Collabora Online 22.05 – The Major Release of the Enterprise Edition Includes Powerful Features and a Boost in Performance

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:

 

Get Collabora Online 22.05

 

Using Grammar and Style Checks in the Browser

Grammar checking in a Writer Document in Collabora Online 22.05

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 22.05 increases the maximum number of columns available in Calc to 16384

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

Create beautiful single cell graphs in Calc with Sparklines in Collabora Online 22.05

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.

This feature was made possible by funding from NGI and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871498. For more information on the technical background, see Tomaz Vajngerl’s blog.

 

Webp support available for all types of documents

Collabora Online 22.05 supports the WebP format across all modules

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

Content Controls menu in Collabora Online Writer 22.05

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.
Date Content Control in Collabora Online 22.05
Date Content Control Properties in Collabora Online 22.05

This feature has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871498. For more information on the technical background, see Miklos Vajna’s blog post.

 

New HTML Formula Input Bar

Faster native rendering of the input of formulae in Calc

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.

The formula input bar on touch

 

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

Accessibility Checker

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

Fast image rotation in Collabora Online 22.05

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.

LibreOffice Technology

CODE and Collabora Online are built with LibreOffice Technology by the LibreOffice community in which we love to participate. We cannot thank everyone involved enough for their passionate work.

LibreOffice – a great technology base

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.

 

Get Collabora Online 22.05

 

About Collabora Online

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 hello@collaboraoffice.com.

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Take advantage of style and grammar checking of your texts in Collabora Online

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.

About LanguageTool

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.

 

Get LanguageTool

 

Some Preliminary Comments

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.

Step-by-step Procedure

  1. Write your text in Collabora Online
  2. LanguageTool automatically detects and underlines mistakes in your text
  3. Right-click the underlined segment to open the context menu with LanguageTool suggestions
  4. 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.

  1. Terms spelled with a hyphen
  2. Wrong use of nouns and pronouns
  3. Start of sentences in lower case
  4. Typographical Mistakes (missing or needless commas, typographical ellipsis character, unpaired parentheses)
  5. (Presumably) Incorrect dates and weekday (Weekday and date mismatch, dates in the future)
  6. Successive beginning of sentences with the same word
  7. Stylistic redundancies (e.g., 6 PM in the afternoon)
Unpaired Symbol message from LanguageTool in Collabora Online
Successive beginning of sentences with the same word detected by Language Tool in Collabora Online

 

 

Afterword and Thank You

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.

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Collabora Office 21.11 for Android, iOS and Chrome OS Lifts Mobile Productivity to the Next Level


Powerful Office Productivity in Your Pocket

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.”

 

Performance Improvements

Collabora Office 21.11 for mobile devices has inherited many performance improvements that we have been working on through the 6.4 life-cycle and have already been included in the Collabora Online core. We have been accelerating JavaScript, and we’ve made auto-spell checking and AutoFilter quicker.

Faster and More Responsive Sidebar on Tablets

Collabora Office 21.11 introduces a sidebar for tablets. This is both a performance and usability improvement. It uses the same new JavaScript engine as Collabora Online 21.11, making it far more responsive and natural looking. With its more snappy responding buttons and controls, it is a major improvement for all users.

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.

 

About Collabora Productivity

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 .

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Collabora Online 21.11.3 Released – Dynamic Configuration of Multiple Hosts Saves Cost and Reduces Management Complexity

The latest update of Collabora Online brings significant configuration improvements allowing users to dynamically connect multiple WOPI hosts with a single Collabora Online Server. This makes Collabora Online easier to deploy and configure, especially when scaling to integrate with many different services. Collabora Online 21.11.3 also brings several improvements to the user experience, like the way complex commenting cases are handled. Several visual enhancements are also included. All the technical details of this version are available in the release notes.

Dynamic Configuration Saves Cost and Reduces Management Complexity

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 as Nextcloud, ownCloud, EGroupware, Moodle, Alfresco or an Univention Corporate Server. It is 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 host companies. We have summarised the technical background information on Multihost Configuration inside our SDK documentation.

The comments section in Collabora 21.11.3 saw different visual and usability improvements

Improvements for Complex Commenting Cases

Icon of a collapsed thread

The way Writer renders comments has improved significantly with recent updates. When you respond to a comment, the original comment is visually highlighted and indented, making it much clearer to locate the referenced element inside the document. Collabora Online does now display comments in different ways depending on the window’s width. On smaller displays, comment threads will be displayed collapsed – as a small icon with an indication of the number of replies. This is particularly useful on laptops or tablets. On large screens comments we be displayed fully expanded. These overall visual improvements significantly enhance the look and feel of the comment section and make the collaborative editing processes more effective.

 

 

About Collabora Online

Collabora Online 21.11 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 hello@collaboraoffice.com.

 

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Collabora Online 21.11.2.4 Brings Accessibility Checker and Improved UX

The latest update of Collabora Online brings several improvements regarding accessibility and the user interface. Also, the rotation of images has been accelerated, making the experience much better. Inside this blog, we are highlighting some of the latest features of the Collabora Online 21.11.2.4 update. All the technical details of this version are available in the release notes.

Accessibility Check Helps to Create Documents According to the PDF/UA Standard

Accessibility Check in Collabora Online 21.11.2.4

Collabora Online introduces the accessibility checker with the update to version 21.11.2.4. It 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 use documents without assistance from others, and to be able to receive the same value from the content as people without disabilities. This is accomplished by standardisation of the content structure within the PDF files and the technology capabilities available to the end user, including PDF readers and assistive technologies (AT).

The Accessibility Check is part of the first step in an 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. These checks are currently implemented:

  • Check if the document title is set
  • Check if the document language is set, or all styles in use, have the language set
  • Check all images, graphics, OLE objects for the alt (or title in some objects) text
  • Check for heading order. Order of the headings must increase incrementally with no skips
  • Check, if text conveys additional meaning with (direct) formatting
  • Check if tables do not include split or merged cells, which could be disorienting for users with visual impairments
  • Check for fake/manual numbering (not using integrated numbering)
  • Check that hyperlink text is not a hyperlink itself – hyperlink should be described
  • Check for the contrast between text and the background
  • Check for blinking text, which can be problematic for people with cognitive disabilities or photosensitive epilepsy
  • Check for footnotes and end notes, which should be avoided

Faster Rotation of Bitmap Graphics

Fast image rotation in Collabora Online 21.11.2.4

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.

Goodbye, Hamburger Menu 👋 The User Interface Experiences Many Improvements

Home Tab in Collabora Online 21.11.2.4
View Tab in Collabora Online 21.11.2.4

The Collabora Online 21.11.2.4 update brings some clearly visible changes to the user interface. The tabs have been streamlined in favour of a more floating style. The appearance of Collabora Online on iPads has been harmonised with the appearance on desktops and notebooks. By clicking the current tab, you can collapse the menu or display it again. Additionally, we are waving the hamburger menu goodbye. Many of the functions contained therein were already available via buttons in other tabs. Now the remaining functions have also found a new home, in places that are less generic. For instance, Select All can be found inside the Layout tab, the Full Screen icon now lives in the View tab, and so does the possibility to toggle the ruler. At the same time, the Undo & Redo buttons have been moved to the Home tab. And there are even more small UI enhancements to be discovered. All dialogs experienced visual improvements, and so did many elements in the Sidebar and the formatting icons. Thanks to the community, that contributed a lot to this specific area.

 

 

About Collabora Online

Collabora Online 21.11 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 hello@collaboraoffice.com.

 

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