The Document Foundation has announced the release today of LibreOffice 5.1, a full featured open source office suite with superior interoperability features, for all major platforms – Linux, Mac OSX and Windows.

Compared with previous releases, LibreOffice 5.1 offers a completely overhauled user interface and several improved features targeted at enterprise deployments, e.g. better support for ODF 1.2, interoperability with proprietary document formats and file management on remote servers.

LibreOffice has been downloaded 120 million times since its launch in January 2011 and is now being deployed by large organisations around the world, the latest addition being for Italian defence staff with over 100,000 desktops (posts passim).

LibreOffice 5.1 Highlights

User Interface: LibreOffice 5.1’s user interface has been completely reorganised to provide faster, more convenient access to its most used features. A new menu has been added to each of the applications: Style (Writer), Sheet (Calc) and Slide (Impress and Draw). In addition, several icons and menu commands have been repositioned based on user preferences.

Interoperability: Compatibility with proprietary document formats – principally MS Office formats – has been improved as a part of continuing efforts for better interoperability with other office packages. The latest interoperability changes include the addition of filters for Apple Keynote 6, Microsoft Write and Gnumeric files.

Spreadsheet Functions: Calc’s formula engine has been improved with features addressing restrictions in table structured references and sticky column/row anchors, interoperability with OOXML spreadsheets and compatibility with ODF 1.2

File Access on Remote Servers: Files stored in the cloud on remote servers such as Sharepoint, Google Drive and Alfresco can now be accessed from the File menu, with read and write options and without the need of a dialog window.

The LibreOffice website has a complete list of the most significant new features of LibreOffice 5.1.

LibreOffice 5.1 has also been improved “under the hood,” thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteers. Their work has produced an open source office suite that’s easier to develop, maintain and debug. Although this is not visible to users, it is extremely important for enterprise deployments.

“LibreOffice 5.1 is another step forward to fulfilling our vision of an office suite tailored on user needs and preferences”, says Bjoern Michaelsen, a Director at The Document Foundation (TDF) and a leading LibreOffice developer. “Since 2010, we have gone through different development cycles to clean up the code and make it more responsive. We are now at a stage where we are close to providing a better user interface.”

Availability and enterprise deployments

LibreOffice 5.1 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open source office suites and is targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users.

For enterprise class deployments, TDF maintains the more mature 5.0.x branch (soon at 5.0.5). In any case, TDF suggests deploying or migrating to LibreOffice with the backing of certified professionals providing Level 3 support, migration consultancy or trainings according to recognized best practices (http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/professional-support/).

LibreOffice 5.1 is available for immediate download. LibreOffice users, free software advocates and all community members can also support The Document Foundation with a donation.