Citrus UI

Citrus UI is a collection of ideas for how LibreOffice could be changed in order to be simpler and easier to work with. In order to make adoption of these ideas as easy as possible, I’ve split up the proposal into several projects that could be worked on separately and made a possible roadmap for evolving the suite bit by bit. The suggestions here are just a subset of the various suggestions that came up over time — you can find those on this page.


Command reorg

Reorganizing all commands into logical, clear, and contextual categories, getting rid of dialog windows along the way.

Inline view

Putting things inline to get a more fluid interface, making access quicker and easier and eliminating some panels.


Making drawing simpler and quicker, plus mockups of a drawing application (vector + bitmap, like Adobe Fireworks).


Revamping the Navigator to make it simpler and merging it with the Page/Slide pane, Quick Navigation, and Search.


Encouraging use of open-source fonts by means of seamless integration with FLOSS font banks, so that a document looks the same no matter what computer it’s on. And remaking the font pop-up to fit.

Platform friendliness

Making sure LibreOffice’s UI is as adaptable as possible and making changes for different platforms where necessary.

82 thoughts on “Citrus UI

  1. Hi. Really great mockups. Thanks a lot! I still think tht there is a lot of inter space widget waste. Also the dropdown arrow widget. Awful. Is this related to gtk widget theme config I guess but OOffice/libre always looked very unprofesional to me.

    1. “View” > “Spellchecker” (as it’s just a panel for a feature that’s on by default), accessible from both the menubar and in the overflow menu of the toolbar.
      You could also use the navigator to browse through spelling+grammar errors.
      It’s a feature that I need to give more thought to, though.

    1. I use Lubuntu now, as I’m on a netbook and need something lightweight. I didn’t go with Fedora LXDE as I’m not sure how to get the Synapse launcher on there.
      Feel free to donate to LibreOffice, although I’m not sure if they need donations right now.
      Your time would be more valuable, though. If you want to help, join the design mailing list: .

    1. It can be hidden through the ellipsis menu on the right of the toolbar (View>Menubar). Everything from the menubar is accessible from somewhere else in the interface. It’s just there for better browseability, cross-platfrom compatibility (Mac OS X requires menubars), and for old-school users.

      1. ‘It’s just there for better browseability, cross-platfrom compatibility (Mac OS X requires menubars), and for old-school users.’

        It indeed adds some nostalgia to it 🙂
        Keep up the good job! 😀
        I hope they add it! :3

  2. It looks really great! Congrats! But I think using monochrome icons would make it look even better and more professional. Colored icons feel a little childish.

  3. I miss here styling features: Styles and Formatting (F11) and Fill Format Mode / Format Paintbrush. UI should encourage good practices and styling documents by hand feels so medieval especially for large documents.
    Some might say MS Office has it, even AbiWord has it, but actually Libre Office turns out best here as it’s far easier to create new styles and modify them (sadly not many people are aware of that feature)..

  4. It looks pretty slick except for Icon Colour-codes. For the 20% of colourblind men and the 5% of colourblind women, colour-coding is just another sign of discrimination against colourblind people. If the icons are also distinctive of shape or pattern, it would pick up the colourblind folks in the market.

  5. Really really nice. It would be great to see this interface working with LibreOffice. The current interface is old-fashioned.

  6. So, Critus will have a tabbed interface for documents, right? I mean, imagine switching between different documents using tabs. They should REALLY impliment this as I’m a writer and it’d be BEYOND useful to have tabs to switch between articles, manuscripts and outlines.

  7. This does look good, but don’t say that the text menus are “just” for anything. As someone who remembers words much better than pictographs it is a big plus for ease of use/memory, especially for rarely used items. Text based menus are also much easier to give text based instructions to, so help by email and on forums is much clearer and simpler to use and give.

  8. This is what I like about FLOSS software: the flexibility of software to meet end-user demand and not the dictates and whims of corporation (MICRO$OFT). The borrowing and tweaking of UI design is encourage and not stifled by confusing and detrimental copyright concerns. I would like to suggest the following: make mock-up designs as LO extensions for the end-users to try out and give comments. Also, let us make us UI designs clean and seamless as possible, hiding the complexity.

    LibreOffice Forever!

  9. Nice peace of art!
    I think this shall be a wonderful office. It seems “clean” and produtive. No marketing design like MS Office…
    Hope you can put it for community soon.

    And please, can anyone simplify drawing tables in writer? Is the only chapters that MS Office beat Libre/Open

  10. As I look at this, I think that (from a programming standpoint) this would be easy to implement with Qt/QML. I do not mean to start a GTK vs Qt flamewar here but I think this could be developed with Qt 4.7+ to provide a great multiplatform interface!

  11. LO or OO is massively overdue a UI change.

    I admit that I’ve liked the MS Office ribbon from the start – the Office team knew exactly what they wanted to do and why. The fact that oss seems to take 5 years is almost embarrassing.

    Seeing this makes my heart leap for joy. Finally a user interface that will potentially complement document editing, instead of insist itself upon it like the current interface does.

    Toolbars and menus being the only options are anachronisms for software suites like this.

    Fantastic mockups! Let’s hope they make it into the final cut.

  12. When, when, when…

    “Encouraging use of open-source fonts by means of seamless …
    should be read imho as: “Encouraging use of open-source fonts by promoting the design of high-class open-source fonts and by means of seamless… ”

    This way the crap gets highlighted over the good designs, and it is still the final product that counts.

  13. WOW, thats just awesome.. The UI is very outdated.. It would be great if this design would be the new! I hate using LibreOffice on my Linux just because it has such a bad UI. And i always have to start Wind0ws to work on Office-Documents.. actually i hate ms-produkts, but the Office07 design – i have to confess – is good, and it was about the time to change it.. But I don’t know any alternative that has comparable workflow.. So that UI would be THE solution 😀

  14. Totally amazing. ‘Should be shared for a lot more apps than LibreOffice alone. Can’t wait to see this in action.

  15. Libreoffice is already full of functionalities. The problem is that, users have no idea how to use them, and even don’t know existence of many. I truely hope Libreoffice to adopt proper UI, with quality of at least that of iWork.

  16. Pretty promising. Do you have any plans to add tabs to the Citrus UI? I would like to contact you but I could not find your info on your blog. I am working on a rough mockup (not very detailed right now) of how it could be used.

    1. That sounds like an interesting idea, Maggie.
      For Calc those tabs are a long established feature of course, and in Write or Impress I can well imagine them as a great help of working on different chapters simultaneously (among other things)

      1. I know that Calc and Excel have tabs for the pages in spreadsheets, but imagine having tabs for each Excel document. I know there’s an add-on for Office called Office Tabs. I’ve used it and while it made it easier for me to organize and access the documents I was working on, it could be rather buggy at times. I think if LibreOffice were to have tabs integrated in the UI it would help attract users to it. I would even go one step further and allow for the user to chose where their tabs are positioned in relation to the page (at least for Writer).

    2. You now make that sound more interesting even, Maggie.
      I know too many who work full screen or a window stretched to the limits, no matter how big a screen they use. And they always lose track of the other spreadsheets and documents they have opened. With current 16:9 widescreens a tab bar on all open documents should be placeable on a side by choice.
      It should then cover all LibreOffice documents, in whatever mix desired.
      Sounds like a great productivity enhancer. For MS Windows users most, for Linux and OSX users with their virtual desktops still a lot easier

      1. I’m curious. Do you work on the LibreOffice project? I’ve been sleeping it over and I’ve realized that there’s quite a bit that can be done with tabs. They can be sorted in the order the user wants (either by mouse, touch, or keyboard command). If a user has more than a few tabs, said user could either shift through them with an arrow button or have a top-down menu like in Firefox (I think Opera and IE have that too; have to check that one).

      2. Grin no, not working on the project, user only. But professionally I have seen people working with multiple documents very inefficiently.
        Your tabs-suggestion might improve that with ease, more so because all know their use from browsers. It is not something new that has to be learned as an extra feature and thus is likely to get unused.
        I hardly know MSIE, but Opera has the option to both scroll through and/or group tabs when you get too many of them. That might be nice for a diversity of opened pages, but I think that is beyond reality for opened documents to work on. You can only seriously work on a couple at one time, without making mistakes.

    1. Our design wiki page at is really our hub, though if you don’t really want to get involved, you can follow progress at our Google+ page:

      That said, don’t expect such wide-ranging changes as Citrus UI or Paulo’s UI. First off, we’re committed to following the user’s theme, GTK+ 3 integration is being worked on, so the way the suite looks will mainly depend on what the OS’s theme is. The UI will be changed incrementally, so there will be no sudden move to another UI concept.

      Given that LibreOffice is being developed for Android, it’s likely that the standard toolbar metaphor will be kept (so no ribbons or special sidebar UIs, I believe) and toolbars should hopefully gain some functionality that was unique to menus.

      Of course, this all depends on what developers want to do, and, right now, there is little development happening on the design side of things.

  17. Unhappily I am not a programmer, but I really like this new approach of LibreOffice.
    But please, don´t follow Microsoft idea of ribbons cause I think they are less productive and more wrist harmful. And I know what I’m saying: I teach and use a lot several office products since 20 years till now!
    And remember that screens became wide lately; so if you have to put anymore bars or ribbons, just let users customise left or right columns on screen to put menus.

    If I can help anyway without programming, just let me know. From october on I can test interfaces with my college pupils.

    Jaime – Lisboa (.pt)

  18. Don’t hesitate to make black semi transparent menus like the mac osx HUD ui style.
    like the menus on the left side.

  19. Definitivamente ainda não sei porque eles não adotaram a citrus como interface do libreoffice .-.

    Essa interface atual é muito anos 90 e com o lançamento do MS Office 2013, creio que perderemos ainda mais usuários para eles, só por causa da interface medonha com ícones toscos.

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