LibreOffice arguably the best free Office suite on the world. However, its default interface looks outdated, if you often use Office (up from 2007 version). There are some ways to make the UI of LibreOffice a little bit modern, but you will still get the best performance. Without any further ado, lets begin.
1. Tabbed Ribbon UI
A lot of people don’t like to change to LibreOffice because of its interface, which is like Office 2003 and below. It doesn’t appealing to modern users, or old users who has already used to navigate within Ribbon design of Office 2007 and up. Lets compare it in a quick screenshot:
Clearly Microsoft Office is the winner here. It got a modern looking styles, button, interfaces, and the most important one: Ribbon Tabbed menu. Fortunately, a lot of people requesting this features, and well, it gets implemented. Starting from LibreOffice 6.4, you can enable Ribbon UI (Notebookbar) from settings. Here’s how to do that:
First, open any LibreOffice apps (preferably Writer), then go to View > User Interface. Second, from the sidebar select “Tabbed”, and press “Apply To All.”
And its done. Apparently now (7.1) we still can’t customize what button shows up on the toolbars, but I have applied the suggestion to do so in LibreOffice forum. Even though this is still far from perfect, its definitely make LibreOffice easier for those who migrate from Microsoft Office.
2. Icons & Templates
Did you know that you can choose a bunch of different icons in settings? Navigate to Options → View and select your favorite icons pack on “Icon Style” dropdown. Custom Icons available at: https://extensions.libreoffice.org/?Tags%5B%5D=109
Have you use templates on LibreOffice? Its not as attractive as MS Office have, but it still functioning. Open LibreOffice (the main program), press ↓ beside the “Templates button”. I recommend you to choose template especially when using Impress, so you don’t need to spend a lot of hour making the slide design.
You can also install custom templates from https://extensions.libreoffice.org/?Tags%5B%5D=118. Some of them are old-school looking, while some other are modern-ish. To install it, just double click on the downloaded templates, and LO will install the templates.
3. Graphics Performance
a. Skia/Vulkan rendering
Starting with version 7.0, LibreOffice supports Skia/Vulkan rendering method. Vulkan is basically “The next OpenGL”, offering multi-threading support for newer processors. Expect a better anti-aliasing after you activate this feature.
How to do it? Open Options → View. In Graphics Output section, checkmark on “Use Skia for all rendering”, and make sure “Use anti-aliasing” is also checked. Then go to Font Lists section, checkmark “Screen font antialiasing”, and reduce the pixels from 8 pixels to 1 pixels. Press OK, and press “Restart Now”.
If somehow your LibreOffice becoming more buggy and often crashes, update your Graphics Card Drivers. Still doesn’t work? then checkmark “Force Skia software rendering”. If it works in that mode, consider to apply a bug reports on LibreOffice bug report section on their website. Here’s some info, read it first: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/QA/BugReport
b. Disable Java Runtime Environment
If you don’t use LibreOffice Base (or database function), then you’ll probably don’t need Java Runtime Enviroment to be activated. For some reason it is heavy and slowing down LO performances. To deactivate it, go to Options → Advanced → Deselect “Use a Java Runtime Environment”. Press OK and Restart Now.
c. Undo function “fix”
Not really a fix to bug or anything, but it is useful to reduce memory consumption. If somehow your LO taking up hundreds of your RAM, do this simple tricks. Open Options → Advanced → Open Expert Configuration. In the search bar, type Undo.
The default values of this are 100, that means you can undo for 100x. Its not necessary (too much). To reduce this, double click on the Undo entries, type 50 instead of 100, press OK 3 times, and you’re done.
4. Maximize Spelling & Grammar tools
If you’re not writing English documents, the spelling and grammar tools will probably “red mark” all of your text (you know, that underlined red thing). Its annoying, because you need to deactivate grammar tools every single time. There are some solutions to this:
a. Install your language dictionaries
Go to this page https://extensions.libreoffice.org/?Tags%5B%5D=50 and use the search bar to search for your document language.
b. Customize Spelling Tools
If you’re creating a document in English, you can even increase the usefulness of Spelling Tools. Navigate to Options → Language Settings → English Sentence Checking. Then check all boxes on that pages, and press OK.
That’s it for today tips & trick, I hope this help you to transitioning from Microsoft Word to LibreOffice a little bit easier. Thanks for reading, and see you in another post!
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