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OpenOffice.org Portable Support

Many of the most common issues that arise when using OpenOffice.org Portable are addressed here. Please read through the various topics to see if any of them address your question. You can also post a note to the OpenOffice.org Portable Support Forum.

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OpenOffice.org Portable-Specific Issues

General OpenOffice.org Issues

Installing OpenOffice.org Portable

To install OpenOffice.org Portable, just download the portable package at the top of the OpenOffice.org Portable page and then double-click it. Select the location you wish to install to and click OK. An OpenOfficePortable directory will be created there and all the necessary files installed. That's all there is to it..

Can You Pick Which Apps Are Installed?

Unlike, say, Microsoft Office, which is actually multiple programs that are loosely interconnected, OpenOffice.org is actually one big application with multiple functions. So, even if you were to only install Writer and Calc, it would only save you a grand total of about 9MB. And it would be one more full distribution to maintain... the largest one, that takes an hour to upload every release.

Using OpenOffice.org Portable

To start up OpenOffice.org Portable, just double-click OpenOfficePortable.exe file where you installed OpenOffice.org Portable on your portable drive. Then, use it just like you would a local copy of OpenOffice.org. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Stay Safe - When using portable apps, it's always a good idea to practice Safe Portable App-ing.
  • Removing Your Drive - When you're done, exit OpenOffice.org and then wait for the activity light on your removable drive to stop flashing. Then select the 'Safely remove [device]' option from the icon in the system tray. If you remove the drive while it is writing, you may lose data.

Install extensions

If You want to use extensions with OpenOffice.org Portable You have to install them with the option 'only for me' and never with 'for all users'. This is the only way to take care that Your extension and the settings are stored in the Data/settings folder and will be still available after updating OpenOffice.org Portable. Keep in mind that every installed extension could leave stuff on the host machine!

Using Java With OpenOffice.org Portable

OpenOffice.org Portable up to version 2.4.1 has built-in support for using Sun Java from a portable device, allowing you to use wizards and database functionality that require it. Java must be copied from a local install of Sun Java 1.5 or higher into one of two locations:

  • X:\PortableApps\CommonFiles\Java (RECOMMENDED)*
    * with OpenOffice.org Portable installed to X:\PortableApps\OpenOfficePortable
  • ...\OpenOfficePortable\App\Java

The easiest way to get Java on your portable device is to first install Sun Java locally. And then use Java Portablizer 1.1 to automatically copy Java into your copy of the PortableApps.com Suite and configure it for use with OpenOffice.org Portable.

Upgrading OpenOffice.org Portable

General Upgrades: To upgrade to a newer version of OpenOffice.org Portable, just download a new copy and unzip it to your portable drive. You can delete your old copy. If you've saved any preferences or other macros, be sure to copy your PortableOpenOffice\settings directory from the old copy to the OpenOfficePortable\Data\settings directory in the new one.

Portable Apps Suite Upgrades: A new version of the suite that contains this new OpenOffice.org Portable version is coming in the next week.

Copying Your Local OpenOffice.org Settings to OpenOffice.org Portable

If you're using a local copy of OpenOffice.org, you may wish to just copy your local settings right into OpenOffice.org Portable. Your local OpenOffice.org settings are usually installed in C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\OpenOffice.org2\ Just copy everything in that directory to the OpenOfficePortable\Data\settings\ directory and you're all set.

Additional Options

There are a few additional options that can make using OpenOffice.org Portable even easier:

  • Starting Writer, Calc, etc Directly - In addition to the included mini-launchers, you can also start the OpenOffice.org Portable applications directly by passing a commandline parameter. You can pass this directly to OpenOfficePortable.exe (which is useful when using PStart and other menus), or use a custom INI file (explained in the readme file in the Other\OpenOfficePortableSource directory). The options to start the apps are: -base -calc -draw -impress -math -writer. Just pass one of those and the app will start right up.

Running from CD (OpenOffice.org Portable Live)

OpenOffice.org Portable supports running from a CD. Start off by downloading and installing OpenOffice.org Portable to your hard drive... it doesn't matter where. Run it at least once to generate the default settings. Then, customize it as needed, being sure not to move OpenOfficePortable.exe or any of the other critical files. Next, download OpenOfficePortable.ini and save it to the same directory as OpenOfficePortable.exe. Run OpenOfficePortable.exe again to allow it to configure OpenOffice.org to run from a CD. Then, burn the whole OpenOfficePortable directory to a CD and you're ready to go.

Using OpenOffice.org on Windows 9x/Me

OpenOffice.org up to version 3.x will no longer work with Windows 9x/ME, the last working version for these systems is 2.4.2. OpenOffice.org, by default, is not compatible with Windows 95. Version 2.0.3 can be patched to work on Windows 95 with relative ease, though. Just download the Windows 95 Patch for OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 as a self-installer or zip file and extract it to your OpenOfficePortable\app\openoffice directory. You can also use it with a local install of OpenOffice.org. Just extract it to your C:\Program Files\OpenOffice.org 2.0\ directory. It will ask to replace the sal3.dll file, answer yes. Note that this will only work with the US English release. This patch is not supported by OpenOffice.org or PortableApps.com.

Known Issues

The following are known issues with this package:

  • Trojan/Virus detected - AntiVir and Avast, on more than one occasion, have claimed there is a trojan or virus in the launcher. This is due to poor trojan detection in both products that will occasionally mis-identify many NSIS-based applications as trojans. It will usually occur after a definitions update. You should contact your antivitus provider and let them know of their mistake.
  • Long Paths and Odd Characters - OpenOffice.org doesn't like running from overly long paths. So, while it will work directly from your desktop... if you have it within a subdirectoy on your desktop, it will probably fail claiming that some files are corrupted. OpenOffice.org also doesn't like certain characters like dollar signs in the path. This is why it's best to have the OpenOfficePortable directory in the root of your drive, or within a PortableApps directory in the root of your drive. The launcher attempts to check this for you and will let you know.
  • Missing fonts in 3.2.0. The font management of OpenOffice.org seems to be changed again. Please move the folder fonts from openoffice/share to openoffice/Basis/share.This should fix the issues.


We made some modifications to the default version of OpenOffice.org to make it more USB key friendly (decreasing total install size and the number of writes to the drive, which will increase drive life). These changes are listed here so you'll know what they are, and so you can recreate the process, if so desired.

  • Friendly Launcher - OpenOffice.org Portable Launcher is included allowing you to launch OpenOffice.org Portable from anywhere you'd like. It automatically handles paths to Java, your documents directory and an included temp directory
  • Installed Options - The pieces of OpenOffice.org included are those that are of use when run portably. Thus, elements like the Explorer extension, ActiveX control, Online update etc are left out to save space
  • Mini Launchers - Launchers for each OO.o app are also included.
  • EXEs and DLLs Compressed - All EXEs and DLLs were recompressed using UPX. This gets our installed size down to one that is a bit more manageable. Additionally, it will speed up use of OpenOffice.org when you're running over USB 1.1. The options used were: --best --compress-icons=0 --nrv2e --crp-ms=999999 -k
  • JARs re-compressed - The JAR files in (without the classes folder) have been recompressed at the maximum level using 7-zip, getting our package size down. (For the curious, JAR files are just ZIP files with a different extension)
  • Additional Icons: By default, OpenOffice.org Portable includes the Galaxy icon set. Add the Classic, Crystal, High-Contrast, Industrial and Tango icon sets by installing the OpenOffice.org Portable 3.0 Image Pack.
  • The portable version comes with its own MSVCRT runtime in order to work on systems without local installed rumtime too

Version History

  • 3.0 - December 18, 2008
    • Updated to OO.o 3.0
    • New PortableApps.com Installer
  • 2.4.1 - July 6, 2008
    • Updated to OO.o 2.4.1
    • New PortableApps.com Installer, first release in en, de, fr, it, ja and zh-cn
  • 3 Beta 1 - May 28, 2008
    • First test release for OO.o 3 Beta 2
  • 2.2.1 - July 5, 2007
    • Updated to OO.o 2.2.1
    • Added Java Support
    • PortableApps.com Installer for better upgrades and installs
  • 2.0.3 - September 6, 2006
    • Updated to OO.o 2.0.3
    • Added support for unicode commandline options (like file names)
    • Added Windows 95 support via a patch
    • Added Java Runtime Environment support
    • Added CD (aka Live) support
  • 2.0.2 - April 7, 2006
    • Updated to OO.o 2.0.2
    • Full support for Windows 2000
  • 2.0.1 - January 3, 2006
    • Updated to OO.o 2.0.1
    • Full support for Windows 2000
    • Portable settings support in Windows 98/Me
    • Mini-launchers for each OO.o app (Writer, Calc, etc)
  • 2.0 Beta 3 Release - November 13, 2005
    • Added in default options to fix Windows 2000 issue in certain installations
  • 2.0 Beta 2 Release - November 2, 2005
    • Added default option set to prevent Windows 2000 crash
  • 2.0 Beta Release - October 21, 2005
    • Updated to OpenOffce.org 2.0 Final
    • Updated launcher to 1.1.2 release
  • 1.1.5 Release - October 20, 2005
    • Updated to OpenOffce.org 1.1.5
    • Updated launcher to 1.1.1 release
  • 2.0 Alpha Release (1.9.122) - August 27, 2005
    • Updated to OpenOffce.org 2.0 Beta m122
    • Updated launcher to 1.0.9 release
  • Launcher 1.0.9 - July 29, 2005
    • Bug fix to correctly work from root with PortableApps\PortableOpenOffice directories
  • 2.0 Alpha Release (1.9.104) - May 21, 2005
    • Initial test release of OpenOffce.org 2.0 Beta
    • Based on version 1.9.104
    • Compressed using UPX 1.93 Beta (UPX 1.25-stable will not compress OpenOffic.orge 2.0)
  • 1.1.4 Release Candidate - May 21, 2005
    • Updated OpenOffice.org Portable Launcher
      • Improved file locations support
      • Added default locations
    • Applied OO.o 1.1.4 security patch
  • 1.1.4 Beta - January 24, 2005
    • Updated to OpenOffice.org 1.1.4
    • Initial beta release
  • 1.1.3 Internal Alpha - December 21, 2004
    • Initial internal alpha release
    • Custom launcher
    • EXEs, DLLs and JARs compressed