Test LibreOffice automatically

Robust Tool

Listing 1 demonstrates the basic features for remote controlling LibreOffice. The scenario described and the solution outlined may not be appropriate for all administrators. But, an enormous power pack is generally available for remote controlling LibreOffice to anyone with a little Python scripting expertise. There are plenty of test tasks, for which script-controlled solutions can help, in each area that has to do a lot with the typical Office formats.

You'll find an array of conversion tools on GitHub for documents of various types, which are based on the remote control of Libre or OpenOffice. Such converters are often hidden behind a web front end. GitHub also hosts tools for extracting elements from Office documents, generating reports, creating documents diffs, and much more. The technology is therefore useful.

A downside, however, is the documentation. There may be the LibreOffice API site [1] and detailed documentation of the interface [2]. However, the former only links a few very short Python examples, and the latter refers to the C++ site for the interface. It isn't always easy to deduce what the individuals calls look like in Python.

Additionally, the fact that both LibreOffice and OpenOffice exist doesn't necessarily make matters any easier. The API might currently appear to be the same, but there are more informative examples on the OpenOffice wiki [3]. It's hard to judge whether the APIs will grow farther apart in the long term. The developer of a corresponding Python script cannot get around Google, Stack Overflow, and the public code on GitHub. The searchable code fragments are much more useful to the developer than the abstract API documentation.

Once the functional calls have been collected, the whole thing works surprisingly robustly and provides administrators with a versatile tool box for test in an Office environment.


  1. LibreOffice API:http://api.libreoffice.org
  2. Documentation for LibreOffice API: http://api.libreoffice.org/docs/idl/ref/index.html
  3. OpenOffice Wiki:https://wiki.openoffice.org

The Author

Gunnar Wrobel works as a freelancer in the field of web development and swears by Emacs – even despite all the known resistances.

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