By default, LibreOffice saves files in the Open Document Format (ODF). However, it also reads and writes files in Microsoft Office formats (DOC and DOCX). If you collaborate with others on Microsoft Office documents, but you use LibreOffice, you can choose to always save files as Microsoft Office files to make it easier to exchange those documents back and forth.

There are actually many other formats you can choose from as the default file format, as well. We’ll show you how to change the default file format for saving new files by changing a simple setting.

To begin, open a LibreOffic program (Writer, Calc, or Impress) and go to Tools > Options.

In the tree structure on the left side of the Options dialog box, click the plus sign to the left of “Load/Save”.

Then, click “General” under Load/Save.

To change the default file format for LibreOffice Writer, make sure “Text document” is selected in the Document type drop-down list. It’s the first and default option.

Select the file format from the “Always save as” drop-down list that you want to use as the default for saving new files in LibreOffice. For example, if you want to always save your new documents in the most recent Microsoft Word format, select “Microsoft Word 2007-2013 XML”.

NOTE: You can also set the default file format for Calc spreadsheets and Impress presentations by selecting Spreadsheet or Presentation as the Document type, and then selecting the desired file format from the Always save as drop-down list on the Options dialog in Writer, Calc, or Impress.

Click “OK” to accept the change and close the Options dialog box.

Now, when you save a new document, the file format you specified is automatically chosen in the Save as type drop-down list on the Save As dialog box.

NOTE: The file will open in Microsoft Office, but it will open in Compatibility Mode. You can still edit the file and save it in Office format, but there may be some features you can’t use unless you convert to the current type of Office document.

If you use Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and you collaborate on documents with others who use LibreOffice Writer, Calc, and Impress, you can set the default file format in Word to the OpenDocument Format.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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