LibreOffice Color Palette

Update 2015


The palette which I posted in 2012 (see below), was lacking in some respects. In terms of HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value), it either set Saturation to 100% and then stepped through Value, or set Value to 100% and stepped through Saturation. This meant that all the colors which had both Saturation and Value of less than 100% were left out. So, no colored-grays, no earth-tones, no darks, very limited pastels, etc.

To remedy this, and to fit the new LibreOffice 5 palette width of 12 blocks (instead of 8), I have put together a new palette. But before I explain more, here is a preview picture of it:


New LibreOffice Palette 2015


Download it here: standard.soc


The installation instructions are as already written below. I’m not 100% sure that the location for Ubuntu is still the same, as I’m stuck on Windows for the time being. Perhaps someone can confirm.


Since Color Palettes are an attempt to represent three dimensions (RGB, HSV, or CMY) in two dimensions, they are always challenging to create. That is why this palette uses a cascaded arrangement. I used HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) to determine the colors. Value is also sometimes referred to as Brightness. Hue is calculated from 0-360 degrees of color, from Red to Orange to Yellow, etc…and back to Red. Saturation and Value use 0-100% scales.

Color Increments

For the Color increments, going left to right, each block in a given row represents a Hue change of 30. So in 12 steps it goes through the following:

This means that there are fine increments of color between these Hue values that are not included. But every palette must make some compromises, since there are millions of possible colors from which to choose! I have tried to aim at a palette which represents the major hues and shades while still retaining a reasonable size, and also not introducing lots of colors, whose differences cannot be distinguished by the human eye.

Palette Arrangment

  1. This Palette starts with the grays. I decided to use 22 shades of gray, plus black and white, to cover two complete rows of the 12-block width of the palette. I also decided to have the grays to lighter to the right on the first row, then double-back and go lighter to the left on the second row. This puts black and white right by each other for easier access.
  2. The first level of colors (10 rows) uses a Value setting of 100 (max) throughout. Then as the rows go down, the Saturation decreases by 10 (100, 90, 80, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10). I didn’t go lower than 10 as it becomes difficult to distinguish the color change at such low Saturation (it is almost white).
  3. The second level of colors (10 rows) uses a Value setting of 80 throughout. As the rows go down, the Saturation decreases by 10 (100, 90, 80, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10). Again, I didn’t go lower than 10 as the colors become so close to gray as to be almost indistinguishable.
  4. The third level of colors (7 rows) uses a Value setting of 60 throughout. Then as the rows go down, the Saturation decreases by 15 (100, 85, 70, 55, 40, 25, 10). There are bigger increments in the derease of Saturation solely because it becomes more difficult to discern finer differences with the human eye. The less the Value (or Brightness), the more difficult it is to discern changes in the Saturation level.
  5. The fourth level of colors (5 rows) uses a Value setting of 40 throughout. Then as the rows go down, the Saturation decreases by 15 (100, 85, 70, 55, 40).
  6. The fifth, and last, level of colors (3 rows) uses a Value setting of 20 throughout. Then as the rows go down, the Saturation decreases by 30 (100, 70, 40).

Color Names

I tried to look up the Color Names for the various shades in the palette, but not all of them have names. So I roughly followed a few naming schemes, and added adjectives to fill in where necessary. The basic Color Names are given in the Color Increments section above. The descriptive adjectives to distinguish each shade were applied as follows:

Section 1 (10 rows)
Luminous Vivid (ColorName)
Vivid (ColorName)
Brilliant (ColorName)
Light Brilliant (ColorName)
Light (ColorName)
Very Light (ColorName)
Pale (ColorName)
Very Pale (ColorName)
Whitish (ColorName)
(ColorName)ish White

Section 2 (10 rows)
Strong (ColorName)
Semi Strong (ColorName)
Semi Brilliant (ColorName)
Moderate (ColorName)
Light Moderate (ColorName)
Very Light Moderate (ColorName)
Semi Light Grayish (ColorName)
Light Grayish (ColorName)
Pale Light Grayish (ColorName)
Light (ColorName)ish Gray

Section 3 (7 rows)
Medium (ColorName)
Semi Medium (ColorName)
Pale Medium (ColorName)
Light Pale Medium (ColorName)
Grayish Pale Medium (ColorName)
Pale Medium (ColorName)ish Gray
Light Medium (ColorName)ish Gray

Section 4 (5 rows)
Dark (ColorName)
Semi Dark (ColorName)
Moderate Dark (ColorName)
Dark Grayish (ColorName)
Dark (ColorName)ish Gray

Section 5 (3 rows)
Deep (ColorName)
Semi Deep (ColorName)
Grayish Deep (ColorName)

Older Palette 2012


Note: As of October 2015, this palette has been superseded by the one above.

Here’s a better Color Palette for LibreOffice (or OpenOffice).


I obtained the original from a thread on the OpenOffice Forum, and re-arranged the colors so the black/white/grays were at the top, and all the colors were grouped according to base color. It looks like this:


LibreOffice Color Palette


Click on the image (or here) to download the palette.


Rename the standard.soc that already exists to standard.soc.old, and copy the new one in.

Note: with LibreOffice 5, there is the ability to load palettes on-the-fly, so there is no need to rename the extension. If you want this one as default, rename the old one to “standard-old.soc” or something like that. If you just want to load this one on-the-fly, and not have it show up as default, give it a new name (ie. “new-palette.soc”), and copy it into the folder specified below:

Where to put it?

(for LibreOffice 3.4 or lower):

/home/[your user folder]/.libreoffice/3/user/config/

(for LibreOffice 3.5 or higher):

/home/[your user folder]/.config/libreoffice/3/user/config/

(for LibreOffice 4.0 or higher):

/home/[your user folder]/.config/libreoffice/4/user/config/

Windows XP
(for LibreOffice 3.x or lower):

C:\Documents and Settings\[your user folder]\Application Data\LibreOffice\3\user\config\

(for LibreOffice 4.x or higher):

C:\Documents and Settings\[your user folder]\Application Data\LibreOffice\4\user\config\

Windows 7 and higher
(for LibreOffice 3.x or lower):

C:\Users\[your user folder]\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\3\user\config\

(for LibreOffice 4.x or higher):

C:\Users\[your user folder]\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\4\user\config\

A Palette from Meaningful Color Names


Another user, Shannon Matthews (see comments below), created a palette with “meaningful color names”. He writes:

I just created another color palette for office. The names are based on a color chart from The list has meaningful color names. I’ve pulled the names of the colors from Pastels, Grays, the Works!


I’ve posted the palette here. It is much more extensive, but to my mind, has many colors that are almost the same, so it could be shortened somewhat. Here it is, if anyone wants to use it or work on it further:

Meaningful Color Names


Click here to download it. To install it, rename the file to standard.soc and copy it as per the instructions above.

You can email him by clicking here.

16 responses to “LibreOffice Color Palette”
  1. Luckily someone has done the hard job. I found a beautiful color palette from Finally I can has more caluurz!

  2. Ian says:

    Brilliant – thanks for this excellent pallette. The default colours are terrible compared to MS office or Google docs. However I prefer this pallette over both what MS and Google offer. It would be so much better to have this pallette as the default.

    • practic says:

      Yes, I use it regularly as well. The only thing I miss are the pastel colors. I’d like to add some of those in, then it would be perfect!

      • Shannon Matthews says:

        I just created another color palette for office. The names are based on a color chart from The list has meaningful color names. I’ve pulled the names of the colors from Pastels, Greys, the Works! You will have to use the other one above to do the pure whites, black and greys.

  3. Thanks! I had been pasting in the X11 colors sorted by luminosity, but your HSL order makes even more sense.

  4. LO user says:

    Very thanks! I consider the default palette as a bug, your palette is much much better 😀

  5. Dita says:

    I can’t thank you enough for this. I hope the devs incorporate this into v4; can’t think of anyone who’d prefer the present illogically-ordered color palette.

  6. Mark says:

    Many thanks for your work and skillz and for taking the trouble to post this here. I just had occasion to use a large number of different background colors in a spreadsheet and the default palette in LO 4.1 is still the same illogical mess. This one is MUCH better.

  7. Susan says:

    I love using this palette and have been doing so for months, however the bottom 5 rows don’t display. I can select a bottom row color somewhat blindly by using the arrow key to move down and across past what is visible on my screen, but the scroll bar stops at the last row of dark magenta and will not show me the reds or pinks. Would love to know how to fix this issue!

    • practic says:

      I’ve never seen such behavior, neither in Linux or Windows. Perhaps your color palette file has some corruption near the end? Try downloading a new copy and replace the one you are currently using.

    • Susan says:

      I figured out the problem — I use the Window’s display option to increase the size of everything to 125%. With this setting everything else in LibreOffice looks and functions just fine, all the other toolbars menus display great except the color palette. As soon as I switched to the default display setting (100%) I was able to see the entire color palette but it’s very hard for me to use my computer with everything so small, I end up with eye strain.

      • practic says:

        I was wondering if it wasn’t a scaling problem under Windows, although you didn’t initially state what OS you were using.

        I understand the problems with scaling. I use both Kubuntu (Linux) and Windows 7, and the scaling is handled much better in Linux. Initially I set my Windows 7 desktop to 125%, but recently the Firefox browser uses this setting to scale web pages, which is really annoying! So I dropped it back to 100%, and I also agree with you that everything is too small at this setting.

        What I did then was to increase the sizes of the Fonts. In Windows 7, this is in:

        Control Panel->Personalization

        or Right-click Desktop, then Personalize,


        Window Color->Window Color and Appearance->Advanced Appearance Settings.

        This brings up an old dialog from Windows XP days, wherein you can individually adjust the Font Sizes for each element. It still doesn’t change some of the System font settings in Explorer, but it does make them tolerable. I usually go for 11 point size on most items, and 10 point on Palette Title, and Tooltip.

        If you have Windows 8, the Font Size settings are a bit easier to find:

        Right-click on Desktop, choose Personalize, then click Display in the lower left corner of that dialog. There’s an option at the bottom called “Change only the Text Size”. There you can bump up the sizes of the individual elements.

        You might want to try that and see if it stops the problem in LibreOffice, but still makes the fonts big enough to be readable.

      • practic says:

        One other thing you could try. Instead of using the drop-down box in the toolbar, try editing the properties for the element you are trying to change. So for text, select it, right-click, choose Character, and you can change the color in the Font Effects tab. Perhaps all colors show up there.

        For other elements, such as boxes, lines, etc, color settings can be found in the Area properties, or Line settings. You can also change the color of an entire Style, if you have the Style dialog open (press F11 to see it). Right-click the Style for the element you are on, choose “Modify”, then change the color in Font Effects, Background, or Borders…whichever you are trying to change.

  8. shannon matthews says:

    ack! My color list file is long! I think I might need really to edit my chart. How many steps should it be and what colors should go. I have to buy a new keyboard but let me know, How is the color soc file working out?

  9. shannon matthews says: Check it out! It has a lot of colors and in different table styles!

  10. Pawel says:

    Thanks a lot! The colour system in Libre Office is a disaster, but this palette is WAY better than the default. If I can’t edit colours directly (without having to predefine them), at least the palette should be usable (the default one is hopeless). Very much appreciated!

Leave a Reply