LibreOffice, the Free Office Suite, Just Got a Big Update

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LibreOffice 7.4 logo
The Document Foundation

LibreOffice is a popular free and open-source office suite, with free alternatives to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. LibreOffice 7.4 was just released, and it has a few great new features.

LibreOffice 7.4 is a significant update, with contributions from 147 developers and support for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The Document Foundation, the organization that manages LibreOffice development, also highlighted the expanded language support. “LibreOffice 7.4 Community is released in 120 different language versions, more than any other free or proprietary software,” the group said.

Like nearly every LibreOffice update, version 7.4 improves cross-compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. LibreOffice Writer has improved support for borders and clearing breaks from Word documents, and LibreOffice Impress has fixes for embedded media and shapes from PowerPoint files. There are a few other ways to open (and even edit) Microsoft Office files without giving Microsoft your money, but the new update ensures LibreOffice remains one of the best tools for the job.

There are some other improvements, too. The entire suite now supports WebP images, and there are new options available for the ScriptForge scripting library (LibreOffice’s equivalent to Office macros). Writer has improved change tracking and new settings for hyphenation, and Impress now supports document themes. Calc, the spreadsheet application, can now use sheets with 16,384 columns.

LibreOffice dark mode
LibreOffice dark mode (without document theme) on Windows 11 Caolán McNamara

The update also includes initial support for dark mode on Windows 10 and 11. You can find the option at Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced > “Enable experimental feature (may be unstable).” This changes the application interface to dark theme, but the document area is left untouched. If you also want the documents to appear dark, you also have to go to Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Application Colors > LibreOffice Dark. Hopefully, that will all be automatic (or at least easier to access) in future releases.

LibreOffice 7.4 is available for Linux, Windows 7 SP1 and later, and macOS 10.12 and later. It’s available for download from the official site. If you like it, consider donating to the Document Foundation so it can keep pumping out LibreOffice updates.

Source: Document Foundation Blog, Official Changelog

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