Office tools

Office tools

The Xfce desktop does not provide any applications for office work. If you need to create office documents containing images and graphs, do spreadsheet1 and conduct presentations, there are a lot of packages providing either individual applications or software suites2. I’ll cover the most basic needs as follows and refer each application to their proprietary counterpart:

  1. An #Office suite for:
    1. Word processing
    2. Spreadsheet
    3. Presentation
  2. Viewing and manipulating #PDF files

Office suite

LibreOffice is a very powerful office suite and alternative to Microsoft Office. It has improved compatibility to proprietary document formats using file type endings such as .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx, and is regarded as the more actively developed successor to OpenOffice. (See a comparison.) If you need to work with “office files”, this is the best option.

To use the release variant containing the newest features I install the package libreoffice-fresh. Additionally, I install a language, spell checking and hyphenation package:

sudo pacman -Sy libreoffice-fresh
sudo pacman -Sy libreoffice-fresh-de hunspell-de hyphen-de

There are many extensions available. I try to find packages in the official repositories or in the AUR to circumvent manual upgrading.

Java environment

Some functions of LibreOffice depend on the Java3 programming language. The OpenJDK version is sufficient and provided by jre-openjdk:

sudo pacman -Sy jre-openjdk

Additional fonts

Though the Liberation fonts installed in the #fonts section of the Xfce desktop guide are metric-compatible you might need other font families to avoid font replacement and metric problems while collaborating. I install the packages ttf-ms-fonts and ttf-vista-fonts from the AUR as follows:

yay ttf-ms-fonts ttf-vista-fonts
ℹ️
Current packages for Microsoft fonts require access to the installation media and do not provide the fonts itself.

Other recommended font packages are ttf-bitstream-vera, ttf-croscore, gnu-free-fonts, noto-fonts, ttf-roboto and ttf-ubuntu-font-family. I install these using the following command:

sudo pacman -Sy ttf-bitstream-vera ttf-croscore gnu-free-fonts noto-fonts ttf-roboto ttf-ubuntu-font-family

If you need fonts optimized for emojis and symbols, math or other operating system fonts search the ArchWiki.

PDF files

A comparison of PDF applications reveals that Xreader seems to be a lightweight but also full-featured PDF viewer powered by the Poppler rendering library. It is capable of annotation, forms, and non-rectangle selection of text, and can be installed using the following command:

sudo pacman -Sy xreader

Signatures and handwrriting

If you need to add a signature or image to pages in a PDF or want to use handwritten notes also install the Xournal++ application:

sudo pacman -Sy xournalpp

Encrypt PDF files

In order to encrypt PDF files I use qpdf and visual extraction, split, merge and reorganization of pages can be done in the PDF Mix Tool. I Install these apps using the following command:

sudo pacman -Sy qpdf pdfmixtool

To actually encrypt a PDF file the syntax is:

qpdf --encrypt $USERPASSWORD $OWNERPASSWORD $KEYLENGTH -- file.pdf encrypted.pdf

I set an $USERPASSWORD, $OWNERPASSWORD, and $KEYLENGTH variable in advance and set the key length to the maximum of 256 bits (KEYLENGTH=256).


  1. Spreadsheet in the Wikipedia ↩︎

  2. Software suite in the Wikipedia ↩︎

  3. Java in the Wikipedia ↩︎

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