Apache OpenOffice

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Arch offers 3 different OpenOffice branches

Arch offers 3 trees of binary packages for OpenOffice with different pkg names:

  • openoffice-base

This will always be the last released stable version of OpenOffice.
Current version: 2.4.1
start it with "soffice" or from Desktop menu
spell checking packages and localisation packages will always belong to this package

  • openoffice-base-beta

This packages will be only present when a new release is not far away. It will be the alpha, beta an release candidates packages for the next stable release.
Current version: 3.0_ooo300_m2 (a version past 3.0 beta2 that will lead to stable 3.0 release)
start it with "soffice-beta" or from Desktop menu
It's safe to install it together with the stable and devel version.
Please test it carefully and report upstream bugs to OpenOffice and packaging bugs in our flyspray
see http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/OOoRelease30 for roadmap

  • openoffice-base-devel

This packages will be updated from time to time and is a playground for the packager and for testing latest features. Please test and file upstream issues at http://www.openoffice.org/issues/query.cgi
Current version: 3.0_dev300_m29 / snapshot DEV300_m29 (snapshots past branching the 3.0 stable tree that will lead to 3.1 release annd beyond)
start it with "soffice-devel" or from Desktop menu
It's safe to install it together with the stable and beta version

Attention: if you play with more than one openoffice-base version it's highly recommended to always backup your
configuration directory ~/.openoffice{2,3} !


  • First, install a Java Runtime Environment (optional, highly recommended):
# pacman -S openjdk6 (still in testing) or
# pacman -S jre
  • Download the base for stable and/or beta and/or devel:
# pacman -S openoffice-base openoffice-base-beta openoffice-base-devel

language packages and spell checking for stable releases

  • Install one or more language packs. This is optional as English is already included in the base:
# pacman -S openoffice-XX (where XX is a language)
  • Install spellchecker files (optional):
# pacman -S openoffice-spell-XX (where XX is a language)
  • Spellcheckers and language packs for other languages can be found in AUR. File feature request in flyspray and try to get votes if you want a pkg to become officially supported in extra.

Set OOo environment variable

OpenOffice2 introduced the ability to use several toolkits for drawing and integrates into different desktop environments in a clean way. To choose by hand, you need to set the OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP environment variable, either system-wise (like put it in /etc/profile, rc.local, or ~/.bashrc or something like /etc/profile.d/openoffice) or in the specific shell OpenOffice.org is running in (see message when you install/update openoffice-base).

To run OpenOffice.org in GTK2 mode, you can issue (using bash):

 # OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=gnome soffice

To run OpenOffice.org in QT/KDE3 mode, you can issue (using bash):

 # OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=kde soffice

KDE look will be removed in Openoffice3. It's highly recommended to export OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=gnome for all users (yes, also under kde4) with versions from >=3.x or you will see soon glib/gtk related crashes.

Adding media support to OpenOffice.org 2

If you want to be able to use sound and video in OpenOffice.org Impress presentations, you need to install the Java Media Framework and configure OpenOffice.org to use it

Manual dictionary installation

If you for some reason want to install dictionaries manually (e.g. there are no dictionary packages available in your language) follow these instructions:

  • Download a dictionary pack for your language. A list of dictionaries is available at OOoDictionaries
  • Extract the dictionaries to /opt/openoffice/share/dict/ooo/

The necessary files are normally named like en_US.dic and en_US.aff for spellchecking, hyph_en_US.dic for hyphenation dictionaries, and th_en_US.dat and th_en_US.idx for the thesaurus files.

  • Open /opt/openoffice/share/dict/ooo/dictionary.lst with your favorite text editor. Add the dictionaries to the list using the following rules:
 # List of All Dictionaries to be Loaded by OpenOffice
 # ---------------------------------------------------
 # Each Entry in the list have the following space delimited fields
 # Field 1: Entry Type "DICT" - spellchecking dictionary
 # "HYPH" - hyphenation dictionary
 # "THES" - thesaurus files
 # Field 2: Language code from Locale "en" or "de" or "pt" ... 
 # Field 3: Country Code from Locale "US" or "GB" or "PT"
 # Field 4: Root name of file(s) "en_US" or "hyph_de" or "th_en_US
 # (do not add extensions to the name)
  • An example using the American dictionaries would look like:
 ### start en
 DICT en US en_US
 HYPH en US hyph_en_US
 THES en US th_en_US
 ### end en
  • Save the file and restart OpenOffice. Make sure all the Openoffice processes is properly killed. Otherwise the newly installed dictionaries won't show up.


If you want to run a specific module of OpenOffice.org (instead of the soffice default), for example the word processor (Write), spreadsheet application (Calc) or presentation program (Impress), check for the following script front-ends:







Math (Formula Editor)


Base (Database frontend)


Printer Administration (Recommended to run as root)


Known Problems

  • extension handling in versions >=3.0
  • qt look'n feel since kde4 release