What’s new in LibreOffice 6.1 regarding user experience

The LibreOffice community regularly publishes new releases, and the latest version, 6.1, is released in August 2018. The design team worked hard to make this release as shiny as it deserves; here’s what we did.

Background images

LibreOffice ships some images by default to fill the background of shapes. Those are accessed via Sidebar > Gallery or when you change the area properties under Bitmap. We felt that those images were outdated and replaced many of them.

Old background images vs. new in 6.1

Figure 1: Old background images (left) vs. new in 6.1 (right)

Users who need the legacy images, for example in documents that just link them, can install the extension from https://extensions.libreoffice.org/extensions/legacy-gallery-backgrounds.

Standard color palette

Although we introduced a new standard palette in version 6.0, not all users were happy with it. It started with the discussion whether Violet and Purple are appropriate terms, but we quickly realized that pure colors such as red (#FF0000) were missing. The new palette starts with the primary colors red, yellow, and blue (RYB) and has secondary / tertiary colors in between. The brightness is then reduced systematically based on established models.

Old standard palette vs. new in 6.1

Figure 2: Old standard palette (left) vs. new in 6.1 (right)


And when default colors change we would potentially end up with hex values on the gradients if #76AB08, for example, is not assigned to a name any more. Furthermore, we had the impression that gradients haven’t been done with much love in the past. The new collection puts more focus on pastel tones and the various features as you easily can add your own gradients.

Old gradients vs. new in 6.1

Figure 3: Old gradients (left) vs. new in 6.1 (right)

Drawing styles

Shapes can have a style in Draw but the predefined options weren’t really useful. So we introduced some new styles and removed the not so relevant ones.

New styles for LibreOffice Draw in 6.1

Figure 4: New styles for LibreOffice Draw in 6.1

Icon themes

Several changes have been made regarding the shipped icon themes (being announced in the main blog post). The themes HiContrast, Industrial, and Oxygen don’t contain SVG variants of the icons and have no active maintainer and were removed. Newly introduced was Karasa Jaga as n alternative to Oxygen, and Colibre, which aims to fit into Windows 10 look and feel. Those who mourn about the old themes may download it from our extensions site where they have been laid to rest.

Last but not least, the app icons were refurbished to accommodate the zeitgeisty flat appearance and to comply with the predefined branding colors.

Refurbished app icons

Figure 5: Refurbished app icons, old (top) vs. new (bottom).


Although much work has been done, the Notebookbar is still in experimental status as we not want to fully release it before we are completely satisfied with its quality and level of polishing.

For the release 6.1, the Tabbed variant received a lot of improvements in particular; it takes now less precious vertical space by using only two instead of three rows, all buttons have icons, and the arrangement of functions were reworked. And of course many bugs have been fixed too.

Notebookbar in the Tabbed flavor, old vs. new

Figure 6: Notebookbar in the Tabbed flavor, old (top), new (bottom)

We appreciate your feedback and suggestions about the Notebookbar variants; to enable it, check experimental features in Tools > Options > Advanced.


Numerous bugs have been fixed and new features and options were introduced to support the workflow, To randomly pick a few:

  • It is now possible to generate a signature line using Insert > Signature Line.
  • New “spell out” chapter numbering styles (One, Two, Three…)
  • Image handling in Calc has been much improved
  • Standardization and enhancements for keyboard shortcuts on macOS, e.g. the customization of Ctrl is now possible
  • Some main menu entries were renamed, added or moved for better consistency over the modules
  • etc.

Have a look at our release notes to find your favorite new features.


Numerous volunteers were involved in this work, thanks a lot to everyone. And you can contribute too for the next release! Check our Get Involved site.

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