What LibreOffice Impress Needs To Rock

by | Sat 10 Oct 2015

Across the course of my career I have given, and continue to give, a lot of presentations at conferences all over the world. In the vast majority of them I have used LibreOffice because I like and support the project and I like my presentations being in an open format that can be used across different Operating Systems.

At times I have also used Keynote and Powerpoint and there are a few small things that LibreOffice is missing to be the perfect presentation tool. I thought I would share these here with a hope that these features will be built and thus turn LibreOffice Impress into the most perfect presentation tool on the planet. Naturally, if these features do get built, I will write a follow up post lavishing praise on the LibreOffice team. If anyone from the LibreOffice team wants to focus on these I am more than happy to provide feedback and input!

# Smart Guides

One the most fantastic elements of both Keynote and Powerpoint are the smart guides. These are guidelines that appear when you move an object around to help you to align things (such as centering an object or making sure multiple objects are the same width/height from each other).

This feature is invaluable and the absence of it in Impress is notable and at times frustrating. I think a lot of people would move over to LibreOffice if this was available and switched on by default.

# Efficiency

Moving objects is slow and clunky in LibreOffice. Moving an object doesn’t smoothly move pixel by pixel but instead jerkily moves as I drag my mouse. It seems that the object moves in 5/10 pixel increments. This means positioning objects is less precise and feels slow and clunky.

Likewise, selections (e.g. selecting multiple objects) and reordering slides has the same chunkiness.

If this was refined it would make the whole app feel far more pleasurable to use.

# Embeddable Windows

There has been times when giving a presentation when I have wanted to embed a window in a presentation to save me breaking out of a presentation to show the audience something. Breaking out of a presentation ruins the magic…we want to stay in full presentation mode where possible!

As an example, I might want to show the audience a web page. I would like to therefore embed Chrome/Firefox into my presentation.

I might also want to show a feature using a command line tool. I would like to embed the terminal into my presentation, potentially on the left side of the slide with some content to the right of it. This would be invaluable for teaching programming for example. I might also want to embed a text editor.

Importantly, embedded windows would preferably have no window borders and an option to remove the menu so it looks fully integrated. This would be a tremendous feature that neither Keynote or Powerpoint have.

# Nested Section Slides

Many presentations have multiple sections. If you have a lot of slides like I do it can be handy to be able to break slides in sections (with the appropriate slides nested under a main slide for each section). This is a standard feature in Keynote. This makes it easy to jump to different sections when editing. What would be really ideal is if there is also a hotkey that can jump between the different sections – this provides a great opportunity then to jump between different logical pieces of a presentation.

# Media Events

When putting together a deck for Bad Voltage Live I wanted to play a slide with an embedded audio clip in it and configure what happens before or after the audio plays. For example, I would like the audio to play and then automatically transition to the next slide when the audio is finished. Or, I want to load a slide with an embedded audio clip and then require another click to start playing the audio. From what I can tell, these features are missing in LibreOffice.

Those are the main things for me. So, LibreOffice community, think you can get these integrated into the app? Kudos can be yours!

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