LibreOffice 7.3 improves compatibility with Microsoft Office documents

Document Foundation has announced the stable release of LibreOffice 7.3, the latest version of the famous office suite published as free software and the main competitor of Microsoft Office in this segment. In this regard, among other things, it emphasizes the improvement of format compatibility from the Redmond giant, a priority forced by the market situation.

Now that we’ve said interoperability, let’s mention specific aspects of this front that have been improved in LibreOffice 7.3. These include improved performance when opening DOCX, XLSX and XLSM documents, faster rendering of complex documents in these formats, and improved performance of the Skia backend, which was introduced in version 7.1 of the package.

There are also new features, such as new handling of change tracking in tables and when moving text, which also has a positive impact on compatibility with Microsoft Office. For the old DOC (Word) format, the import of numbering and bullet points has been improved, and for DOCX (Word), the import of numbering, bullet points and hyperlinks has been improved, as well as corrected editing permissions.

For XLSX (Excel), line height has been adjusted, cell indentation is not increased every time you save, and editing permissions have been fixed. PPTX (PowerPoint) support has received fixes for links, images, transparency, import and export.

The ScriptForge libraries, which facilitate macro development, have been expanded with some new features, including definition of charts in Calc (spreadsheets), a new PopupMenu service, a wide range of options for printer management, and a “PDF export feature with full PDF option control.”

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The Foundation decries that documents created with Microsoft Office are still based on the outdated 2008 standard and are not ISO-approved. As a result, according to The Document Foundation, LibreOffice has a lot of hidden complexities that end up causing problems. It makes sense that the Redmond giant isn’t interested in complying with its own standard, especially since it would open the door to competition.

LibreOffice 7.3 was made possible by the work of 147 contributors. Sixty-nine percent of the code commits came mostly from 49 developers working at the three companies on The Document Foundation Advisory Board: Collabora, Red Hat and allotropia. The remaining 31 percent came from 98 individual contributors.

Full details about LibreOffice 7.3, and more specifically the Community version, are available in the official announcement and release notes. You can get the office suite from the Linux, Windows and macOS downloads section of the project’s official website, but the Linux packages available there need to be updated manually, so alternatively you can use Fesh PPA for Ubuntu, Flatpak, Snap or a rolling release and an advanced distribution such as Arch Linux, which should come via a standard update. We leave you with a video demonstrating the major new features of this release.

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