LibreOffice General Error

Tarkisal used Ask the Experts™
I am desperately trying to make LibreOffice work in my environment as my users already use a base version of Office Online Apps (The package does not come with the full Office Client) which is 99% effective for them. However, there are certain cases when they require a program local to their computer which I was hoping LibreOffice would be good enough to use. In most cases it seems to work fine. However, sometimes when their main program (An EMR application) spits out an XML file but instead of opening in Libre Office I get the following error:

LibreOffice - General Error. General input/output error

It only happens with some reports for this application so I fear the problem is something specific to the applicaiton, and not LibreOffice. Still, I wanted to check to see if there was any setting anyone was aware of that I could make this work for me since, if there isn't, I'll probably have to bite the bullet and buy (or subscribe to) Microsoft Office.

I have included the error as a screen-shot. It's not much and if there's something specific about the reports the users are running that might be of assistance I can try to get that for you as well.

Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Can I suggest that you find a computer with an installed version of Microsoft Office and try to open one of the problematic XML files.  That would be your best test as to whether this is an issue with LibreOffice or whether there is a syntax error in the XML file that would stop it from opening in any office suite.  If it fails to open in MS Office, then it is more likely that the resultant error message will provide more details of the fault.


I tried as you suggested using a computer with Microsoft Office (2016) and the XML file opened without issue. That same file gives me the general error when opening it in LibreOffice.
I use LibreOffice, but cannot recall having this problem. here is the LibreOffice Help link forXML File Formats -

XML file structure
Documents in OpenDocument file format are stored as compressed zip archives that contain XML files. To view these XML files, you can open the OpenDocument file with an unzip program. The following files and directories are contained within the OpenDocument files:
The text content of the document is located in content.xml.
By default, content.xml is stored without formatting elements like indentation or line breaks to minimize the time for saving and opening the document. The use of indentations and line breaks can be activated in the Expert configuration by setting the property /org.openoffice.Office.Common/Save/Document PrettyPrinting to true.

The file meta.xml contains the meta information of the document, which you can enter under File - Properties.
If you save a document with a password, meta.xml will not be encrypted.

The file settings.xml contains further information about the settings for this document.

In styles.xml, you find the styles applied to the document that can be seen in the Styles and Formatting window.

The meta-inf/manifest.xml file describes the structure of the XML file.

Additional files and folders can be contained in the packed file format.
Ensure you’re charging the right price for your IT

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden using our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Start calculating Now!

XML files are able to open in "office" applications because they have "import converters" installed or available that act as style sheets that read and display them with proper tags and indents.

I only have an old Portable version of LibreOffice on a Flash Drive, but I can see a lot of *.XSL style sheet templates in the folder:

I do not have MS Office installed on the PC that I am using, but from memory there will be something like "XML2WORD.XSL" and a bunch of style sheets installed in other folders to handle various layouts of XML files.

A possible explanation of why the XML files open in MS Office but not in LibreOffice is that MS Office is more tolerant of syntax errors or extraneous data created outwith the XML tags by the program that generated the file, or that perhaps the style sheets were not installed as "optional extras" when LibreOffice was installed.


I greatly appreciate everyone's response on this. I will check about those optional issues. I'd hate to go back to Microsoft Office but it's starting to seem like fitting a round peg in a square hole and causing more problems than it's worth. This EMR is built to spit out XML directly for Excel so I can't ask them why it won't work because they'll simply tell me LibreOffice isn't supported. If I don't see anything involving optional extras I think I'll push towards moving back to Office.

Thanks again
Thank you Tarkisal.

Microsoft is famous for coming up with its own variations of standards.  It is likely that the XML files that are being generated have some microsoft-centric tags (probably near the start) that are not being recognised by LibreOffice, but that manual deletion of them in a text editor could well allow them to open in LibreOffice.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial