Professional PDF Export Features in Collabora Online

Collabora Online offers numerous export features for the professional creation of PDF

Professional PDF Export Features in Collabora Online

PDF, the Portable Document Format, is currently the most important exchange format for finalised documents. Its major advantages include platform independence and consistency in the presentation of content. A significant proportion of the text documents created in Collabora Online (and of course a large proportion of presentations and a not inconsiderable proportion of spreadsheet extracts) are exported in precisely this format after completion. Collabora Online offers you the range of professional settings and selection options that you are used to from a professional office application package on the desktop. In this article on the subject, we will introduce you to some of the PDF export options and explain some of the most important features.

Exporting an image to PDF in Collabora Online

1. General Export Settings

The PDF export options can be accessed in the NotebookBar (the “Tabbed View”, the standard Collabora Online UI with the division into tabs) via the “Export as” button in the “File” tab. They appear immediately after selecting the filename of the PDF to be exported. In the compact view, the PDF export option can also be found under the ‘File’ tab. In this case, it appears as a drop-down list.

1.1 Image settings influence the file size of the exported PDF

The first Export Options tab provides a number of general settings. You can select whether to export the entire document as a PDF, a specific number of pages or only a selected range of pages using the ‘Range’ option. The Image settings allow you to specify the image quality in the exported PDF. The two radio buttons allow you to choose between lossless and compressed export of image content. The degree of compression can also be set as a percentage. The DPI of the image content can also be selected here. DPI stands for “dots per inch” and refers to the resolution or image density of a photo or graphic. 300 DPI is the standard for print products; web content is usually exported at 75 DPI due to the smaller file size. Image settings have a major impact on the file size of an exported PDF and are the most important control for adjusting the file size of large PDF documents.

1.2 Adding a watermark

The “Watermark” function allows you to add a simple watermark to the exported PDF. Please note that the text entered here will only be visible on the exported PDF and not on the original text document. If you wish to add a watermark to the editable original document, you can do so using the “Watermark” function in the “Layout” tab.

Before defining the PDF export settings, you can change the filename.
The “General” tab includes many features to define range, image quality and Universal Accessibility.
Choose the compression rate and adjust DPI to influence the PDF’s file size.

2. Define Initial View of the PDF

Defining Initial View of an exported PDF.

2.1 How to Define Panes in the PDF

In this tab, you can define various settings that affect the initial display of the exported PDF. The “Page only” option exports the content of the document without adding any elements to it, practically in the same form as the source document in Collabora Online. The “Outline and page” option, on the other hand, creates a PDF file that includes bookmarks and page content. The “Thumbnails and page” options create a thumbnail view in addition to the page content during export. The “Open on page” function can be used to specify the page on which the exported file will be opened in a PDF reader.

2.2 Set the Display Size

The options in this category allow you to specify the display size in the PDF Reader. The “Standard option” creates a file in which the page content is displayed without changing the scale. The “Window size” option ensures that the scale of the initial display of the PDF page will fit completely into the window of the reader. The “Window width” option ensures that the scale is adjusted so that the page of the exported PDF takes up the full width of the Reader. The “Fit visible” option creates a PDF file that displays the text and graphics on the page zoomed to fit the width of the Reader window, while the “Zoom Factor” option allows you to manually configure the initial zoom factor of the PDF.

2.3 Specifying the Display Size

The Default option creates a PDF file in which the pages are displayed according to the layout settings of the viewer software. The “Single page” option creates a PDF file in which the content is displayed in a page-by-page structure. If you select “Continuous”, the content of the PDF will be displayed in one continuous, long vertical column – similar to a web page. The “Continuous” option ensures that the pages are displayed side by side in a continuous column. The default setting for multi-page documents is that the first page is displayed on the right, but this can be changed by selecting the “First page is on the left” checkbox.

Collabora Online’s settings include many options to define the initial view of the exported PDF.
Define the panes and the layout of the exported PDF.
Define the magnification of the initial view of the exported PDF

3. Configure the User Interface

Defining the user interface in exported PDF.

3.1 Configure Window Settings

The settings in the “User Interface” tab allow you to make further configurations that affect the appearance of the exported PDF file. For example, the ‘Window options’ allow you to use the “Fit window to first page” option to create a PDF file that is displayed in a window that displays the entire first page when opened. You can also choose to “Centre window on screen” so that the PDF is displayed in the middle of the screen in the reader, or you can choose to open it in full-screen mode and display the document title. Of course, you can combine the window options as you wish.

3.2 Slide Transitions Available in Exported PDF

The “Transitions” feature is only available in the presentation module. It allows you to make the transition effects of your presentation available in the exported PDF. When exporting text documents or spreadsheets, this option is greyed out and cannot be selected.

3.3 Deactivating User Interface Elements

The options in the “User interface options” area allow the exported PDF file to be displayed in Reader without certain user interface elements. For example, the menu, toolbar or window controls can be hidden.


Collabora Online’s PDF Export settings include many UI options
The UI options include window settings for the exported PDF
Define the UI settings of the exported PDF.

Try even more features in the free Collabora Online Demo

This article only scratches the surface of the many PDF export features in Collabora Online. The export options include additional settings for accessibility checking, links and security. Would you like to try out these features? You can do so by accessing the free Collabora Online demo!



More PDF content from Collabora Online on YouTube

Interested in learning more about the development of PDF features? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest technical talks from Collabora developers.


Watch Miklos Vajna’s talk on “PDF Advanced Export Options”
Watch Balazs Varga’s Talk on “Headless PDF Conversion”!
Watch Nick Wingate’s talk “Export as PDF in Writer”

Find out more about Collabora Office & Collabora Online

Collabora Productivity created Collabora Online, a powerful online office suite, which you can integrate into your own infrastructure. It prioritises your digital sovereignty and provides you with all the tools to keep your data secure, without compromising on features. Collabora provides a wide range of products, as well as consulting services for enterprises and governments. Powered by the largest team of certified LibreOffice engineers in the world, Collabora is a leading contributor to the LibreOffice technology community. Collabora Office for Desktop and Collabora Online provide a business-hardened office suite with long-term support. Collabora’s multi-platform policy is completed with Collabora Office for iOS, Android, and Chrome OS. 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, follow us on Twitter, Mastodon, LinkedIn and YouTube.



Collabora Online performance wins – what we did for CODE and Collabora Online 21.11

Learn about the many performance improvements in CODE and Collabora Online 21.11

CODE 21.11 – announced yesterday – and of course also Collabora Online 21.11 bring together many performance improvements that we have been working on through the 6.4.x lifecycle as well as some more advanced optimizations. These are rather hard to screenshot for your viewing pleasure for obvious reasons, so please forgive some technical details and links to further reading for those interested. It is ongoing work; more about that at the end of this blog.

Asynchronous save

Collabora Online works hard to preserve your edits in the unlikely case of server-side failure. We regularly auto-save the document while users are editing, however in the past storing your document through to the back end storage had to be completed successfully before the user could continue typing. This could cause some jerkiness from time to time as people typed. Now this up-loading part of the saving is done asynchronously – i.e. in the background. For more technical details you can enjoy a talk on the design. For times when it is necessary to save synchronously such as during a save-as, we now provide animated user-feedback, color-coded according to the respective current application:

Accelerated JavaScript

Lots of work has been done first to profile, and then to optimize the performance of Collabora Online. Our profiles showed, somewhat surprisingly, that a lot of the scope for improvement was in the browser. As such we have significantly improved our websocket message handling, pixel processing and grouping of UI refreshes to give very significant interactivity improvements to more recent 6.4.x versions.

Online calc profile image before optimization
avoiding duplicate work (shown) by performing DOM updates after processing a batch of incoming events.

Moving more of the document to the client

Collabora Online 21.11 brings an understanding of text documents’ page positioning to the browser. That allows us to rendering page surrounds there avoiding a source of perceived flicker when moving up and down documents, and giving a smoother experience. This builds on more recent work in Calc to render worksheet backgrounds, and grid in the browser for similar reasons – giving slicker editing.

Improved spreadsheet performance in Calc

Collabora continues to put a lot of effort into enhancing the performance of our collaborative office suite. As an example, our streamlining of the Find & Replace functionality resulted in a massive performance boost. Also, opening speed of large XLSX files saw a some significant improvements. In Collabora Online 21.11, we have fundamentally revised the way spell checking is done in Calc with a new spell check that prevents continual re-rendering as strings are processed, while also caching spell-checking information, yielding considerable performance improvements. Similarly, AutoFilter searching has been optimized for large numbers of unique records.

Improved multi-user editing

One of the unfortunately pathological test-cases users like to do is to mash the keyboard – which generates text at around ten times the speed of a normal typist. Nevertheless this is something we have been optimizing along with scalability to larger numbers of concurrent editors of the same document. For more details checkout some insights into our ongoing work, or a deeply technical blog on optimizing for a larger number of users. Failing that – we have a video of a torture test of an intense multi-user editing session showing old, 6.4.x, and 21.11 versions from top to bottom:

Optimizing pathological loads – old/6.4.x/21.11

Ongoing work

We continue to work to profile and optimize uses-cases that are important to our users, the upcoming 21.11 micro-releases will exhibit more continuous improvement in this area – as well as ongoing improvements to our document pixel compression to make things even faster and lighter. It is well worth staying up-to-date with the latest releases.

There is also a summary talk of many other recent performance improvements for those with a deep interest in this area.

Test CODE 21.11


Please try out CODE 21.11 and let us know of any workloads which you find have issues so that we may expand our internal testing & benchmarking to include them.

About Collabora Online

Collabora Online is the powerful LibreOffice-based online office that supports all major documents, spreadsheets and presentation file formats, which can all be easily integrated in many infrastructures and solutions. Key features are collaborative editing and excellent office file formatting support. Collabora Online is excellent for enterprises that need a powerful office suite in the Cloud, or on-premises, that protects their privacy and allows them to keep full control of their sensitive corporate data. Collabora Online – built on LibreOffice Technology – enables Hosting and Cloud businesses to include document viewing and collaborative editing functionality into their service offerings.



Collabora Online performance wins – an insight into our ongoing work

Optimizing the performance of Collabora Online is one of the central focal points within our current development work. Following improvements in the recent Collabora Online 6.4.10 release, the upcoming 21.11 release will exhibit more of the continuous improvements in this area. The improvements may be noticeably experienced through a variety of daily work done by means of the software. But how exactly does the implementation of massive performance improvements work? It can be compared to solid detective work. Follow us through this search for clues!

Performance improvement for multiple users – a detective story 🔎

In advance of the actual coding, working on performance improvements closely resembles detective work. Simulating multiple users working on the same document, is something that turned out to be feasible with the feature in LibreOffice purposed for displaying a document within different windows (Window > New Window). This was a feature that already existed in LibreOffice predecessor OpenOffice. It may be a rarely used feature on the desktop, but it does mirror the way of collaborative editing with Collabora Online. However, one must then find out how this code scales… The investigator in this story is Collabora developer Luboš Luňák. He was on to something big here, which led to significant performance improvements across various levels, ultimately benefiting all users of LibreOffice Technology. The technical details of his search and subsequent conclusions can be seen on Luboš’ blog.



Performance wins illustrated 📊

While extensive work continues with its progress, a list of current performance improvements is also available on Luboš Luňák’s blog. The following video of the Collabora Online perf-test – a test routine we use to measure performance in Collabora Online – illustrates the performance improvements of the implementations already made. The test simulates the fast, simultaneous typing of six users in a document (the other five are not visible in the video because they are writing elsewhere in the document). The rigorous test setting, which goes far beyond what is required of the software in everyday use, is ideally suited to visualizing performance improvements. In the video, you can see the performance of Collabora Online before the latest optimizations in the upper excerpt, and the significantly better performance in current versions during (middle) and after optimizations have been implemented (bottom).

Optimizing pathological loads – before/during/after


Performance talk at COOL Days 2021 🆒

Collabora developer Luboš Luňák discussed the various performance improvements in Collabora Online during the Developer Day at COOL Days 2021, a conference hosted by Collabora and dedicated entirely to Collabora Online. His talk “Rendering wastage and performance wins” covered the profiling process, described existing performance issues and displayed a variety of improvements at different levels. Technically interested people can find his talk on YouTube. The corresponding slides are also available for download.

Watch the video!
Download the slides!



Please try out Collabora Online 21.11 – RC 1, and let us know of any workloads which you find have issues so that we may expand our internal testing & benchmarking to include them.

About Collabora Online

Collabora Online is the powerful LibreOffice-based online office that supports all major documents, spreadsheets and presentation file formats, which can all be easily integrated in many infrastructures and solutions. Key features are collaborative editing and excellent office file formatting support. Collabora Online is excellent for enterprises that need a powerful office suite in the Cloud, or on-premises, that protects their privacy and allows them to keep full control of their sensitive corporate data. Collabora Online – built on LibreOffice Technology – enables Hosting and Cloud businesses to include document viewing and collaborative editing functionality into their service offerings.



Hear and discuss about Collabora’s contributions in the ecosystem at the openSUSE & LibreOffice conference 2020

From Thursday, 15th to Saturday 18th 2020 the openSUSE & LibreOffice Conference takes place as a virtual and joint event. We are glad to be one of the sponsors and to be able to contribute no less than 14 talks from our team members. To make it easier for you to keep track of all the topics, we have prepared a little overview of our talks. See you in the livestream!

⋅ Schedule Day 1, Thursday 15th 2020

Schedule Day 2, Friday 16th 2020

⋅ Schedule Day 3, Saturday 17th 2020


Day 1, Thursday 15th 2020

Keynote by Collabora’s Michael Meeks

10:30 UTC, Michael Meeks

Accelerating the adoption of Open Source! How does Collabora do that together with their partners and customers? About another year of investment into LibreOffice alongside the community, the ecosystem and our choices. #Collabora #Ecosystem Read more!

Bringing the Sidebars Online

12:30 UTC, Ashod Nakashian

Adding the Sidebars, with the rich and advanced editing features, to Online was challenging. Learn, how we succeeded! #OnlineUI Read more!

Bringing the NotebookBar to Online

13:30 UTC, Szymon Kłos

The story behind introducing new (optional) user interface for Online. Learn about the milestones of this new feature sponsored by Collabora. #OnlineUI Read more!

Implementing Vulkan-capable drawing using the Skia library

14:00 UTC, Luboš Luňák

Skia is a unified modern drawing across all platforms, so this is about the nice visual performance of LibreOffice and Collabora products. How is the implementation going? #LibreOfficeDev Read more!

Making Online trivial to setup

15:30 UTC, Muhammet Kara

We have recently released a big step in improving Collabora (thus LibreOffice) Online and lowered the barrier to liberating the documents of home-users. This is a quick presentation shows how the one-click installation app for Online works, and where we are at now. #OnlineInstallation Read more!

Day 2, Friday 16th 2020

Faster Jail Creation with Bind-Mount

11:00 UTC, Ashod Nakashian

A jail is an essential part of the secure work and collaborating in Collabora Online. Learn about the design and challenges of setting up jails… fast! #OnlineDev Read more!

OOXML / PDF Digital Signing in Draw and elsewhere

11:30 UTC, Miklos Vajna

LibreOffice did have support for digital signing for ODF files. Collabora extended this to OOXML files and to signing existing PDF files. Come and see where we are, what still needs to be done, and how you can help. #DigitalSigning Read more!

The history & pre-history of LibreOffice

13:30 UTC, Michael Meeks

Come and hear some of the stories of the beginning, and before the beginning. Hear a developer’s perspective on the first ten years of the project and how companies had to do with this, alongside amazing volunteers. #LibreOffice Read more!

Chrome OS as a new platform

16:00 UTC, Jan Holesovsky

Hear about the Chrome OS and the work we have made to enable the Collabora Office Android app for easy consumption on Chromebooks. #Mobile Read more!

Improvements to PDF support in Collabora Online

18:00 UTC, Tomaž Vajngerl

Recently we added possibility to open PDFs with Collabora Online, which opens the PDF in Draw as a series of embedded PDF graphics (each one in its own page). In this talk, hear about additional improvements to the PDF functionality – like searching and handling of PDF annotations. #PDF Read more!

Day 3, Saturday 17th 2020

History of Online & Mobile

12:00 UTC, Jan Holesovsky

Come and hear about the history of Collabora Online, LibreOfficeKit, Leaflet and other building bits that led to the Online as we know today. #Mobile Read more!

Re-using the Sidebar on phones

12:30 UTC, Szymon Kłos

The talk about work done by Collabora Productivity for improving UX on mobile phones. Editing on smartphones has never been easier. Hear some technical details in this talk. #Mobile #OnlineUI Read more!

Online – Improving visual consistency

13:00 UTC, Pedro Silva

For users it is most important that UI elements are easy to recognize. Hear about improvements that have been made on that front in Collabora Online. #OnlineUI #CSS Read more!

Mobile – Development on iOS

13:00 UTC, Tor Lillqvist

Important recent improvements in Collabora Office on iOS. #MobileUI #UX Read more!

Ecosystem, Branding & Investment

15:30 UTC, Michael Meeks

Setting up the project for growth. See how we can build a model whereby volunteers and ecosystem entities work alongside each other to drive the success of LibreOffice. #Ecosystem Read more!

Spanish Summit (Conferencia Latinoamericana): Collabora Online – UX

16:00 UTC, Pedro Silva

in PT/ES. For users it is most important that UI elements are easy to recognize. Hear about improvements that have been made on that front in Collabora Online. #OnlineUI #CSS Leia mais!

How to become a part of this

Very easily. The attendance openSUSE and LibreOffice conference 2020 is free of charge. Just subscribe to the conference website, meet the community and join three days of discussion about the latest developments with regard to LibreOffice and openSUSE. The complete schedule of the virtual conference is here at your disposal.

LibreOffice now uses pdfium to render inserted PDF images

Collaboran Miklos Vanja has written a post about his work on making LibreOffice use pdfium to render inserted PDF images. Check it out:

pdfium is the rendering library used in Chromium’s pdf viewer. It’s based on the foxit pdf renderer and its rendering quality is much better compared to the pre-existing “convert PDF to ODG, then to an image” code when it comes to just viewing a PDF file. First, thanks to PMG who made this work possible.

Let’s look at a few samples that compare the old pdfimport rendering result and the new pdfium-based one. One important feature is that embedded fonts are handled. This is how this inserted PDF looked like previously:

Compare it with the new result:

To continue reading and see more examples, check out the blog post on the website of Miklos Vanja.