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LibreOffice Logo - by Christoph Noack (CC BY-SA)

LibreOffice is an open-source cross-platform office suite, serving as a near drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office. It was forked from OpenOffice 3.3.0 and has gained ground in Linux distributions as the default office suite. It has replaced OpenOffice since Debian Wheezy and is now the default office suite in all current versions of Debian. It has good support for .docx .xlsx, .odt, .ods, and other popular formats.

How to install LibreOffice

LibreOffice is the default office suite since Debian Wheezy. You can also add it manually by installing the following packages:




This libreoffice package is a metapackage. It automatically installs all packages and dependencies needed for a fully functional LibreOffice, including its major components such as libreoffice-writer, libreoffice-calc, libreoffice-impress, libreoffice-math, libreoffice-draw, libreoffice-base.


Optional GNOME integration


Optional KDE integration

To install the full LibreOffice suite, run

# apt update
# apt install libreoffice 

Getting the latest LibreOffice version

# apt install -t buster-backports libreoffice

Java Environment

Some components of LibreOffice require a Java Environment to achieve full functionality. The LibreOffice metapackage recommends default-jre which installs the recommended Java version for your version of Debian. This should require no further configuration, but if you want to manually install Java and configure LibreOffice for it:

Extending functionalities

Extend LibreOffice by installing these packages:

Fixing poor look and feel in LibreOffice

You should first make sure you have the appropriate theming package installed. On KDE Plasma 5, install libreoffice-kde5. On GNOME 3, install libreoffice-gnome. On other GTK-based desktops, install libreoffice-gtk3.

LibreOffice will try to auto-detect your desktop and use the most appropriate theming plugin based on this, but you can also force it by setting the SAL_USE_VCLPLUGIN environment variable. The available options are kf5 (Qt5 with KDE integration), gtk3_kde5 (GTK3 with KDE file pickers), and gtk3 (GTK3 with GNOME integration if available).

For example, if you're trying to use LibreOffice with the KF5 theming plugin, you might run:

SAL_USE_VCLPLUGIN=kf5 libreoffice

A generic Qt5 plugin is available in the libreoffice-qt5 package, however it is experimental and not yet considered ready for production, as it can introduce issues that don't manifest with any other theming plugin. Because of this, you're recommended to either use KF5, or to run LibreOffice with the SAL_VCL_QT5_USE_CAIRO=1 environment variable set which forces it to use the same Cairo rendering path as the KF5 plugin:


If you have bigger or smaller fonts in toolbar, you can fix it by enabling quick start option:


echo 'OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=gnome libreoffice --quickstart --nologo --nodefault' > ~/.config/autostart/
chmod +x ~/.config/autostart/

For KDE:

echo 'OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=kde libreoffice --quickstart --nologo --nodefault' >  ~/.kde/Autostart/
chmod +x ~/.kde/Autostart/

Fixing Interoperability Problems

See Substituting Calibri and Cambria Fonts.

Fixing Blank PDF Export


This can be caused by using the wrong VCL (LibreOffice desktop integration module) for the desktop environment, such as "qt5" instead of "kf5". Yes, surprisingly the PDF export depends on the VCL.

The current VCL is shown in the Help > About LibreOffice dialog box. Usually LibreOffice will pick the right VCL provided that the required package is installed, such as libreoffice-kde5. Otherwise, it can be forced with the SAL_USE_VCLPLUGIN environment variable.


Remote Control

Impress can be remotely controlled via an Android device with the app Impress Remote available from F-Droid. It interacts with your slideshow presentation and allows slide previews, reading speaker notes, play/pause presentation and setting timers. Connection is done through Bluetooth or WLAN.

External links