To celebrate the seventh anniversary of LibreOffice, the Document Foundation has announced a major release of its free productivity software suite, and the new functionality and features add up to a powerful package that will certainly give Microsoft Office a run for its money.
LibreOffice 6.0 is currently available for download from numerous websites, mirrors and torrent magnet links. This free application has been developed for Windows, Mac OS and Linux; moreover, a special version is now available for developers who wish to set up LibreOffice in the cloud on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis.
Some of the highlights of LibreOffice 6.0 include:
* Notebook Bar: a dashboard features that combines functions such as creating new documents with collecting snippets and media from websites and other online sources. This new component also includes a document search feature.
* The Writer component now makes the creation of forms easier, and it also features a number of table styles that reflect modern sensibilities. Writer is the LibreOffice component that most people use since it is considered a worthy competitor to Microsoft Word.
* Mail Merge now works with documents and spreadsheets.
* The Calc spreadsheet component has new “find and replace” functions. Moreover, users can now make images of spreadsheet ranges that can be posted online.
* The Impress component has new templates that resemble PowerPoint presentations.
* The LibreOffice Android Viewer will allow the creation of new documents in the near future. Developers are working on a feature to allow mobile users add photos from their smartphone and tablet cameras. This Android app is still no match for its Google and Microsoft counterparts; nonetheless, this is something that could change in the future.
Developers at the Document Foundation also explained that LibreOffice has also improved in terms of handling .docx and .pptx files that had been problematic in the past. New security features include digital signing of documents and Open PGP data encryption. The spell check feature has also been upgraded to detect proper use of compounds.
With regard to the cloud interoperability of LibreOffice, the Document Foundation expects to see private deployments this year, but users should not expect to find public versions soon. For the time being, the best cloud productivity suites are still Office 365 and Google Apps; however, users who want to have a solid and free alternative to Microsoft Office on their desktop and laptop computers are encouraged to download LibreOffice.