Libreoffice 7.3 and Openoffice Writer 3.5 bricking and then crashing with 150-300kb files

Hello all,

So I am having a problem with LibreOffice 7.3 crashing like clockwork as soon as any file size goes over 150 kb, it starts going downhill. At 200kb, it begins to stall out every few seconds. At around 250-300kb, it can’t open it anymore. This occurs regardless of file format or hardware, and I have completely exhausted all of the pre-existing solutions such as memory or settings adjustments such as Smooth scrolling, Hardware Acceleration, etc.

System is a quad core i5 processor with 16gb of ram, Ubuntu Mate 18.04 on a SSD. Same problem occurred with LO 6 too. That is in addition to simple cut/paste commands taking 50-60 seconds each.

The exact same issue occurs on my laptop in Openoffice 3.5, Ubuntu 10.04, 4gb ram, regular HDD. For comparison, the same file has no issues being opened 15 years ago in MS Office in WinXP with 512mb of ram.

So what’s the major malfunction?

FTR: discussion on IRC script:
  • SilverIris has joined
  • SilverIris: Greetings all. I keep encountering a problem with LibreOffice and its predecessor, Openoffice and have completely exhausted all of the regular support channels with no resolution in sight. So, it’s time to ask the developers what the major malfunction is.
  • SilverIris: Whenever LO Writer encounters a file over 150kb, it starts to become unstable. At 200kb, the window goes dark like it is busy. Around 250-300kb file size, it goes down completely. I’ve already gone through memory allocation and everything else mentioned through the ask.libreoffice site and there is no change. This occurs on multiple systems, with
  • SilverIris: quad core processors and 4gb or more of memory. It completely locks up when the same file was opened 15 years ago in MS Office and has no issues whatsoever on far less capable hardware, single core 1.47ghz processor and 512mb of memory.
  • Platonides: I think you should provide some sample document locking it like that, SilverIris
  • Platonides: I find really strange nobody else would have encountered that
  • Platonides: in fact, I’m pretty sure I have used larger files myself
  • SilverIris: So do I. It’s been quite odd to say the least and seem to happen regardless of hardware too. All the usual suggestions from the community like “give it more memory” or “turn off this setting” have zero effect on it too
  • Platonides: I would think on some kind of hardware problem, but if it’s happening on several computers, it’s unlikely
  • SilverIris: Agreed, it defies all explanation that I can come up with. Sure, I’d be happy to provide a sample file for a second opinion.
  • SilverIris: For comparison, the same file had no issues in MS Office 15 years ago. But in LO office today, it’s going down …
  • Platonides: note that the uncompressed content.xml is 40M
  • Platonides: even though the resulting .odt is 493K
  • SilverIris: I would imagine that if it were saved as an MS Word doc file, it’d be around the same 493kb
  • Platonides: 345674 cells
  • Platonides: 49382 rows
  • SilverIris: sounds about right. Data on 49374 cars, all Japanese market Mazda RX7s
  • SilverIris: Did you have any issue opening it? Or LO faceplanting in the process?
  • Platonides: are you autogenerating this document?
  • Platonides: it couldn’t
  • Platonides: it’s still at 100% CPU
  • Platonides: but with that massive content, I’m not that surprised
  • SilverIris: Not auto-generated. It’s a database I put together. What’s weird is that my systems fall on their face at 150 kb+ regardless of the file contents
  • SilverIris: For example, 10-15 pages of FF7 gameshark codes. Instant “nope”
  • SilverIris: For comparison, it was ~270kb before I converted it to a table. Didn’t have an issue opening that file this morning.
  • Platonides: I think it doesn’t like overlong tables
  • Platonides: text in paragraphs is easier
  • SilverIris: That would explain part of the 150kb+ problem, but I’ve had the same issue come up with 10 pages of text too. Only factor that is the same is the file size being over 150kb
  • Platonides: the odt is compressed
  • Platonides: what’s the length of the actual content?
  • SilverIris: ~500 pages in the table, ~470 in text. I don’t think it’s the file format that’s causing the issue as it does the exact same thing in Word Docs too
  • SilverIris: 49374 lines of actual text
  • SilverIris has left

IIUC, the problem here is a huge table spanning multiple pages, not file size. And yes, Writer has a problem with these. If you simply split the table every, say, 10-20 pages, it will behave normally. Because when laying out a table row, it needs to do things with the whole previous table, which becomes quadratic.


If the problem comes from an exceptionally large table extending to most of the document, this means you haven’t thought sufficiently about the structure of your document. As @mikekaganski points out (with other words), tables are intended for rather short inserts of intrinsically tabular data. If column layout is a requirement for you, there may be other ways to achieve it. But we need to know the whereabouts to suggest a better solution (performance-wise).