Zotero is an open-source reference management software allowing users to manage bibliographic data and related research materials. It allows users to share bibliography libraries and notes, choosing from different citation styles. Collabora Online can now browse all the existing records of one’s Zotero library, enabling users to insert, remove, and refresh references, citations, and notes or to automatically generate bibliographies. This makes Collabora Online an excellent solution for research and academia alike, as well as an ideal option when working with Zotero research assistant.
Setting-up Zotero for Collabora Online
At the time of writing, the Zotero integration is available to Nextcloud users with installed Richdocuments (v7.1.0 and up). All that is required to use this feature is Collabora Online, Nextcloud with Nextcloud Office app (richdocuments) installed and a valid Zotero API Key. Zotero users can create or edit their API keys at zotero.org/settings/keys and then simply copy it into the respective field inside the office settings (Administration Settings > Office) of their Nextcloud instance. All private properties related to the user remain private at all times, while public properties remain accessible to other users and are handled separately.
Inserting Citation and Choosing Citation Style
Place the cursor on the position in your Writer document where you would like to highlight a citation. In the “Reference” menu or tab – depending on which user interface you are using – choose “Add Citation”. If this is the first time a citation is added to the document, a style prompt will show up, allowing you to choose from numerous citations styles – for example, Chicago Manual of Style, MLA Style, ISO-690, APA Style, Oxford Style Guide and many more. Setting the citation style needs only be done once, the chosen citation style will be stored inside the document. The work to be cited can be chosen from a pop-up dialog including your personal and shared libraries on Zotero. Large libraries can be filtered using the search bar.
Refreshing Citations and Style
It’s a common workflow for authors to add a series of incomplete records to their library as a first step, and then adding additional metadata. Another common request is to be able to change the citation style for a document. This is important when submitting works for different publications, but also if for instance a citation style gets updated to a newer edition. Collabora Online allows these updates to be made easily.
Pressing the button “Refresh Citations” (or selecting the respective item inside the menu of the Compact View UI) fetches the updates from your Zotero library. A message at the button of the document keeps the user informed about the progress of this process. Updating the Citation Style is also straightforward. The option “Citation Preference” opens the above-mentioned Citation Style dialog, allowing users to switch styles for the whole document at any time.
Creating a Bibliography and Inserting Notes
The Zotero integration allows users to make a clear distinction between notes and citations in Collabora Online. Inserting a note works similar to inserting a citation. Choosing this option from the UI will open the dialog and grant access to the notes of the user’s Zotero library. Notes are quite flexible items that can include HTML, formatting and emojis.
A bibliography of the works cited in the document can be generated automatically with a simple click. It appears at the position where the cursor is located. Collabora generates only the pure bibliography without additional text or placeholders, so the heading can be added according to your preferences (index, glossary, bibliography).
Try it in Collabora Online or CODE
The Zotero integration has been introduced to Collabora Online with the release of Collabora Online 22.05.10 in February 2023. You can test the feature in our free demo. Tech enthusiasts may also like to test it inside an installation of CODE, the free Collabora Online Development Edition, intended for home users and Developers who would like to help to test the latest features first. Find all the instructions here.
Cambridge, October 26, 2022. Collabora Productivity announces the availability of Collabora Online in the OpenPOWER architecture. Accessing this architecture makes our collaborative online office available on another group of powerful data centres and is the result of the young partnership with independent IT service provider 21unity, based in Dieburg, Germany.
Collabora Online Available on OpenPOWER
Starting with the release of the enterprise version 22.05.6, Collabora Online now supports the ppc64le architecture. The abbreviation describes the little-endian architecture provided by the OpenPOWER Foundation, which is based on the Power ISA instruction set. Power ISA is a successor to the PowerPC ISA developed by IBM for the microprocessor architecture of the corresponding name. The architecture is super-scalable and belongs to the family of Reduced Instruction Set Computers (RISC).
“We are pleased to bring our product to the Power platform”, says Michael Meeks, General Manager, Collabora Productivity. “We love to work with like-minded partners who build their business around open technologies.”
Benefits of the OpenPOWER Architecture
Unlocking the OpenPOWER architecture is a consistent step in our strategy to make Collabora Online available on all modern architectures and platforms while bearing the best possible performance in mind. It enables us to deliver our collaborative online office on an additional family of servers and data centres. The OpenPOWER architecture combines performance with high reliability. The openness of the technology is the key to the recent innovations in performance and energy efficiency. For the ppc64le platform, Collabora currently provides Ubuntu 20.04 packages and Docker images to customers and Partners.
21unity and Collabora Productivity Forge a Partnership
The availability of Collabora Online on the OpenPOWER architecture is the result of the fruitful partnership between the Dieburg-based IT service provider 21unity and Collabora Productivity, and was facilitated by the openness of the technology used. The OpenPower Foundation follows an open collaboration model for its technology, in which participating companies share technological innovations with each other – comparable to Collabora’s open-source software development. Collabora Online is based on LibreOffice technology – new features and enhancements that our developers create for our desktop suite are incorporated into the LibreOffice core alongside Collabora Online. 21unity offers the digitally sovereign online collaboration solution 21unity CLOUD as a new product on the OpenPOWER architecture. The offering consists of Nextcloud Enterprise for sharing files, writing email, and conducting chats and video conferences, and includes Collabora Online as a feature-rich, professional online office with outstanding interoperability.
“We are very pleased to be offering Collabora Online in our 21unity Cloud running on OpenPOWER”, says Yogi M. Schneider, CTO/CDO at 21unity. “It’s great to be able to offer the excellent features and interoperability to a wider user base.”
21unity operates the 21unity CLOUD from its own data centre with enterprise-class POWERServers in Dieburg, Germany.
21unity, based in Dieburg, specializes in customized IT solutions for companies. They are a cloud service provider and offer an “out-of-the-box” Nextcloud Enterprise with 21unity Collaboration Cloud and also created their own ERP system, which give the customers a full-fledged digital office experience. Their mission is to create easy-to-use, browser-based solutions for uncomplicated digital collaboration. In the area of system integration, they consider themselves not just a solution finder or developer, but an accelerator and trusted partner for digital transformation. The cloud offering provides a comprehensive collaboration office with the security of a German server location. The link with 21pro – a proprietary ERP – professionalizes the workflow in the process. Learn more at 21unitycloud.de
About Collabora Productivity
Collabora Productivity created Collabora Online, an online office suite based on LibreOffice Technology. Collabora provides a wide range of products, as well as consulting services for enterprises and governments. Powered by the largest team of certified LibreOffice engineers in the world, Collabora is a leading contributor to the LibreOffice codebase and community. Collabora Office for Desktop and Collabora Online provide a business-hardened office suite with long-term support. For more information, visit www.collaboraoffice.com or follow @CollaboraOffice on Twitter.
This New Major Release Brings Grammar Checking, Giant Spreadsheets and Performance Wins
Cambridge, August 4, 2022 – Collabora announces the availability of a new major release of Collabora Online 22.05. The latest major release targets three key areas: ease of use, performance, and interoperability. It demonstrates the company’s mission of being the technology leader in collaborative editing. Collabora Online provides businesses the most effective and secure document creation environment with dedicated support backed by deep experience.
Collabora Online is the collaboration suite that offers business and professionals the best features, interoperability, LTS, and custom support in open source, while respecting user privacy and corporate data security. We highlight some of the latest functionality added to Collabora Online below:
Starting with version 22.05 we have introduced the support for external grammar checkers. You can now benefit from the great style and grammar checker by LanguageTool in your browser. To make use of this feature, you have to enable this inside Collabora Online’s configuration file. Depending on whether you are using a free or a premium account, both the quality and amount of the suggestions may vary. We would like to express our gratitude to Nicolas Christener and his wonderful team at Adfinis for making this great feature a reality. And of course to the team for their great work creating, maintaining and improving LanguageTool. You can support their open-source work by buying their premium service. Find more details on how to benefit from this feature in our dedicated blogpost on LanguageTool in Collabora Online.
“Jumbo Spreadsheets” with 16k Columns in Calc
Collabora Online now supports up to 16384 columns in spreadsheets. This is a sixteenfold increase in the maximum number of columns compared to previous versions. Previously, and annoyingly, Calc would display an error message on opening large sheets that exceeded 1024 columns. Combined with up to one million rows per spreadsheet, Calc can now handle enormous amounts of data on the right hardware. Previous performance improvements in Calc paved the way for this feature, which also increases the interoperability with Excel spreadsheets from Microsoft. This work was funded by DEVxDAO as part of their mission to support open-source and transparent research and development of emerging technologies and frameworks.
Sparklines Now Available for Calc
Sparklines are mini-charts found in Microsoft’s XLSX format. The support for them premiered with the release of Collabora Office 22.05. Sparklines are always defined for one cell, but different ones can be grouped together. There are three different ways of displaying Sparklines: as lines, bar charts or stacked as win-loss charts. The Sparklines feature can be accessed through the right-click dialog. The source data for a Sparkline is defined in an associated data range.
WebP is a graphics format for lossy or lossless image compression. It can be used for both static and animated images, and is also supported by the vast majority of modern browsers. The current version of Collabora Online now allows for importing images in WebP format. The graphic format can also be used in all document types, i.e., in text documents, spreadsheets, presentations as well as Draw files.
Content Controls in Writer: Dropdown, Picture and Date Types
Writer now has content control: a new way to set properties on a piece of text, primarily for form filling purposes. This feature improves compatibility with the DOCX format around forms. There are now five types of inline Content Controls that can be imported and added to Collabora Online. Writer had already included form controls and fieldmarks, providing similar features. However, there are some differences in their behaviour – among other differences, Content Controls can contain rich text and a set of properties. However, unlike fieldmarks, they can’t span over different paragraphs. Here is a small summary of the capabilities of the new Content Controls.
Rich Text Content Controls simply show an indicator when you’re inside the content
Checkbox Content Controls contain a single character, but you can interact with them: clicking on the content control toggles the checked state of the checkbox
Dropdown Content Controls have a list of dropdown items. Each item is a display-text and value pair, allowing to differentiate between a human-readable string and a machine-readable value.
Picture Content Controls allow the author of a form to pre-format the image before the filler of the form inserts the actual image.
Date Content Controls were emulated with Writer fieldmarks in the past, which created trouble during export, since Word itself doesn’t have a date form-field.
We continue working in the conversion of various UI components in Collabora Online to “native” HTML widgets. This helps us to get better user experience, especially on touch and mobile devices. This time we have converted the formula bar which is used to edit data in cells inside a spreadsheet.
Previous “tunnelled” approaches had some disadvantages, such as a blurry look under some conditions and unexpected cursor position behaviour. Now the edit field is rendered by the browser, ensuring a crisp display of text under all circumstances and resolutions with improved caret positioning. It has now become much easier to type into the formula bar, especially on touch devices.
Bandwidth wins and improved performance with Deltas
Previous versions of Collabora Online have managed documents as a series of tiles, when a tile is invalidated by its contents changing, new tiles have been compressed and sent. Interestingly, this cost usually outweighed all other rendering and managing of document content. In this version, we adopt a simple time-based compression – whereby for actively changing tiles, we send the user a small set of changes since the last tile. Thus, if you type a ‘period’ we can generate a tiny compressed change for just those pixels. This gives up to a 75% bandwidth saving depending on your workload – as well as saving CPU time. We also have laid the foundation for switching to a far faster zstd compression library in the 22.05 lifetime to save yet more CPU cycles and serve more users from the same server hardware.
Accessibility Check Helps to Create Documents According to the PDF/UA Standard
The current version of Collabora Online includes a new Accessibility Checker. This helps to create documents according to the PDF/UA standard. Published as an International Standard in 2012 (ISO 14289), the PDF/UA format provides clear normative terms for achieving accessibility in the PDF format. The goal is to enable users to easily create documents that are friendly to the impaired, without expert assistance, and to make that easier to do. This is accomplished by making it easier to set standardized content annotations within the document so that they can be made available to the end user, including PDF readers via assistive technologies (AT).
The Accessibility Check is a useful step in our ongoing journey to improve accessibility, both in Collabora Online (Browser) and Collabora Office (Desktop). The Accessibility Check button can be found in the Review tab. The dialog shows a list of all issues found in the text document. Through a quick access button, it is possible to access the critical element. The issue is highlighted. See this article for more details on the already implemented checks.
Faster Rotation of Bitmap Graphics
The rotation of bitmap graphics has undergone a significant speed improvement. When rotating graphics via the button (the slightly off-set filled circle above a selected graphic), the movement is now much smoother and easier to position. This improvement makes manipulating bitmap graphics much more comfortable. Here’s how you can try it for yourself. Select a bitmap graphic by clicking on it. Move the cursor to the grey circle above the graphic. The cursor now changes into a palm. Now move the palm cursor to the right and left as you wish while holding down the left mouse button.
Dynamic Configuration of Multiple Hosts
Collabora Online uses a WOPI-like protocol to interact with hosts who want to integrate Collabora Online. The improved admin configurations allow for multiple WOPI hosts with multiple aliases. This means you can use a single Collabora Online server with different software integrations at the same time. It is also possible to manage these hosts dynamically without a server restart. This makes Collabora Online much easier to deploy and configure, particularly when scaling to integrate with large numbers of different services. All of this saves cost and reduces management complexity, making this feature especially interesting for hosting companies. We have summarized the technical background information on Multihost Configuration inside our SDK documentation.
This release is a community effort and we fully appreciate and acknowledge their hard work that has made it possible! A few weeks ago, we already celebrated the wonderful work of these people in this blog post.
Collabora Online 22.05 is our latest enterprise quality release. It’s suitable for large-scale deployment, and comes with SLA, enterprise support with signed security updates as well as interaction with product management, helping to direct our development priorities. Collabora Online integrates flawlessly into Nextcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, and many of the major file sync & share, groupware and hosting solutions. It’s ideal for organisations that want to collaborate on documents, without losing control over them or compromising on privacy. With the ability to host it on your own hardware or to integrate it into a trusted environment, Collabora Online is the ideal online office suite for digital sovereignty. Enterprises interested in using Collabora Online can check out our home page for more information on partner integrations and online demos. Hosting and Cloud businesses that wish to add Collabora Online to their product portfolio can become a partner. For any questions or tailored solutions, do not hesitate to contact email@example.com.
Writing grammatically correct and stylistically beautiful texts in the browser has now become much more convenient. LanguageTool, known to desktop users of Collabora Office and LibreOffice as a powerful grammar checker extension, is now also available for Collabora Online. In this article you can find out how to use it for your online documents.
LanguageTool’s mission is to unleash the professional writing skills in every user. It is an open-source project based on AI-technology that analyses the style, tonality, and typography of text and instantly generates context-aware suggestions. The software supports spell- and grammar checking for 30 languages and is constantly being enhanced by an international team of linguistic professionals and machine learning experts. Besides the plug-ins for desktop office suits, it offers add-ons for all major browsers.
Many users of LanguageTool’s browser add-ons may already be familiar with how LanguageTool works. Once installed, it automatically highlights errors in composed online forms and text fields in different colours. However, the documents we edit in Collabora Online are not text in the true sense of the word, as the document never leaves its location on the server. Users only see image renderings of the document during editing. For this reason, a server-side setting must be made to activate LanguageTool. For more information, please consult the technical documentation on LanguageTool. Additionally, a paid premium account with LanguageTool offers better checking results and a larger selection of alternative formulations.
Using LanguageTool in Collabora Online
Through the integration of LanguageTool, different types of errors in text are now highlighted in different colours within Collabora Online. Spelling errors continue being indicated by a red underlining. Grammatical errors are indicated by an orange underline, while stylistic errors are underlined in blue. If you mark the highlighted error, you can display alternative formulations by right-clicking and selecting them through the context menu. LanguageTool’s grammar correction works in all Collabora Online modules, i.e., not only in text documents but also in spreadsheets, presentations, or Draw designs.
Write your text in Collabora Online
LanguageTool automatically detects and underlines mistakes in your text
Right-click the underlined segment to open the context menu with LanguageTool suggestions
Choose the prefered suggestion from the context menu
Examples of Grammar- and Style Checking with LanguageTool
Here are just a few examples of style and grammar mistakes that LanguageTool can detect.
As mentioned above, to make use of this feature, you have to enable this inside Collabora Online’s configuration file. Depending on whether you are using a free or a premium account, both the quality and amount of the suggestions may vary. We would like to express our gratitude to Nicolas Christener and his wonderful team at Adfinis for making this great feature a reality.
Cambridge, April 13, 2022 – Today we are pleased to announce the availability of a new major release of Collabora Office for mobile devices and Chromebooks. This version of our free app for Android, iOS and Chrome OS includes numerous advanced productivity features, excellent document compatibility and a much improved user experience.
“Collabora Office on Mobile is a real alternative to proprietary office editors on Android, iOS and Chrome,” said, Nicolas Christener, CEO at Adfinis. “We are pleased to have contributed to Collabora’s work on this new version, which delivers a much-improved tablet sidebar and user experience.”
“This version of Collabora Office brings a year of work and improvement both from our team and the underlying LibreOffice Technology, ” said, Michael Meeks, General Manager of Collabora Productivity. “We love to work alongside the community, as well as partners like Adfinis who understand the importance of digital sovereignty for enterprise customers wanting to edit their documents on the go.”
Faster and More Responsive Sidebar on Tablets
Contextual Toolbars Enhance User-Experience
The new contextual toolbar in Collabora Office 21.11 improves the usability of the mobile application. The toolbar (at the bottom of the app) now reacts dynamically to the active selection. For example, if a user selects text the bottom bar will display actions related to text. If the user selects a shape, the bottom bar changes to display only actions related to that particular object type (shape) or the selected element (table, shape, image). Thanks Andreas Kainz for working on this 🙂
Improved Import of PPTX with Shaped Images
Collabora Office 21.11 includes many interoperability improvements around the import of PPTX files, that had first been introduced to the desktop and to Collabora Online. Images within shapes – even those converted to greyscale or mirrored – are now displayed true to the original on the mobile app.
Better Shadow Effects
In earlier versions of the mobile app, shadows used to be rendered as solid copies of objects. The new Blur option now allows for a more realistic rendering of the shadows. This option can be accessed via the Edit button inside the mobile app and the Shadows option in the dialog. A checkbox allows you to activate the blur effect. You can customise the blur effect with the plus and minus controls.
Glow and Soft Edge Effects for Shapes
Collabora Office 21.11 introduces further options, which allow you to manipulate shapes in a more granular way. Once a shape is selected, you can add and change Glow effects and Soft Edges through the Effect dialog available in the Edit menu. In addition, it is now possible to choose the colour and the degree of transparency of the effect. This function is also an interoperability improvement and is available for shapes across all document types (Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw).
Thanks to the Community
This release is a community effort, and we fully appreciate and acknowledge their hard work that has made it possible! A few weeks ago, we already celebrated the wonderful work of these people in this blog post.
Download Collabora Office 21.11
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 & Collbaora Office. If you would like to get in touch or get involved, visit us in the forum or on GitHub.
Collabora Productivity is the driving force behind putting LibreOffice in the Cloud, providing Collabora Online and a range of products and consulting to enterprise and government. Powered by the largest team of certified LibreOffice engineers in the world, it is a leading contributor to the LibreOffice codebase and community. Collabora Office for Desktop and Collabora Online provide a business-hardened office suite with long-term, multi-platform support. Collabora Productivity is a division of Collabora, the global software consultancy dedicated to providing the benefits of Open Source to the commercial world, specializing in mobile, automotive and consumer electronics industries. For more information, visit www.collaboraoffice.com or follow Collabora Office on Twitter .