A blog by Jonas Finnemann Jensen

August 24, 2010
Turning OpenOffice Math into a visual formula editor
Filed under: English,LibreOffice,Linux by jonasfj at 2:40 am

I’ve spend most my summer working on my GSoC project, which was to create a visual formula editor for OpenOffice Math. Currently, formulas are entered in OpenOffice Math using a plaintext command language, this can be efficent and easy for power users, however, it’s an absolute show stopper for most casual users. So I’ve spend my summer writing a visual formula editor for OpenOffice Math, you can see demonstration here:

I participated in GSoC for Go OpenOffice, which is a project that maintains a set of patches on top of OpenOffice. Go OpenOffice is the OpenOffice version distributed with OpenSuSE, Ubuntu and other distros, it is allegedly a lot better than the official OpenOffice release. And also available for Windows.

Hacking OpenOffice have been a very exciting experience. I haven’t worked on a project so large and complex before. It easily takes 2 hours to build OpenOffice and the sources and binaries fills about 13 GiB. Luckily I didn’t have to rebuild everytime I had to test something.

The visual formula editor, see video above, is not production ready yet. That is it needs extensive testing and a few extra features… However, I plan to keep working on it. You can read more about it’s features and current status here.

I don’t think I’ll keep updating that wiki page, but rather post some updates here once in a while. If you are eager to help test this feature when it comes that far, feel free to leave a comment with your email…


  1. Hi Jonas, sounds very interesting to me. What is the current status of the visual equation editor?

    Comment by Stefan — February 5, 2013 @ 11:11 am

  2. Hi Stefan,

    The patch in now included in LibreOffice, as an experimental feature, it can be activated from options:

    Tools > Options > LibreOffice > General > “Enable experimental (unstable) features”

    The state of the patch is available here:

    For the past two years I’ve been busy with other projects. So I haven’t worked on LibreOffice since 2011.
    If you’re looking for something to work on, it’s a neat little corner, and you’re welcome to throw questions my way (although, I’m probably only useful for the visual editor related questions).

    Comment by jonasfj — February 5, 2013 @ 11:48 am

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