Gutter Margins and PPTX import improvements available in Collabora Office 6.4-33

Version 6.4-33 of Collabora Office introduces the new Gutter Margins feature developed by Collabora to the desktops and includes several fixes regarding the PPTX import, improving the way Collabora Office handles shaped Bitmaps.
The latest developments around our business-hardened and supported LibreOffice distribution are documented inside the release notes. Learn more about how Collabora Office can help you to control your data and business in our 6.4 announcement; or order a free demo!

 

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Improving printed publications with Gutter Margins

Collabora Office 6.4-33. Add Gutter Margins to text documents

The Gutter Margin feature has first been published in Collabora Online 6.4.6. The new Writer feature adds an extra space to the side margin, top margin, or inside margins of documents. The gutter margin makes sure that the text of a printed publication is not obscured by the binding. Since the Gutter Margins feature is also available in Microsoft Word, this feature is an interoperability improvement, too.

How to use Gutter Margins

Access the Gutter Margin feature via the menu option Format > Page Styles… and select the page tab. Alternatively, you can access the Page Style though a right-click or via a left-click on the style button in the status bar at the bottom. Inside the Page Style dialog you will find several new options to adjust the size and the position of the gutter.

Gutter Margins: The new settings are available inside the Page Style dialog

 

PPTX import improvements for shaped bitmaps

Collabora Office 6.4-33 includes improvements on the PPTX import of shaped images

Collabora Office 6.4-33 includes various code stability fixes and improvement regarding the import of shaped bitmap images created in MS Office. Earlier, shaped bitmap graphics of PPTX presentations could be rendered inaccurately, or in some cases the shape could get lost. Thank you to SUSE for sponsoring this work. This is fix is another great interoperability improvement that will also become available in the next version of LibreOffice.

Original: shaped image produced in MS Office
Earlier: Shaped images might not be imported accurately into LibreOffice & Collabora Office
Collabora Office 6.4-33: true to the original PPTX import of shaped images

 

Read more about Collabora Office 6.4

Read all about the new Collabora Office 6.4. Or try it yourself! Just head to the Collabora Office page and request your demo today, or simply click the button below.

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Collabora contributes help to make LibreOffice 7.1 great

The latest version of LibreOffice brings a range of enhancements. Many of the improvements are the result of the work of Collabora developers. We show you a selection of these contributions below, but for a complete overview and full community credits you can checkout the LibreOffice Release Notes.

 

More attractive Objects with new Blurry Shadows

Shadows used to be rendered as solid copies of objects. The new Blur option adds more realistic shadows to objects. The feature is available through the Shadows tab in the Area dialog or directly through the Sidebar. This feature was developed during a GSoC20 project by Ahmad Ganzouri mentored by the Collaborans Tomaž Vajngerl and Miklos Vajna. Several refinements were implemented by Collabora later on.

 

Business Ready and Online!

Collabora loves LibreOffice and is glad to be a major contributor to the LibreOffice ecosystem. Of course we offer business ready versions for the desktop – Collabora Office – with LTS and SLA serving your business needs, also to retain control over your ICT.
And for online collaboration, we are leading the development of Collabora Online – built on top of LibreOffice. Get more info or a demo.

Further significant SmartArt improvements

Collabora is constantly adding improvements to the import of SmartArt objects from PPTX. Some of these were already present in Collabora Office 6.4 and also in Collabora Online 6.4. The latest developments by Miklos Vajna are now implemented in LibreOffice 7.1. Find all the technical details in Miklos’ last corresponding blog entry and the one before that.

 

Much faster Find & Replace

Many of Collabora’s contributions are aimed at enhancing the performance of LibreOffice and Collabora Office. Often this streamlining is the work of Collaboran Noel Grandin. For this release, it has resulted in a 50 percent performance improvement in the Find & Replace function of Writer. Performance improvements in Calc include spell checking, by Dennis Francis, and Autofilter, by Luboš Luňák and Eike Rathke of Red Hat.

 

Add visible digital signatures to existing PDF files

It is now possible to add visible digital signatures to existing PDF files. Earlier, this had been limited to invisible signatures. We first introduced this feature with the release of Collabora Office 6.4. Find all the technical details for this implementation in Miklos Vajna’s development blog.

 

NotebookBar now shows preview of Styles

Another new feature, that makes working with styles easier, is the Styles Preview widget that has been added to the NotebookBar. Nice work by our colleague Szymon Kłos.

 

Many more Contributions

LibreOffice 7.1 includes many more contributions by Collabora. For example: Writer now supports anchoring shapes relative to the bottom of the page; an issue in the formula input box which had occurred in Calc during the freezing of rows/columns was resolved; templates in Writer are now locale-independent; handling of cached field results in Writer has been improved. We would like to say: a big thanks to all our partners and customers helping us to make this work possible! Find out more about all the new features and improvements in the LibreOffice 7.1 Release Notes.

 

Discover Collabora Office

Collabora Office is the LibreOffice-technology based suite for professional, mobile, and online use. Collabora Office provides businesses and professionals with the best features, interoperability, LTS and L3 support. Collabora is privileged to work with so many great contributors to the LibreOffice project and appreciates all the amazing work done by so many that is also included into Collabora Office. You can test the latest version of Collabora Office yourself! Just head to the Collabora Office page and request your demo today, or just click the button below.

 

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Update on LibreOffice support for ARM-Based Macs

It is always an exciting time to see freshly minted ARM based silicon arriving in the form of Apple’s massive shift to the ARM based M1. This of course means work for Collabora’s LibreOffice team too. The code needs to be prepared for M1, step by step. Here we update you on the status of the work, and what needs to be done.

With the launch of the new Apple devices nearing, it is important that suitable software arrives around the same time as new hardware. Apple ensures this by a translation layer, so that software for Intel Macs can be used, using Rosetta translation.

Nevertheless, given the code size of LibreOffice, for the best performance it makes most sense to have a pre-optimized native binary. As such Collabora joined the Universal App Quickstart Programme back in July and has been doing work on enabling LibreOffice for M1 since then.

This effort is made possible by the kind support of those who buy LibreOffice Vanilla in the Mac app store. Thank you! And thanks too to Tor Lillqvist for his patience and hard work here.

The status of the work

All of these changes are in master, or in the gerrit queue getting past our CI automation:

  • Configuration changes (mostly there). It should now possible to configure and build a native LibreOffice on a Apple Silicon, as well as cross-compiling to x86_64.
  • Patching and fixing of lots of bundled libraries to make them build cleanly.
  • Then there is a first attempt at a new C++/UNO ABI bridge – we need to match Apple’s ABI by tweaking Linux’s ARM64 support to match. This allows UNO scripting to work (in theory).
  • We still have some failing unit tests, that need investigation, as well as some other bits, described below.
All of this means that LibreOffice should start and work on M1! So far it has had only very basic Writer & Calc testing. The more exciting, complex features are not yet tested.

Update: as of 2021-02 we have working native M1 binaries in the Apple app-store for users.

What’s next .. want to get involved?

Post-launch, if you can get an M1 Mac, then help is always most welcome! We have several missing pieces that will require further work, with some unusual low-level bits.

  • The new C++/UNO ABI bridge requires more testing, to ensure the UNO scripting support works smoothly.
  • Enabling bits we didn’t compile in yet: Firebird, Java (when there is a JDK).
  • Scripts to combine builds for arm64 and x86_64 into one universal app (i.e. one where binaries are “fat,” consisting of separate parts for each architecture)
  • Adaptation to whatever new checks are added for universal apps in the App Store. This is an ongoing unpredictable part of our work: adapting 8 million lines of code to the latest updated rules, keeping our builds compiling and signing with the latest tool chains.
Of course we’ll continue to work to bring the best LibreOffice possible to Apple Silicon as time permits, and we are confident that even if we don’t make it in the next month or two, Rosetta 2 will fill the gap using dynamic instruction set translation. And when all is done, our open source desktop productivity tools will benefit the full power of the new Macs!

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Collabora developers mentor successful GSoC Projects

Autumn is just around the corner. For many participants in the GSoC 2020, a busy and instructive summer full of hacking on open source projects came to an end a few weeks ago. Commits have been contributed and final reports have been written. This year experienced Collabora Productivity developers were again mentors for various projects of the Google Summer of Code for the LibreOffice project. Here are some examples of projects our team helped to succeed!

Analysing Writer documents with the “Style Inspector”

The “Style Inspector” is a great new tool. You can access it through a new icon (an eye combined with a pencil) in the Sidebar (also via “Sidebar Settings”). The Style Inspector displays in full detail (and hierarchical) all styles and also direct formatting applied to a cursor position in a Writer document. So you can analyse, identify problems and clean them up. Sometimes formatting in documents is messy and people mix styles with direct formatting. The Style Inspector allows you to see that.
The feature is available for testing in pre-released development versions of LibreOffice. Shivan Kumar Singh picked up the proposal from the LibreOffice Design Team. He was mentored by Collaborans TomažVajngerl and MikeKaganski with Heiko Tietze from the LibreOffice Design Team. Take a look into Singh’s final report! It is an inspiring a guide on how to approach a big project like LibreOffice.

Improving the way to find and add extensions

There are many useful extensions to LibreOffice and users should be able to find them easily! Like in app stores like Gnome Software or the Play Store. That is basic idea behind “Tight Integrations” and the proposal from the LibreOffice design team. Yusuf Keten made this his GSOC project a success and added the possibility to search and sort the through extensions without having to leave LibreOffice. You start this new way to search with a clear yellow star with a download arrow, that is in the templates dialog, at the icons in the view options, or from the galleries pane in the side bar.
If you are curios about this handy extensions feature you can already test and find it in the latest LibreOffice pre-releases. Yusuf was mentored ba Collabora’s Muhammet Kara and Heiko Tietze from the LibreOffice design team. Find all the details of Yusuf’s work in his final report.

I learned a lot of things during the GSoC. Although GSoC is finished, I will continue to contribute to LibreOffice. I am very happy to be part of the LibreOffice community.(Yusuf Keten)

Access the Tight Integrations manager through the icon in Gallery
Browse, search and sort through Templates, Galleries & Icons in the new extension dialog.

Changing the contour – shadows are becoming blurry

New blurry shadow option

Did you know, that in LibreOffice the shadows are just a copy of the object? There are already a lot of settings to change their appearance, like its colour, its angle, the transparency and distance behind the object. Mentored by Collaboran’s TomažVajngerl and Miklos Vajna, Ahmad Ganzouri added another option. The “Blurry Shadows” make use of the already implemented BitmapFilterStackBlur and make the shape of the shadow look very realistic. Find the details around the development in Ahmad’s final report. We have seen the Blurry Shadow option in the master branch and expect it to be available to all users in Version 7.1 of LibreOffice. The option can be easily accessed via the “Area” dialog in “Objects & Shapes” or directly via the corresponding Sidebar module.

The blur setting can be defined Area dialog.

Searching for a mentor? Join us GitHub!

Google Summers of Code are an excellent opportunity to learn working in many open source projects. But where to find mentors during the rest of the year? We recently moved the code of Collabora Online to GitHub. You will find a growing community there, with easy hacks to get started. Community Mentor Muhammet Kara and the rest of our team of open source developers are there and willing to share their vast experience.

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Hear and discuss about Collabora’s contributions in the ecosystem at the openSUSE & LibreOffice conference 2020

From Thursday, 15th to Saturday 18th 2020 the openSUSE & LibreOffice Conference takes place as a virtual and joint event. We are glad to be one of the sponsors and to be able to contribute no less than 14 talks from our team members. To make it easier for you to keep track of all the topics, we have prepared a little overview of our talks. See you in the livestream!

⋅ Schedule Day 1, Thursday 15th 2020

Schedule Day 2, Friday 16th 2020

⋅ Schedule Day 3, Saturday 17th 2020

 

Day 1, Thursday 15th 2020

Keynote by Collabora’s Michael Meeks

10:30 UTC, Michael Meeks

Accelerating the adoption of Open Source! How does Collabora do that together with their partners and customers? About another year of investment into LibreOffice alongside the community, the ecosystem and our choices. #Collabora #Ecosystem Read more!

Bringing the Sidebars Online

12:30 UTC, Ashod Nakashian

Adding the Sidebars, with the rich and advanced editing features, to Online was challenging. Learn, how we succeeded! #OnlineUI Read more!

Bringing the NotebookBar to Online

13:30 UTC, Szymon Kłos

The story behind introducing new (optional) user interface for Online. Learn about the milestones of this new feature sponsored by Collabora. #OnlineUI Read more!

Implementing Vulkan-capable drawing using the Skia library

14:00 UTC, Luboš Luňák

Skia is a unified modern drawing across all platforms, so this is about the nice visual performance of LibreOffice and Collabora products. How is the implementation going? #LibreOfficeDev Read more!

Making Online trivial to setup

15:30 UTC, Muhammet Kara

We have recently released a big step in improving Collabora (thus LibreOffice) Online and lowered the barrier to liberating the documents of home-users. This is a quick presentation shows how the one-click installation app for Online works, and where we are at now. #OnlineInstallation Read more!

Day 2, Friday 16th 2020

Faster Jail Creation with Bind-Mount

11:00 UTC, Ashod Nakashian

A jail is an essential part of the secure work and collaborating in Collabora Online. Learn about the design and challenges of setting up jails… fast! #OnlineDev Read more!

OOXML / PDF Digital Signing in Draw and elsewhere

11:30 UTC, Miklos Vajna

LibreOffice did have support for digital signing for ODF files. Collabora extended this to OOXML files and to signing existing PDF files. Come and see where we are, what still needs to be done, and how you can help. #DigitalSigning Read more!

The history & pre-history of LibreOffice

13:30 UTC, Michael Meeks

Come and hear some of the stories of the beginning, and before the beginning. Hear a developer’s perspective on the first ten years of the project and how companies had to do with this, alongside amazing volunteers. #LibreOffice Read more!

Chrome OS as a new platform

16:00 UTC, Jan Holesovsky

Hear about the Chrome OS and the work we have made to enable the Collabora Office Android app for easy consumption on Chromebooks. #Mobile Read more!

Improvements to PDF support in Collabora Online

18:00 UTC, Tomaž Vajngerl

Recently we added possibility to open PDFs with Collabora Online, which opens the PDF in Draw as a series of embedded PDF graphics (each one in its own page). In this talk, hear about additional improvements to the PDF functionality – like searching and handling of PDF annotations. #PDF Read more!

Day 3, Saturday 17th 2020

History of Online & Mobile

12:00 UTC, Jan Holesovsky

Come and hear about the history of Collabora Online, LibreOfficeKit, Leaflet and other building bits that led to the Online as we know today. #Mobile Read more!

Re-using the Sidebar on phones

12:30 UTC, Szymon Kłos

The talk about work done by Collabora Productivity for improving UX on mobile phones. Editing on smartphones has never been easier. Hear some technical details in this talk. #Mobile #OnlineUI Read more!

Online – Improving visual consistency

13:00 UTC, Pedro Silva

For users it is most important that UI elements are easy to recognize. Hear about improvements that have been made on that front in Collabora Online. #OnlineUI #CSS Read more!

Mobile – Development on iOS

13:00 UTC, Tor Lillqvist

Important recent improvements in Collabora Office on iOS. #MobileUI #UX Read more!

Ecosystem, Branding & Investment

15:30 UTC, Michael Meeks

Setting up the project for growth. See how we can build a model whereby volunteers and ecosystem entities work alongside each other to drive the success of LibreOffice. #Ecosystem Read more!

Spanish Summit (Conferencia Latinoamericana): Collabora Online – UX

16:00 UTC, Pedro Silva

in PT/ES. For users it is most important that UI elements are easy to recognize. Hear about improvements that have been made on that front in Collabora Online. #OnlineUI #CSS Leia mais!

How to become a part of this

Very easily. The attendance openSUSE and LibreOffice conference 2020 is free of charge. Just subscribe to the conference website, meet the community and join three days of discussion about the latest developments with regard to LibreOffice and openSUSE. The complete schedule of the virtual conference is here at your disposal.

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