Annual Report 2019: Updates from the Design community

(Note: this is a section from The Document Foundation’s Annual Report 2019, which will be published in full in the coming weeks.)

Based on LibreOffice’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG), which provide the core framework, several significant changes were made to LibreOffice’s user interface during 2019. The most important were the improvements and the additions to icon styles, and the release of the NotebookBar in additional flavours.

Improvements in LibreOffice 6.3

Dialog Windows

A completely new Tip of the Day window shows up once per day when the user opens LibreOffice, to provide useful information, tips and tricks about the software, and from time to time a reminder about contributing or donating to the project. Tips are rotating based on a list developed by LibreOffice volunteer contributors.


Writer’s Form menu can be reorganized to have it Microsoft Office compatible, by checking out the relevant option in the Option > Writer > Compatibility dialogue window.

Toolbars & Sidebar

The NotebookBar has been improved with the addition of a Tabbed Compact option in Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw, to serve users with a wide screen where the Tabbed user interface would steal a large portion of the vertical space. In addition, a Contextual Single option has been added to Writer, Impress and Draw, to serve the same users when the choose the more traditional user interface based on toolbars.

The Toolbar “More Controls” was deleted, and all tools were moved to the toolbar “Form Controls” in all LibreOffice modules. In addition, the Sidebar width can be configured to accommodate contents of extensions which exceed the maximum width of 400 pixel.


The monochrome Sifr icon theme was significantly reviewed and updated, and the Karasa Jaga icon theme was reworked from 22 to 24 pixels to follow other icon themes. All icons of the two icon themes were drawn in Inkscape to make them available also as SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) images to support HDPI screens.

Other GUI Items

The old Sum tool in Calc’s formula bar has been replaced by a new drop-down widget providing Sum, Average, Min, Max and Count options.

Improvements in LibreOffice 6.4


Hyperlink context menus were unified. Every hyperlink now has the following context menu entries: Open Hyperlink, Edit Hyperlink, Copy Hyperlink Location and Remove Hyperlink.

Toolbars & Sidebar

A Table panel was added to Writer’s Sidebar, with Insert, Delete, Select, Split/Merge, Optimize a Row, Optimize a Column, set the Table Cell Background Colour and the Border, insert a Function, and forms to set Row Height and Column Width.


A SVG variant of the dark version of Breeze and Sifr icon themes was added to the view options, and an extra large 32 pixels icon set has been added to Sifr.

Other GUI Items

Thumbnails of documents in the Start Center are now overlaid with an icon showing the LibreOffice module they have been created with.

Much of this was implemented by our certified developers, along with community members volunteering their time. If you find LibreOffice useful, support us with a donation so that we can continue to build our community, share knowledge, and improve LibreOffice for everyone!


  1. By James Harking

  2. By Abdulmajid Fadhil Al-Jahdhamy

    • By Mike Saunders