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Five LibreOffice extensions to help you catch grammar problems

If you do a lot of writing using LibreOffice, these handy extensions will help you spot mistakes and polish your work.

LibreOffice is an exceptional office suite that can expand to meet your needs. One way to expand is through extensions. Let's say, for example, that you struggle with grammar. How can you get help without hiring a tutor? Well, there are extensions for LibreOffice that help with that. Let's take a look at five such tools.

1: LanguageTool

LanguageTool is probably the best of the best of these extensions. It does a great job of checking your grammar as you type. It doesn't slow down the application and generally speaking, it does a fine job of catching things a typical spell checker can't catch. Are you frequently using there and their wrong? LT will catch that. Does your typing have issues, causing you to leave behind a trail of accidents? LT will help with that. This extension does require Java, but it's still worth having. I depend upon this tool to catch word repetitions and other easily missed mistakes. Note: Language Tool does not include a spelling checker.

2: After the Deadline

After The Deadline is another grammar, style, and misused word detector. This extension takes LT one step further and checks for passive voice, and it includes a spelling checker. Because of the immense amount of work ATD must do, it depends upon external servers to check your work. This is a possible deal-breaker for many. But if you aren't concerned about a third party checking your work, ATD is an outstanding extension to keep your writing up to snuff. The server used for checking is SSL-enabled, so at least you don't have to worry about security.

3: Read Text

Read Text offers a unique method of checking your writing. Although not intended as a grammar checker, Read Text uses an external speech synthesizer to read your text out loud. When you hear your text read aloud, you will hear mistakes you would otherwise miss when reading the text yourself. This is a trick many authors use when proofing their books. Slap the work on a Kindle, have it read a book aloud, and you'll hear those errors glaring at you. Same thing with Read Text.

4: Review Toolbar

Review Toolbar adds a new toolbar with most of the editorial functions included. Some of the icons found here are track changes, protect records, show changes, accept or reject changes, insert comment, highlighting, toggle line number, and clear document. Although this extension won't directly help you with your grammar, it can help you collaborate with an editor who WILL be able to help you with your grammar. All writers need to get to know these tools intimately.

5: Lightproof

Lightproof is a grammar checker framework that includes modules for U.S. English, but you can download the package and develop a module for any language. It does both spell checking and morphological analysis of a document. It also features numerous settings and options (such as high-level regex-based rule definitions, Python conditions, Hunspell morphological analyzer, and lazy loading of language modules). Lightproof was originally designed for OpenOffice, but you shouldn't have any problems installing it in LibreOffice.

Mix and match

You won't find tons of grammar-based extension for LibreOffice, but the ones available are helpful. I use a combination of the built-in spell checker and LanguageTool to get me through first drafts and first rewrites. This one-two combination does a great job. Give one or two of the above extensions a try. I'm sure you'll find at least one you come to depend upon.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

8 comments
GongZi
GongZi

LanguageTool is still the best. It works together with the inbuilt spelling checker, but not with the inbuilt grammar checker (which is rather basic anyway). 

I love that I can create my own rules, and even modify existing ones. (Tutorial is available at the site, and I got helpful advice from developers.) So far, I've created 2 (strictly speaking not for grammar, but style), and have not bothered to modify any.

Clearly the most promising of the lot.

rmerchberger
rmerchberger

For those who don't like the fact that After the Deadline sends your data to the 'cloud' - Would it be possible to set up your own server subsystem to do the checking yourself, then just point the plugin at that IP address? I have finally moved beyond my old dual-core system and my desktop upgrade now has a new 8-core AMD bulldozer core CPU running 3.4GHz and 16GBytes of RAM. If that's not enough horsepower to do the job, I'd be interested to find out what is required to run the server side of the plug-in with any reasonable speed... Just thinkin' out loud... ;-)

Gisabun
Gisabun

If they developed the software correctly [and incorporated them], you wouldn't need threse extensions.

hectorj102
hectorj102

Am I the only one who sees: "[b]Available downloads[/b] There are no available software files in this release yet." on the pages for the 1.6 and 1.5 releases for this extension?

SKDTech
SKDTech

I think I'll check some of these out when I get home. Do any of these offer suggestions for rephrasing detected active voice into passive voice? This is one of my difficulties and sometimes it can be unclear why something is considered active. BTW do you know of any free plagiarism checking tools? The University I attend runs everything through TurnItIn and while I haven't had any difficulties so far I would like to find something to help me avoid accidental plagiarism.

michaels.perry
michaels.perry

Interesting, but no mention of which language or grammar standard is used. One of the HUGE problems over here (UK) is misuse of US styles, spellings and grammar that just are not appropriate outside of the US. The UK and US are two countries divided by a 'common' language as they are not the same in spken or written form. Even scientific usage differs and that has been known to cause confusion between research teams. Please, in future, indicate to which language/grammar/etc the item is relevant and which it is not.

IT Support23
IT Support23

These are very useful extensions that will help writers maximize their potential as a writer. I'm not much a writer myself, but tools such as this will definitely help me enhance my writing skills.

rmerchberger
rmerchberger

If the Libreoffice team incorporated every single extension, idea, concept and the kitchen sink, it would be Microsoft Office. As I'm rather good at the American flavour of the English language, I doubt I'd use any of them unless I decided to write a book... which at this point I've decided against as I don't have the time or any subject matter I'm knowledgeable enough to write about that more than 3 other people actually give a whit about. However, I'm glad to know about the existence of these plugins so I can suggest them to friends who are more "grammar-challenged..."

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