LibreOffice gains some new tricks

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LibreOffice gains some new tricks

The free productivity suite finally adds easy Emoji-ing - but please don't overdo it! Fried-egg, small-fish, elephant, sad-kiwifruit.

If you are in the camp that says version x.0 of any piece of software is best avoided, you may have put off trying version 5.0 of the open source office suite LibreOffice. But it might be time for a look now that 5.0.1 is out, although The Document Foundation (the people behind LibreOffice) suggests "more conservative users" stay with version 4.4.5 for now.

One handy trick in LibreOffice 5.0.x is the way the Writer word processor uses AutoCorrect to make it easy to type Emoji and other special characters.

So if you want to enter the camera Emoji (��), simply type :camera:. For the times (⨉) sign, type :times:. 

Unlike regular auto-corrections, the replacement is made immediately after the closing colon is typed: there's no need to press space or another character that indicates the end of a word. This makes it possible to string together multiple special characters without intervening spaces: :alpha::<=::beta: generates α≤β.

We also like the way text highlighting and shading are preserved when documents are moved between Word and Writer, and that it's possible to crop images using the mouse (also available in the Calc spreadsheet).

A new import filter handles documents produced by Apple's Pages word processor, and - if you've got some old Lotus 1-2-3 or Quattro Pro spreadsheets that you've been hoping to resurrect, they can now be read by Calc.

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