The newest major release of the LibreOffice suite of tools has arrived. The full feature list isn't quite as astonishing as past major releases, but there are some additions and fixes that make this latest iteration a must-have for users, especially business users.
- A form menu has been added to Writer to make it easy to add forms to documents.
- New commands have been added to Calc for selecting unprotected cells on spreadsheets.
- Spell checking has been greatly improved.
- Impress has 10 new templates.
- LibreOffice online has seen several improvements.
- OpenPGP can now be used to sign documents.
For a full list of features and improvements, check out the official LibreOffice 6.0 release notes.
I have found LibreOffice to be an invaluable tool for my daily grind, so when a new release is available, I immediately download and install. Most often this is fairly straightforward—at least for those with enough Linux experience to make it happen. For new users, getting the latest release of LibreOffice can be a real hair puller, unless you're using a distribution that offers bleeding edge software. Because it takes considerable time before the latest release of LibreOffice to reach the standard repositories, I wanted to walk you through the process of installing the latest version on Linux. It's only slightly challenging, but knowing the necessary commands to make it happen will ease away that challenge.
Installing on Ubuntu
The first thing you need to do is download the necessary file. Head over to the LibreOffice site and download the .deb version that matches your architecture (either 32- or 64-bit). A word of warning on the download: I attempted to download on the day of release and found that it failed. Instead, I had to use one of the mirrors for downloading.
I'm going to try and make this installation as painless as possible. Once the file is downloaded, open your file manager, navigate to the downloaded file, right-click the file, and click the extract option. This will vary depending upon the file manager you use. With the file extracted, open a terminal window and change into the newly created folder with the command cd ~/Downloads/LibreOffice*/DEBS.
Time to install. Issue the command sudo dpkg -i *.deb. When prompted, type your user (sudo) password, and allow the installation to complete.
Now we come to a bit of an oddity, one that never fails to catch me off guard. Once installed, you may find both LibreOffice 5.x and LibreOffice 6 in your desktop menu. If you click on any of the LibreOffice 6 tools, it is possible that LibreOffice 5 will start, instead of 6. You can even attempt to issue the command libreoffice6.0, only to witness LibreOffice 5 opening.
Open up LibreOffice 5 and click Tools | Options. Go to the General section and see if you've enabled the LibreOffice Quickstarter (Figure A).
If you find the quickstarter enabled, disable it, and close LibreOffice 5. Now you should be able to open LibreOffice 6. To verify, open LibreOffice and click Help | About LibreOffice. You should see version 6 is now running (Figure B).
Installing on CentOS
Now we'll do the same thing, only installing on a variation of Red Hat (CentOS 7). The process is almost identical. Head over to the LibreOffice site and download the RPM file that matches your computer architecture. Once the file is downloaded, open your file manager and navigate to the directory containing the download (I'll assume it's in ~/Downloads). Right click on the file and select the Extract option or the equivalent in your file manager. With the archive unpacked, open up a terminal window and change into the newly created directory with the command cd ~/Downloads/LibreOffice*/RPMS. Install LibreOffice 6 with the command:
sudo rpm -i *.rpm
Allow the installation to complete. Once it finishes, you might need to go through the same trick, as outlined above, for disabling the quickstarter, so LibreOffice 6 will start.
That's it. You now have LibreOffice 6 installed (most likely alongside LibreOffice 5). You might want to keep your version of LibreOffice 5 around on the off-chance something goes awry with 6.0. I've found the 6.0 version to be pretty stable, so for me removing 5.4 isn't a problem. That can be done with the command sudo apt remove libreoffice5.4 on Ubuntu, or sudo yum remove libreoffice5.4 on CentOS.
LibreOffice 6.0 is officially installed and running on your Linux machine. Kick the tires on this newest release and see if it doesn't offer features that you find must-have for your everyday work flow.
- How to easily update styles on the fly in LibreOffice 5.4 (TechRepublic Video)
- How to change the default LibreOffice template (TechRepublic)
- Here's a look at LibreOffice's new interface options (TechRepublic Video)
- How to record a macro and bind it to keyboard shortcuts in LibreOffice (TechRepublic)
- Cheat sheet: LibreOffice (TechRepublic)
- How to better collaborate on large documents using LibreOffice (TechRepublic)
- LibreOffice 5.4: The best office suite gets better (ZDNet)
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 jackwallen.com.