LibreOffice gets Visio 2013 support

LibreOffice gets Visio 2013 support

It's been a year since support for Visio documents in VSD file format entered LibreOffice. And here's some news: with the latest release of libvisio you can open VDX and VSDX files as well.

After an initial attack the activity in this project gradually faded, partially due to Fridrich Strba's work on libraries for opening Corel DRAW and Microsoft Publisher files.

However this summer Fridrich returned to libvisio to add some new exciting features.

What's in the latest release

Two grand new features are support for newer Visio file formats: VDX (Visio 2003) and VSDX (Visio 2013). Most code was written by Fridrich in September and October, so that's hot from the oven.

The importer supports pretty much all the features of the older file formats. In most cases opening VDX and VSDX files should just work. Otherwise please file a bug report.

Fridrich also started working on support for VSD v4 and v5. The initial code has just landed to Git source code repository.

Stencil file formats (VSS)

Another new feature that's not really advertised yet is support for Visio stencils in VSS files. When opened in LibreOffice or converted to ODG, the stencil file have each stencil object on a separate page.

The official v0.0.20 release has a bug with regards to XML-based stencils, but it's already fixed in Git. It's expected that the next version of libvisio will publicly claim the VSS support.

Improvements

Over the last year quite a few minor features sneaked in: support for text styles, text fields, line markers, flips and rotations, bitmap fills in SVG output, and OLE stencils.

On top of that Fridrich added an API to query pages and build their previews in 3rd party software. What software exactly?

Libvisio in other projects

The availability of an open library for reading Visio files was quite tempting. As a result, two more projects benefitted from this LibreOffice's project:

  • Calligra Suite 3.4+ ships with support for Visio files;
  • Upcoming Inkscape 0.49 will feature importing VSD files, VDX and VSDX should be added too.

Existing unstable builds of Inkscape do not ship this feature yet. But once the final version is out (currently expected the coming winter), you will be able to open a Visio file and pick the page you need to import (since Inkscape doesn't have the concept of pages yet).

Getting libvisio

It's still recommended to run libvisio from Git. You will also need libwpd, libwpg and writerperfect packages. For a short guide on building libvisio from Git please refer to an earlier article on the subject (scroll to the end).

It's expected that the next big update LibreOffice (3.7 or 4.0) will ship the new version of libvisio and provide support for Visio 2013 (and 2003) files, along with support for Corel DRAW and Microsoft Publisher.

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7 Comments

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  1. Hi, just wondering how exactly did you manage to import the visio’s vss stencil file into Libreoffice? Could you kindly give me the steps involved. I’m currently running Libreoffice 4.0.0.3 on my Windows 7 notebook. Thanks in advance.

  2. 2Kim: File->Open in LO Draw

  3. 2bugware: that’s the first thing I did before posting for help. When I open the vss file on draw, nothing happens. Just a blank page. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

  4. LibreOffice is worth considering especially as it’s free. The result of this changes are impressive!

  5. Thanks for the article. any chance of a couple of pointers? I have latest LO

    Version: 4.2.6.3

    I have a LucidChart which I can download as a .vdx

    Is it a typo in your article that you refer to VXD rather than VDX?

    You say “In most cases opening VXD and VSDX files should just work” - but am i missing something? Do i need to download an extension to get this working?

  6. Alexandre Prokoudine 07 September 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Peter, it’s a typo indeed. Also, v4.2.x isn’t latest, v4.3 is (e.g. I have v4.3.1.2 installed). That said, this shouldn’t affect you as libvisio has been available for a long time.

  7. Same problem here, can’t import a VSS file into LibreOffice Draw. Could you please indicate how is it supposed to work?

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