One trap is that Numbers allows more than one table on a sheet - Which can solve the locking problem, as an entire table can be locked - If the sheet is exported it creates a separate sheet for each table. Obviously I check the exported file with a real copy of Excel, and sometimes have to make minor alterations: "lookup" and "vlookup" can be tricky, but "x lookup" seems fine; and for conditional format, "stop" can be in the wrong order…

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sharing documents

            Congratulations, you're about the first I know that has managed to do something useful with Numbers.

            I personally can't get on with it, but that's maybe because I'm not presentation focused - I usually give up after a few minutes and start up LO (which, btw, is very quick to do on new Macs, it's about the fastest program I have).

            1. Tim99 Silver badge
              Gimp

              Re: Sharing documents

              I have used LO/Open Office elsewhere, but made a decision a while ago to keep Java off my main Mac.

              If I need a database I use SQLite; or (hardly ever now) PostgreSQL (I'm really not going to fight with this stuff anymore after: Ingres, POSTGRES, RdB, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, XDB, Revelation, R:BASE, SQL Server, etc...)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sharing documents

                Ah, I'll let you in to a little secret then: you don't need Java to use LO unless you want macro functionality. It works perfectly fine without, and has been doing so for years.

                1. Tim99 Silver badge
                  Gimp

                  Re: Sharing documents

                  Base; and Apple, or myself, no longer directly support JDK :-)

    4. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Sharing documents

      As a freelance editor (sometimes of documents with complex layouts), I find that the small differences in layout that result from opening a document in a different installation of the same version of Word can be enough of a pain in the arse to deal with, never mind when working with .docx in LO. For example, I've learnt that I can't use my invoice template on my laptop otherwise it screws it up – same version, same licence.

      I know that this is MS's fault, and believe me I'd much rather be using LO if I could, but as it stands, I need the highest level of compatibility possible. To be honest, I'd like it to be even higher than it currently is. If I've worked on a layout-critical document (and please don't ask me why someone who really cares about layout would be using Word and not something more stable...), then I'll send them a PDF version in addition to the .docx just to say "this is what it looks like at my end". The fact that I have to do this pisses me off immensely.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Sharing documents

        For maximum viewer compatibility, use *whatever* and save as PDF.

        Note that this does not apply if the recipient is expecting to edit the document or is consuming it as a programmatic data source.

        In those cases, you must ask the recipient what they're using first. Otherwise there is pain and suffering.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: Sharing documents

          A few weeks ago, I sent someone a PDF specifically because I knew that if they tried to edit the .docx they'd screw it up (I wanted them to just tell me if anything needed changing: it was supposed to be a proof). Nonetheless, I was surprised to mysteriously get an edited .docx back from them. Turns out they'd "converted" it to .docx from PDF, turning my carefully crafted template into something with totally different fonts and that should have been summarily executed for crimes against formatting. I had to re-do all of the changes and try not to swear while explaining to them that what they had done wasn't usually a good idea...

          1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

            Re: Sharing documents

            Erm... confused... why the downvote?

            1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

              Re: Sharing documents

              Thanks for the detailed answer. So helpful.

      2. David-M

        Re: Sharing documents

        Layout differences that you describe are mostly likely to be caused by different fonts installed v substituted or different print page sizes.

        As you say PDFs should always be sent for view-sharing rather than wordprocessor files, it's a real problem that people have not learnt to do that yet.

        d

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: Sharing documents

          "different fonts installed v substituted"

          ...and that's why my .docx files are usually several megabytes: I always embed non-standard fonts to avoid this possibility.

          "or different print page sizes"

          Yes. I think this is true with my laptop. Whatever I do, though, I just can't get it to stop defaulting to Letter rather than A4. Believe me, I've almost certainly tried all of the things you might suggest to remedy this (including messing with printer drivers etc.). I've come to the conclusion that it's just haunted.

    5. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Sharing documents

      Usually if someone sends me a .DOC Word file or a .XLS Excel file...I simply immediately delete it.

      I'm not collaborating in editing your file, I'm supposed to be reading it (only). And 'raw' document files should *never* be communicated to others if your intention is for them only to read them - that's what PDF was created for. I am not risking [my] network's security over your inability to understand this concept.

      Of course, if you are collaborating in the creation of the data, then that's a much different story.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Sharing documents

        You do know that PDFs are no more secure against malware than DOC, DOCX, XLS or XLSX files?

        https://www.sentinelone.com/blog/malicious-pdfs-revealing-techniques-behind-attacks/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sharing documents

          Depends entirely on the reader and the platform you're reading it on. Generally less of an issue if you're not using Windows to start with..

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Sharing documents

        Of course it's fun if it's a contract... so ya just tweak a coupla numbers, eh... and see if anyone notices.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Sharing documents

          Oh, we’d notice. We compare versions of the files, for several reasons. One guy thought that he was cute, and buried a little message on row 1122 of column X on the sixth worksheet of a 10 worksheet Excel file. We caught it. We fired his ass.

          But, hey, maybe others aren’t as paranoid as we are. Have at it.

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Sharing documents

        You'll reject files for having security issues in favor of a different format that also has them. Brilliant. PDFs can be edited too, albeit much more painfully, so I'm not sure why a document format that can be both read and edited is such a problem even if you don't intend to edit it. Do you have the same problem when they send you a readme file that's in a format (text, markdown, or HTML being the most popular) which can be changed just by opening it in a text editor? Perhaps you would prefer a bitmap from a screenshot? At least that would be guaranteed not to have security issues if we use a completely uncompressed raw image format.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Sharing documents

          We can edit PDFs. We went to a lot of trouble to get non-Adobe methods of editing PDFs. We prefer DOCX and XLSX, as Word and Excel can do things that no PDF editor, including those from Adobe, can.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sharing documents

          PDFs can be edited too, albeit much more painfully

          That was long ago. Now you can load most PDFs directly into a graphics editor, most PDFs I get sent are about as immutable as your average JPG or PNG file.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Sharing documents

            Well of course if you treat them as images, they can be edited. I don't generally treat a picture as an editable file format if it contains a document, because instead of opening it and typing in some text, I have to manually typeset things. You can use other tools to interact with the text layer of a PDF and insert content without having to redo the entire document, which is what I was referring to. A PDF is less editable than a text or ODT file, more editable than a PNG of the document, and a lot more editable than a recording of someone reading it out.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sharing documents

              Well of course if you treat them as images, they can be edited

              No, and I was not even implying that. Especially vector based graphics packages will decompose the PDF into its separate parts and allow you to edit each element separately. In other words, text will be edited as text.

              Yes, you could render it graphically but apart from the astronomical file size, it being graphics also offers a bit of a giveaway that it has been tampered with. You do do that if you want to blank out data, of course..

        3. Snake Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: security

          "You'll reject files for having security issues in favor of a different format that also has them"

          YES. Because PDF is an open format and anybody's software can read the file, and by definition therefore have an easier ability to check for security issues.

          DOCX and XLS are closed formats, we only have compatibility thanks to reverse engineering done by these programmers.

          PDF doesn't embed VBA, now does it? Do you know what that Excel file might want to do via scripting before you open it?

          https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-were-cracking-down-on-malware-that-uses-excel-macros/

          Just from last year: Microsoft had to harden Excel's macro security because miscreants were re-starting their Excel malware transmissions (again). With a closed format how are we to ever know how well they do, and what other functions are buried in the murk that can possibly be victimized? At least with PDF we've got a lot more eyes (what's that about FOSS software being better because more people are looking?) on the target.

          ---------------------------------------------------------

          And just, TODAY, why I *hate* this crap about "sharing" Microsoft document files. Indeed.com wanted to send us a resume for an application, in DOCX of course. Which not even Libreoffice 7.4 could open!! (I tried, updated to 7.4 after earlier versions only came up with "corrupt file").

          AND...Microsoft has discontinued their Word file viewer!! Their recommendation?? Buy Office. Another web recommendation was to upload to OneDrive or to Dropbox, both of which will handle DOCX inside a browser window.

          So don't let this story fool you: LO 7.4 *still* can't keep up with MS's DOCX changes.

          How did I finally solve the problem? I sent myself a copy of the file via email and logged into MS's Outlook web email. Clicked on the file and boom, Outlook on the browser opened up the file lickity-split.

          But the JOKE??!! Printing it!! What did Outlook do? CONVERT TO PDF AND DOWNLOAD TO THE LOCAL COMPUTER!!

          That's right, to print your precious DOCX file from a Microsoft webmail web session...MS downloads it via PDF for you to print.

          Genius!!!

      4. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Sharing documents

        Cool. If you do that with a file sent by my company, you just ensured that you are no longer on our list of collaborators. You will not be getting any further business from us. Period. And as you declined to do any work, you wouldn’t be paid, for anything to do with the project, either.

        Thanks for simplifying our vetting process, we would simply send a DOCX or a XLSX file or both as part of the initial negotiations, and when you bounce it, cease bothering you and go deal with someone else. Someone who actually wants our money.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sharing documents

          We're the opposite. Procurement has a standing order to inform organisations that we only accept formal open standards, and as OpenDocument format is the actual open standard it is what we expect.

          If you cannot comply with that, that's fine - we have found plenty companies that, given our size, don't have a problem installing LO to communicate with us. Clients typically get PDFs anyway.

        2. Snake Silver badge

          Re: Sharing documents

          I wish to thank AC for his reply to you. Don't go sticking to *your* preferred proprietary solution and then, when other people choose not to participate in your propriety choice, you get your knickers in a knot.

          This is the crap as "I only communicate through Telegram / WhatsApp / Signal / FB Messenger / iMessage / Skype / Zoom" and then getting all upset when someone, finally, tells you off, because they're sick and tired of other people making *them* install apps that they don't want to just because the other person decides that their life choices overrides everyone else's.

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Sharing documents

          >we would simply send a DOCX or a XLSX file or both as part of the initial negotiations

          Much depends on what you mean by "initial".

          Personally, if I was not expecting an email from you, I'm highly likely to regard it as spam and simply delete the message.

          Once we have some level of contact, I'm more likely to save the attachment to HDD and rely on the AV scanning it to find anything untoward. However, it is not uncommon for such invitation documents to be sent from some random email address rather than from the contact I've been communicating with...

    6. bpfh Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Sharing documents

      Going off topic at the end, but cross app compatibility is not very important for me as long as we have cross platform compatibility with the tools for windows and Mac, so most of the MS Office suite does what we need with no faffing about…. Except for Access where there is no good cross platform tool in the open/libreoffice suite (Base is pure crap, Deal with it), and of course Outlook on Mac trying to set it’s UI to look like the Windows 10 mail app, and telling me “this is brilliant! (But all your sticky notes now have to go to the web app, and what do you mean you don’t like a high res retina screen used to display like 10 emails at a time? We want pretty not useful, and you still can’t open a mail file from a windows Outlook on a Mac for…. Reasons.

      At one point I believed that the Mac Office team were in front of the Windows version, now I think they should be covered in honey and tossed onto an ants nest every time outlook update and I get “new outlook” or I get a mail to analyse as a stand alone file and you just can’t open them on a Mac …

    7. David-M

      Re: Sharing documents

      I use LibreOffice because I detest the MS ribbon and so stick to office 2003, but O2003 doesn't create PDFs which losslessly preserve the images.

      However the bugs in LibreOffice related to tables, images and undoing are absolutely horrendous. They've improved since a year ago when I was constantly having to close and reopen documents every 10 mins to recover what it had trashed, but even now I dare not do anything beyond elementary actions because it will get mutilated, and I'm always saving so I can revert it.

      In a few years' time hopefully it will be good. But in the present my experience is that LibreOffice is not a good experience for competent productions, whereas Office is - except for the completely unusable ribbon - God knows why they didn't provide a choice of both ribbon and menus.

      David

    8. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Sharing documents

      I write docs on Libre and more recently Pages.

      I still have to fire up a Windows PC and load the doc up for a final formatting check before it gets sent off. It’s rare that a document doesn’t need at least some tidying up.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows/Linux compatibility

    Have they fixed the problem with substring functions yet, where characters number from 0 on one OS, but from 1 on the other?

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Windows/Linux compatibility

      I’m sure it’s #1 on their to-do list.

  5. italo

    ISO/IEC 29500, also known as OOXML, was approved in 2008 in two variants: Transitional, as a bridge from the former proprietary document formats, and Strict, the true open standard. Transitional was supposed to be deprecated in 2010, when all versions of Microsoft Office would support Strict. The reality is that Transitional - which is not an ISO/IEC standard - is still the default document format for all flavours of Microsoft Office in 2022, and won't probably be deprecated in the future.

    In the meantime, the implementation of the standard (which one?) has been reviewed 49 times (23 major revisions, 10 minor revisions, 16 no revisions, last major just a few daus ago, all details are in this page: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/openspecs/office_standards/ms-oi29500/1fd4a662-8623-49c0-82f0-18fa91b413b8), while the standard has been reviewed only 4 times: in 2008 (https://www.iso.org/standard/51463.html), 2011 (https://www.iso.org/standard/59575.html), 2012 (https://www.iso.org/standard/61750.html) and 2016 (https://www.iso.org/standard/71691.html).

    I am not a developer, but there is a major discrepancy between the 49 revisions listed by Microsoft on his website, and the 4 revisions of the standard, which not only is not loyal to the original promise of being moved from Transitional to Strict, but is also different from the current description.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Blame game

    Having encountered numerous errors in LibreOffice's handling (both reading and writing) of OOXML, including ones that OpenOffice doesn't have, I have to disagree with the statement. It's really just a blame game. OpenDoc may indeed be a better format but that is almost last century's war. Blaming Microsoft for bugs in your own software is just embarrassing.

    For anyone looking for a free application that handles OOXML files pretty well I'd point to OnlyOffice or the SoftMaker suite.

    1. albegadeep

      Re: Blame game

      At one time, Excel could open and edit OOCalc files - but the functions wouldn't actually transfer, just the current cell values. Oddly enough, OOCalc could open and edit Excel files fine. I'm pretty sure that was Microsoft's fault.

      And the fact remains that Microsoft file handling isn't even consistent across (recent) versions of Microsoft software. Try working with a PowerPoint file in O365 desktop, O365 online, and the current non-O365 desktop version.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Blame game

        I only have access to Office 2019 for Mac and Windows and everything covered by OOXML looks fine in both. There are some very odd omissions in Excel for Mac (I spend most of my time working with XLSX files) where it looks like GUI elements just haven't been implemented. For example, I learned the other day that you can do custom combo charts in Excel for Mac, though it has no problems reading them. And, of course, Active X is a no go. But, by and large, I think MS has done a good job with the cross-platform stuff.

        I've said previously that if MS were smart, they'd switch to ODF because it's the better format. Now, I don't think it really matters that much.

  7. aerogems Silver badge

    Even though I haven't used LibreOffice in many years, and I consider MS Office to be objectively better, it's still nice knowing that there's always that alternative out there should I need it.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      I went cold-turkey on MS Office in 2016

      and don't regret it. In 2015, I decided that I would not pay any MS tithe once I retired.

      Now it is Linux all the way.

      I use a 2015 vintage 15in MacBook pro (bought secondhand). It used to run CentOS but now run Alma Linux.

      Libre Office does everything I need.

      Since 2016, I've written well over 1.5 Million words in Writer and submitted over 100 stories to Amazon Kindle with no issues.

      I accept that for some (as in very few) power users LO is not up to the job but for 99% of the rest of us it is fine.

      YMMV naturally.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: I went cold-turkey on MS Office in 2016

        You could probably have done that in Notepad++.

  8. Ilsa Loving

    Can Impress do OpenGL presentations yet?

    For the longest time, I've periodically checked Impress to see if the opengl-based tools works and always leave disappointed. I think it might work on Windows, but as I try very hard to avoid Windows (I mean, if you're on windows you may as well just use ms office) and the opengl subsystem has been an unmitigated failure on both Linux as well as Mac.

    I don't bother checking anymore. If they haven't gotten it working by now, I have no confidence that they ever will.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Can Impress do OpenGL presentations yet?

      Apple deprecated OpenGL a long time ago. It's already removed from iOS, and the version still in macOS is positively ancient.

      So of course nobody wants to waste time on MacOS OpenGL implementations.

  9. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    I still miss xyz chart

    Still behind what Excel 4.0a from 1992 can do... Ten year old bug/feature request. I tried to get q quotation from those various help-links, only one of over ten responded with "we can make a cost estimate to implement it" which sounded like a 5 figure price the way they described it.

    But maybe one of the regomenters has a working solution or plugin? I regularly search and nothing comes up. So for this FreeOffice/Softmaker-Office or MS-Office has to be used.

    On the Pro side of LO-Calc: I can switch it to use the English formulas instead of their weird German translations much easier than with MS-Excel.

  10. Jan K. Bronze badge

    Didn't EU start working on requesting document formats should be open?

    I'll write to Margrethe for a comment, will be back... if she respond, of course. :)

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/vestager_en

  11. Roland6 Silver badge

    "On the way out is FTP, which is deprecated and will be removed in the future."

    Should never have been in LibreOffice or even its predecessor Open Office.

  12. Lordrobot

    PICKY PICKY PICKY... LibreOffice is Brilliant

    In the world of bashing and bullyism the weak, justifying their captivity under the BIG AND POWERFUL ALWAYS attack the small chap...In these posts are users complaining about finding errors in obscure XML scrips. You should welcome that its job security for those who could not pass the physical for the Police Acadamy.

    LibreOffice has a market share of 0.05% in the office-suites market. It has 14 competitor tools in office-suites category. The top alternatives for LibreOffice office-suites tool are Google Workspace with 59.73%, Microsoft Office with 29.17%, and Google Sheets with 6.13% market share.

    If you are a Collaborative person whose work suffers the input of the legal department, the HR department, the CEO's high school dropout wife, or the drunken brother-in-law then Google is good for you. The Bromide should dictate the market. Why? Because there are so many of them. That's why Shakespeare is so lousy, he never collaborated with a dozen illiterates... If Shakespeare had collaborated with the HR Dept, Albany never would have said this to Goneril... "You are not worth the dust which the rude wind Blows in your face." Shakespeare would have been fired on the spot by the Clydesdale with shoulder pads and a string of pearls... and Ron DeSantis and Gov Abbot would not have felt compelled to ban Shakesphere from public schools and Universities.

    But if you are a serious writer, a professional scriptwriter, scholar, novelist, or pundit, then LibreOffice is perfect. For individuals, LibreOffice is vastly superior to Microsoft in one huge department... it's Free. Plus... it opens most anything including MacDraw files, old Wordperfect files and MacWrite. Oh but but but it doesn't open this obscure AND Obsolete XML file... for which I am eternally grateful.

    This is another great article by the Register, tossed into the crowd of petty complainers. One poster gives us the ever-useful Caveat that they have never used LibreOffice after they have bashed it. Out here that's a crowd pleaser.

    1. Barry Rueger

      Re: PICKY PICKY PICKY... LibreOffice is Brilliant

      Bravo. I too have found LO to be just fine for everything that I have needed for years. I am sure there are some use cases that absolutely need MS Office functions or quirks, but for 95% of projects, and 95% of people LO is more than adequate.

      And lord knows that MS products have their own strange bugs and issues that make some project or another become derailed. It's just that for some reason this is accepted as OK by the MS Office fans.

      I'll admit that it's been years since I touched MS Office products for the simple reason that I have had no reason to do so.

      The top alternatives for LibreOffice office-suites tool are Google Workspace with 59.73%,

      Now, if you want to talk about a truly horrible Office option.....

  13. nautica Bronze badge
    Alien

    "LibreOffice improves Microsoft compatibility...". Again. For the twelfth straight year.

    "...hence a considerable amount of tweaks in the release aimed at users sharing documents in Microsoft's formats. These users should check new releases of LibreOffice on a regular basis," noted the team, "as the progress is so fast, that each new version improves dramatically over the previous one...."

    I'm a Linux user. You're a Linux user. If you want that résumé, or legal transmittal, or draft of the Next Great American Novel read and acted upon, you'd better use Microsoft Office. Borrow a computer, if necessary, else you're not going to succeed. It's as simple as that.

    We've been checking for almost twelve years now. How long is it going to take The Document Foundation to get it right? Based on twelve years worth of history? Never.

    As one wag has said about the twelve-year foot-dragging by TDF: "...still waiting on a miracle..."

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: "LibreOffice improves Microsoft compatibility...". Again. For the twelfth straight year.

      > How long is it going to take The Document Foundation to get it right?

      They are still on the themes, which gets updated more often than actual things.

      BTW: Conditional formatting is still FAR beyond Excel capability as well. Try it, it will drive you to MS.

      Which is among the reasons why LO is not company ready.

      1. Noel Grandin

        Re: "LibreOffice improves Microsoft compatibility...". Again. For the twelfth straight year.

        As a developer on LO, I can assure you that the vast majority of the work we do is not theme related.

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: "LibreOffice improves Microsoft compatibility...". Again. For the twelfth straight year.

          Thank you for your courage to speak up!

  14. Kev99 Silver badge

    Some of the menu items in LibreOffice are even more well hidden than in mictosoft office. The biggest problem I run into is the repeated 2502 & 2503 errors. These seem to only pop up when installing LibreOffice. Paranoia or is this an intentional error by mictosoft?

    1. CAPS LOCK

      "repeated 2502 & 2503 errors"

      Switch off your rendezvous radar it's sending too much data.

  15. Tim99 Silver badge
    Pint

    "mictosoft"

    Was that a typo, or a brilliant portmanteau word from micturition and MicroSoft?

    I’m stealing it anyway. Have one to ensure adequate micturition >>=========>

  16. David-M

    docx test... about 6.5/10

    I tried the reading a docx file in with the latest version, I'd give it a score of about 6.5/10 as it mangled everything up all over the place. I'm helping a person with a book which is basically text, pictures, some arrows and labels. They were all over the place. I suspect basic text files work out mostly fine. But clearly it's hard work and I'd give 10/10 for ongoing effort, and really hope the project eventually succeeds in its goals, so can only encourage it. d

  17. Robert Grant Silver badge

    I use LO a little at home, and it works great. It's let down by the look and feel. As much as I don't care about things like Ribbons (either way), the level of polish in Word is fairly high, and sets expectations for users, especially non-technical ones.

    I wonder if there's a graphic designer out there who could swoop across all the icons in LibreOffice and make them look amazing.

  18. nautica Bronze badge
    Boffin

    "...but it is BIG...

    Libreoffice is approximately 600 MEGAbytes.

    Gnumeric is approximately 25 MEGAbytes, and its 'Statistics' function puts LibreOffice's 'Calc' to shame (ever hear of a spreadsheet's 'statistics' menu including "Fourier Analysis"? Gnumeric does. Dynamite!).

    Abiword is approximately 25 megabytes, and a great word processor supporting a ton of formats. [one indicator of Abiword's being a 'class act' is that it is not available to run under Windows]

    Since you get zero Microsoft compatibility with Libreoffice and it takes 0.6 GIGAbytes to not give you any compatibility, use 50 MB worth of applications which do a better job, and in a sterling fashion, at that.

    Your blood pressure will thank you.

    Oh, and if you think Libreoffice's Microsoft Word compatibility is a joke, wait until you try importing "slides" made with Libreoffice's Impress into Microsoft's Powerpoint. You ain't seen nothin' yet, when it comes to ZERO compatibility. You literally have to try this to understand what a train-wreck it is.

    The only thing Libreoffice has going for it---which impresses far too many people--- is that it is HUUUUUGE. And that is IT!

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: "...but it is BIG...

      > Gnumeric

      Make them offer Win32 or Win64 buids again. Or MacOS builds. I would use it due to its precision.

      1. nautica Bronze badge
        Go

        Re: "...but it is BIG...

        There is some indication that it is available for Win2000 and Win10.

        You might check this out---

        "Download Gnumeric 1.12.17 for Windows - Filehippo.com"

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: "...but it is BIG...

          Yeah, the last Win32 version, from 2014. Citing the devs themselfes, which also tells why they stopped:

          August 2014 Discontinuing Windows Builds

          Effectively immediately we have stopped releasing and distributing binaries for Windows. There are too many crashes that have all the signs of being from Gtk+ and lower parts of the stack. We do not have the means and time to debug Gtk+. Volunteers are welcome to take up the effort.

  19. ecofeco Silver badge

    LOL look at all the compatibility numpties

    MS Office and Libre Office don't play nice? Well how about that? What a shock. /s

    MS Office has compatibilities issues within ITSELF. Not to mention an UX that gets worse every year.

    Libre Office does not.

  20. nautica Bronze badge
    Holmes

    You can't beat experience and persistence...and very hard work.

    “...I did wait a bit [to test LO 7.3], for that first dot-dot release, so the very initial bugs would be quickly identified and fixed, and I could then submit this quintessential libre office suite to a rigorous set of tests....”

    “...Where LibreOffice 7.2 did an okay job, LibreOffice 7.3 does worse...”

    “...With Powerpoint, things were quite bad, too. For one of the two templates that barely worked in 7.1 and did open (albeit after a very loooooong time) in 7.2, LibreOffice now embraces the worst of both worlds. The specific template wouldn't even open. We're not talking a mere three-minute delay like we saw in 7.2. No, this time, the thing was indefinitely unresponsive...”

    ”... LibreOffice 7.3 sure didn't deliver. There are tons of problems here, including some old, outstanding, almost stubborn choices and decisions that only harm LibreOffice and its users. The only benefactor from LibreOffice not rendering Microsoft Office files properly is Microsoft, because people are forced to remain locked in the ecosystem with no viable alternative. Ideology won't sway businesses...”

    “...And y'know, the biggest issue with LibreOffice isn't so much the functionality parity or lack thereof, or the visual bugs and problems, or even performance problems, or any of the stuff I've been complaining about for the past decade. The big problem is the lack of consistency in the user experience. If I grab half a dozen files, save them, then try to open them in one version of the office suite and six months after that in another, and the results are so vastly different, then I have no foundation, no baseline to work with. I'm left with nothing."

    "Anyway, this does not bode well for LibreOffice. Yes, it works. 93% of the time, it delivers results. Perhaps not in the best, most elegant way, but you can sort of get along. But the remaining 7% are a total, wild gamble. That's where everything falls apart. That would be LibreOffice 7.3..."

    “LibreOffice 7.3 review - Not a turning point"

    Updated: April 11, 2022

    www.dedoimedo.com/computers/libreoffice-7-3-review.html

    CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 @ Dedoimedo 2006-2022

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