Image Credit: LibreOffice

Growth Spurt

LibreOffice 5.3 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open source office suites, according to The Document Foundation.

The growth in LibreOffice's adoption is the result of The Document Foundation's ability to grow its developer community, said Michael Meeks, a member of the board, during a teleconference this week.

"In 2010, only a few people were betting on our capability of attracting a large number of code contributors, which are instrumental for the success of a large code base," he said. "In six years, we have attracted over 1,100 new developers and, thanks to this large community, during the last two years we have had an average of 300 people active on the source code."

LibreOffice 5.3 is available now for Windows, macOS and Linux, and for the first time also online.

LibreOffice Online for Cloud Servers

With LibreOffice 5.3, The Document Foundation also has introduced LibreOffice Online.

Its primary developer, Collabora, based it on LibreOffice's desktop core engine.

LibreOffice Online is an enabling technology for the public clouds of ISPs or the private clouds of enterprises and large organizations.

It provides a cloud office suite for basic collaborative editing of documents in a browser. Rendering fidelity is excellent, and interoperability matches that of LibreOffice.

It is not a standalone offering that will compete with Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365, said Vignoli. The Document Foundation is not providing LibreOffice Online binaries.

Top New Features

A better text display using HarfBuzz for cross-platform consistency and menu content is unified across the office suite modules for Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (slide presentations) and Draw.

Keyboard shortcuts now are displayed in context menus. They are enabled by default on Windows and Linux.

The Area dialog is simplified and includes a new Patterns section for better compatibility with other office software. The result is a better work fit for filled shapes.

Also, you now can import a new custom bitmap image directly from the sidebar. Similarly, you can insert PDFs into documents as images with the first page shown. Even better, you can sign existing PDF files and verify those signatures.