My subscription to Microsoft Office ran out. I hate subscriptions (would rather pay for unlimited, and then renew every ≈3 years or so), and considered alternatives. There are many many ways to write manuscripts, for instance I recently learned Pandoc for a book. On a Mac you have the free
Pages.app which is, among many other things, good at layouting. For writing collaborative papers, however, the lowest possible denominator would be Word, or the DOCX format. This Microsoft has contrived to be accepted as a standard.
Pages can read & write this format. But it cannot default to it, and the compatibility, especially when it comes to collaborative writing, is not perfect. So next I considered OpenOffice. A laudable effort, partially corrupted by Oracle, but recovering. Accompanying an exodus of programmers it forked to LibreOffice. This can read and write DOCX files. So here I am logging my LibreOffice experiences.
- First I would like to thank the many programmers who work, or have been working on it!
- Second: TL;DR… just install the latest “stable” LibreOffice and you should be fine…
- I installed version 7.0.3, worked great (seemingly :)
- It is possible to set DOCX in the preferendes as default for saving
- It feels very much like Word (for what that’s worth :)
- I found that “Track changes” sits under
Editand works fine with colleagues
- It’s also a good Excel replacement for my needs (Excel is not a scientific tool, but good for intermediate data organisation)
- After migrating to MacOS “Big Sur” the text looks blurry. This is only a slight inconvenience and being worked upon, I understand (see below). Not holding my breath :) …
- Starting on a new paper I find that inserting PDFs into a document ends up in poor quality not only on screen (known from Word), but also on printing. That is bad. I can live with it, since on paper submission I add the images separately anyway.
- Next problem: for references management, I use Zotero. That’s a great system which I’ve been using for a decade and wrote about, if now a little outdated.
- Ok, so I read that Zotero can work together with LibreOffice, great. However, on installing the plugin errors occur.
- Finally traced it to a Java problem. Updated Java. Now LibreOffice complained “selected JRE is defective…”. Oh my, hours pass by… I find that LibreOffice actually does not need JRE (Java Runtime Environment) but rather the JDK (Java Development Kit). Installed latest version; played in the terminal with $JAVA_HOME etc… LOOONG story… no dice.
- Solution: delete latest LibreOffice, go back to version 6.4.7 (labled as “stable”). Good enough for me, this also has the blur problem, never mind.
- Yes, Zotero references management works, lo!
- At least after I switched “Store Citations as:” to “Bookmarks”. For that I had to fire up Word one last (?) time – it greeted me with “Licence has expired” but did what I needed to do.
- In principle migrating to LibreOffice is successful for now and works on several machines, prompting me to write this blog entry.
- 2020-11-30 in version 6.4.7 the blurry font rendering is markedly improved (though still not perfect) by entering this terminal command:
defaults -currentHost write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 0
and restarting LibreOffice. Based on a tip here by Jean, #77, thank you! “AppleFontSmoothing” enables subpixel font rendering on non-Apple LCDs, from none (0) over light (1) to heavy (3).
- 2020-12-08 On another machine LibreOffice 7.0.3 worked right away after I selected Java “jdk1.8.0_25.jdk”. So I went back to my main machine, and found that 7.0.3 still complained about Java “incomplete”. I copied the entire “jdk1.8.0_25.jdk” directory (it sits in /Library/Java/) to may main machine, selected it, and it worked… (with the blur problem, but thaty’s a known issue and arduously being worked upon).
- TO BE CONTINUED