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How to easily save and open files from a network share in LibreOffice

Looking for a way to work from the same document across your network with ease? LibreOffice has you covered.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Person working on a laptop
Tom Werner/Getty Images

Recently, I switched from using Google Docs for my fiction writing to using a shared folder on my network. Why the change? Simply put…AI. I don't want any third party to use my work to train their products. Fortunately, where there's a will there's a way.

My first idea was to use Nextcloud, but I wanted to keep things much simpler. So, I opted to work from a shared folder on my network. I knew this would be easy, because LibreOffice has a built-in feature that allows you to open and save to network services. Among the services it supports is Windows Share.

Also: How to edit a paragraph style in LibreOffice

Now, I'll be sharing my folder from Linux, which I've explained how to do here. If you're working from a Mac desktop or laptop, I explained the process of sharing a folder across your network here. If you're using Windows, it's just a matter of right-clicking a folder, selecting Properties, clicking Share, and then selecting a user.

Regardless of how you share out the folder, the LibreOffice method of accessing those shares will be the same and I'm going to show you how it's done.

How to create a Share Service in LibreOffice

What you'll need: You'll need two things for this to work. The first is a shared folder you have access to on your network. The second is a running instance of LibreOffice. I'll demonstrate this technique on Ubuntu Budgie, but the operating system you use won't matter.

1. Open LibreOffice

To create a Share Service in LibreOffice, you must first open LibreOffice. 

Also: How to create a LibreOffice template

If you're on a platform (such as MacOS) that doesn't include launchers for the individual LibreOffice components, just open the LibreOffice Control Center (which is labeled, simply LibreOffice in your desktop menu). 

2. Open the Remote Files tool

In the Control Center, you should see a listing for Remote Files in the top left corner. Click that entry.

The upper left corner of the LibreOffice Control Center.

Accessing remote files from within the LibreOffice Control Center.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Create a new service

From the Remote Files window, click the Manage services dropdown and select Add service.

The LibreOffice Remote Files window.

You must first create a new service before you can work with a remote share.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Configure the new service

From the Type dropdown, select Windows Share, which will change the window to allow you to configure the share. The information you need to configure is as follows:

  • Host: The IP address or host name of the computer hosting the share
  • Share: The name of the share to be used
  • User: Your username on the remote machine
  • Password: The password for your remote user
  • Label: A name for the File Service
  • Root: The default directory (within the Share) you want to set

Once you've set the options, click OK to save the service.

The LibreOffice File Service configuration window.

Configuring a Windows Share file service in LibreOffice to access a specific share on your network.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

And that's all there is to it. Next time, when you open the LibreOffice Control Center, the remote file will be listed in the Recent Documents window, where you can open it and work on it. When you go to save the file, it'll save in the same location (the Windows Share). 

Also: For a better document collaboration experience, try these tips

Congratulations, you just made it possible to quickly access files on a network share from within LibreOffice.

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