Recreate LibO’s “quickstart” in a KDE Plasma desktop (Linux)

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During the release cycle of version 6, LibreOffice eliminated for good the “quickstarter,” a small applet that sat on the desktop’s system tray, offering a menu with several options.

Originally, that small applet was created because, in the old OOo times, the application start was painfully slow, so it was though that a “partial start” during system load was a good idea. I mean, some big companies still do that… but I’m digressing.

One of the (many!) good things in LibO development is a general speed up in the application, specially during start-up, so the quickstarter lost its usefulness, right?

Well, maybe. Of course, loading the whole thing in memory even when not in use is a bad idea, but the quickstarted offered some small advantages like starting with the list of templates instead of the list of recent documents.

Today I’ll show to all Linux+Plasma users how to recover the “good bits” of the quickstarter. Surely the same can be done on other desktop environments… but I don’t use them.

First of all, a warning: all screenshots will be in Spanish as that’s the language of my desktop. That also mean that the instructions I provide could be named in a slightly different way on your desktop, so you need to carefully check the paths.

Now, we need to create a new folder that can be called “LibreOffice Fast.” Within that folder, with a right click → New → Link to Application we’ll get a menu to create a generic “desktop” file. With that file we can start to build our “custom quickstarter.” For example, writing in the Application tab the following instruction

libreoffice --writer %U

Writer will be started, while

libreoffice --draw %U

will start Draw.

NOTE 1: Yes, I know it’s possible to drag and drop the corresponding element from the application menu, but as we’ll see bellow it’s better to create a new link from scratch.

NOTE 2: If you’re interested in the meaning of the “%U” thing, check desktop file specification.

Up to here, quite easy, but how can we call the template manager?  Just by using

libreoffice .uno:NewDoc

And if we want the menu to open an existing file? We can use

libreoffice .uno:Open

This “.uno” instructions use LibO’s “API” language to perform different tasks and are part of the macro programming language, of which I know nothing about so, don’t ask me about them!

Now, on our Plasma desktop we need to unlock the graphical elements and add, to any panel, a “folder view” widget.

Now we only need to set that folderview widget to point to the “LibreOffice Fast” folder and there we’ll see all the application links we created… all of them showing the .desktop file extension, which is quite ugly. No problem! With a simple right click on each file we can change the file name, eliminating the file extension: our Plasma desktop will identify them without problems.

And here we find the reason to not use the menu access that come with LibO: it seems they are badly formatted and when you delete the file extension Plasma stops recognizing them as quick access files. The .desktop files created from Plasma do not have that problem and they just work with or without file extension:

Done!