Collabora Office 24.04 is Here, Keeping You Productive on your Desktop and Online

Bringing the latest improvements from your browser to your desktop

We are happy to announce the new major release of Collabora Office 24.04. Collabora Office for Linux, Windows and Mac, is the companion desktop application for our browser-based, fully-supported, enterprise-ready office suite – Collabora Online, and also powers our apps for iOS, Android and Chrome OS.

Collabora Office is a powerful, Open Source, collaborative office suite that supports all major document, spreadsheet and presentation file formats, which you can integrate into your own infrastructure on-premise. Collabora Office smoothens the transition between online and offline editing, and is ideally suited to the demands of a modern distributed working environment. With a familiar look and feel, Collabora Office represents a real alternative to other big-brand solutions, giving you control and flexibility.

Below we’ve listed just a few of the new features now available in Collabora Office 24.04, but why not try it yourself with the links below, or you can click here to learn about some of the updates to our flagship browser-based product, Collabora Online.



Writer

Better and Faster Change Processing

In a bid to speed of the acceptance/rejection process of tracked changes, two new buttons have been added to the user interface via the right-hand Manage Changes sidebar – ‘Accept and Move to Next’, and ‘Reject and Move to Next’. While not adding any new functionality, the combination of these two processes into one easy to access button should greatly improve and expedite the processing of tracked changes for our users.

Insert Comments

Simplifying the process greatly, you can now add comments into your documents with just two clicks. Simply right click > ‘Insert Comment’. No need to go menu diving with Collabora Office 24.04.

PDF Improvements

In our continued journey of improving accessibility for all, we’re excited to announce a number of improvements to the handling of PDFs, namely exporting to PDF v.1.7 by default, tagged PDFs produced by default, and hybrid PDFs now storing original ODF documents.

These changes should improve accessibility greatly – tagged PDFs for example include hidden accessibility markups that can improve the reading experience of those who use screen readers and other assistive technologies. A properly tagged PDF can also re-flow to adapt its presentation to different screen sizes, for example to provide a high-quality experience to users of smart mobile devices.

Hybrid PDFs on the other hand store the original ODF document as a PDF compatible file attachment. This is very useful for sharing documents with others as a pdf, while retaining the greater functionality of being able to modify the original file. (Samuel Mehrbrodt, Michael Stahl, allotropia, Tomaž Vajngerl, Collabora)

Comments

Comments can now use styles – the “Comment” paragraph style being the default one. This allows you to modify the formatting of all comments at once, or to visually categorise different types of comments. (Maxim Monastirsky)

In addition to this, comments in a thread are now grouped in the Navigator sidebar so you can easily follow the conversation. (Jim Raykowski)

Support of STYLEREF Fields

STYLEREF fields allow users to automatically insert the content of a heading or style into another part of the document. This feature is used to create dynamic headers or footers that automatically update based on changes in the document.

For example, if you have a document with multiple headings, you can use STYLEREF to insert the text of a specific heading into the header or footer. If the content of that heading changes, the STYLEREF field will automatically update to reflect the new content.

Change Tracking

Improvements have been made to the change tracking feature – there is now support of “Move” operation in Writer change tracking, and you can now track changes within tables. (László Németh, NISZ)

Table of Contents & Bibliography

Table of Figures can be generated more flexibly based on a paragraph style, not only by categories or object names. (Michael Stahl, allotropia)

Bibliography entries can now be edited directly from a bibliography table. You can also now change where the Bibliography hyperlink takes you to. Either to the matching row in the bibliography table (“Display URL”), to open the “Target URL”, or “None”. (Vojtěch Doležal)

Accessibility Checker in Sidebar

The Accessibility Checker has been moved to the sidebar allowing the user to easily fix any accessibility issues and to review the whole document without having to switch between dialogs. (Samuel Mehrbrodt, allotropia)



Calc

Contextual Tooltips for Easier Spreadsheeting

Now working with spreadsheets is easier than ever. With the newly added contextual tooltip a user can start to type a formula – “=s” – and a list of available formulas appear. If there is only one completion candidate – “=sum(” – then the tooltip displays a list of accepted parameters for that particular function followed by its description.

Cell Protection

We’re excited to announce this new feature inspired by a number of our customers, including a French government ministry – the ability to lock and protect data within spreadsheets. You can now protect your Calc spreadsheets via individual cells, rows, columns or entire sheets. This exciting new feature empowers users to exert greater control over their spreadsheets and collaborate more effectively than ever before.

Improved AutoFilter and New Filtering Options

AutoFilter’s usability has been greatly improved with fewer redundant widgets and a clearer control set. New filter options such as “Filter by Colour” and “Filter by Condition” are also available.

Filter by Colour makes it possible to filter data by cell’s background or foreground colours.

Filter by Condition gives quick access to pre-canned filters (Empty, Not Empty, Top 10, Bottom 10).

New Scientific Number Format Supported in ODF

The scientific number format is now supported and saved in ODF: embedded text (with number format like ###.000 E0); lower case for exponent (with number format like ###.000e0); exponent with empty ‘?’ instead of ‘0’ (with number format like 0.00E+?0). (Laurent Balland)

Column/Row Highlighting for Active Cell

The row and column highlights to show which cell you are active in. You can turn this feature on through Tools ▸ Options ▸ Collabora Office Calc ▸ View, or through the menu entry View ▸ Column/Row Highlighting. (Sahil Gautam)



Impress

Small Caps Support

Writer supports Small Caps, but Impress never fully supported them despite the option being available. The character dialog provided a preview, but Small Caps rendered the same as All Caps. This has now been fixed. (Caolán McNamara, Collabora)

Slide Show Settings

There are now more setting for presenting Impress slides via Slide Show ▸ Slide Show Settings. You are able to add a navigation panel for switching slides while viewing a presentation. This option is enabled via checkbox: Slide Show ▸ Slide Show Settings ▸ Show navigation panel. (Amin Irgaliev, Vladislav Tarakanov)

The Presenter Console and Remote Control Settings have been moved from ‘Tools’ to ‘Slide Show Settings’ with improved labels and dialog layouts. A new check box for the Remote Control settings can be enabled from here too, as well as an option to present in a window. (Allotropia)



Draw

Support for Multi-Page TIFF Files

Draw now imports multi-page TIFF files (i.e. a TIFF file with several subfiles) placing one image per page. (Rashesh Padia, Collabora)

Improved Fontwork Text Placement

Display soft breaks as line breaks at fontwork. (Attila Szűcs, Collabora)



General

New Properties & Metadata

You can now apply more custom properties and metadata in additional fields to allow for easier information retrieval and improved contextual information for documents. The additional fields now available include: Contributor, Coverage, Identifier, Publisher, Relation, Rights, Source, Type. You can add these via File ▸ Properties… ▸ Description. (Sarper Akdemir, allotropia)

ODF Wholesome Encryption

A new mode of password-based ODF encryption has been implemented. (Michael Stahl, allotropia)

OOXML SVG support Support SVG OOXML extension

We have improved the way Collabora Online works with SVG and EMF/EMF+ files. Scalable Vector Graphics files, or SVGs for short, are excellent for being scalable. This means that when expanded, they will not encounter blurring problems in ways other image formats do. Previously SVGs opened would default to the SVG’s fallback PNG, rather than rendering the SVG at the appropriate size leading to blurry images in some instances. With this new fix, OOXML should now render the SVG image correctly. (Tomaž Vajngerl, Collabora)

Interoperability

As well as providing a feature-rich, accessible solution, we also work hard to make sure our offering is compatible and works well with other document editors such as Microsoft Office, or Google Docs. In 24.04, we have aligned our product even more closely with these solutions, making sure that your documents always look their best, no matter who is dressing them!

Legal Style Numbering in Lists

Interoperability improvements have been made for text documents with legal numbering style lists. The “A” and “I” were overriding the some numbering systems. Traditionally, hierarchical headings in legal documents used roman numerals at the top level (I, II, III); then switch to capital letters (A, B, C); then numerals (1, 2, 3); then lowercase letters (a, b, c); then romanettes (i, ii, iii). Lawyers and technical writers use tiered numbers as indexes for hierarchical headings to make them easier to read. “Legal” ordered list numbering: make a given list level use Arabic numbering for all its number parts. (Mike Kaganski, Collabora).

Multi-Page Floating Tables

As part of the openDesk project, this feature – first brought in for the 23.05 release – has now been thoroughly work-hardened and crash tested against more than 800,000 files. Insert Frame dialog now includes the option to ‘allow frame to split across pages’, as well as being able to turn a floating table into an inline one using a new menu item.

Support for multi-page floating tables was improved in various aspects:
Overlap control, border and footnotes: https://vmiklos.hu/blog/sw-floattable7.html
Nesting: blog post https://vmiklos.hu/blog/sw-floattable8.html
Wrap on all pages: https://vmiklos.hu/blog/sw-floattable9.html
UI improvements: blog post https://vmiklos.hu/blog/sw-floattable10.html

(Miklos Vajna, Collabora)

Smart Justify

After a new line-breaking algorithm was introduced to Microsoft Word, some users may have noticed small rendering differences across products. In a great win for the Open Source community, we’re pleased to announce this discrepancy has now been resolved, with many thanks for this contribution from László Németh, with financial support from the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet programme and NLnet. The below image shows a composite of pages typeset by Writer (black) and Microsoft Word (red) before and after the update. Before the fix, it is noticeable that the difference in line breaks ultimately resulted in a two-page document for Writer, where Word rendered as one.As well as being a great improvement in interoperability we also feel this update shows the strength of the Open Source community, the underlying LibreOffice technology , and the flexibility of Open Source solutions. More information available here. (László Németh)

First Page Header and Footer

First page headers and footers have improved support when importing from OOXML documents. Useful to those of us who use frequently use or create legal documents, booklets, leaflets, and more, Collabora Office now supports separate first page, left page, and right page header and footer content under one page style. (Tomaž Vajngerl, Collabora)

Better Google Sheets Copy/Paste

This update should improve interoperability for users copying and pasting information to/from Google Sheets. This involved writing up the majority of previously undocumented protocol for Google Sheets, before ensuring that data copied from Calc includes markers such as <google-sheets-html-origin/> to fully work with Google Sheets. Additionally, data copied from Google Sheets into Calc will retain this marker despite not being used in Calc, ensuring round-trip functionality is maintained. In our pursuit of ever-better interoperability between platforms as smooth as possible, we trust that this will help users who are either currently working with Google Sheets, or want to know that their data will retain functionality when pasted into other environments. (Miklos Vajna, Collabora)

Improved Graphics Support

We have improved the way Collabora Office works with SVG and EMF/EMF+ files. Scalable Vector Graphics files, or SVGs for short, are excellent for being scalable. This means that when expanded, they will not encounter blurring problems in ways other image formats do. Previously SVGs opened in Collabora Office would default to the SVG’s fallback PNG, rather than rendering the SVG at the appropriate size leading to blurry images in some instances. With this new fix, OOXML should now render the SVG image correctly. Three interoperability issues related to Windows EMF and EMF+ files have also been resolved – namely the lack of implementation of Polydraw MR, the inability to display bezier lines in certain EMF+ images, and an issue during conversion of especially large documents to PDF with watermarks (~1000 pages).These fixes further improve our compatibility and interoperability with Microsoft Office and other document editors. Users can now expect a smoother experience when working with SVGs, EMF and EMF+ files containing advanced graphics features.



Many Other Performance Improvements

In addition to the above, we’ve carried out a lot of work on other under-the-hood engine upgrades for the latest release, which will continue to improve the user experience for our customers.

Community

Collabora has invested significantly in bringing a host of new features and functionality to this latest release and contributes a vast majority of the Collabora Office and Online code. However, we want to acknowledge all of our friends and colleagues in the wider LibreOffice community who helped to contribute not only to this, but also to the underlying LibreOffice Technology upon which Collabora Office and Online are built.

All of our code is Open Source, and you can try out all the above features in our latest Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) snapshots on GitHub, along with some of our development work for the next version. Join the Collabora Online Community, take part in easy hacks and discussions in the forum.

Collabora Office 24.04 is built upon the code commits from LibreOffice 7.6 and LibreOffice 24.2.

About Collabora Productivity

Collabora Productivity provides Collabora Online and Office, an open-source solution for editing and collaboration, alongside a range of other products and consulting services tailored to enterprise and government needs. With the largest team of certified LibreOffice engineers globally, we are dedicated to contributing to the LibreOffice codebase and community. Our business-hardened office suite, Collabora Online for browser and Collabora Office for desktop, ensures long-term, multi-platform support. Additionally, we extend our services with Collabora Office for iOS and Android.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger! Collabora Online 24.04 is here with enhanced performance, interoperability, and useability

The annual major release of our flagship product Collabora Online is here

Cambridge, 23 May 2024 – We are happy to announce the new major release of Collabora Online 24.04. Collabora Online is our fully-supported enterprise-ready office suite, with millions of supported users globally.

Collabora Online is a powerful, Open Source, collaborative office suite that supports all major document, spreadsheet and presentation file formats, which you can integrate into your own infrastructure on-premise. Collabora Online provides data security and sovereignty, and is ideally suited to the demands of a modern distributed working environment. Delivering a familiar look and feel, Collabora Online’s document collaboration represents a real alternative to other big-brand solutions, giving you control and flexibility.

“We’ve been working hard over the past 12 months to bring even more features, faster performance and smoother interoperability to Collabora Online. We’d love for you to put us to the test, get involved with our latest developments, give us feedback, and work with us to free your documents!”

– Michael Meeks, CEO, Collabora Productivity

Try the Online Demo

Usability

Improving the user experience continues to be a key focus area for development on Collabora Online. Over the past year, we have made a number of changes to the user interface and general usability of Collabora Online as we seek to make Collabora Online more intuitive, simpler to use, and accessible for all users.

Contextual tooltips for easier spreadsheeting

Now working with spreadsheets is easier than ever. With the newly added contextual tooltip a user can start to type a formula – “=s” – and a list of available formulas appear. If there is only one completion candidate – “=sum(” – then the tooltip displays a list of accepted parameters for that particular function followed by its description.

 

Contextual tooltips for easier spreadsheeting
Contextual tooltips for easier spreadsheeting

 

Better and Faster Change Processing

In a bid to speed of the acceptance/rejection process of tracked changes, two new buttons have been added to the user interface – ‘Accept and Move to Next’, and ‘Reject and Move to Next’. While not adding any new functionality, the combination of these two processes into one easy to access button should greatly improve and expedite the processing of tracked changes for our users.

Quick navigation through changes
Bulk accept and reject changes

Additionally, improvements have been made to the change tracking feature – you can now track changes within tables, and also see what changes have been made within a tooltip when you hover over a selection in Writer.

Follow Users – redesigned for better useability

Collaborative working is at the heart of Collabora Online. We have had ‘follow the editor’ functionality for some time in our offering, but this has received a new lease of life with an even more intuitive interface. This is especially useful for conference calls or meetings, enabling all users to follow the note taker without any input required, or to catch up to a location in a document being referred to by another user.

The user list has been reordered, with your own avatar or the user you are following pinned to the top. The remaining editors will be ordered by when they joined the document. To unfollow any user, you need simply to click on either your own, or that user’s avatar.
Follow users for smoother document collaboration

Search for help and keyboard shortcuts

Simplifying things greatly, users can now search within the Online Help and Keyboard shortcuts dialogs to filter for topics and key words. The content is filtered at every keystroke, making it easier to find and discover information while minimising scrolling.

search for help and keyboard shortcuts
search for help filter keywords

 

Insert Comments

Simplifying the process greatly, you can now add comments into your documents with just two clicks. Simply right click > ‘Insert Comment’. No need to go menu diving with Collabora Online 24.04.

right click to insert comments

PDF Improvements

In our continued journey of improving accessibility for all, we’re excited to announce a number of improvements to the handling of PDFs, namely exporting to PDF v.1.7 by default, tagged PDFs produced by default, and hybrid PDFs now storing original ODF documents.

These changes should improve accessibility greatly – tagged PDFs for example include hidden accessibility markups that can improve the reading experience of those who use screen readers and other assistive technologies. A properly tagged PDF can also re-flow to adapt its presentation to different screen sizes, for example to provide a high-quality experience to users of smart mobile devices.

Hybrid PDFs on the other hand store the original ODF document as a PDF compatible file attachment. This is very useful for sharing documents with others as a pdf, while retaining the greater functionality of being able to modify the original file.

pdf improvements collabora online

New Properties & Metadata

You can now apply more custom properties and metadata in additional fields to allow for easier information retrieval and improved contextual information for documents. The additional fields now available include: Contributor, Coverage, Identifier, Publisher, Relation, Rights, Source, Type. You can add these via File ▸ Properties… ▸ Description.
add custom properties and metadata


New Features

This year, we have worked on many exciting new features and UI improvements. Just some of these improvements are listed below.

Cell Protection and Section Editing

We’re excited to announce this new feature inspired by a number of our customers, including a French government ministry – the ability to lock and protect data within spreadsheets. You can now protect your Calc spreadsheets via individual cells, rows, columns or entire sheets. This exciting new feature empowers users to exert greater control over their spreadsheets and collaborate more effectively than ever before.
cell and spreadsheet protection
Similar to Cell Protection in Calc, in Writer you can now easily create and edit sections within text documents, allowing you more flexibility with your formatting and the ability to write-protect or hide parts of a documents. We previously supported sections in Writer, but they weren’t editable. There is now a new ‘Edit Section’ option in section’s local menu. The sections will also appear in the Navigator tab on the right hand side, allowing you to quickly navigate between them.

section protection
protect and lock spreadsheets

 

Improved AutoFilter and New Filtering Options

AutoFilter’s usability has been greatly improved with fewer redundant widgets and a clearer control set. New filter options such as “Filter by Colour” and “Filter by Condition” are also available.

Filter by Colour makes it possible to filter data by cell’s background or foreground colours.

Filter by Condition gives quick access to pre-canned filters (Empty, Not Empty, Top 10, Bottom 10).

filter spreadsheets by colour
filter spreadsheets by colour and condition

 

Improved Read-Only Mode

Access controls are vitally important for any modern document editing solution. Similar to Cell Protection in Calc and Sections in Writer, with our improved read-only mode, our industry-leading, server-enforced controls just got better. Previously, our read-only access was just that – 100% read only. Now we offer much more granular control for documents and spreadsheets. Should your read-only users retain copy and paste access? Or perhaps you want them to be able to read a document and add comments, but not copy or edit contents? No problem with the upgraded read-only mode on Collabora Online.

Additionally, you can now follow hyperlinks in read-only documents. Previously you were not able to click through links in read-only documents – now you can follow links.

Present in Window from Impress

There is now an option to present your slides in a new window (as opposed to a full-screen presentation). This comes handy when the user is in a video conference and has to show slides. The new button is located in the “View” tab called “Present in Window”.

present presentations in window
present presentations in window

Quarantine

We have introduced a new ‘Quarantine’ feature, designed to save documents in the event of the system failing to save changes made to a document due to an unexpected fault.

Collabora Online operates in stateless containers to maximise security and efficiently use system resources. This means no information from documents is saved within a user’s container, nor the ‘state’ of a container from instance to instance. Instead, data required by containers is stored externally in a database or file system. This brings about a number of advantages, for example efficient resource utilisation, since stateless containers require no resources to maintain a state, high scalability, since containers can be easy created without the need to synchronise states, and heightened security, since no file storage is carried out in the end user’s container.

In the unlikely event something unusual happens and the container is unexpectedly closed, the state is lost, and in the case of Collabora Online any document edits since the last save or autosave event will be lost. As explained above, this is by design, and brings about a number of advantages. If however this is of concern to system administrators, the new document quarantine feature (configured off by default) can be enabled, which will store the document in the container image should it need to be recovered after a failure to save.

Background saving

In another speed upgrade, auto-saving can now be carried out in the background. No longer will you or other users have their editing frequently interrupted by an unexpected ‘Saving’ notification. Sometimes it’s the little things that count!

fewer background saving interruptions
Fewer interruptions with 24.04

Interoperability

As well as providing a feature-rich, accessible solution, we also work hard to make sure our offering is compatible and works well with other document editors such as Microsoft Office, or Google Docs. In 24.04, we have aligned our product even more closely with these solutions, making sure that your documents always look their best, no matter who is dressing them!

Smart Justify

After a new line-breaking algorithm was introduced to Microsoft Word, some users may have noticed small rendering differences across products. In a great win for the Open Source community, we’re pleased to announce this discrepancy has now been resolved, with many thanks for this contribution from László Németh, with financial support from the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet programme and NLnet.

The below image shows a composite of pages typeset by Writer (black) and Microsoft Word (red) before and after the update. Before the fix, it is noticeable that the difference in line breaks ultimately resulted in a two-page document for Writer, where Word rendered as one.

smart justify interoperability improvements

As well as being a great improvement in interoperability we also feel this update shows the strength of the Open Source community, the underlying LibreOffice technology , and the flexibility of Open Source solutions.

More information available here.

Simplifying Copy and Paste

Thanks to a new API, the copy and paste process has been much simplified. Permission may now be given for Collabora Online to directly access the clipboard in your browser, removing the previous requirement to download content. Click here for an up-to-date list of browsers with this API enabled (note some browsers may have API enabled, but not on by default).

simplifying copy and paste dialogs
Fewer ‘limited access to the clipboard’ popups in 24.04

 

Better Google Sheets copy/paste

This update should improve interoperability for users copying and pasting information to/from Google Sheets. This involved writing up the majority of previously undocumented protocol for Google Sheets, before ensuring that data copied from Calc includes markers such as <google-sheets-html-origin/> to fully work with Google Sheets. Additionally, data copied from Google Sheets into Calc will retain this marker despite not being used in Calc, ensuring round-trip functionality is maintained.

In our pursuit of ever-better interoperability between platforms as smooth as possible, we trust that this will help users who are either currently working with Google Sheets, or want to know that their data will retain functionality when pasted into other environments.

Improved graphics support

We have improved the way Collabora Online works with SVG and EMF/EMF+ files.

Scalable Vector Graphics files, or SVGs for short, are excellent for being scaleable. This means that when expanded, they will not encounter blurring problems in ways other image formats do. Previously SVGs opened in Collabora Online would default to the SVG’s fallback PNG, rather than rendering the SVG at the appropriate size leading to blurry images in some instances. With this new fix, OOXML should now render the SVG image correctly.

Three interoperability issues related to Windows EMF and EMF+ files have also been resolved – namely the lack of implementation of Polydraw MR, the inability to display bezier lines in certain EMF+ images, and an issue during conversion of especially large documents to PDF with watermarks (~1000 pages).

These fixes further improve our compatibility and interoperability with Microsoft Office and other document editors. Users can now expect a smoother experience when working with SVGs, EMF and EMF+ files containing advanced graphics features.


Performance Improvements

And of course, alongside the feature and user-experience improvement listed above, we have been working hard to further accelerate the performance of Collabora Online. Strap in – because we’re speeding up as we get technical with the performance upgrades!

Faster setup time

With this latest release, we will start authenticating a user as early as getting the first request to load a page – carrying out this authentication in parallel with downloading the document, and serving the related browser files. Compared to previously running these operations in series, this may cut page load times by as much as 50%, depending on the document and system configuration. This should lead to noticeably snappier document opening for end users.

18x faster tile compression

This recent speed-boost stacks two improvement, associated with optimising the rendering and re-rendering process of tiles, and changing the way the threading of this process is handled.

To keep things fast, save on bandwidth and reduce document latency, only changes to document tiles are sent from the server to the end user. For this to happen it is important to efficiently identify changes that require re-rendering for the end user’s screen at any moment. This has been accelerated by using RLE compression and AVX2 processing.

Previously, all potential pixel changes were identified using row cyclic redundancy check (CRC) when looking for changes requiring re-rendering. With the new solution, run-length encoded (RLE) rows are compared instead. Since RLE is a significantly compressed form of lossless data storage, this firstly means that nearly 4x the amount of rendered tiles can be stored in the cache (per view) whilst still making a memory saving. Compression of rows is now implemented using a single instruction multiple data (SIMD) algorithm, which as the name suggests, is able to carry out the same instruction on eight pixels simultaneously. This optimization accelerates RLE generation by 4.5x.

In addition to this 4.5x increase, further improvement to the threading of this process has led to a significant improvement in parallelism – with a 4x or more speed increase depending on how many threads are configured to be used. These wins compound to an 18x speed increase in this process of identifying pixels requiring re-rendering!

Many other performance improvements

In addition to the above, we’ve carried out a lot of work on other under-the-hood engine upgrades for the latest release, which will continue to improve the user experience for our customers. This work is very wide-ranging in scope, but includes much faster threaded calculations in Calc, improved loading of .xlsx spreadsheets with larger numbers of comments, minimised re-rendering of sheets when switching, optimising rendering of rows to be displayed in Calc, and much more.

While it is difficult to quantify exactly how much each of these improvements have decreased load times for any given document, we have spent time profiling many real-world use cases since the last release, and observe noticeably faster load and improved responsiveness of documents in Writer and Calc.

Try the Online Demo

Community

Collabora has invested significantly in bringing a host of new features and functionality to this latest release and contributes a vast majority of the Collabora Online code. However, we want to acknowledge all of our friends and colleagues in the wider LibreOffice community who helped to contribute not only to this, but also to the underlying LibreOffice Technology upon which Collabora Online is built.

All of our code is Open Source, and you can try out all the above features in our latest Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) snapshots on GitHub, along with some of our development work for the next version. Join the Collabora Online Community, take part in easy hacks and discussions in the forum.

Collabora Online 24.04 is built upon the code commits from LibreOffice 7.6 and LibreOffice 24.2.

About Collabora Productivity

Collabora Productivity provides Collabora Online, an open-source solution for editing and collaboration, alongside a range of other products and consulting services tailored to enterprise and government needs. With the largest team of certified LibreOffice engineers globally, we are dedicated to contributing to the LibreOffice codebase and community. Our business-hardened office suite, Collabora Online for browser and Collabora Office for desktop, ensures long-term, multi-platform support. Additionally, we extend our services with Collabora Office for iOS and Android.

Introducing CODE 24.04: Enhancing Performance, Interoperability, and Accessibility

Introducing Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) 24.04: Enhancing Performance, Interoperability, and Accessibility

Cambridge, 23 April 2024 – We are happy to announce the new major release of Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) 24.04. CODE, the development version of our enterprise-ready office suite, Collabora Online, has over 88 million docker image downloads globally.

Collabora Online is a powerful, Open Source, collaborative office suite that supports all major document, spreadsheet and presentation file formats, which you can integrate into your own infrastructure. Collabora Online provides data security and sovereignty, and is ideally suited to the demands of a modern distributed working environment. Delivering a familiar look and feel, Collabora Online represents a real alternative to other big-brands solutions, giving you control and flexibility.

CODE is perfect for home use or small teams but is not recommended for production environments. Integrated with the Collabora Office core, CODE builds include cutting-edge features, typically with monthly updates. This new major release includes new features targeting the following key areas: performance, interoperability, accessibility, and security.

Below you will find more details on some of the new features and improvements that are available in CODE 24.04 and where you can download it.

“We’ve been working hard over the past 12 months to bring even more features, faster performance and smoother interoperability to Collabora Online. We’d love for you to put us to the test, get involved with our latest developments, give us feedback, and work with us to free your documents!”

– Michael Meeks, CEO, Collabora Productivity

Get CODE 24.04

Usability

Improving the user experience continues to be a key focus area for development on Collabora Online. Over the past year, we have made a number of changes to the user interface and general usability of Collabora Online as we seek to make Collabora Online more intuitive, simpler to use, and accessible for all users.

Contextual tooltips for easier spreadsheeting

Now working with spreadsheets is easier than ever. With the newly added contextual tooltip a user can start to type a formula – “=s” – and a list of available formulas appear. If there is only one completion candidate – “=sum(” – then the tooltip displays a list of accepted parameters for that particular function followed by its description.

Better and Faster Change Processing

In a bid to speed of the acceptance/rejection process of tracked changes, two new buttons have been added to the user interface – ‘Accept and Move to Next’, and ‘Reject and Move to Next’. While not adding any new functionality, the combination of these two processes into one easy to access button should greatly improve and expedite the processing of tracked changes for our users.

Additionally, improvements have been made to the change tracking feature – you can now track changes within tables, and also see what changes have been made within a tooltip when you hover over a selection in Writer.

Follow Users – redesigned for better accessibility

Collaborative working is at the heart of Collabora Online. We have had ‘follow the editor’ functionality for some time in our offering, but this has received a new lease of life with an even more intuitive interface. This is especially useful for conference calls or meetings, enabling all users to follow the note taker without any input required, or to catch up to a location in a document being referred to by another user.

The user list has been reordered, with your own avatar or the user you are following pinned to the top. The remaining editors will be ordered by when they joined the document. To unfollow any user, you need simply to click on either your own, or that user’s avatar.

Search for help and keyboard shortcuts

Simplifying things greatly, users can now search within the Online Help and Keyboard shortcuts dialogs to filter for topics and key words. The content is filtered at every keystroke, making it easier to find and discover information while minimising scrolling.

PDF Improvements

In our continued journey of improving accessibility for all, we’re excited to announce a number of improvements to the handling of PDFs, namely exporting to PDF v.1.7 by default, tagged PDFs produced by default, and hybrid PDFs now storing original ODF documents.

These changes should improve accessibility greatly – tagged PDFs for example include hidden accessibility markups that can improve the reading experience of those who use screen readers and other assistive technologies. A properly tagged PDF can also re-flow to adapt its presentation to different screen sizes, for example to provide a high-quality experience to users of smart mobile devices.

Hybrid PDFs on the other hand store the original ODF document as a PDF compatible file attachment. This is very useful for sharing documents with others as a pdf, while retaining the greater functionality of being able to modify the original file.

New Properties & Metadata

You can now apply more custom properties and metadata in additional fields to allow for easier information retrieval and improved contextual information for documents. The additional fields now available include: Contributor, Coverage, Identifier, Publisher, Relation, Rights, Source, Type. You can add these via File ▸ Properties… ▸ Description.


New Features

This year, we have worked on many exciting new features and UI improvements. Just some of these improvements are listed below.

Cell Protection and Section Editing

We’re excited to announce this new feature inspired by a number of our customers, including a French government ministry – the ability to lock and protect data within spreadsheets. You can now protect your Calc spreadsheets via individual cells, rows, columns or entire sheets. This exciting new feature empowers users to exert greater control over their spreadsheets and collaborate more effectively than ever before.

Similar to Cell Protection in Calc, in Writer you can now easily create and edit sections within text documents, allowing you more flexibility with your formatting and the ability to write-protect or hide parts of a documents. We previously supported sections in Writer, but they weren’t editable. There is now a new ‘Edit Section’ option in section’s local menu. The sections will also appear in the Navigator tab on the right hand side, allowing you to quickly navigate between them.

Improved AutoFilter and New Filtering Options

AutoFilter’s usability has been greatly improved with fewer redundant widgets and a clearer control set. New filter options such as “Filter by Colour” and “Filter by Condition” are also available.

Filter by Colour makes it possible to filter data by cell’s background or foreground colours.

Filter by Condition gives quick access to pre-canned filters (Empty, Not Empty, Top 10, Bottom 10).

Improved Read-Only Mode

Access controls are vitally important for any modern document editing solution. Similar to Cell Protection in Calc and Sections in Writer, with our improved read-only mode, our industry-leading, server-enforced controls just got better. Previously, our read-only access was just that – 100% read only. Now we offer much more granular control for documents and spreadsheets. Should your read-only users retain copy and paste access? Or perhaps you want them to be able to read a document and add comments, but not copy or edit contents? No problem with the upgraded read-only mode on Collabora Online.

Additionally, you can now follow hyperlinks in read-only documents. Previously you were not able to click through links in read-only documents – now you can follow links.

Present in Window from Impress

There is now an option to present your slides in a new window (as opposed to a full-screen presentation). This comes handy when the user is in a video conference and has to show slides. The new button is located in the “View” tab called “Present in Window”.

Quarantine

We have introduced a new ‘Quarantine’ feature, designed to save documents in the event of the system failing to save changes made to a document due to an unexpected fault.

Collabora Online operates in stateless containers to maximise security and efficiently use system resources. This means no information from documents is saved within a user’s container, nor the ‘state’ of a container from instance to instance. Instead, data required by containers is stored externally in a database or file system. This brings about a number of advantages, for example efficient resource utilisation, since stateless containers require no resources to maintain a state, high scalability, since containers can be easy created without the need to synchronise states, and heightened security, since no file storage is carried out in the end user’s container.

In the unlikely event something unusual happens and the container is unexpectedly closed, the state is lost, and in the case of Collabora Online any document edits since the last save or autosave event will be lost. As explained above, this is by design, and brings about a number of advantages. If however this is of concern to system administrators, the new document quarantine feature (configured off by default) can be enabled, which will store the document in the container image should it need to be recovered after a failure to save.

Background saving

In another speed upgrade, auto-saving can now be carried out in the background. No longer will you or other users have their editing frequently interrupted by an unexpected ‘Saving’ notification. Sometimes it’s the little things that count!

Fewer interruptions with 24.04

Interoperability

As well as providing a feature-rich, accessible solution, we also work hard to make sure our offering is compatible and works well with other document editors such as Microsoft Office, or Google Docs. In 24.04, we have aligned our product even more closely with these solutions, making sure that your documents always look their best, no matter who is dressing them!

Smart Justify

After a new line-breaking algorithm was introduced to Microsoft Word, some users may have noticed small rendering differences across products. In a great win for the Open Source community, we’re pleased to announce this discrepancy has now been resolved, with many thanks for this contribution from László Németh, with financial support from the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet programme and NLnet.

The below image shows a composite of pages typeset by Writer (black) and Microsoft Word (red) before and after the update. Before the fix, it is noticeable that the difference in line breaks ultimately resulted in a two-page document for Writer, where Word rendered as one.

As well as being a great improvement in interoperability we also feel this update shows the strength of the Open Source community, the underlying LibreOffice technology , and the flexibility of Open Source solutions.

More information available here.

Simplifying Copy and Paste

Thanks to a new API, the copy and paste process has been much simplified. Permission may now be given for Collabora Online to directly access the clipboard in your browser, removing the previous requirement to download content. Click here for an up-to-date list of browsers with this API enabled (note some browsers may have API enabled, but not on by default).

No more ‘limited access to the clipboard’ popups in 24.04

 

Better Google Sheets copy/paste

This update should improve interoperability for users copying and pasting information to/from Google Sheets. This involved writing up the majority of previously undocumented protocol for Google Sheets, before ensuring that data copied from Calc includes markers such as <google-sheets-html-origin/> to fully work with Google Sheets. Additionally, data copied from Google Sheets into Calc will retain this marker despite not being used in Calc, ensuring round-trip functionality is maintained.

In our pursuit of ever-better interoperability between platforms as smooth as possible, we trust that this will help users who are either currently working with Google Sheets, or want to know that their data will retain functionality when pasted into other environments.

Improved graphics support

We have improved the way Collabora Online works with SVG and EMF/EMF+ files.

Scalable Vector Graphics files, or SVGs for short, are excellent for being scaleable. This means that when expanded, they will not encounter blurring problems in ways other image formats do. Previously SVGs opened in Collabora Online would default to the SVG’s fallback PNG, rather than rendering the SVG at the appropriate size leading to blurry images in some instances. With this new fix, OOXML should now render the SVG image correctly.

Three interoperability issues related to Windows EMF and EMF+ files have also been resolved – namely the lack of implementation of Polydraw MR, the inability to display bezier lines in certain EMF+ images, and an issue during conversion of especially large documents to PDF with watermarks (~1000 pages).

These fixes further improve our compatibility and interoperability with Microsoft Office and other document editors. Users can now expect a smoother experience when working with SVGs, EMF and EMF+ files containing advanced graphics features.


Performance Improvements

And of course, alongside the feature and user-experience improvement listed above, we have not neglected to further accelerate the performance of Collabora Online. Strap in – because we’re speeding up as we get technical with the performance upgrades!

Faster setup time

With this latest release, we will start authenticating a user as early as getting the first request to load a page – carrying out this authentication in parallel with downloading the document, and serving the related browser files. Compared to previously running these operations in series, this may cut page load times by as much as 50%, depending on the document and system configuration. This should lead to noticeably snappier document opening for end users.

18x faster tile compression

This speed-boost stacks two improvement, associated with optimising the rendering and re-rendering process of tiles, and changing the way the threading of this process is handled.

To keep things fast, save on bandwidth and reduce document latency, only changes to document tiles are sent from the server to the end user. For this to happen it is important to efficiently identify changes that require re-rendering for the end user’s screen at any moment. This has been accelerated by using RLE compression and AVX2 processing.

Previously, all potential pixel changes were identified using row cyclic redundancy check (CRC) when looking for changes requiring re-rendering. With the new solution, run-length encoded (RLE) rows are compared instead. Since RLE is a significantly compressed form of lossless data storage, this firstly means that nearly 4x the amount of rendered tiles can be stored in the cache (per view) whilst still making a memory saving. Compression of rows is now implemented using a single instruction multiple data (SIMD) algorithm, which as the name suggests, is able to carry out the same instruction on eight pixels simultaneously. This optimization accelerates RLE generation by 4.5x.

In addition to this 4.5x increase, further improvement to the threading of this process has led to a significant improvement in parallelism – with a 4x or more speed increase depending on how many threads are configured to be used. These wins compound to an 18x speed increase in this process of identifying pixels requiring re-rendering!

Many other performance improvements

In addition to the above, we’ve carried out a lot of work on other under-the-hood engine upgrades for the latest release, which will continue to improve the user experience for our customers. This work is very wide-ranging in scope, but includes much faster threaded calculations in Calc, improved loading of .xlsx spreadsheets with larger numbers of comments, minimised re-rendering of sheets when switching, optimising rendering of rows to be displayed in Calc, and much more.

While it is difficult to quantify exactly how much each of these improvements have decreased load times for any given document, we have spent time profiling many real-world use cases since the last release, and observe noticeably faster load and improved responsiveness of documents in Writer and Calc.

Get CODE 24.04

Community

Collabora has invested significantly in bringing a host of new features and functionality to this latest release and contributes a vast majority of the Collabora Online code. However, we want to acknowledge all of our friends and colleagues in the wider LibreOffice community who helped to contribute not only to this, but also to the underlying LibreOffice Technology upon which CODE and Collabora Online are built.

All of our code is open source and available to the public on GitHub. Join the Collabora Online Community, take part in easy hacks and discussions in the forum.

CODE 24.04 is built upon the code commits from LibreOffice 7.6 and LibreOffice 24.2.

About Collabora Productivity

Collabora Productivity provides Collabora Online, an open-source solution for editing and collaboration, alongside a range of other products and consulting services tailored to enterprise and government needs. With the largest team of certified LibreOffice engineers globally, we are dedicated to contributing to the LibreOffice codebase and community. Our business-hardened office suite, Collabora Online for browser and Collabora Office for desktop, ensures long-term, multi-platform support. Additionally, we extend our services with Collabora Office for iOS and Android.

Collabora Office 23.05.6 Introduces STYLEREF and Advanced Header/Footer Functionality

Our latest and greatest version of Collabora Office is now ready for your document editing needs. Bringing ever-increasing interoperability with Microsoft Office, further advanced options for floating frames, headers and footers, STYLEREF fields and more, your favourite open-source document editor just got better!

Support of STYLEREF fields in Writer

STYLEREF fields allow users to automatically insert the content of a heading or style into another part of the document. This feature is used to create dynamic headers or footers that automatically update based on changes in the document.

For example, if you have a document with multiple headings, you can use STYLEREF to insert the text of a specific heading into the header or footer. If the content of that heading changes, the STYLEREF field will automatically update to reflect the new content.

Improved support of floating frames in Writer

Part of the openDesk project, this new feature – first brought in for the 23.05 release – has now been thoroughly work-hardened after much testing and fixing of any issues that arose. Being crash tested against more than 800,000 files, there are currently no known crashes related to this feature. 36 community bug reports have been resolved, and the Insert Frame dialog now includes the option to ‘allow frame to split across pages’, as well as being able to turn a floating table into an inline one using a new menu item.

Insert Frame dialog now includes the option at the bottom to ‘Allow frame to split across pages’
Turn a floating table into an inline one, using a new menu item
Behaviour of floating tables in Collabora Office now fully mirrors that in Microsoft Word

 

First page header and footer

Useful to those of us who use frequently use or create legal documents, booklets, leaflets, and more, Collabora Office now supports separate first page, left page, and right page header and footer content under one page style.

Header and footer content for first, left and right pages can be independently edited

23.05.6 now imports and supports many additional pages styles, for example only first page headers and footers enabled, or only left and right enabled. Whilst much of this functionality has existed in Collabora Office for some time, this latest update, as part of the openDesk project, serves to close one of the remaining divergences between Collabora and Microsoft Office

Additional changes

  • All fixes from upstream LibreOffice 7.5.9
  • Conditional formatting rule priority in Calc now matches Excel
  • Improved fontwork text placement (tdf#148000)
  • Support writing SVG images into OOXML using the MS OOXML extension (tdf#126084)
  • Crash fixes
  • Performance fixes

For more information about previous releases, see the full release notes page.

About Collabora Productivity

Collabora Productivity is a leading provider of innovative software solutions, catering to the needs of individuals and businesses worldwide. With a focus on usability, performance, and security, Collabora Office and Online empower users to accomplish their goals efficiently and effectively.

Collabora Office is the latest enterprise release of our desktop office suite based on LibreOffice Technology, for professional, mobile, and online use. Collabora Office 23.05 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 outstanding work done by so many that is included into Collabora Office 23.05. Our annual release, contains code that was contributed to LibreOffice 7.47.5 and 7.6. For a deep dive on all details and credits, please do take a look at the release notes.

It’s easy to migrate to Collabora Office or try Collabora Office for yourself! Just head to the Collabora Office page and request your demo today, or download on the Windows or Mac App store.

If you would like to help test out the very latest Collabora Office versions before official release, you can download the development snapshots.

 

New Release for your Pocket – Collabora Office for Mobile 23.05

Powerful Office Productivity in Your Pocket

Cambridge, September 21, 2023 – Today we are pleased to announce the availability of a new major release of Collabora Office for Android and iOS. This updated version of our free app includes new and improved productivity features, greater document compatibility and a much improved user experience.

Today’s world of work is far more distributed and mobile. Collabora Office for Android and iOS allows you to edit documents directly on your phone or tablet, maintaining your privacy and putting you in full control of your data and documents, any time, any place.

The apps for Android and iOS complete our enterprise-ready Collabora Office product range – consisting of desktop versions for Linux, MacOS and Windows and our flagship product Collabora Online.

New Features

Dark Mode

The widely requested dark mode functionality that was added in Collabora Online 23.05 has come to mobile. There are multiple ways to activate dark mode – either from the main screen, or whilst in a document.

  • From the Home Screen, select the hamburger icon in the top left, click ‘Settings’, ‘Choose theme’ and choose between ‘Dark’ ‘Light’ or ‘System default’.
  • From within a document, select the hamburger icon in the top right, click ‘View’ and select ‘Dark Mode’. To switch off, do the same and untick ‘Dark Mode’.

Insert Form & Content Controls

You can now create forms and insert content controls in Writer, and export them into a fillable PDF file. This feature has been included from our Collabora Online 23.05 release.

  • To insert a field on mobile, select the ‘Insert’ icon on the top right bar and scroll to the bottom, select ‘Form’. From there you can choose which content controls to insert.
  • To modify the options, select the content control, re-select ‘Insert’, ‘Form’ and choose ‘Properties’.
Create forms on mobile with a variety of options

Calc Sparklines

Calc has seen the addition of Sparklines and the ability to define spreadsheet print areas which were introduced in the Collabora Online 22.05 release.

Sparklines are mini-charts found in Microsoft’s XLSX format. There are three different ways of displaying Sparklines: as lines, bar charts or stacked as win-loss charts. Sparklines are always defined for one cell, but different ones can be grouped together.

  • To insert a Sparkline, long tap and scroll to the bottom of the ‘cut, copy’ dialog. Select ‘Sparkline’, customise the options, and select ‘OK’.
  • To edit or remove, long tap on the Sparkline, scroll to the bottom of the ‘cut, copy’ dialog. Select ‘Sparkline’, and choose between the various edit and delete options.
Sparklines are now available on mobile

Define Print Area

For anyone who has tried to print a large spreadsheet, you will know that having a defined print area is essential to avoid wasting paper or having cells spread across multiple pages. Now you can define print areas on the Collabora Office for Mobile Apps to easily print on-the-go.

  • To define a print area, select the cells you want to be in the print area, click the hamburger menu in the top right corner and select ‘Define print area’.

Feature Improvements

Many already available features have seen improvements and updates in Collabora Office for Mobile 23.05. For example:

  • More list options – newly added “Outline Format” and “No list” buttons.
  • Improved Formula bar – the formula bar has been revamped. It’s now completely rendered on the client side. Also seeing many more enhancements such as better collapse and expand functionality and much better text selection handling.
  • Improved Active Slide – when using Impress, the active or selected slide is now easier to discern with an outline style.

MobileWizard Popup

The MobileWizard popup is now being utilised in more dialog boxes for increased consistency throughout the app.

  • Hyperlink panel – this has been completely revamped and improved. It’s now appears as a MobileWizard popup, making it easier to work with hyperlinks.
  • Improved Comments – similarly to the hyperlink panel, this has been revamped in a MobileWizard popup and all the following actions are operated within the same place/component: View comment list, Modify comment, Reply comment and Insert comment.
  • Improved Rename Sheet – long tap on a sheet tab then choose “Rename Sheet…”. This now uses the MobileWizard popup, making it easier to reach those input fields no matter the size of the smartphone.
MobileWizard popups are more consistent in the latest 23.05 mobile release

Performance Improvements

Collabora Office 23.05 for mobile has received many performance improvements that we have been working on throughout the 22.05 life-cycle, and you will already see included in the Collabora Online core.

Collabora Office 23.05 on Tablet

The Collabora Office tablet apps have also seen some updates. Along with various performance and bug fixes, there are a few notable new feature improvements.

Rename Document Dialog

It is now possible to rename the current opened document without closing it. Before this change, or whenever the window was too small to show the document name, renaming from within the file was not possible. The user would have to use the native files app to do so.

  • Now simply navigate to “File” tab, tap the “Rename” button. The “Rename Document” dialog appears and the user can rename the current document without leaving the app.
Renaming documents can now be done without leaving the document

New Document Search Button

With the new “Search” button, it’s easier to trigger a document search without multiple clicks, even if the Status bar is hidden.

  • Navigate to the “Home” tab and swipe left to see the last buttons in that tab. Tap “Search”.
Search documents more easily with the ‘Search’ button in the notebook bar

Thanks to the Community

Collabora has invested significantly in bringing a host of new features and functionality to this latest release and contributes the vast majority of the Collabora Online code. However, this release is a community effort, and we fully appreciate and acknowledge everyone’s hard work that has made it possible! We want to acknowledge all of our friends and colleagues in the wider LibreOffice community who helped to contribute not only to this, but also to the underlying LibreOffice technology upon which CODE and Collabora Online are built.

All of our code is open source and available to the public on GitHub. Join the Collabora Online Community, take part in easy hacks and discussions in the forum.

Download Collabora Office for Mobile 23.05

Collabora Office for iOS, Android and Chrome OS is available through the Play Store and App Store. We also provide the latest snapshot .apk for Android for download! While the iOS version is already available to all users, the Android and Chrome OS releases will be rolled to Play Store users gradually. A vibrant and welcoming community has evolved around Collabora Online & Collabora Office – so if you would like to get in touch or get involved, visit us in the forum or at GitHub.

About Collabora Productivity

Collabora Productivity is a leading provider of innovative software solutions, catering to the needs of individuals and businesses worldwide. With a focus on usability, performance, and security, Collabora Online empowers users to accomplish their goals efficiently and effectively.

Collabora Office for Mobile 23.05 is the latest Android and iOS release of our widely integrated, secure office suite.