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does Libre Office fully support microsoft .xlsx and .docx file formats?

asked 2014-06-27 18:55:03 +0200

tmcd gravatar image

updated 2016-03-09 12:15:38 +0200

Alex Kemp gravatar image

.xlsx file opened with libre office calc did not show the drop down boxes. .docx file opened with libre office writer showed check boxes out of place (on the left and shifted up).

Any ideas what is going on here?

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answered 2014-06-28 05:23:57 +0200

oweng gravatar image

updated 2016-02-14 08:49:42 +0200

Does LibreOffice fully support Microsoft .xlsx and .docx file formats?

No. Only Microsoft "fully" supports these formats. It is also important to more clearly indicate which version of OOXML the statement ".xlsx and .docx file formats" refers to:

  • ECMA-376 1st Edition (read / write by MS Office 2007; read only by MS Office 2010/2013)[1]
  • ISO/IEC 29500 Transitional (read / write by MS Office 2010/2013/2016 and Mac Office 2011)[2]
  • ISO/IEC 29500 Strict / ECMA-376 2nd Edition (read only by MS Office 2010; read / write by MS Office 2013/2016)[3]

None of these versions are compatible with each other (i.e., are equivalent). The answer here indicates how LO handles these various formats. A lengthier analysis by the European Commission can be found here. I have also written an outline here.

[1] Refer this MSDN article.

[2] MS Office 2007 was supposed to be able to read this format (which was to be the same as ECMA-376 1st Edition), but Microsoft broke this. This issue is slated to be addressed in the next revision to ISO/IEC 29500.

[3] MS Office 2013/2016 do not write out the Strict format by default (it has to be selected).

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I am really surprised how little effort LibreOffice team is investing in order to make this format (DOCX, but not DOC) fully readable. While LibreOffice offers great features, elimination of this incompactability should be top priority task.

Ljiljan gravatar imageLjiljan ( 2014-06-28 22:14:39 +0200 )edit

I would not say there is a "little effort" being invested in this. A quick examination of the git repository changes for "docx" indicates plenty of changes. If you change the "docx" at the end of the link to "xlsx", "pptx", "oox", or "strict" you will get a clearer picture. It is more an indication of the massive size and complexity of the OOXML specification.

oweng gravatar imageoweng ( 2014-06-29 02:39:12 +0200 )edit

The thing is that I tried to open my final master thesis (with lots of drawings) created in Word 2007... drawings are still not shown well (tested with version 4.3. which has improved DOCX drawing filters). This little test is done with every new version of LibreOffice and no significant improvements noticed in last year (when it comes to drawing). However, other parts of DOCX such as text, formatting and tables are shown correctly.

Ljiljan gravatar imageLjiljan ( 2014-06-29 07:52:39 +0200 )edit

Drawn objects are probably some way away from being handled well. ODF leverages off the SVG specification to define vector images. Unfortunately Microsoft is fairly unsupportive of SVG and appear to want to control object / drawing / embedding methods, rather than come to the interoperability table with other parties in an effort to improve open specifications in these areas. Drawn objects in MS Office are handled by OLE, which is a separate (massive) specification. Refer my answer here.

oweng gravatar imageoweng ( 2014-07-02 13:25:59 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-06-28 02:54:10 +0200

ROSt52 gravatar image

LibO is most likely the best office package concerning support of various Microsoft Office formats. Partially even better then Microsoft it self. However, a real full 100% support is not given and is not possible as Microsoft does not follow the relevant standards fully.

Here is a link to a LibO page dealing with supported features:

LibO 4.2 made a big step forward in supporting Microsoft Office formats.

My experience is that the older formats are better supported (xls, doc, ppt) than the newer ones (xlsx. docx. pptx). It appears to me that Microsoft keeps their formats a moving target.

Here are some links concerning this topics:

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I wonder, cuz WPS Office seems so proud of defaulting to M$ files they should be even better. However, I've never used WPS so I have no idea. Widest range of files, LO might win there.

rautamiekka gravatar imagerautamiekka ( 2016-02-14 03:16:49 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2014-06-27 18:55:03 +0200

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