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How To Remotely Edit Libre Office Documents On Linux

Libre Office is a really powerful tool with a lot of features. One of the most interesting features is its ability to remotely edit Libre office documents. Remote editing makes this office suite collaborative, and lets it compete with other collaborative office suites like Google Suite and Microsoft Office.

SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down and watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.

The remote access feature, despite sounding pretty simple actually is hard to get going for the average user. It is because of this, in this article, we’ll be going over all the ways users can remotely edit Libre Office documents. To follow this tutorial, you’ll need to have existing Libre Office documents (preferably in ODT format) on Google Drive, a Samba share, FTP server or SSH connection.

Google Drive

Allowing Libre Office users to use document files remotely via a Google cloud connection is brilliant, especially because not everyone has their own home server. To load a remote document from your Google account, follow these steps.

First, open up the Libre Office tool you’d like to use. Keep in mind that each one of the programs from the suite can read remote items, not just Writer. Once you’ve got the tool open, click the “File” menu. Inside the ” File” menu, click the “Open Remote File” option. The “Remote Files” option is an area of Libre Office where users need to specify all the connection details so that Libre Office loads everything correctly.

In this case, we’ll need to select the Google Drive option under “Add service”. Type out your Google username and password. Be sure to also select the option “Remember password” if you don’t want to re-enter this information later.

If the Google Drive connection to Libre Office is successful, you’ll see all the files in your Google Drive account. Go through it and look for any Libre Office compatible document files (ODT, PDF, DOCX, etc.) Using the file browser, double-click on a remote file and the Libre Office tool will load it directly from the internet.

From here, you’ll be able to edit and use Drive as a go-between for Libre Office. Want collaborative editing? Share a document via Google Drive with a friend and tell them to connect their account as well. They will be able to contribute to the document.

Samba/Windows Shares

If you have a home server, chances are, it’s using Samba. The reason for going with Samba makes sense, as it’s a universal file-sharing system and works very easily with Windows, Mac, and Linux. Making use of Samba for local network document sharing is quite easy with Libre Office. Here’s how to use it. First, click “File” and select “Open Remote File”.

Select “Add Services”, browse for “Windows Share”. In the host slot, erase the URL and write the IP address or hostname of the remote Samba file server. For example, to use my Ubuntu server with Libre Office, I’d write “ubuntu-server”.

Next, write the name of the share in Share. Not sure what the share is? Open up “Network” in your file manager, and look for the many Samba shares. For example, to get access to the files in the share called “Main” on my Ubuntu server, I’d write “main” in Share.

Under “User” fill out the username normally used to connect to the Samba connection. Don’t have a username? Leave it blank, and Libre Office should follow the “Guest only” procedure Samba has set up.

After connecting to the Samba/Windows share, you’ll be able to browse for any Libre Office compatible document files. Double-click on any of them to load it up.


Libre Office remote supports FTP. Though FTP is old, it has some use, especially if your server or PC isn’t good enough to host a Samba server. To connect over FTP, open up a Libre Office program, select “File” then “Open Remote File”, followed by “Add Service”. In the “Add Service” menu, select the FTP option.

Enter the IP address or host-name of the FTP server, followed by your FTP username and password. For the port, keep it to 21, as most FTP servers tend to stick to the default. If it refuses to connect, you may need to find out what alternate port the server is running on and enter it in the connection details menu.

If the FTP connection connects correctly, you’ll be able to use the file browser menu to open Libre Office document files remotely. For collaborative editing, tell others to connect to the same FTP server and edit the same document.


Connecting to other Linux machines over SSH is a great way to remotely access files without a server of any kind. If you’ve got a Libre Office document on one computer and you need to get access to it from another, this is a good option. To set it up, click “File”, then “Open Remote File”, and “Add Service”. Select “SSH” in the drop-down menu.

Note: you will need to setup SSH on the remote computer before it can accept a connection via Libre Office.

Fill out the hostname of the remote PC on your network (or internet). For example, to reach my laptop’s document files in Libre Office via SSH, I enter debian-laptop in the “Host” section, and derrik in the user section.

If SSH connects successfully to Libre Office, use the file browser to open remote documents.


  1. I have tried to connect LO 7.2 to GD on Ubuntu 20.04. The sign in requires 3 passwords. I know my Ubuntu p/w, obviously, and my Google p/w, but I don’t know what Googleapis is, and I don’t know what is meant by ‘Master password.’ Can you help?

  2. Hi:
    As an addendum to the previous question, I noticed that when I reboot the computer, the remote files access is lost and I have to re-establish the link following a reboot.

  3. Thank you for your helpful article.

    In the past I was able to mount samba shares, bookmark them via thunar or some other file manager, and then access the network files. If another user had already opened my file, a dialog box popped up offering to open the file ‘read only’. For some reason, that functionality has disappeared. Now, I get a message that ‘libreoffice has crashed due to an unexpected error’.

    Your solution seems to solve the problem, but I just wonder why I should need to take these steps and why the old way no longer works.
    John Marsh

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