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Saturday
Feb252012

Exploring Visio Support in LibreOffice 3.5  

One of t cool new features of LibreOffice 3.5 is the support for Visio diagrams. In this post I'll explore a little deeper to see how will it works in practice.

 

First, let's take a look at a simple Visio file I created.

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The two apps I will investigate are LibreOffice Draw and LibreOffice Impress.

 

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Importing Visio Documents into LibreOffice 3.5 Draw

First, from the File menu select Open

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As you can see, the Open dialog can select VSD files and even provides a preview. Notice that the preview is correct –  it looks exactly like the document should.

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Now press Open and let's see what happens when the document is loaded.

 

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And let's take a closer look…

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Basic formatting worked!

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Poor support transparency combined with gradient fills. This is especially true for shape shadows

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The white rectangle above should look like this:

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The text formatting came through surprisingly well

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The server master shape has some errors: pieces seem to incorrectly formatted. I suspect this is due to the poor support for gradients that we saw earlier.

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It should look like this:

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Shapes with text imported as two shapes: one a basic geometric shape and then a second text box on top.

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Using the Clipboard and LibreOffice

In both Draw and Impress you can also import Visio content via the clipboard.

Let's launch Visio 2010 and copy some content…

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Now in LibreOffice Impress, let's try Edit > Paste Special:

 

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The paste special worked but we still see some rendering errors. But this was in LibreOffice Impress and interestingly if you Paste as “Microsoft Visio Drawing” in LibreOffice draw, the image will still have rendering errors, but you can double-click on it which will cause Draw to launch Visio and will let you edit the diagram. So apparently LibreOffice does have some feature that at least comes close to the OLE Embedding feature in Microsoft Office.

Summary

  • I'm sure this wasn't easy to add to LibreOffice so the developers deserve a lot of credit.
  • I was somewhat disappointed by the fidelity to the original formatting.  Visual fidelity is so important for these senarios.
  • Overall, great effort and I am looking forward to what will come next in LibreOffice.

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Just opened your sample vsd and was pleasantly surprised. Libre Office works and your blog has made it much more public. Your time and effort is greatly appreciated.

July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRod Brindamour

It looks like LibreOffice 3.5.5 fixes the issue and improves gradients support.

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkram

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