Full furigana support in LibreOffice Calc

LibreOffice Writer fully supports furigana in the text, however LibreOffice Calc does not, it does not allow you to create furigana directly in the spreadsheet or paste it from LibreOffice Writer as text (in fact, in LibreOffice Calc, the menu option Format → Asian Phonetic Guide is shown disabled).

For example, if I copy from LibreOffice Writer a text in Japanese with kanji that has a furigana written above, when I paste it in text mode in LibreOffice Calc the furigana are lost. The only way to get the furigana to display correctly is to paste the text into LibreOffice Calc with LibreOffice 7.6 Text Document format, but doing it this way is not just pasting the text, it is creating a text box, so then the spreadsheet becomes unmanageable:

LibreOffice Calc:

However, in Microsoft Office it is possible to copy text with furigana from Word and paste it directly into Excel in text mode, so that you can even modify the furigana directly from Excel. Microsoft Excel does not allow as complete support for furigana as from Word, but it still allows you to create furigana directly from the spreadsheet, something that LibreOffice Calc does not allow.

Please, is there any chance of full furigana support being implemented in LibreOffice Calc in the near future? At least please put it on the list of tasks to do.

Calc is not a document processing application. It just understands Unicode strings with very limited formatting if any. A kanji “decorated” with a furigana is a very complex structure which cannot be “abbreviated” to a simple Unicode sequence. This structure requires a complex algorithm to be rendered correctly. This is beyond Calc possibilities.

When you paste “Text Document format”, you escape from Calc limitation, but to such a point that you also escape Calc itself. Your document ends up in a text box which is separated from the spreadsheet itself as you discovered.

Spreadsheet are not meant to process text in a sophisticated way. Text is offered only as very basic labels.

If you really need furigana, you should perhaps work the other way round: insert into Writer the bits you need near your kanji+furigana.

Sorry to harp on this, searching the Internet I found that other people have experienced this problem before:


I understand perfectly the explanation you have told me, but please, I think that this functionality is very necessary for people who are learning the Japanese language since we need to be able to create a vocabulary list to be able to study it, and we need to be able to show the kanji with furigana optionally (in Microsoft Excel you can show or hide it by cell, so it is very useful to hide them in vocabulary that we should already know and only show it for a minute in case of doubt, so it is very useful to review it).

Now the only way to store vocabulary with furigana in Linux is to use Anki, but it is a flashcard system and it is not intended to create a vocabulary list, or create a super table in LibreOffice Writer and start putting the vocabulary there, but this It is not optimal either, it is not thinking for this.

I know that the goal of LibreOffice is not to support or copy all the functionalities that Microsoft Excel offers, it has its own philosophy and should follow its own path, but I do sincerely believe that furigana support in Microsoft Excel should be copied or implemented somehow in LibreOffice Calc.

Putting furigana in parentheses after a kanji is not an optimal option, because it makes it quite difficult to read a complete phrase or text, especially if it is somewhat long and has quite a few kanji. And also because of what I have mentioned before, because it cannot be hidden or shown in the cell according to the user’s convenience and needs.

Please, I am willing to financially support the development of this functionality in some way or make a donation for it, if it is not excessively expensive.

Do you consider this post the solution to your question (because you used an answer instead of a comment)? Meaning, the discussion is now closed.

I am no developer and, without any knowledge in Japanese, I’d like to experiment to see if there is a solution or workaround inside Writer. Could you please provide 2-3 Kanji with Furigana? Thanks.

Sorry, I’m new to the forum and I didn’t see the little speech bubble icon to reply to the message, I just noticed the big blue button that said “Suggest a solution” and clicked on it thinking that the conversation was already closed and I didn’t have option to respond. It is evident that I was wrong and that was not my intention.

Here I write some kanji and after each of them, in parentheses, what their reading would be in furigana (which is usually written with hiragana):


If implementing complete support within LibreOffice Calc, as Microsoft Excel allows where you can directly edit and modify the furigana within each cell, is too complex or expensive, at least try to be able to copy the text with kanji and furigana from LibreOffice Writer, which It can be pasted in text mode in Calc and the furigana could be shown or hidden independently for each cell, although any modification of the furigana would have to be done in Writer, at least I think this would be enough to get by.

And here the same kanji that I have put above, using furigana in HTML:




I still think that Calc is not the right tool if your goal is vocabulary check/study.

I created a table in Writer with your examples. Furigana gets character-styled Rubies. All you have to do is dynamically change this character style Font Effects properties to make it Hidden or not.

For best convenience in your pedagogical goal, this can be done with a button associated to a macro to change style properties. Unfortunately, I never wrote a macro and can’t provide a prrof of concept. I hope other contributors can catch where I left.

AskLOFurigana.odt (10.9 KB)

Yes, that system is what I was using, but it is not optimal: unlike a spreadsheet, I cannot change the sorting order of the columns; then the space is limited to the size of the sheet of paper on the screen; I can’t do autofiltering, nor can I filter by certain column values.

A spreadsheet may not be the perfect tool for creating a vocabulary list either, but I think it is much better than doing it in Writer and offers many more possibilities than Writer for using it with the vocabulary list.

Then instead of trying to stuff everything in a single cell, you could use two rows for your kanji+furigana. Design then the adequate adjustments for sorting so that the associated rows always remains linked as a block, probably by merging the adjacent cells for translation and other explanations.
AskLOFurigana.ods (9.2 KB)
You can hide separately the rows with pronunciation. You can also assign different styles to the cells for kanji and furigana.

But that is not optimal either, because then it is very difficult to relate the furiganas (hiraganas) that are shown in the other column.

Observe the following phrase (left: with kanji; right, in parentheses, the furigana or hiragana of how the entire phrase is pronounced)

海原を泳ぎ回った 生き物の味だ!⸺ (うなばら を およぎ まわっ た いきもの の あじ だ ! ⸺)

How do I know each pronunciation on the right which kanji on the left corresponds to?

The question is, is there any chance for the developers to put this functionality in the TODO list? Even if it is within 1 or 2 years, but may this functionality be implemented one day like in Microsoft Excel…

The only way to contact developers is to file an enhancement request at TDF Bugzilla. But don’t be too optimistic. Such an enhancement requires 1) bug triage to boost priority, 2) voluntary developer time, 3) a developer having some knowledge in Japanese (perhaps a Japan- native speaker). So, give a good argumentation in the report. Try to describe the feature both in linguistic and technical (specification-wise) terms. Give some hints about Excel but don’t insist too much like “Excel does it, Calc should do it”.