How to Run LibreOffice in Your Web Browser

Gavin Phillips 10-04-2015

LibreOffice has done it Is the New LibreOffice a Better Microsoft Office Alternative? LibreOffice, a long-time contender of Microsoft Office, just received a makeover and important updates. After being held back by niggling bugs over the years, has LibreOffice finally found the winning formula? Read More . They have made the full transition from a speculative branch of popular alternative office software Apache OpenOffice to genuine competitor. Their recent announcement that LibreOffice would be joining the swelling ranks of cloud based office software 5+ Cross Platform Excel Alternatives for When You're Out of Office Worried about your Excel files when working from home or making the switch from Windows to an alternative operating system? Relax! Here are your cross-platform Excel alternatives. Read More was met with excitement – there appears to be a massive amount of goodwill toward LibreOffice, and their growing ability to challenge Microsoft The 5 Best Free Microsoft Access Alternatives for Databases Free database software isn't all bad. This article covers five of the best free and easy to use alternatives to Microsoft Access. Read More continues attract interest.


It isn’t ready just yet. It should be ready by the end of the year. It was originally conceived way back in 2011, alongside announcements for Android and iOS versions – both of which are also yet to appear, with the iOS version potentially never appearing. However, if you want – nay, demand LibreOffice in your browser before the end of the year, MakeUseOf has you covered. Read on, friend!

Using RollApp

If you haven’t come across RollApp yet, it’s certainly worth a look. RollApp builds a cloud based virtual platform, allowing you to run applications within your web browser. Applications behave exactly how their desktop counterparts do, albeit with minute time differences, depending on your Internet connection.

RollApp LibreOffice

It is ridiculously easy – seriously. You’ll have to sign up to save your files – use one of the offered social accounts, your email, or a throwaway 10 Minute Mail account if you’re comfortable you’ll never forget your password. RollApp also offers a pretty solid roster of apps including GIMP, GanttProject, Notepad++, FreeCAD, and more. You can even skip LibreOffice and head for Calligra Words, Sheets, Plan, and Stage, if you like.

RollApp App Selection


RollApp offers use of LibreOffice 4.1.3. This is several versions back from the current (and best) LibreOffice 4.4.X Is the New LibreOffice a Better Microsoft Office Alternative? LibreOffice, a long-time contender of Microsoft Office, just received a makeover and important updates. After being held back by niggling bugs over the years, has LibreOffice finally found the winning formula? Read More release, but for a free service, who is complaining?

A similar tool is Cameyo, which lets you run Windows programs in your browser Run Windows Programs from Any Browser & Access Your Files on the Go Software should be used, not installed. Use Cameyo to run your favorite Windows apps from anywhere. You just need a browser tab and Dropbox. Read More and hosts an online version of LibreOffice.

Using a Linux Server

N.B: I haven’t tested this method, but have watched others complete the tutorial.

It is possible to use a Linux server to launch LibreOffice Calligra vs. LibreOffice: Which Is The More Productive Linux Office Suite? Read More within a web browser. The Document Foundation wiki explains how you can run LibreOffice in your browser. The following video also demonstrates the workaround up and running in a Mozilla browser – though unfortunately there is no sound:


To get this working on a Windows machine, you’ll need to download a virtual machine Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine Read More , a Linux distro The Best Linux Operating Distros The best Linux distros are hard to find. Unless you read our list of the best Linux operating systems for gaming, Raspberry Pi, and more. Read More , a cloud server package, recompile the LibreOffice source files, upload – and off you go. I mean, yes, this works, but is it really worth it when there are so many other solutions you could use, the one mentioned above included?

How Does It Compare?

Both of these solutions are worthwhile if you really need LibreOffice in your browser. But realistically they are novel workarounds for a non-issue – I mean seriously, why not either wait until the end of the year, or just use one of the already established cloud office packages? Both Microsoft Office and Google Drive are excellent cloud office solutions Microsoft Makes Office 365 Cloud Secure With Multi-Factor Authentication Microsoft has finally given users some peace of mind by introducing optional multi-factor authentication in Office 365. In the same announcement, the company said the feature will arrive in Office 2013 this year itself. Read More you can access from any computer with an Internet connection, from any operating system.


I’m sure the outcome of LibreOffice Online/Browser/”insert final name here” will be an excellent addition to the cloud office solutions spectrum, but right now you’re still better off heading to one of the established names. Considering the integration of Google Docs with Android devices and Office Online integration Don't Pay for Microsoft Word! 4 Reasons to Use Office Online Instead Microsoft Office Online offers free web versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Here's why you should give it a try today. Read More with the desktop version, LibreOffice is going up against extremely strong, well established competition – so kudos to The Document Foundation, as I know many people will welcome their addition, and many will likely make the switch.



Bleh. If you must, use the RollApp solution. It is fast, handy, and importantly works easily. There isn’t too much messing around. Avoid the 2nd solution unless you really want to learn how the solution works, or have a penchant for ridiculous solutions to problems that aren’t real. Use Google Docs, or Office Online, or search the Chrome Web Store for one of the other Office applications – there are plenty of them.

As I mentioned, I am looking forward to LibreOffice in browser form – it’s just not quite here yet. What makes you eager to use LibreOffice online?

Related topics: Cloud Computing, LibreOffice, Virtual Desktop.

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  1. Anders
    May 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    dude do you work for xsplit
    because that sht doesnt even work

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 28, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Wrong article?

  2. Maria Victoria
    October 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm


    • Gavin Phillips
      October 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Aw, you :P glad I could help.

  3. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm


    Iam looking for proper instuction to setup libra office and access via webbrowser.
    Tried the instruction as specified in this link

    but not working.

    I have a debian OS , installed gtk3, backport for debain ( and compilied the Libre office as mention in this link

    running this command at final ./soffice -writer

    Says Failed to open display.

    Does this require Gnome?

    Please help me on this.

  4. SpoonmanWoS
    April 13, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    I did, did you? (And, yes, I'm being facetious asking the author that.)

    You asked the question why someone would want to run their own server for this, and I gave you a reason. One doesn't, however, need to resort to reductio ad absurdum methods to increase their online privacy.

  5. SpoonmanWoS
    April 13, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    "but is it really worth it when there are so many other solutions you could use, the one mentioned above included?"

    If you don't want your docs hosted by a third-party, and thus subject to scrutiny by the NSA, then yes it is worth it.

    • Gavin
      April 13, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      I'm slightly confused. This article is literally about hosting documents on the internet, thus putting them under the scrutiny you are worried about. Did you read the article?

      If you don't want the NSA reading your documents, buy a new terminal and never connect it to the internet. Print all your documents and send them via snail mail. Plane fuel cannot melt steel beams, you know.

  6. Cor Nouws
    April 13, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Nice writeup. Please also see the announcement for the new development on LibreOffice Online, explaining also choices made from performance and scaling perspective:
    One remark with the start of the article: LibreOffice started as a split off from, way before Apache OpenOffice was initated.

  7. Paul
    April 12, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks makeuseof!

    Did try it. Wow its cool & fast.

    Thank you so much.

    • Gavin
      April 13, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      No worries, Paul, glad we've (somewhat) helped!

  8. jasray
    April 10, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Why not Spoon? It's a great virtual platform in a web-browser.

    • Gavin
      April 13, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Spoon is really useful, on the same page as RollApp and Cameyo, but with added functionality. Good shout, jasray!

  9. ReadandShare
    April 10, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Curious re. the above web alternatives... is it possible to save files in encrypted (password protected) mode?

    • Gavin
      April 13, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Hey ReadandShare,

      I'm honestly not sure, as I didn't attempt to save an encrypted file during my trials, but I'd imagine it possible if the LibreOffice version allowed for that function. It would be interesting to understand how the encryption would work in this scenario, and where the key would be saved.

      If you try, let us know your results. Thanks for reading.