Thank you for a splendid 2019

Christmas and the end of the year are a time to reflect on the events of the past months. We have come a long way together and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers, partners and community for your great support! 2019 has been a big year with important new releases for mobile devices. We brought Collabora Office to iOS and released a complete rewrite of our Android app. Collabora Office, Collabora Online and CODE have seen significant growth in features and improvements in usability.

Our products now bring effective collaboration with maximum control for organizations. A truly Open Source product that gives users ontrol over their own data and privacy, with excellent Microsoft interoperability, on every platform. The team at Collabora keeps growing, and more people than ever before are benefiting from our products and code contributions. Of course, this all would not have been possible without our talented staff, our great partners and the engaged community of volunteers around LibreOffice.

You all have made 2019 a fantastic year. Here is a short summary of what we achieved together!

Collabora Online improvements

Collabora Online 4.0.0

In January, we celebrated the major release Collabora Online 4.0.0 including a completely fresh look. Collabora Online 4.0 Toolbar comparison from WriterIt featured a better, simplified and more appealing UI. It also marked the point where we started to bring more of the full functionality for important features available online such as custom headers and footers or rich table of contents management for text documents.

Screenshot of Collabora 4.0 bubble renaming document

Collabora 4.0 bubble toolbar

Collabora Online 4.0 also featured integration with Vereign. We partnered with the Swiss open source company to provide authentic documents bearing the qualified electronic signature of your hardened self-sovereign identity.

Screenshot of a dialog window requesting the user to scan a qrcode with vereign appScreenshot of Collabora Online 4.0: signing documents digitally with a logged session on Vereign app

Collabora Online 4.0.2 & 4.0.3

March brought two versions with notable fixes and updates. For example, when collaborating on a single document it really helps users to see the names being displayed over the caret of the people that are actively typing and moving through the document.

Collabora Online 4.0.4

This release in May added the feature to rename a file while editing.

Collabora Online 4.0.5

This release included packages for Debian 10.

Collabora Online 4.0.6

This version introduces new admin features and made integration easier via the reuse cookie option for WOPI implementations.

Collabora Online 4.0.7

In September, we added the opacity setting to configure tile Watermarks, as well as our regular set of interoperability improvements.

Collabora Online 4.0.8

In October version 4.0.8 provided different watermarks for each user for use with ownCloud’s ‘secure collaboration’ and Nextcloud’s ‘secure view‘.


Watermark view Collabora Online
Collabora Online can give each user it’s own watermark

Collabora Online 4.0.9


To improve security, and make them harder to ignore we added 45 degrees rotated user-watermarks for collaboration in these secure environments, as well as several fixes such as highlighting search results in read-only documents.

 

CODE 4.2.0 sets the bar for the next year

In December, we released a major refresh and upgrade of CODE, the Collabora Online Development Edition. CODE is perfect for home users that want to start to run their own online office suite and for tech-enthusiast. This CODE version is the base for the upcoming Collabora Online 4.2.0 release, due in early 2020. It has a fresh new look, with updated theming, and a refreshed toolbar, and we dare to say that it represents another huge step forward in features for online office productivity and collaboration!

One of the major improvements is the powerful sidebar. Changing properties of many elements and objects in office documents is now much while working in the browser, with close to the same feature richness that is available in Collabora Office on the desktop.

The sidebar and new dialogs support numerous advanced features.

Besides choosing a colour from a palette, you can also make use of the colour picker. The handling of links has also been improved.

Click to see some of the sidebar magic happen in Calc!

 

All the powerful functions of Conditional Formatting in Calc can now be controlled via the dialog.

 

Collabora Office 6.0.2 & 6.0.3 add new features

Un-float Table button in Writer
Un-float Table button in Writer

Collabora Office, our enterprise-grade, long term supported open-source office suite, sees major updates, new features and interoperability improvements every year. In January, Collabora Office 6.0.2 introduced the Unfloat Table button, making it easy to work with imported floating tables from Microsoft Word documents.

 

Another big ask from our customers was for redaction, so this year we created a built-in Redaction tool, and went on to extend that with fast and automatic marking of text.

Another really useful feature, particularly for web integration of spreadsheets is the Page per sheet PDF export we implemented for Calc, allowing users to see apparently non-paginated spreadsheet previews.

 

Collabora Office 6.2: The best in features, interoperability and support in open source

And right before the end of the year, we made another huge step. Not only concerning the release points, but also in features and interoperability. Version 6.2 came just in time for Christmas.

This includes many features from ourselves and the community, such as the enhanced printing dialog, and improved Help which make working with Collabora Office even more efficient and user-friendly.

Collabora Office new Print dialog

Collabora Office new online Help

Collabora Office on Apple iOS

In 2019 we delivered our first version for Apple’s tablets. In a huge joint effort together with Adfinis SyGroup, started in 2018, we brought Collabora Office to iOS (beta). It is now available through Apple’s app store for free.

Collabora Office on iOS for editing spreadsheets.
Collabora Office on iOS for editing spreadsheets.

Creating presentations in Collabora Office iOS
Creating presentations in Collabora Office iOS

Composing texts in Collabora Office iOS.
Composing texts in Collabora Office iOS.

Making the app easier to use: The sidebar contains contextual features and makes good use of the wide screen of the iPad.

Working with tables in text documents.
Working with tables in text documents.

Including pictures in Writer documents
Including pictures in Writer documents

Selection of cells in a spreadsheet
Selection of cells in a spreadsheet

Collabora Office on Android

Shortly after the release of Collabora Office on iOS, we released a complete re-write of Collabora Office on Android. This is now based on the same technology as Collabora Online. More than just a viewer it allows the editing of documents with a new phone-friendly UI. The beta version is available from the Google Play Store.

Text file with spreadsheet embedded – Collabora Office for Android

Image handling in text document – Collabora Office for Android

Community & LibreOffice

We love to work alongside with, and contribute to the LibreOffice community. We were pleased to sponsor the LibreOffice Conference 2019 that took place in Almería, Spain.

One day before the conference we organized a special team building day for our staff, partners and customers and went snorkelling in Cabo de Gata. Big fun!

Conference Slides

2019 has also been a year full of traveling, conferences, … and of course slides. Here are just a few examples of talks held by Michael Meeks, Andras Timar and Jan Holešovský held this year. They and many others are available for download.

LibreOffice Developer Bootcamp in Ankara

As part of our community building investment we sponsored a LibreOffice Developer Bootcamp in Ankara. Here, Collabora Productivity Developer Muhammet Kara is teaching enthusiastic students of the Hacettepe University about C++ and developing LibreOffice. Pranam Lashkari has also been training students in India:

Summary

In summary, it has been a busy year here at Collabora Productivity. We can only present a small part of what we got up to with a few pictures and links in this overview. We have advanced our mission to make Open Source rock; giving users privacy and businesses control over their data, with our open products. Not only has our work produced excellent results, but we have also had a lot of fun. If you’d like to get involved its easy to partner with us, buy from us, or to get involved in the awesome LibreOffice community. We are full of energy and have lots of new ideas and plans in the pipeline for 2020. We would like to thank the whole team, particularly our great partners, and customers who make our work possible, and the community who make it fun, and we look forward to continuing the successful work with you in 2020!

Thank You!

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CODE 4.2.0 Released with fresh User Interface

Clean look, feature rich Side Bar, and much more

Cambridge, United Kingdom, December 16, 2019Collabora Productivity, the driving force behind bringing LibreOffice to the cloud, is excited to announce a new, major release of our product CODE (Collabora Online Development Edition) 4.2.0 This release includes a fresh look, mobile improvements, improved inter-operability, new dialogs and functionality as well as a raft of bug fixes and polish. The release gives you an insight into our soon-to-be released enterprise version Collabora Online 4.2.0. CODE and Collabora Online offer privacy as well as the only truly open-source solution for working with and collaborating on rich documents in the cloud.

CODE logo

What’s new?

This major update of Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) comes with a rich new user interface and is built onto of the stability and performance of our LTS version of LibreOffice: Collabora Office 6.2. It includes many improvements in functionality and user-friendliness. The most obvious new feature is the powerful sidebar on the right. Many settings for text and all kind of properties of objects in the documents can be easily updated here. The sidebar makes it much easier to change tables, colour settings and charts elements in the browser, with close to the same feature richness that is available in Collabora Office on the desktop. The status bar has been redesigned and our powerful function wizard is now available in Calc online. Copy and paste of rich text and content is added for online, and our responsive user interface adapts nicely to mobile phones and tablets.

Rich chart functions from the side bar

When charts are selected, the sidebar now gives access to a wide range of features. For example, you can easily choose chart types from bars, lines and points, pies and more, or whether the diagram should be displayed in 3D.

Other elements of charts can now also be adjusted from the sidebar. You can now determine how and where titles and legends are displayed. Furthermore, many of the visual elements of the diagram can be adjusted here. The sidebar also allows you to define the surface colour, transparency, line types and grid lines.

Click to see that in action:

Click to see the chart sidebar in action

Online function wizard: a powerful tool for formulas

Working with formulas is important and especially for the more complex types, having help with the tenth optional parameter is good. The new function wizard does that and it is new available in Calc from now on. The function wizard grants easy access to all elements of also the most complex formulas. It shows the structure and meaning of different parts of a formula, and more.

Conditions apply: Enhanced formatting options in Calc

Conditional formatting is a powerful feature in Calc. It is enables you to quickly visualize data in a spreadsheet by setting various useful rules on your sheet to adapt the cells formatting, colour, or even add icons when certain criteria are met. While a simplified set of conditional formats was previously available via an icon in the toolbar, you can now also make use of the full dialogs, to be found in the Format menu, to define and manage conditions fully.

Better display in Calc: smooth scaling of spreadsheets

The scaling of spreadsheets has been significantly improved in CODE 4.2.0. While in Calc you could previously only choose between two zoom factors of 100% and 200%, now fine adjustment is are possible to suit. Using the convenient (and redesigned) quick selector in the lower right corner, you can now choose your favourite zoom percentage between 33% and 200%.

More presentation functions in the sidebar

The new sidebar adds many useful functions to Impress. For shapes and outlines, the size, position, colours, transparency, wrapping and so on are easy to change.

The possibilities to alter the slide master and lay out, from the sidebar, are also completely new in CODE 4.2. You can now access extensive layout functionality for slides such selecting masters, layouts and even editing your own master pages. Needless to say, that character settings, fonts types, sizes, colours and spacing can also be easily adjusted from the sidebar.

Handier working with images

Working with images in all document types is easier, more convenient and more precise. The sidebar allows to adjust colour options, such as brightness, contrast or transparency or the red, blue and green portion of the image. Another handy feature is the adjustment of the layer settings of the images. Bring them to the foreground or arrange them in the background – all via the sidebar.

Rich copy and paste between docx and xlsx documents and more… in the browser

People that work online, often have many documents open simultaneously, and want to mash them together into bigger, better documents. So you’ll be glad to learn the CODE 4.2.0 introduces copying of rich formatted content along with images, charts, and other complex elements, between your online spreadsheets, documents and presentations.

New online colour picker

For certain elements there is not only the usual colour selector, offering a palette, but also the colour picker to chose any custom colours needed. Use it with text and background in presentations, lines in spreadsheets and presentations, text and background for floating frames in text documents.

Handling links in Writer has just become more pleasant

CODE 4.2.0 brings very nice enhancements when working with hyperlinks. Whenever the mouse cursor is located next to a link or on it, you will be kindly notified by a pop-up dialogue allowing the real target to be inspected and launched conveniently with a single click.

Beautiful new icons and a redesigned theme

The new design of the icons embellishes the upper toolbar. The new theme is tidier has more generous spacing, and is clearer in general. It should increase productivity and reduce friction. Buttons that are selected have a clearer and more distinct highlight too.

The status bar also benefits from our visual redesign. Not only does it look cleaner, it also improves quick access to the functions located there. The language of documents can now also be set via a popup.

Table editing in the side bar and table handles

In Writer it is now possible to manipulate tables extensively from the sidebar and we also added easy to use in-document selection handles, choose either or both. Previously the table dialog had to be used, which was far less convenient. These handles make adjusting row height and column width very user-friendly.

You want to insert rows or columns from here? Of course! Or delete some or all of them? a click! Furthermore, the sidebar also allows you to set the background colour of the cells or to fine-tune their height and width of rows and columns. It becomes even more interesting if you select several cells. Then you can also merge them from the sidebar or distribute them evenly.

 

Table of contents

In text documents, the full table of contents can now be configured with the new dialogs. So even online, you can customize your complex table of contents in a few clicks according to your wishes. For example edit the entries and change style, background or columns.

About CODE

CODE is the Collabora Online Development Edition. It contains the latest developments and is perfect for home users that want to start to run their own online office suite. It enables them to regain control of their own online documents and host them themselves in their own controlled and private environment. For them and also for tech-enthusiast, it is a low-threshold way to get involved and familiar with our online office solution. CODE gives the possibility to be the first to use new features. It will be improved continuously and our next enterprise Collabora Online product will be built from it. Note that we recommend our supported and maintained enterprise release: Collabora Online for business and production environments. CODE warns users that they might want support after 10 concurrent documents or 20 concurrent users. Find out how about the different ways to install CODE on our product page.

Get CODE 4.2.0!

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Discover and test new 4.2 features in the regular Collabora Online snapshots

Discover and test the new Collabora Online 4.2 features in our regular snapshots!

The next big point release of Collabora Online is approaching. With version 4.2.0 we implement a lot of new features. Be among the first to experience and try them out in our latest snapshot. The quality of new software depends largely on the valuable feedback from users like you. So do you notice anything unexpected? Something does not seem to work as it should? Please be so kind and tell us about it! Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Happy testing!

Some of many new features

The 4.2.0 release of Collabora Online will include many fixes and a lot of new features in terms of design, functionality and usability. The sidebar will see major updates and improve working with documents both from desktop and mobile devices. The list of new functions is long. Here are just a few of the new features already included in the snapshot we would like to point your attention to.

Features

  • Table manipulation in sidebar

In Collabora Online 4.2 you will be able to access many of the options to manipulate tables in writer documents from a new “Table” panel in the sidebar. You are able to insert and delete columns and rows, merge and distribute cells, adjust height and width.

  • Handling of hyperlinks

Version 4.2 of Collabora Online brings nice enhancements when working with hyperlinks. Whenever the cursor is located next to or on a link, you will be notified by a dialogue. You can access the linked URL directly from that pop-up window with a single click.

  • Chart properties in the sidebar

Many chart properties can now be modified from the sidebar. The chart type and various other elements from the chart wizard can now be selected and adjusted there.

  • Quick / Bottom toolbar

The bottom toolbar has been re-designed. It does now look more appealing, features a new icon design, and enables quick access to the language selection and  zoom magnitudes.

  • Colour pickers

The colour picker has been added for various properties both in dialogs and in the sidebar.

  • Rich table of contents handling

The dialog with settings for the table of contents is available online now, giving you full control over all the important details while working online.

  • Powerful new function wizard

The powerful functions wizard now is available for spreadsheets online. Start it, fill in the arguments, investigate the formula’s structure and let the magic happen.

  • Conditional formatting

Conditional formatting online has been extended enormously. Apart from the direct menu choice, the full options of the dialog now allows you to add (almost) any formatting condition.

Start using and testing the new features

You can get a snapshot of Collabora Office and try it right now – and we love to hear your feedback. Regular updates will be released – so stay tuned!

Get & Test Snapshot

For more information

Follow @CollaboraOffice on Twitter or send us an email to hello@collaboraoffice.com

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Collabora Online 4.0.9 – Watermark improvements in Secure View, CentOS 8/RHEL 8 support, and more!

Cambridge, United Kingdom, November 28, 2019Collabora Productivity, the driving force behind bringing LibreOffice to the cloud, providing Collabora Online and other enterprise supported products, is excited to announce a new release of our product Collabora Online 4.0.9. This release comes with interesting new features and bugfixes too.

What’s new in Collabora Online 4.0.9?

Features

  • Improved watermark rendering in Secure View.
    • It is possible to override watermarks from the config file.
    • Watermarks are 45° rotated.
    • Watermarks are not displayed outside of the document area.

  • Search results are highlighted in read-only documents.

  • Action_Save now supports ExtendedData with custom contents, which is passed to the WOPI-like Host.
  • New setting to always save documents on exit and upload to the WOPI-like Host.
  • Introduced the “TemplateSource” WOPI property (for Nextcloud’s GlobalScale architecture).
  • New platform supported: CentOS 8 / RHEL 8

Bug-fixes

  • Improved stability, shutdown, and service life-cycle management.
  • Calc’s NOW() function shows the server’s local time correctly
  • Build with latest POCO C++ Libraries 1.9.4

Getting Collabora Online 4.0.9

Collabora Online is suitable for large scale deployment, comes with an SLA, Long Term Support with signed security updates as well as a rich product management interaction helping to direct our development priorities.

Enterprises interested in using Collabora Online can check out more information on partner integrations and online demos. For tailored solutions, contact sales@collaboraoffice.com.

Hosting and Cloud businesses that wish to add Collabora Online to their product portfolio can become a partner by filling in the partner form or contacting sales@collaboraoffice.com.

Collabora Online is only one part of a larger Enterprise File Sync & Share, Groupware, or Hosting solution. Collabora is excited to go to market with a long list of Partners each of which has an integration and provides you with useful support.

Online demo

You also can get an online demo of Collabora Online and try it out yourself right now!

For more information:

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 @CollaboraOffice on Twitter.

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Collabora Office available as first free open source office app for iOS

Effort by Adfinis SyGroup and Collabora bringing open source office to the world of Apple iOS and iPad

For the first time there is a free / open source office suite available on iOS: Collabora Office, thanks to the efforts led by Adfinis SyGroup and Collabora. What started back in around 1992 as the well-known StarOffice, then was OpenOffice.org and now lives on as LibreOffice, is finally available on every relevant platform including (but not limited to) iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, Android1, Chrome OS, Windows, Linux and also in the browser.

There is a lot we want to tell you about this first open source office app for iOS. In this blog we write a bit more on the technical part; the blog at Adfinis, has more focus on the interesting history.
But let us first show how it looks!

Collabora Office on iOS for editing spreadsheets.
Collabora Office on iOS for editing spreadsheets.
Creating presentations in Collabora Office iOS
Creating presentations in Collabora Office iOS

 

Composing texts in Collabora Office iOS.
Composing texts in Collabora Office iOS.

 

Get Collabora Office on iOS from the App Store

There are currently two possible ways to get the app:

  1. Download Testflight through the Apple Store and use this link to join:
    This will give you the latest releases – which are not fully tested, and available to just try and test

  2. Download the app through the Apple Store.

Over the past months, more than 60 versions have been released and the number of improvements and enhancements is for more than a hundred!

Built with online innovation

Collabora Online is built on technological innovation. And on a rich history, starting more than 30 years ago by StarOffice, following OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. We suggest you to read the blog post at Adfinis with interesting details. The innovative part was already mentioned in our first blog post. Collabora Office for iOS is built on the technology that was developed by Collabora to bring LibreOffice to the cloud. An important part of this technology is called LibreOfficeKit. This is a layer allowing to use the LibreOffice we all know on the server side and from there publish documents in the browser. And since LibreOffice is capable of opening the largest possible set of documents, Collabora Online has the same capability in nearly every modern browser!

And there is more that is interesting: the document on the screen is published as tiled images, which means that it doesn’t leave the server, which is especially useful for working online securely. The UI itself, for different platforms, is build with HTML/JS, on top off the VCL, the LibreOffice Visual Class Library. This enables the Collabora app to use many elements of the extensive functionality of LibreOffice’s UI.

A really nice advantage of this approach is that we cover three major scenarios with essentially this one solution:

  • Online — see e. g. Collabora Online

  • iOS — what we are presenting you now

  • Android — work in progress, available through the Android Beta channel

This means that future improvements that are implemented for one platform will also benefit the other implementations.

Native look and feel & finger usage

Apple has put a lot of effort into creating great UX guidelines and great GUI widgets for iOS. However, VCL (the GUI toolkit used within the LibreOffice core) was born long before iOS and it doesn’t look and behave like a native iOS app. And even though development took the path of LibreOffice online, a lot of effort was needed in order to make VCL look, feel and behave more like an actual iOS app.

The sidebar makes settings easily accessible

A very important feature to make the app easier to use, is the sidebar. The sidebar contains contextual features and makes good use of the wide screens of the iPads.

Working with tables in text documents.
Working with tables in text documents.

 

Including pictures in Writer documents
Including pictures in Writer documents

 

Selection of cells in a spreadsheet
Selection of cells in a spreadsheet

 

Finger sized resize and rotate handles

Many tasks can be done with the fingers: resizing or rotating an image, change the size of a row or column in a table, etc.

The whole team has put a lot of effort in developing and testing those things work. And honestly we think that the result is quite nice.

Integrating iOS spellchecker

iOS offers spell checking as part of the basic system functionality. We integrated this functionality into the app. So now Collabora Office on iOS nicely uses the system spell checker in order to eliminate misspelled words!

Spell checking in Collabora Office on iOS
Spell checking in Collabora Office on iOS

GUI widgets in iOS style

Drop down menus and check boxes have their own style in Apple iOS and so we make the widget in Collabora look similar as much as possible. The result is nice and we’ll try to improve even further. This thanks to the work of for example Collabora developers Szymon Kłos, who wrote a blog post2 about the work of using native widgets in the future, and Tomaž Vajngerl, who gave a presentation about Custom Widget Themes during the LibreOffice Conference 20193 in Almeria.

Rich features in user interface
Rich features in user interface

 

Handles to select text in iOS style

The text handles look like those of a current iOS app. Currently they behave a bit differently and we work on improving this. That however turns out to be far from trivial.

Selection handles in Collabora on iOS
Selection handles in Collabora on iOS

Inserting pictures through the iOS camera / image gallery

Inserting pictures behaves like in any other app. You can either take a picture with the device camera or select one from your image gallery.

How this helps LibreOffice on Android

As already described above, Collabora leads the effort to use the same approach we use in the iOS app to deliver a new Android app.
During GSOC 2019 Kaishu Sahu did a great job and improved the Android app a lot. Jan Holesovsky (Collabora) is working to improve the situation even further and we should see a public release not too far in the future.
If you’re interested to learn more about the Android efforts or how to join, please contact Collabora.

What’s next for Collabora Office?

While we all work on further improvements, we there are very good reasons to be happy with what has been achieved so far 😉 And of course the good news is that you can experience that yourself.

For the near future, we already have the following things in mind:

  • Create shiny templates

  • Implement native widgets / improve UX

  • Reduce latency

  • Better support hardware keyboards (and shortcuts)

  • Fix more rough edges

  • Make more core features accessible (math formulas, image cropping, …)

  • Reduce number of needed clicks for simple things (change cell background in a writer table, change text wrap of a picture, …)

Note that these points may change — this list is not a road map!

It’s your turn: you can help to make this better!

If you plan to use LibreOffice in an enterprise environment, whether on the desktop, on Android or on an iPad, we strongly recommend the enterprise ready version offered by Collabora. You’ll enjoy the advantages of an SLA, long-term support and last but not least it is a very good way to enhance the development of things like this iOS app!

Let’s be frank: money is very helpful to further speed up the development. So, if your organization plans to use LibreOffice on iOS (or any other platform) we’re happy to get you on board! Please don’t hesitate to contact Adfinis directly or Collabora Productivity to discuss possible ways to support the development.

Some words of thanks

This fantastic work would not be possible without the strong support and investment of Collabora and Adfinis SyGroup pays. Thanks to the entire crew that works hard every day to provide more free / open source solutions to the people out there!

 

(1 The Android App is still in Beta. The release is expected later this quarter.

2 http://eszkadev.blogspot.com/2019/09/native-widgets-on-mobile-for-online.html

3 https://conference.libreoffice.org/2019 )

 

 

For more information

Follow @CollaboraOffice on Twitter or send us an email to hello@collaboraoffice.com

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