Install LibreOffice Dictionaries Under Ubuntu


UPDATE: read this article if you’re using Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin)


Since the arrival of Natty Narwhal (11.04), LibreOffice LogoLibreOffice has become the default productivity suite under Ubuntu. Being a French speaking person, installing the French dictionary turns out be really useful. It may sound stupid, but it took me about an hour of googling before finally finding this page: LibreOffice – Ubuntu Wiki.

Installing the good package

It turns out the only thing you have to do is install the right package for every language you need. For example:

  • French: language-support-writing-fr
  • Spanish: language-support-writing-es
  • Italian: language-support-writing-it

Open Synaptic Package Manager, install the package of your choice, and you’re done!

Installing an OpenOffice extension

For some reason, you might want to install a dictionary as an OpenOffice extension (also works with LibreOffice). In this case, visit this page, and download the extensions (one extension per language) you need. Double click on each downloaded extension file (.oxt) and LibreOffice will do the rest. For most users, I suggest installing the package instead of the extension though.


  1. Josep

    Thank you it worked perfectly and I could install the french dictionary in two seconds

  2. freakyfractal

    Thanks for the tip. I managed to get it installed pretty easily after reading your post.

    Note: I think the packages are now named language-pack-* … I am on Ubuntu 11.10 and these were the packages that were installed when I added my language from the ‘Language Support’ in System Settings.

    Working smoothly …

  3. Matt

    Just found out that the package structure has been changed in Ubuntu 11.10. I couldn’t find a “visual manager” that helps installing the good packages. So after some reading, I found you need to install these for French (as an example):


    An excellent documentation on the subject can be found here:

  4. Jeff

    @Matt Thanks a lot! The reason my English (USA) spell checking wasn’t working was because I needed to install the myspell-en-us package. Now I can edit my resume with more confidence 🙂

  5. Andrew P.

    Some words of caution regarding LibreOffice – Ubuntu Wiki:

    I had LibreOffice 3.5.1 installed on Ubuntu and tried to install additional language support from the PPA per the instructions found on that wiki page. The language pack installer proceeded to uninstall my existing LibreOffice and downgraded it to 3.5.0. Moreover, where the original installation respected my GNOME theme, the replacement looked strictly GTK, with no relationship to the desktop theme other than the basic colors, and the Applications Menu was hosed. I ended up spending considerable time with Synaptic Package Manager weeding out all traces of LibreOffice from my system and starting over. However, instead of installing 3.5.x, I got the generic LibreOffice 3.4.5 packages from and installed those instead. Now, THAT didn’t even go well, as the local help utility didn’t “take”, and I had to uninstall LibreOffice 3.4.5 again, fiddle with the .debs and try again with a customized package. It turned out that the US-English DEBS directory contained a couple of unneeded language dictionaries (French, Spanish) that I deleted (libreoffice3.4-dict-es_3.4.5-502_i386.deb & libreoffice3.4-dict-fr_3.4.5-502_i386.deb), and by copying the Help .deb (libobasis3.4-en-us-help_3.4.5-502_i386.deb) into the main DEBS directory and installing it simultaneously with the suite using dpkg, the local help worked properly and didn’t start up the Web browser to access Help at the LibreOffice site. The README file in the installation archive also contains incorrect information, as it directs the user to “right-click” in the the file browser to open a terminal window in the directory. This doesn’t work by default in Nautilus, as an extension needs to be installed (“sudo apt-get install nautilus-open-terminal”) to implement this behavior.

    That said, I still want to install a couple of additional language writing aids for spell-checking, hyphenation and grammar, but from my experience yesterday, I’m a bit leery of doing so. I may have to set up another hard drive with Ubuntu 10.04 just to experiment before proceeding with my main installation, as an earlier attempt to remove and install LibreOffice last a few months ago left my Ubuntu Software Center damaged and non-functional, along with other crippling effects to the operating system. This is VERY BAD. I ended up buying another hard drive, installing Ubuntu from scratch and then rebuilding the system with all the customizations and tweaks I had before, a process that took around 48-72 hours with little time for food and rest. Based on what I’ve seen, LibreOffice isn’t ready for production environments, although it will probably eventually get there.

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