LibreOffice releases first stable build

The Document Foundation has released its first stable build of LibreOffice. Version 3.3 arrives ahead of schedule thanks largely to the growth in developers who have contributed to LibreOffice since its first appearance in September 2010. The number has mushroomed from under 20 to over 100, allowing LibreOffice to exceed the "aggressive" targets set by its founders when this offshoot from OpenOffice was first announced.

LibreOffice 3.3 introduces 10 new features to the program, many of which are exclusive to LibreOffice. Examples include the ability to import SVG graphics directly into the Draw application and edit them interactively. Title pages are now easier to create in Writer thanks to a new dialogue box, while a new Navigator view helps simplify the navigation of large documents. There are a number of new import filters too, including support for Microsoft Works and Lotus Word Pro, while the Corel WordPerfect filter has also been improved. There are also a number of extensions bundled across the suite, such as the Presenter View in Impress.

Other new improvements include support for color-coding different sheets in Calc spreadsheets. Each sheet now supports up to one million rows. Impress benefits from improved slideshow handling, while user menus now use radio buttons to help users see which options have been selected.

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For those wishing to test out unfinished features, LibreOffice also features a new "Experimental" option, which can be switched on from the program's preferences dialogue box. A full list of new features can be found at the LibreOffice website.

LibreOffice 3.3 is an open-source, cross-platform office application for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. It's based on OpenOffice code, but while it currently looks very similar to its parent, will almost certainly diverge in terms of looks and functionality going forward.

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