Quick Start

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP4

Publication Date 14 Jul 2015


1. Compatibility
2. LibreOffice Modules
3. Starting LibreOffice
4. LibreOffice Writer
5. LibreOffice Calc
6. Other LibreOffice Modules
7. For More Information
8. Legal Notice
9. GNU Free Documentation License


LibreOffice—formerly known as—is a powerful open-source office suite that provides tools for all types of office tasks such as writing texts, working with spreadsheets, creating graphics and presentations, or designing scientific formulas. With LibreOffice, you can use the same data across different computing platforms. You can also open and edit files in other formats, including Microsoft Office, then save them back to this format.

For a full list of new core features available with LibreOffice 3.4, refer to

1. Compatibility

LibreOffice can work with documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases in many other formats, including Microsoft Office™. They can be seamlessly opened like other files and saved back to the original format. Though some work has already been invested in interoperability, occasionally there are still formatting issues. If you have problems with your documents, consider opening them in the original application and resaving them in an open format such as RTF for text documents. In case of migration problems with spreadsheets however, it is advisable to resave them as Excel files and use this as intermediate format (with CSV format you would lose all cell formatting and CSV sometimes leads to incorrect cell type detection for spreadsheets).

2. LibreOffice Modules

LibreOffice consists of several application modules (subprograms), which are designed to interact with each other. All modules feature the same graphical user interface and similar functionality.

Table 1. The LibreOffice Modules




Text document module


Spreadsheet module


Presentation module


Database module


Vector graphics module


Mathematical equation module

3. Starting LibreOffice

To start the LibreOffice suite, press Alt+F2, type libreoffice and press Enter. In the Welcome dialog, select the module you want to open. If an LibreOffice application is open, you can start any of the other applications by clicking File+New+Name of Application.

3.1. Saving LibreOffice Files

  1. To save a new file, select File+Save or Save as from the Menu Bar or use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+S.

  2. Select the directory where you want to save the file.

  3. Enter the filename in the Name box.

  4. From the File Type box, select the format in which you want to save the file.

In all modules you can save your documents as native LibreOffice files, LibreOffice templates, Microsoft files and StarOffice files.

3.2. Navigator and Navigation Shortcuts

The Navigator tool displays information about the contents of a document. It also lets you quickly jump to different elements. For example, you can use the Navigator to get a quick overview of all images included in the document. To open the Navigator, click View+Navigator or with F5. The elements listed in the Navigator vary according to the LibreOffice module being used.

You can also navigate your files with the following shortcuts:

Table 2. Navigation Shortcuts



Delete to the End of the Word


Delete to the Beginning of the Word


End of Document


End of Line


Select All


Start of Line


Top of Document


Word Left


Word Right


3.3. Using and Creating Templates

LibreOffice comes with a set of predefined templates, and you can find additional templates on the Internet. If you want to create your own templates, you need to determine what you want the document to look like and create the styles you need in that template.

For text document, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings, you can easily create a template from an existing document as follows:

  1. Start LibreOffice and open or create a document that contains the styles that you want to use as a template.

  2. Click File+Templates+Save.

  3. Specify a name for the template.

  4. In the Categories box, click the category where you want to place the template.

  5. Click OK.

4. LibreOffice Writer

LibreOffice Writer is a full-featured word processor with page and text-formatting capabilities. It also includes some features that are usually found only in expensive desktop publishing applications. Many of the LibreOffice Writer features apply also to other LibreOffice modules.

4.1. Creating a New Document

LibreOffice Writer allows you to create a new document in one of the following ways:

  • From Scratch.  To create a document from scratch, click File+New+Text Document and a new empty Writer document is created.

  • Wizard.  To use a standard format and predefined elements for your own documents use a wizard. Click File+Wizards+Letter... and follow the steps.

  • Templates.  To use a template, click File+New+Templates and Documents and choose one of the many folders (for example, Business Correspondence) and a new document based on the style of your selected template is created.

To use a standard format and predefined elements for your own documents, try a wizard (a small utility that lets you make some basic initial decisions and then produces a ready-made document from a template). For example, to create a business letter, click File+Wizards+Letter. With the wizard's dialogs, you can create a basic document that uses a standard format.

Enter text in the document window as desired. Use the Formatting toolbar or the Format menu to adjust the appearance of the document. Use the File menu or the relevant buttons in the toolbar to print and save your document. With the options under Insert, add extra items to your document, such as a table, picture, or chart.

4.2. Customizing LibreOffice

With LibreOffice you can customize the default settings with the Format menu.

Below is a list of the most popular options available in most modules:

Customizing Character Settings

To set all character elements at the same time, select Format+Character.

Customizing Paragraph Settings

To format paragraphs, select Format+Paragraph and select the appropriate tabs for making changes.

Customizing Alignment

To modify the alignment, select Format+Paragraph and choose the alignment you want.

Inserting Headers and Footers

If you want to add headers and footers, click Insert and select either Header or Footer.

Inserting Special Characters

If you want to insert special characters, select Insert+Special Character.

Inserting Footnotes

If you want to insert footnotes, click Insert and select Footnote.

Inserting Columns

If you want to insert columns, click Insert and select Section. Then in the Columns tab, specify the number of columns to use for the current section.

Inserting Indexes and Table of Contents

If you want to insert indexes or a table of contents, click Insert and select Indexes and Tables.

The Object Toolbar offers additional text formatting options.

Inserting Comments

If you want to comment your text for others or for yourself, click Insert+Comment.

4.3. Using Master Documents

If you are working with a very large document (such as a book), you might find it easier to manage the book with a master document, rather than keeping the book in a single file. A master document enables you to quickly apply formatting changes to a large document or to jump to each subdocument for editing.

A master document is a Writer document that serves as a container for multiple Writer files. You can maintain chapters or other subdocuments as individual files collected in the master document. Master documents are also useful if multiple people are working on a document. You can separate each person’s relevant part of the document into subdocuments, allowing multiple writers to work on their subdocuments at the same time without the danger of overwriting each other’s work.

  1. Click New+Master Document.


    Open an existing document and click File+Send+Create Master Document.

  2. Insert subdocuments.

  3. Click File Save.

The LibreOffice help files contain more complete information about working with master documents. Look for the topic entitled Working with Master Documents and Subdocuments.

4.4. Using Writer as HTML Editor

In addition to being a full-featured word processor, Writer also functions as an HTML editor. Writer includes HTML tags that can be applied the same way as any other style in a Writer document. You can view the document as it will appear online, or you can directly edit the HTML code.

  1. Click File+New+HTML Document.

  2. Press F11 to open the Styles and Formatting window.

  3. Click the arrow at the bottom of the Styles and Formatting window.

  4. Select HTML Styles.

  5. Create your HTML document, using the styles to tag your text.

  6. Click File+Save As.

  7. Select the location where you want to save your file, name the file, and select HTML Document (.html) from the File Type list.

  8. Click OK.

If you prefer to edit HTML code directly, or if you want to see the HTML code created when you edited the HTML file as a Writer document, click View+HTML Source. In HTML Source mode, the Formatting and Styles list is not available. The first time you switch to HTML Source mode, you are prompted to save the file as HTML, if you have not already done so.

4.5. Tables

You can include tabular data in the Writer, Impress and Draw module. Insert basic tables directly into your document either with the following menus items or by using the toolbar:

  • Insert+Table,

  • Table+Insert+Table,

  • or use the Table icon.

To enter data, select a cell with your mouse pointer and begin typing. To move around cells, use the arrow keys. →| moves to the next cell, skipping over the contents of the cell and Shift+→| moves backwards.

You can use Table menu or the Table toolbar to modify the table.

5. LibreOffice Calc

Calc is the LibreOffice spreadsheet and data-plotting module. Spreadsheets consist of a number of sheets, containing cells which can be filled with elements like text, numbers, or formulas. A formula can manipulate data from other cells to generate a value for the cell into which it is inserted. Calc also allows you to define ranges, filter and sort the data, or create charts from the data to present it graphically. By using DataPilots, you can combine, analyze or compare larger amounts of data.

As with the entire LibreOffice suite, Calc can be used across a variety of platforms. It provides a number of exchange formats (including export to PDF documents), and can also read and save files in Microsoft Excel's format.

5.1. Creating a New Document

Start LibreOffice and select File+New+Spreadsheet to create a new spreadsheet. Access the individual sheets by clicking the respective tabs at the bottom of the window.

Enter data in the cells as desired. To adjust appearance, either use the Formatting toolbar or the Format menu—or define styles. Use the File menu or the relevant buttons in the toolbar to print and save your document.

5.2. Customizing LibreOffice Calc

Calc comes with a few built-in cell and page styles to improve the appearance of your spreadsheets and reports. Although these built-in styles are adequate for many uses, you will probably find it useful to create styles for your own frequently-used formatting preferences.

Procedure 17. Creating a Style

  1. Click Format+Styles and Formatting.

  2. In the Styles and Formatting window, click one of the icons representing either Paragraph Styles, Character Styles, or Page Styles icon.

  3. Right-click in the Styles and Formatting window, then click New.

  4. Specify a name for your style and use the various tabs to set the desired formatting options.

  5. Click OK.

Procedure 18. Modifying a Style

  1. Click Format+Styles and Formatting.

  2. In the Styles and Formatting window, click either the Cell Styles or the Page Styles icon.

  3. Right-click the name of the style you want to change, then click Modify.

  4. Change the desired formatting options.

  5. Click OK.

6. Other LibreOffice Modules

Besides LibreOffice Writer and LibreOffice Calc, LibreOffice also includes the modules Impress, Base, Draw, and Math. With these you can create presentations, design databases, draw up graphics and diagrams and create mathematical formulas.

6.1. Using Presentations with Impress

Use LibreOffice Impress to create presentations for screen display or printing, such as slide shows or transparencies. If you have used other presentation software, you can move comfortably to Impress, which works very similarly to other presentation software.

Impress can open and save Microsoft Powerpoint presentations, which means you can exchange presentations with Powerpoint users, as long as you save your presentations in Powerpoint format.

LibreOffice allows you to use 3D transitions for your slides. Access the available transitions by selecting Slide Show+Slide Transitions.

You can either create a brand new presentation (without any preformatted slides) or use an existing template or presentation for your new document. Impress uses styles and templates the same way other LibreOffice modules do. A wizard leads you through the options available for creating new presentations.

6.2. Using Databases with Base

LibreOffice includes a database module (Base). Use Base to design a database to store many different kinds of information, from a simple address book or recipe file to a sophisticated document management system.

Tables, forms, queries, and reports can be created manually or using convenient wizards. For example, the Table Wizard contains a number of common fields for business and personal use. A wizard guides you through the steps to create a new database.

LibreOffice Base comes with several predefined database fields to help you create a database. A wizard guides you through the steps to create a new database. The following steps are specific to creating an address book using predefined fields, but it should be easy to use the predefined fields for any of the built-in database options. The process for creating a database can be broken into several subprocesses:

Procedure 19. Creating a Database

  1. Click File+New+Database.

  2. Select Create a new database Next.

  3. Click Yes, register the database for me to make your database information available to other LibreOffice modules, select both check boxes in the bottom half of the dialog, then click Finish.

  4. Browse to the directory where you want to save the database, specify a name for the database, then click OK.

Procedure 20. Setting Up the Database Table

  1. In the Table Wizard, click Personal.

  2. The Sample tables list changes to show the predefined tables for personal use. If you had clicked Business, the list would contain predefined business tables.

    In the Sample tables list, click Addresses. The available fields for the predefined address book appear in the Available fields menu.

  3. In the Available fields menu, click the fields you want to use in your address book.

    You can select one item at a time, or you can shift-click multiple items to select them.

  4. Click the single arrow icon to move the selected items to the Selected fields menu.

    To move all available fields to the Selected fields menu, click the double right- arrow.

  5. Use the arrow keys to adjust the order of the selected fields.

    The fields appear in the table and forms in the order in which they are listed.

6.3. Creating Graphics with Draw

Use LibreOffice Draw to create graphics and diagrams. You can save your drawings in today’s most common formats and import them into any application that lets you import graphics, including the other LibreOffice modules. You can also create Flash versions of your drawings.

LibreOffice allows you to import Scalable Vector Graphics (*.svg) and WordPerfect Graphics (*.wpg). Select File+Open and use the Filter drop-down list to view which file formats can be opened.

Procedure 21. Creating a Graphic

  1. Click Alt+F2 and enter oodraw to open LibreOffice Draw.

  2. Use the toolbar at the bottom of the window to create a graphic.

  3. Save the graphic.

To embed an existing Draw graphic into an LibreOffice document, select Insert+Object+OLE Object. Select Create from file and click Search to navigate to the Draw file to insert. If you insert a file as OLE object, you can easily edit the object later by double-clicking it.

Procedure 22. Opening Draw From Other LibreOffice Modules

One particularly useful feature of Draw is the ability to open it from other LibreOffice modules so you can create a drawing that is automatically imported into your document.

  1. From an LibreOffice module (for example, from Writer), click Insert+Object+OLE Object+LibreOffice 3.x Drawing+OK. This opens Draw.

  2. Create your drawing.

  3. Click in your document, outside the Draw frame.

    The drawing is automatically inserted into your document.

6.4. Creating Mathematical Formulas with Math

It is usually difficult to include complex mathematical formulas in your documents. The LibreOffice Math equation editor lets you create formulas using operators, functions, and formatting assistants. You can then save those formulas as objects that can be imported into other documents. Math functions can be inserted into other LibreOffice documents like any other graphic object.

Using Math, you can enter your equation in three different ways:

  • Type markup in the equation editor,

  • Right-click on the equation editor and select the symbol from the context menu,


  • Select a symbol from the Selection toolbox.


Math is not a calculator. The functions it creates are graphical objects. Even if they are imported into Calc, these functions cannot be evaluated.

7. For More Information

This guide gave you a short introduction to the LibreOffice suite. To discover more, refer to Application Guide (↑Application Guide) and the other manuals available for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop at

LibreOffice also contains extensive online help. In addition, a large community of users and developers support it. For more details, see the following links:

A list of all new features available with LibreOffice.

Official LibreOffice support page, provides manuals and other documentation

Taming LibreOffice: Books, news, tips and tricks.

8. Legal Notice

Copyright© 2006–2015 SUSE LLC and contributors. All rights reserved.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or (at your option) version 1.3; with the Invariant Section being this copyright notice and license. A copy of the license version 1.2 is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.

For SUSE and Novell trademarks, see the Novell Trademark and Service Mark list All other third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners. A trademark symbol (®, ™ etc.) denotes a SUSE or Novell trademark; an asterisk (*) denotes a third party trademark.

All information found in this book has been compiled with utmost attention to detail. However, this does not guarantee complete accuracy. Neither SUSE LLC, its affiliates, the authors, nor the translators shall be held liable for possible errors or the consequences thereof.

9. GNU Free Documentation License

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If a section in the Document is Entitled "Acknowledgements", "Dedications", or "History", the requirement (section 4) to Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual title.


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The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See

Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version number. If the Document specifies that a particular numbered version of this License "or any later version" applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation.

ADDENDUM: How to use this License for your documents
   Copyright (c) YEAR YOUR NAME.
   Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
   under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
   or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
   with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
   A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU
   Free Documentation License”.

If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover Texts, replace the “with...Texts.” line with this:

   with the Invariant Sections being LIST THEIR TITLES, with the
   Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the Back-Cover Texts being LIST.

If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the situation.

If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free software license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit their use in free software.