Apache OpenOffice

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OpenOffice.org is a leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more.

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


This will always be the last released stable version of OpenOffice.
Current version: 3.1.0
start it with "soffice" or from Desktop menu


This package will be only present when a new release is not far away. It will be the alpha, beta, and release candidates packages for the next stable release.
Current version: 3.1.1_ooo310_m14-1 (way to =3.1.0rc1) (versions branched from DEV300_m40 that will lead to next stable 3.1.x 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/OOoRelease31 for roadmap


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: 3.2_dev300_m50-1 / snapshot DEV300_m41 (snapshots past branching the 3.1 stable tree that will lead to 3.2 release and beyond)
start it with "soffice-dev" or from Desktop menu
It's safe to install it together with the stable and beta version

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


In addition, there is a package for go-oo in the extra repository, which includes enhancements and features found in versions of openoffice.org available in Ubuntu, OpenSuSE and other distributions. For users of Arch switching from other distributions go-openoffice may be more familiar to them.


  • First, install a Java Runtime Environment (optional, highly recommended):
# pacman -S openjdk6 


# pacman -S jre
  • Also, make sure that fonts are installed (otherwise you will see only rectangles):
# pacman -S artwiz-fonts ttf-ms-fonts
  • Download the base for stable and/or beta and/or devel and/or go-oo:
# pacman -S openoffice-base openoffice-base-beta openoffice-base-devel go-openoffice

Extension management and spell checking for OpenOffice 3.x

  • see OpenOffice Extension site
  • Old openoffice-spell packages are obsolete.
  • Spell checking is done via new extensions. There are three ways to install such a extension:
  • 1) Use the Extension manager from OOo menu for download and installation - installs only for the user into his ~/.openoffice.org/3/user/uno_packages/cache
  • 2) Download the extension and install it using "unopkg add extension" for the user or
  • 3) Download the extension and install it using "unopkg add --shared extension" for every user on the system (requires root permission)
  • 4) The Arch package is now shipped with some dictionaries and these get deployed automatically. Check Extension manager if your language is already there.

If spellcheck does not work for you immediately after install, check the directory




Inside there should be several files called


Use the Extension Manager to add your language dictionary; this often enables spellcheck.

French dictionary

As of openoffice 3.0.0-2 the french dictionary is buggy due to a character encoding problem. To solve this problem, first execute the following commands (you'll need zip and unzip packages):

$ cp /opt/openoffice/share/extension/install/dict-fr.oxt dict-fr.oxt
$ unzip dict-fr.oxt -d dict-fr
$ cd dict-fr
$ iconv -f ISO-8859-15 -t UTF-8 dictionaries.xcu > dictionaries.xcu.utf
$ mv dictionaries.xcu.utf dictionaries.xcu
$ zip ../dict-fr.oxt *
$ cd ../
$ rm -r dict-fr

then go in the openoffice extension manager (Tools menu) and install the dictionary from the new dict-fr.oxt file.

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.

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

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Configure globally

To configure the look for anytime OpenOffice gets started, you can export the variable in one of the startup scripts, either system wide or for a specific user.


 export OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=gnome

in ~/.bashrc, ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh, or similar to configure for one user.

For all users, create the file "/etc/profile.d/openoffice.sh", put the export in there, and make the file executable.

 # chmod +x /etc/profile.d/openoffice.sh

You could also put the export in /etc/profile directly, or in rc.local, but this is less clean.

This export is obsolete for all OOo versions >= 3.0.0-2. Since that version the official package ships its own /etc/profile.d/openoffice.sh!

Environment variable scripts

If for whatever reason you don't want to configure the look globaly, as a non-gnome/kde user you may run into problems when trying to add the environment variable to the command in a *box menu, as such menus don't seem to like environment variables.

This script will run openoffice using the GTK look while still accepting command line options like -writer.

 #### openoffice-gtk - A script to start openoffice with the GNOME/GTK environment
 OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=gnome /opt/openoffice/program/soffice "$@"

Just use this script as a command (e.g, /usr/bin/openoffice-gtk) for your menu or whatever other sort of launcher you use.

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KDE4 look & feel for OpenOffice

OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=gnome never did the trick for me. A good workaround is to set (as root):


into /etc/profile. In KDE4 systemsettings, make sure "use my KDE style in GTK applications" is selected in Appearance > GTK styles and fonts (you must install gtk-qt-engine first).

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

Running OpenOffice

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)


Quickstart icon

If you want the quickstart icon to start at boot, add this to you ~.xinitrc , or any other way you start X:

ooffice -nodefault -nologo -nosegfault &

Known Problems

  • extension handling in versions >=3.0
  • qt look'n feel since kde4 release
  • Rendering problems with some dark GTK themes and gtk-qt-engine. For a dirty fix, see openoffice-dark-gtk-fix or if you have go-openoffice see go-openoffice-dark-gtk-fix on the AUR. This also sets OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=gnome.