The MS Office original package is clearly the best Windows solution for basic text, calculation and email. But especially for enterprise usage, its administration can get tedious:
- Licensing and activation troubles
- Costs in general; in addition there are hardly any upgrade price offers
- MS seems to force cloud usage more and more, which is not the intended way for people who produce sensitive data
I tested several alternatives, so my recommendation for the best Office alternative is a combination of
- MS PowerPoint <-> LO Impress
- MS Word <-> LO Writer
- MS Excel <-> LO Calc
- MS Office <-> eM Client (I will describe this one in another post)
LibreOffice can be deployed via MSI file and managed centrally, e.g. with Windows Group Policy Objects (GPO), registry keys, config templates etc.
To make the migration as convenient as possible for the users, here are some recommandations.
Office 2013 Icon Pack
Get it from here and move the ZIP file (without extraction) to %programfiles%\LibreOffice [X]\share\config\.
It will then be available in LO View settings.
You can also activate it via registry key:
LO simply looks better with this icon pack.
Optionally, set the icon size to Small:
Collabora Office ADMX Files
Many settings can be done via ADMX files instead of modifying the registry.
Get the collabora files from here and move them e.g. into [yourdomain.local]\sysvol\policies\policydefinitions (the .adml file have to be placed under the actual language folder(s)).
For every setting you will see a “Final” checkbox appear. You can force the setting here, so the user cannot override it; might be useful for security settings.
Some recommendations to set:
- Load and save
- Warn the users (…): disable
- Macro security
- Macro trusted locations
- User data
- company address data etc.
- (icon style; custom office2013 icon pack is not available here by default, so you might want to set the regkey manually)
- Load and save
- Writer, Calc
- Default Fonts
- Based on MS Office, you might change default fonts to Calibri 11pt.
- Save As Format
- You can set default format .docx etc. instead of .odt etc.
- Default Fonts
Note: Prefere GPO’s User configuration instead of Computer Configuration for these settings; the latter does not always work.
If settings are not applied, close all LO applications (and also the systray icon!), then delete %appdata%\libreoffice.
Orca MSI / MST
The original MSI file definitely has to be modified every time you deploy the package via GPO software installation, because the locales field is too long.
Using Orca, open the MSI. Go to View -> Summary Information -> Reduce the locale codes to your needs (list of codes).
For the rest of the MSI modifications, create a Transform file (MST).
- CREATEDESKTOPLINK: 0
- AgreeToLicense: Yes
- ISCHECKFORPRODUCTUPDATES: 0
- REGISTER_ALL_MSO_TYPES: 1
- QUICKSTART: 1 (creates an icon in systray; especially useful for faster LO startup)
- ADDLOCAL: ALL (enable all modules in general, then remove particular modules, see below)
- Select all dictionaries you don’t need, otherwise LO needs more time to start. Find a full list of available dictionaries in Orca’s “Feature” tab.
By default, LO only creates New entries in Windows Explorer’s file context menu only for the default (open) file types like .odt.
If you also need entries for your previously used types like .doc(x) or .xls(x), have a look at this registry snippet:
"FileName="C:\Program Files (x86)\LibreOffice 5\share\template\shellnew\soffice.doc"
“NullFile” creates an appropriate entry in the context menu immediately.
In addition, you need “FileName” which points to a plain Word document (not template!). If you do not set it, Windows will create a zero-sized .doc file which is not usable.
Repeat these steps for all extensions you need in the New context menu.
You can also use a central UNC path for the document template files.
Not all settings can be successfully set via Admx / Registry, especially when it comes to arrays.
E.g. when you try to enable the experimental Ribbon mode via reg…
…the parser appends the bar instead of replacing the default one. The result is, you see the default menu bar and the ribbon below, which is not very useful.
Instead, you can try to modify the file registrymodifications.xcu to generate a custom template file. You can also use this file to find out the property names of certain GUI dialog settings, which might not be all contained in the Collabora Admx files.
Other useful links