LibreOffice adds new features, improves document compatibility

The Document Foundation has released LibreOffice 4.1 for Windows, Mac and Linux, a major new release of its open-source office suite. Comprising word processor, spreadsheet, presentations tool and database, as well as drawing and math tools, LibreOffice 4.1 has been billed "the most interoperable free office suite ever" by TDF, keen to establish itself as the most viable free alternative to Microsoft Office.

Version 4.1 not only comes with a large number of improvements in the area of document compatibility, it also ships with a number of notable new features, including support for font embedding across the suite as well as app-specific improvements like a new Photo Album feature in Impress.

Document compatibility has been enhanced by a number of improvements to LibreOffice’s import and export filters, covering Microsoft’s newer OOXML formats as well as legacy Office and RTF formats, helping to ensure as much of the original layout and content of documents is maintained when opened in the corresponding LibreOffice app.

Support for embedding fonts in Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw documents is a part of this drive, as is Calc’s support for importing and exporting newer functions from Excel 2013.

Other notable new features include support for rotating images by 90-degree increments and improved footnote and footer comment handling in Writer, the ability to add a Stepped Lines type to Line and XY (Scatter) graphs in Calc and the aforementioned Photo Album component in Impress, which simplifies the process of creating picture slideshows.

The new build also adds experimental support for the Sidebar, which is also present in both Apache OpenOffice and IBM’s Lotus Symphony. LibreOffice adds a neat feature of its own to the Sidebar -- support for resizable layouts. The update is rounded off with an estimated 3,000 bug fixes.

LibreOffice 4.1.0 is available now as a free, open-source download for Windows, Mac and Linux. Mac users should note that support for PowerPC Macs has been dropped with this release. Windows users should also shortly be able to download LibreOffice Portable 4.1 for running directly from an external drive.

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