After years in development, the open source, cross-platform office suite LibreOffice is now available for Google Android… kind of.

A beta version of LibreOffice Viewer has been released to the Google Play Store. You can use the free and open source app to open Microsoft Office and Open Document Format files, but LibreOffice Viewer for Android is still considered unstable and as the name suggests, it doesn’t actually let you create or edit documents. You can only view them… if you’re lucky.

libreoffice for android

I installed LibreOffice Viewer on a phone running Android 5.0 and a tablet running Android 4.2 and while I could launch the app on both devices, I had no luck opening DOC, DOCX, XLS, or ODS files with it.

In other words, it’s not ready to take on Google Docs, QuickOffice, Docs to Go or any of the other free office apps available for Android.

But it’s still impressive to see that developers have not only ported the free and open source LibreOffice application to run on Android, but they’ve also redesigned much of the user interface including the file browser (which is about all I can use at the moment) to work on mobile devices with touchscreen displays.

The app supports pinch-to-zoom and swipe gestures such as dragging your finger from the left to right to let you select sheets or slides in documents that have more than one.

The developers plan to add support for external SD cards, interactive document elements such as URLs, and other features in the future. It’s not clear how long it’ll be until you can actually edit documents using LibreOffice for Android.

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4 replies on “LibreOffice Viewer for Android hits the Play Store”

  1. Thanks for trying the app, Brad, and sorry you had trouble with your documents. If you have time please attach them to a bug report or two so we at Collabora can investigate. We’re collecting as many crasher-docs as possible to fix the issues. We should have an updated release out later today (Thursday, EU), and are aiming for ~weekly releases going forward. Hopefully those documents will open for you before long 🙂 Bug reports: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Android#Reporting_Bugs

  2. Even though it’s just a document reader at this point, it would be nice to be able to access and wirelessly print LibreOffice documents off of one’s Android smartphone or tablet, as opposed to carrying around a flash drive or laptop if LibreOffice isn’t installed on the computers where the printer is, such as at some schools, public libaries and places of business. It would also be nice for a full-fledged LibreOffice application to be released for Android in the future, though, to enhance Android tablets, Android TV and other TV-connected Android devices, such as the MINIX NEO X8-H, for productivity with a keyboard and maybe even a mouse whenever a laptop or computer isn’t necessary for basic tasks.

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