LibreOffice – Scripting Your Editor

I think using a spreadsheet document for Sudoku and Kakuro puzzles is great because those documents contain cells where you can place your content: numeric value and text. As you probably know, Kakuro puzzles have squares split by diagonal lines into triangles.

A kakuro puzzle copied to a spreadsheet document

The cells split into triangles are not provided by the office suite and should be crated by the user. The best way to create them is by a macro. The macro can be written in any language that accesses UNO(Universal Network Objects) components. For example: Javascript, Java, BeanShell, Python and Basic.
To learn how to write a HelloWorld script in each language, click here.

Files And Directories

A macro needs an entry point. If your macro is written in Java, it mus have a function with a parameter of type ‘XScriptContext’. The path to function name should be found in a file named ‘parcel-descriptor.xml’. The path includes the package name, the class name, and the function name in the format ‘<pacckage-name>.<class-name>.<function-name>, for example:


The parcel-descriptor should also contain the location of the jar file (a zipped directory containing Java classes).

The parcel descriptor is located in ‘<path>/Scripts/java/<Script Dir>/’.

Path may be one of

  • a user path, such as’ ${HOME}/.config/libreoffice/3/user/’ – for a specific user.
  • a LibreOffice path, such as ‘/usr/lib/libreoffice/share/’         – for all LibreOffice users


The function ‘printHW’ is in the class ‘HelloWorld’ in package hello. The package is stored in “${HOME}/.config/libreoffice/3/user/Scripts/java/HelloWorld1/HelloWorld1.jar”

The file “${HOME}/.config/libreoffice/3/user/Scripts/java/HelloWorld1/parcel-descriptor.xml” will look like:

<parcel language=”Java”>

   <script language=”Java”>

      <locale lang=”en”>

         <displayname value=”HelloWorld1″/>

         <description>Prints “Hello World”.</description>


     <functionname value=”hello.HelloWorld.printHW“/>

     <logicalname value=”HelloWorld.printHW“/>


        <prop name=”classpath” value=”HelloWorld1.jar“/>




Library Files for the Class Path

Your macro will access classes found in JAR files. Some of the jar files can be found in the Java directory (In my Ubuntu 12.04, it is ‘/usr/share/java’) and some in the ‘libreoffice/program/classes’ (‘/usr/lib/libreoffice/program/classes’).

The files are:

  • ridl.jar – in ‘/usr/share/java’
  • unoil.jar – in (‘/usr/lib/libreoffice/program/classes’
  • unoloader.jar – in ‘/usr/share/java’
  • jurt.jar – in ‘/usr/share/java’
  • juh.jar – in ‘/usr/share/java’

Data Types

There are 4 kinds of data types in UNO:

  • Simple and primitive data types, with equivalents in Java, described here.
  • Structures – objects with public attributes, described here
  • Interfaces containing the functions to be used by the programmer, described here.
  • Services which are everything the module (Draw, Writer, etc) provides to the user, a Spreadsheet cell, for example.

The service implements interfaces and other services. To access the service function, get the relevant interface using  ‘UnoRuntime.queryInterface(InterfaceClass, object)’.

To instantiate (or create a Java object from) a service, use the function ‘createInstance’ of the MultiServiceFactory or MultiComponentFactory.

The next post will describe an example macro in java, The Kakuro Cell macro.


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