Thanks for a great 2018

As we come to Christmas and the new year, it is great to reflect on everything that we’ve achieved this year. Collabora Productivity would not exist without the funding, support and friendship of our partners and customers. When reviewing what we’ve achieved we’re really grateful for your trust & input into our product development, helping to guide which features and fixes we invest in next. Of course we could do nothing without our talented staff – who have worked extremely hard to turn your ideas into working code, alongside a wide community of volunteers.

Because of you 2018 turned out to be an outstanding year! Here are a few tastes of what we achieved with links to the full details:


Collabora Online improvements

Collabora Online 3.0

In February we had a major release, bringing for the first time the infrastructure necessary to bring many rich dialogs to the browser:

Calc format cells dialog

This release also brought change tracking management, a thesuarus, sorting and auto-filtering, IPv6 support, PAM integration, and much more. It formed the base for a series of incremental fix and improvement releases through the year.

Collabora Online 3.1

The key feature in this update, requested by our Asian partners was much improved IME integration:

IME integration shot of Chinese input

This release also brought support for chart data series editing, hidden tabs,

Collabora Online 3.2

In April we had an update, that brought chart creation to our existing chart editing functionality into writer, calc and impress, as well as data validation – allowing complex spreadsheet data entry:

New chart insertion dialogData validation in action

We also managed to include context menu spelling correction, column formatting, and a new scripting API for integrators.

Collabora Online 3.3

In June we brought another update that significantly improved clipboard paste – preserving formatting, tables, images and more. Another great win was the ability to paste text as CSV (Comma Separated Values) into Calc:

Pasting into calc shows rich CSV import options

We also took some time to allow people to set basic conditional formats, borders, and added a no-color option to the drop-down:

New convenient drop-downs

We also included responsive design improvements for mobile, as well as options to anonymize document and user names when logging and cleaning up our warning dialogs. We also added the ability to connect a remote monitoring server for better Alfresco locking integration and powerful cluster management. With some more fixes and improvements in a 3.1.1 follow up release

Collabora Online 3.4

In October we brought a major set of improvements with significantly improved interactivity halving typing latency in many cases:

Slide highlighting halving of latency

We also improved our mobile experience, impress slide-sorter performance, as well as allowing a configurable web root and other fixes. With a pair of 3.4.1 and 3.4.2 minor releases to further address partner issues.

CODE 4.0 RC1

In December we released a major refresh and upgrade as a base for a Collabora Onine 4.0 release in 2019. This refreshed the look of toolbars with a fresh new look from Colibre:

Refreshed toolbar look

This included lots of ergonomic improvements, improved shape editing controls with re-sizing previews and a convenient palette to insert shapes. A large number of mobile device improvements were also made – including a stripped-down viewing mode, with auto-hiding, scrollable toolbars, and panning menus. We also added zoom & pan of complex dialogs allowing access to rich desktop functionality on mobile:

screenshot of collabora online from mobileZooming and panning into different areas of complex dialogues

Retina / HiDPI display improvements make text look crisp using the browser’s details to render at the display’s real resolution, getting crisp pixel rendering (example at 200% zoom):

screenshot showing not so crisp pixel rendering of calc   screenshot showing crisp pixel rendering of Calc

Collabora Office 6.0 brings major improvements

Every year, we refresh Collabora Office; our enterprise-grade, long term supported open-source office suite. Collabora Office 6.0 brought a host of new features and interoperability improvements. After all the work on interoperabilty and our creation of an innovative new interoperbility tool: COLEAT, we called Collabora Office 6.0 The Migrator’s Choice.

COLEAT interoperability tool

One of the major problems large enterprises often have is un-documented, legacy line of business applications often written in VB using COM to drive and re-use Microsoft Office. With Collabora Office 6.0 we have created a great new complementary interoperability tool: COLEAT that lets Collabora Office 6.0 act as a drop-in replacement via our compatibility APIs. It also implements a tracing tool to allow easy troubleshooting it complements our work making many more VBA macro driven documents work out of the box.

COLEAT - replace with Collabora Office

Checkout a video of COLEAT in action.

Improving Interoperability

Several of our partners asked us to improve PPTX interoperability so we invested a chunk of time in improving round-trip fidelity between Powerpoint and Collabora Office, avoiding unnecessary warnings, fixing export of group shapes, export of embedded videos, and preservation of customXML on export. We also implemented PPTM (PPTX with macros) – preserving the VBA streams on export. Other hard to visualize fixes around animations were done too, as well as improving document layout:

Much improved PPTX interoperability

Other 6.0 pieces:

In 2018 – we deprecated the GovOffice brand, and made 5 years of support lifetime an option that can be ordered for Collabora Office. We included large numbers of features and fixes which we had implemented for our customers on top of LibreOffice 5.3 as well – from mail-merge, ADMX lock-down improvements, autotext import improvements, SharePoint lists / IQY import and much more.

We continued to implement small new features and fixes on top of 6.0 through 2018 including a built-in MariaDB/MySQL connector, font effect transformations and other VBA and interoperability fixes as well as ongoing security updates. In 2019 we’ll be releasing Collabora Office 6.2 incorporating another round of Collabora and community development by mid 2019.

Collabora Online for bulk Document Conversion

One thing that we tried to encourage this year is the move to using Collabora Online’s built-in REST API for Document Conversion – which can re-use all the efficiency, sharing and security improvements we’ve built into Collabora Online. Good process management of conversions, size limits, timeouts with hard-killing the few processes that mis-behave – all in a friendly package. And of course faster than JODConverter and unoconv too:

Graph showing improved conversion performance of Collabora Online

We could also enjoy spending the time tweaking various conversions to accelerate specific cases. It is great to be able to focus on specific conversions and squeeze out some low hanging fruit, eg. 5x faster ODT → XHTML

Adding, and using lots of new options such as NoFileSync, NoThumbnail, HiddenForCovnersion, and lazy loading autoformat tables when they’re actually needed.

Adfinis & Collabora bring LibreOffice to iOS

In 2018 thanks to a joint investment with Adfinis to address different customers of ours, we brought Collabora Online to iOS, with lots of interesting details and a pretty picture:

A presentation under iOS

Why not get involved in development using TestFlight and help us meet our goal of a good, Open Source, offline office suite solution in the first half of 2019.

Yet more LibreOffice goodness

Of course, we contribute all of our code changes back to LibreOffice, or
the relevant up-stream project. We love to contribute to and work alongside
the LibreOffice community (infographic). Serving with two seats on the TDF Board and Membership Committee, as well as being Advisory Board members.

We sponsored the LibreOffice conference (summary) and ran a team build event for those of our partners that didn’t mind getting wet:

Team building stand up paddle

And also celebrated the 5th birthday of Collabora Productivity, and enjoyed the FLOSS weekly experience:

Thanks to TDF’s generous donors we significantly improved image handling inside LibreOffice, as well as working towards enabling Firebird migration in base.

Thanks to AMD we’ve managed to hugely improve parallel CPU computation of large spreadsheets, and test all available bug documents with both threading and OpenCL to ensure great behavior in all known corner cases. We’ve also re-worked text rendering to avoid lots of redundant re-shaping of the same text – accelerating complex text locales.

Working with SUSE, we have recently started to improve our support for SmartArt where shape fallbacks are missing, and making some progress towards sensible constraint-based layout of diagrams from Office files, follow Miklos’ blog for improvements working towards LibreOffice 6.3.

We’ve also managed to fix large numbers of bugs, and continue to do large scale cleanups of the C++ core to make it easier to develop against – more detail than can fit in what started as a short write-up.


Just a taste, a few screenshots and some pointers towards more details of what has been achieved. Thank you once again to all who worked with us as partners, customers who funded everything we do, and community who made it fun. We’re looking forward to achieving even more next year, if you’d like to get involved its easy to partner with us, buy from us, or to get involved in the community. And finally – thanks to the whole team that worked so hard to make it all happen.

Happy Christmas and New Year to our partners

Read More

Adfinis SyGroup and Collabora invest to bring a preview of Collabora Office for iOS

Adfinis SyGroup and Collabora are excited to share a preview release of Collabora Office for iOS with the open-source developer community. We hope to continue development, and produce a first release of Collabora Office for iOS in the Apple App Store in the first half of 2019.

We’re thrilled to work with Collabora on this innovative project”, says Nicolas Christener CEO-CTO of Adfinis SyGroup, “ it’s really exciting to see Collabora Office’s progress and be involved in helping to drive a common technology road map.

Adfinis SyGroup is a fantastic partner to work with”, says Michael Meeks, “its a real privilege to experience their enthusiasm and focus on their customers, and to fuse that with our product plans.

Read the full story: from Adfinis SyGroup

A quick taster video:

Read More

Collabora Online Developer Edition (CODE) 4.0 – RC 1

Cambridge, United Kingdom, December 18, 2018Collabora Productivity, the driving force behind bringing LibreOffice to the cloud, is excited to announce a release candidate of the new major release of CODE 4.0. This release includes a fresh look, mobile improvements as well as improved interoperability.

CODE 4.0 is a great way for early adopters, developers, customers, partners and home users to try out, and get involved with the latest development work, however it is not recommended to be used by organizations.

We will be releasing our enterprise product Collabora Online 4.0 within weeks after iterating CODE and improving it based on feedback from our customers and partners. For more information see

What has changed?

This release includes a fresh look – with improved toolbar colors and layout, mobile improvements – with support for Retina and HiDPI screens along with easier shape editing, as well as improved interoperability provided by upgrading the underlying document rendering core to Collabora Office 6.0In addition, we introduce support for Vereign’s blockchain-powered platform which provides Collabora clients with an authentic identity management solution. In more detail:

Collabora Online 4.0 screenshot

Refreshed Toolbar icons and layout

Toolbars have been refreshed to integrate the Colibre icon theme (thanks to Andreas Kainz) and lighter coloring, which significantly improves the look of 4.0. Compare before & after:



Menubar of collabora productivity writer from the version three



Menubar of collabora productivity writer from the newest version, version four


In addition, a new icon to hide the menu bar is now present. It further simplifies the UI.

The document file name – which you can click-to-rename – has been tucked into the menu more neatly. Further, a ‘click-able’ modification time – which when clicked launches the revision history – has been added.

While Collabora Online can be used as a software component integrated into a variety of products, these improvements to the visual design have been developed in close partnership with Nextcloud.

Integrating with Vereign

Vereign is a Swiss open source company building a blockchain based self-sovereign identity and personal data store. It can be hardened to Swiss banking standards. They are currently running a beta program to add authentic communication to e-mail, starting with Gmail and Roundcube. Collabora has partnered with Vereign to also provide authentic documents bearing the qualified electronic signature of your hardened self-sovereign identity.

logo of vereign company

The document_signing_url configuration key in loolwsd.xml will be pre-set to for future CODE releases, as/when the API is stable. However Collabora Office users will need to enable this integration explicitly if they want it. If you are already signed up with the Vereign beta program, to send authentic email with your Gmail account, your self-sovereign identity and its passports will be immediately usable for signing documents in CODE 4.0.

Use the File → Sign document menu option to activate the ‘Vereign Toolbar’ to log into this service.


For the users who are accustomed to using the Vereign app, we have created a QR code dialogue so as to speed up their log-in process.


And after using the identity to sign the document with a qualified electronic signature according to the EU and the Swiss laws, you should see:

Vereign also supports storing – and later publishing – copies of signed documents to provide you with an independent, user owned archive of your interactions. This archive is blockchain secured, as is the audit trail of all your identity interactions.

Vereign is currently gathering interested parties for Proof of Concept (PoC) deployments next year and partners with potential use cases are encouraged to contact Vereign directly.

Improved shape editing

To make shape editing much more pleasant, and more helpful for touch users we have enlarged the size of the selection handles and made them circular. We have also added a more convenient and familiar rotation control to avoid needing to use the shape dialogue to rotate objects.


Rotation control added to shape dialogues:

the screenshot of old version of shape dialoguethe screenshot of rotation control added


When shapes are being re-sized or re-positioned, instead of just showing a rectangular profile of where the object will end up, we show a semi-transparent re-sizing preview of the new shape in its position at the new size:


Re-sizing preview:

re-sizing of shapes in previous version just showing a rectangular profile of where the object will end upsemi-transparent re-sizing preview of the new shape in its position at the new size


In addition to make shape insertion easier we added a palette of all the built-in custom shapes allowing easy insertion of new shapes into the document.

New palette showing all the built-in custom shapes

Mobile device improvements

Mobile device support has improved significantly in this release in a number of critical areas. Time to first document load is improved – though it has always been possible to load, layout and calculate large and complex documents on the server – avoiding complexity and battery life impact on a small mobile device.

We have introduced a simple, stripped down viewing mode at first, to make it easier to view documents in an uncluttered way.
Stripped down viewing mode:

Stripped down viewing mode screenshot of collabora online from mobile


Toolbars are easier to use, can auto-hide, and scroll to allow a wider selection of commonly used functionality. The menus are also far easier to scroll and interact with deeper menu hierarchies.

Pinch to zoom, pan, and other multi-touch behaviors are also improved, along with the ability to zoom and pan into different areas of complex dialogues allowing the full rich functionality of the desktop designed dialogues that are larger than a mobile screen to be used conveniently.


Zooming and panning into different areas of complex dialogues:


Zooming and panning into different areas of complex dialogues        Zooming and panning into different areas of complex dialogues


Improvements to the special character dialog making it easier to use favorite characters in 4.0 are also visible here.


Retina / HiDPI display improvement

Version 4.0 now can take advantage of the browser’s native higher DPI to render at the display’s real resolution, getting crisp pixel rendering, for example at 200% zoom:

Before and After:

screenshot showing not so crisp pixel rendering of a dialogue, at 200% zoom   screenshot showing crisp pixel rendering of a dialogue, at 200% zoom

It can be hard to appreciate the improvement here, but scaling each pixel up can give a better feel for the win:

Before and After:

screenshot showing not so crisp pixel rendering of a dialogue at 200% zoom              screenshot showing crisp pixel rendering of a dialogue at 200% zoom
This has a significant effect across all components, and particularly Calc which now has a 200% zoom option.

Before and After:

screenshot showing not so crisp pixel rendering of calc   screenshot showing crisp pixel rendering of Calc


By avoiding the browser needing to do a local scaling, we get much crisper text, and conditional formatting, as well as using your display to best effect.

We also moved to using scalable vector Colibre icons for dialogues, and rendering these at a higher resolution when needed too.

Miscellaneous Online improvements

  • Security and document jail creation performance – particularly on stackable file-systems – has been significantly improved by removing all of the Collabora Office code from the document jails.
  • Improved Thumbnailing API via accelerated convert-to implementation, allowing easier file browsing.
  • Translations have been expanded, thanks to the enthusiastic LibreOffice teams to include reasonable localizations to thirty-seven popular languages.

Changes for partners & integrators

As we add new features, we have added a way of advertising those that are present with a new hosting/capabilities endpoint which returns a json. The current content in 4.0 is:


where the value true or false depends on the actual availability of the convert-to functionality depending on the configuration of the Collabora Online.

We have extended our WOPI-like protocol, to allow more annotation:

The Save operation (in reality a PUT) can be annotated as having been triggered by all users leaving the document with an additional: X-LOOL-WOPI-IsExitSave header.

New CheckFileInfo entries

  • EnableShare: Enables a menu item which triggers a postMessage called UI_Share. This postMessage can be handled to present a user interface element (like a sidebar or dialog) to configure sharing of the current file.
  • EnableInsertRemoteImage: Enable menu entry and toolbar item which trigger a postMessage called UI_InsertGraphic. This may be used to present a user interface element (like a dialog) allowing the user to pick an image from the integration. The integration is supposed to provide a temporary URL that may be downloaded once, and return it back via a postMessage Action_InsertGraphic with Values set to the temporary URL.
  • DisableChangeTrackingRecord: Force recording of track-changes in the Writer document to off.
  • DisableChangeTrackingShow: Force showing the tracked changes in the Writer document to off.
  • HideChangeTrackingControls: Remove the change-tracking menu entries from the user interface.
  • HideUserList: (missing in this Beta, but present in RC1) Hide the list of the users from the user interface. The integrations that want to set this to ‘true’ need to implement the appropriate postMessage handling using Get_Views_Resp see belowPossible values:
      • true / false: disables / enables everywhere
      • any combination of ‘mobile‘, ‘tablet‘, ‘desktop‘ delimited by commas, like “desktop,tablet” (hides the user list in the browser on the desktop and on the tablets)
  • ObfuscatedUserId: In case the anonymization of logging is turned on, this ID is used in the logs instead of the real user names. NOTE: In production environments, the loglevel should _not_ be set to anything more verbose than WARNING anyway.

New postMessages between the integration and Collabora Online

  • UI_CreateFile: Requests WOPI host to open a new browser tab and create a new document. The document type is passed as DocumentType argument, and cand be ‘text’, ‘spreadsheet’, ‘presentation’ or ‘drawing’.
  • Get_Views_Resp message was extended with the following parameters:
    • ReadOnly‘: Informs whether the new view accessing the document is read-only (or not)
    • IsCurrentView‘: highlights which one of the view is the current user’s one
  • Action_FollowUser: Turn on or off the follow user feature.Parameters:
    • ViewId: Number
    • Follow: Boolean
      When “Follow” is set to ‘true’ or is not defined enables following the editor, disables following when set to ‘false’. When “Follow” is set to true or is not defined, the “ViewId” parameter specifies user to follow. When “ViewId” is not defined, the current editor is followed.
  • Action_RemoveView: Closes the view with the given ViewId.Parameter:
    • ViewId: Number
    • Follow: Boolean
      When “Follow” is set to ‘true’ or is not defined enables following the editor, disables following when set to ‘false’. When “Follow” is set to true or is not defined, the “ViewId” parameter specifies user to follow. When “ViewId” is not defined, the current editor is followed.
  • Action_RemoveView: Closes the view with the given ViewId.Parameter:
    • ViewId: Number

Improvements from Collabora Office 6.0

Collabora Online re-uses the same underlying core document rendering and interoperability engine based on LibreOffice provided by Collabora Office 6.0. CODE 4.0 upgrades us to the new 6.0 version – which includes many improvements from the wider LibreOffice community, such as:

  • many improvements across Visio, MS Publisher, Keynote, Pages & Numbers filters (thanks to the Document Liberation Project)
    document liberation logo
  • Much improved EMF+ rendering (thanks to Bartosz Kosiorek)
  • Spreadsheet loading and calculation performance improvements
  • Substantially improved EMF+ (OLE object) preview rendering
  • Improved table styles & border rendering
  • Improved interoperability – with many improvements to OpenXML (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX) support, support for new attributes, and wins for legacy SmartArt shapes without DrawingML fallback.

For more details, and credits around Collabora Office 6.0 please see


For more information:

About Collabora Productivity:

Collabora Productivity is the driving force behind putting LibreOffice in the Cloud, providing 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 or follow @CollaboraOffice on Twitter.

Read More

Improving PowerPoint Interoperability

Product vs. Professional services

One of the great things about our product relationships with our customers and partners is that they allow us to invest in improving specified areas. We provide products that allow our customers to file individual bug fixes, and get an SLA (Service-level Agreement) to have an engineer start work on a problem; but while this focuses our work rapidly on exactly what a customer wants improving and delivering a fix to them fast – it can give a somewhat piece-meal result. Product customers, in contrast, allow us to tackle larger areas that they’ve experienced problems in.

In our recent release (Collabora Office 6.0 and also back-ported to Collabora Office 5.3, and in the forthcoming community LibreOffice 6.1 release) we have had a chance to invest in significantly improving our OpenXML PowerPoint (PPTX) interoperability.

What got better?

In the past, occasionally when we saved a file in PPTX format, Microsoft Office warned of problems with the document on load. We investigated why that was happening and it turned out that LibreOffice was missing PPTX export code for many important features – like the export of group shapes (all shapes were exported without grouping), export of embedded videos, and preservation of customXML on export. We implemented all of these.

Another huge missing hole was handling of PPTM files (PPTX with macros), including preservation of the VBA stream on export – now Collabora Office and LibreOffice 6.1 can do it too.

We also had a chance to fix a number of other important issues around animations (which are hard to see), like the implementation of animation type Command, Motion or Spin.

Finally, the most important were several document layout pieces. For example, when the original document looked like this:

After roundtrip (opening and saving) in LibreOffice 5.4.0 it turned into this one:

Luckily now, with the layout problems fixed, the original document roundtrips without issues:

Why not try it out?

In common with all other implementations trying to inter-operate with Microsoft, there are corner-cases where interoperability still needs improvement – but it is encouraging to see the significant reduction in easy annoyances here, and the results of improved rendering.

Download Trial version of Collabora Office 6.0!

Read More

Collabora Office 6.0 – The Migrator’s Choice

Cambridge, June 13, 2018 – Today we release Collabora Office 6.0 with great new features to smooth our customer’s migration to an Open Source office suite with associated cost savings – as well as adding a large set of features and enhancements.

Migration – New Line of Business Interoperability

Tooling Large enterprises are often infested by legacy line of business applications from small – a parking ticket solution, to large – eg. a complex patient record system. This legacy, un-documented often un-supported solutions can tie some groups of users in an enterprise to the deep past. With Collabora Office 6.0 we’ve created a great new interoperability tool: COLEAT that lets Collabora Office 6.0 act as a drop-in replacement via our compatibility APIs. We also implement a tracing tool to allow easy troubleshooting, allowing us to extend those APIs to cover new tools and users. This is critical to unblocking estates of stranded users. This complements our work to extend our VBA macro interoperability making many more macro driven documents work out of the box.

Migration – Manageability and Interoperability

We’ve been listening to our partners and customers, supporting them through their migrations and working hard to improve things for everyone migrating. This release for the first time brings together a large set of functionality. From deeper Sharepoint support with Excel Web-Query (iqy) file import and ADO recordsets, to significantly deepened interoperability with Microsoft file formats, to smooth migration of complex AutoTexts – we have worked hard, with the community to deliver smoother more effective migrations. For admins deploying and managing large estates of Windows computers – in addition to providing easy to deploy MSP patches, we have significantly improved our ADMX lock-down for Group Policy configuration, allowing granular file-filter management, as well as improving our Active Directory integration to easily identify users for hassle-free change tracking.

Migration – Support & Open Source improvement

Collabora is privileged to work with so many great contributors to the LibreOffice project and appreciates all the amazing work done by so many that is also included into Collabora Office 6.0. This, our annual release, contains much work that was contributed to LibreOffice 5.4 and then 6.0. These cover all manner of areas from significantly improved Enhanced Metafile Format (EMF+) rendering, to initial import filters for QuarkXPress, along with a new export filter we created to produce EPUB3 from Writer.

Complete list of updates

Check out the complete list of updates in the 6.0 release page.

Collabora Office 6.0 release notes

Migrate with our demo

You can try Collabora Office 6.0 yourself! Just head to the Collabora Office page and request your demo today, or just click the button below.

Try the Office Demo!

Read More