LibreOffice is working on a pretty significant overhaul of its interface that would have the productivity suite adopt a new toolbar design similar to the Microsoft Office Ribbon UI. At this point, LibreOffice’s new Ribbon-inspired UI is still in the works, but it’s already available in experimental version 5.3 and anyone can see how it looks using the steps below.
The Microsoft Office ribbon was officially introduced in Office 2007 as a way to make working with the productivity suite easier. Microsoft called the new interface “Fluent UI,” grouping all toolbars into a single one with multiple tabs providing quick access to the essential features.
Microsoft originally implemented the Ribbon UI only in Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint, but with the release of Office 2010, all applications included in the productivity suite adopted it. The feature then expanded to other Windows apps as well, including here Paint and File Explorer.
At this point, LibreOffice is undoubtedly the top freeware productivity suite on the market and the best alternative to Microsoft Office, as it’s being adopted not only by consumers but also by companies and organizations across the world that are seeking reduced costs without losing features.
LibreOffice developers announced their intention to overhaul the UI back in 2015, when they hinted that they were working on a new interface grouping all toolbars in tabs, similar to how the Office ribbon works.
“The goal is to provide an alternative (optional) interface which unifies all the different toolbars and groups them in tabs. It will allow more flexible layout than the toolbars, since Glade will be used to lay out the controls. The classic menu will probably be enabled by default in environments like Unity and Mac OS (global menu). In other environments there might be a switch to enable the classic menu,” the dev team said in October 2015.
Although it’s still an experimental feature available right now (and not enabled by default), the new UI seems to be working flawlessly. Its debut should take place in LibreOffice 5.3 in January 2017.
As DT writes, it’s easy to enable the new ribbon UI in LibreOffice, but keep in mind that you must be running an experimental version of the 5.3 release. Stable version 5.2 of LibreOffice does not include this new option.
To do this, launch LibreOffice and enable experimental features by going to Tools > Options > LibreOffice General > Advanced > Experimental features. Once you do that, LibreOffice will ask for a restart, so make sure that you’re not working on any document.
The next step is to enable the so-called “Notebook bar” ribbon, which is available under View > Toolbar Layout. Simply toggle between Default / Single toolbar / Sidebar / Notebookbar to see the new option in action.
If you’re still running the stable version but want to give this option a try, you can download LibreOffice 5.3 from Softpedia for Windows, Linux, and Mac.