Apache OpenOffice Portable Support

Many of the most common issues that arise when using Apache OpenOffice 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 Apache OpenOffice Portable Support Forum.

<< Return to Apache OpenOffice Portable

Apache OpenOffice Portable-Specific Issues

General Apache OpenOffice Issues

Installing Apache OpenOffice Portable

To install Apache OpenOffice Portable, just download the portable package at the top of the Apache OpenOffice 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, Apache OpenOffice 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 Apache OpenOffice Portable

To start up Apache OpenOffice Portable, just double-click OpenOfficePortable.exe file where you installed Apache OpenOffice Portable on your portable drive. Then, use it just like you would a local copy of Apache OpenOffice. 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 Apache OpenOffice 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 Apache OpenOffice 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 Apache OpenOffice Portable. Keep in mind that every installed extension could leave stuff on the host machine!

Using Java With Apache OpenOffice Portable

Apache OpenOffice 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 Apache OpenOffice Portable installed to X:\PortableApps\OpenOfficePortable
  • ...\OpenOfficePortable\App\Java

The easiest way to get Java on your portable device is to install jPortable from the Portable App Directory.

Upgrading Apache OpenOffice Portable

General Upgrades: To upgrade to a newer version of Apache OpenOffice Portable, just download a new copy and install it right over your existing copy.

PortableApp.com Platform Upgrades: Just use the built in app updater to automatically update.

Copying Your Local Apache OpenOffice Settings to Apache OpenOffice Portable

If you're using a local copy of Apache OpenOffice, you may wish to just copy your local settings right into Apache OpenOffice Portable. Your local Apache OpenOffice settings are usually installed in C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\Apache OpenOffice2\ 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 Apache OpenOffice Portable even easier:

  • Starting Writer, Calc, etc Directly - In addition to the included mini-launchers, you can also start the Apache OpenOffice 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 (Apache OpenOffice Portable Live)

Note that this feature is not currently tested or supported

Apache OpenOffice Portable supports running from a CD. Start off by downloading and installing Apache OpenOffice 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 Apache OpenOffice to run from a CD. Then, burn the whole OpenOfficePortable directory to a CD and you're ready to go.

Known Issues

The following are known issues with this package:

  • Long Paths and Odd Characters - Apache OpenOffice 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. Apache OpenOffice 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.


We made some modifications to the default version of Apache OpenOffice 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 - Apache OpenOffice Portable Launcher is included allowing you to launch Apache OpenOffice 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 Apache OpenOffice 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.
  • 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