LibreOffice is a powerful tool, and it’s only getting more powerful. While it’s a desktop tool first, you can now use LibreOffice in a browser, making it an alternative to online office suites like Google Docs. Recent versions of LibreOffice have added support for editing files remotely on SAMBA shares, over SSH, and via other methods. One of the more interesting of these is Google Drive support, which we’ll dive into in this article.
Why Edit Google Drive Files in LibreOffice?
You might prefer working in LibreOffice, but that might not be true for everyone. Even though you can run LibreOffice in a browser now, that doesn’t mean that your co-workers will want to give up Google Docs and Google Drive.
Using LibreOffice to edit Google Drive files is the best of both worlds. Other people get to work in an environment they’re comfortable in, while you get to work in your familiar environment. This doesn’t take much setup, either.
Setting Up the Remote File Connection
Before you get started, you’ll need a Google account, of course. If you haven’t ever used Google Drive, you might want to create a file or two via the web interface. This way you’ll be able to tell whether or not the remote connection was successful.
Launch LibreOffice, then in the Start Center, select “Remote Files” at the top of the pane on the left. On the next screen select “Add Service” at the top. On the following screen, select “Google Drive” from the Type drop-down menu at the top of the window.
Further down the screen you’ll need to put in your Google account details. If you use two-factor authentication, you don’t need to use an app password. LibreOffice will prompt you for your two-factor authentication code.
Once you’ve entered your details, the dialog will dim until the connection has been successfully established.
Working with Google Drive Files in LibreOffice
There are two ways to open a file in Google Drive. One is to select Remote Files in the Start Center as we did above. The other is to go to “File > Open Remote File” in LibreOffice Writer, Calc, or Impress.
Once you’ve opened a file, you can work with it as you would any other file. When you save, either via the File menu or the Ctrl + S key combination, the file will automatically be saved in Google Drive. You don’t need to check files in or out as you do when working with CMIS document servers in LibreOffice.
If you create a new file in LibreOffice Writer, Calc, or Impress, simply go to “File > Save Remote” to save it. If you haven’t yet connected to Google Drive, follow the instructions above.
As mentioned above, LibreOffice now works with plenty of other remote access methods, but Google Drive is one of the easiest to use. If you frequently need to edit files over WebDAV or SSH, it’s nice to know that these protocols are supported as well.
LibreOffice is far from the only Google Drive client available on Linux. For a look at what’s available, see our complete list of Google Drive clients for Linux.