[Tutorial] The OpenOffice User Profile

Home made tutorials, by users, for users
Forum rules
No question in this forum please
For any question related to a topic, create a new thread in the relevant section.
User avatar
Hagar Delest
Posts: 30426
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: France

[Tutorial] The OpenOffice User Profile

Post by Hagar Delest »

Most of the information below also applies to LibreOffice and all the OpenOffice.org derivatives, you may have to adapt slightly the paths of this tutorial to the Libre/Neo/.../Office profile structure.

All the data user-related are stored in a dedicated folder, we call the user profile.
This folder contains several other folders and files used for all user-related data. NB: don't search for a folder called "Profile", this is only a name we give to the directory structure where are stored the configuration files linked to a single user.

Those folders are hidden by default, make sure your file explorer is configured to display the hidden files and folders. For Windows users, see this post. For MacOS, hidden directories are not a problem.

In the instructions below, <user name> is your operating system login name (your identification when you start a session on your computer). Don't look for a 'user name' folder.

Easy way: use the macro from the German forum!
(Tip provided by erbsenzahl)
File translated by DiGro (AUG-2021)
(15.13 KiB) Downloaded 650 times
For the record:
- Link to the topic
- Link to the file download
Note: file tested (on Windows 7 with a Portable version, it works), the macro can be trusted.
It is in German but rather easy to guess where to click.
Download the file, run it, enable the macro (security setting needs to be set to Medium in the AOO Options) and click the large button, click OK if you want the file explorer to be opened at the porfile location.

Manual method
For Windows users:
  • C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\OpenOffice\4\user
  • Hint: you can also copy and paste %appdata%\OpenOffice\4 in the address bar of the File Explorer, then press Enter to open the folder. See here for screenshots or this tutorial.
Windows Profile.png
For GNU/Linux users:
  • /home/<user name>/.openoffice/4/user
  • /home/<user name>/.config/libreoffice/4/user for LibreOffice (note the parent folder ~/.config also used by other applications)
GNU_Linux Profile.png
For Mac users:
  • For version 3.x.x: In Finder use Go (menu) → Go to Folder → ~/Library/Application Support/OpenOffice.org/3 → OK.
  • For version 4.x.x: In Finder use Go (menu) → Go to Folder → ~/Library/Application Support/OpenOffice/4 → OK.
  • It is probably best to copy the path in red from this tutorial and paste it into the Go to Folder dialog. That's a ~, not a -, before /Library. You must include the ~ in the 46 or 42 character folder name.
Steps for Mac
Steps for Mac
If you have comments, please post in the following topic: Comments about the user profile tutorial, the tutorial will be updated accordingly if needed.
Last edited by Hagar Delest on Sun Aug 29, 2021 10:01 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Reason: Updated MacOS instructions — MrProgrammer 2020-07-20
User avatar
Hagar Delest
Posts: 30426
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: France

Moving the user settings

Post by Hagar Delest »

That's rather easy, just copy the whole profile (\user\ ...) to the new machine. You can even do that between a Windows install and a GNU/Linux one.

Note that early versions of the 3.x branch ask during the install if you want to transfer your personal data, that is import your former 2.# version user configuration. Don't check that option! It can lead to issues afterwards, so better start from scratch and do that step by step (see below).

Beware that the /backup folder may contain a lot of files, it may be not worth copying (see the content explanation why).
User avatar
Hagar Delest
Posts: 30426
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: France

Resetting the user profile

Post by Hagar Delest »

A corruption of your profile can sometimes occur (an OS crash when using the application for example) or an incompatibility with a former version in case of upgrade. If you notice some strange behavior of the application or if it just crashes or doesn't start, the first thing to try is to reset the user profile. The below instructions apply to most of the OpenOffice.org derivatives (OpenOffice, LibreOffice...).

Note that reinstalling the software will be of no use at all. The uninstallation process does not remove the personal settings (like many other applications). This is to avoid losing your customization when you upgrade.
  • First close OpenOffice, including the Quickstarter (blue seagulls icon in system tray) if activated.
    NB: make sure that there is no soffice.bin process in the task manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc under Windows). Kill them if needed.
    MacOS does not use the Quickstarter and never creates an soffice.bin process, so all you need to do is OpenOffice → Quit. If OpenOffice does not terminate on your Mac, use  → Force Quit. You can ignore any instructions to use the Windows "task manager" if you have a Mac.
  • Open your file browser and, for Windows and Linux, display the hidden files and folders.
    • GNU/Linux: Ctrl+H (Nautilus, Thunar, PCMan FM, ...)
    • Mac: just open Finder
    • Windows: open Windows Explorer. Click Organize>Folder and Search Options or Tools>Folder Options (depending on Windows version). Click the View Tab and check the radio button Show hidden files, folders and drive. Click OK (screenshot in this post).
    • From Windows 7: click Start and type %appdata% in the Search box. Click "Roaming".
    • For Windows 10, see: [Tutorial] Profile reset on Windows 10 - with images
  • Rename the user folder (see here for its location) to user.old for example. This way, you still keep a backup of your configuration. On a Mac, after you have selected the user folder in Finder, press Enter to edit the name, type a new name like user.old, and press Enter again to make the change.
  • Restart OpenOffice, it will create a new profile (a new \user folder is created). If you have successfully created a new profile, you will see a "Welcome" dialog which will prompt you for your name and initials.
  • See if the issue has been fixed or not.
    • Not fixed. Then the user profile may not be involved and you can replace the new profile by the old one (delete the new and rename back the old one to \user).
    • Fixed. It means that one or few configuration files were damaged. But it doesn't mean that the whole profile is dead. If you've heavily customized OpenOffice, you can still try to retrieve some parts of your configuration: as you have kept a backup, copy the subfolders (one at a time), and restart OpenOffice to see if the issue is back or not. You can therefore spot from where the issue comes. Be extremely careful if you copy back the \config subfolder and registrymodifications.xcu as it is thought these may be the source of the problem.
  • Still not fixed: a dev seems to have recently found the root cause: close OpenOffice (including the Quickstarter) and in the user profile, go to the folder /user/extensions/bundled/. Rename the files extensions.pmap and extensions.db (if they do exist). Restart OpenOffice and see if there is any improvement.
Last edited by Hagar Delest on Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:13 am, edited 7 times in total.
Reason: Added MacOS notes — MrProgrammer 2020-07-20
User avatar
Hagar Delest
Posts: 30426
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: France

Profile content

Post by Hagar Delest »

The user profile has several sub-folders realated to dedicated items:
  • autocorr: table of replacement for Tools>AutoCorrect Options> Replace tab
  • autotext: your AutoText entries
  • backup: backup files if you've activated the feature in Tools>Options>Load/Save>General, Always create a backup copy. Each time you save manually a file, the previous version is saved here (overwriting the former one). So you have the version n-1, n being the current version saved.
  • basic: contains all the macros you've installed
  • config: some configuration files, especially toolbars for each module and the color palette (see Palettes and Smooth colors in OpenOffice)
  • crashdata [OOo 3.x]: self explanatory I guess
  • database: registered databases
  • extensions [OOo 3.x]: registered extensions
  • gallery: customized gallery (Tools>Gallery)
  • psprint: no longer used in 3.x
  • registry [OOo 2.x]: contains most of the configuration files that could be damaged, especially in /data/org/openoffice/Office subfolder (like recovery.xcu). Does not apply to 3.x, see below
  • Scripts: no idea
  • store: no idea
  • temp: no idea
  • template: where are stored your custom templates (File>Templates>Organize>My Templates).
  • uno_packages: where are stored the extensions installed for the user only (including the spell checking dictionaries)
  • wordbook: contains the standard.dic dictionary (delivered by default) and the custom dictionaries (see also the [Tutorial] Spell check and Language configuration)
With 3.x version, a new file has been introduced in the /user folder: registrymodifications.xcu. This file is the compilation of most of the content that was in the registry sub-folder, including the recovery information. In case you need to modify it, use a text editor that can parse XML.

It is a good idea to make backups of your whole profile (content of /user) from time to time so that you can retrieve your customization in case of crash. The content of the /backup folder may however be omitted.
User avatar
Hagar Delest
Posts: 30426
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: France

Changing the user profile location

Post by Hagar Delest »

If you want to change the profile location, you have to bootstrap OOo, see here : Bootstrapping the Configuration [dead link].

NB: following hints have not been tested yet for OOo 3.#.

Once OOo has been installed, close both OOo and the Quickstarter:
  • Open the bootstrap.ini file with a text editor. It's located in \Program Files\OpenOffice.org #.#\program.
  • Change the line
    • UserInstallation=$SYSUSERCONFIG/OpenOffice.org2
      UserInstallation=file:///d:/OOo2 (for example).
You can also use the argument -env:UserInstallation in the command line/shortcut.
For GNU/Linux (soffice -env:UserInstallation):
  • -env:UserInstallation=\$SYSUSERCONFIG/.Custom_folder (user sensitive)
  • -env:UserInstallation=file://home/A_place/.A_folder (for all users)
Or for Windows (soffice.exe -env:UserInstallation):
  • -env:UserInstallation=$USERNAME => A /<user> (Windows user login name) profile in the OOo installation folder/program folder.
  • -env:UserInstallation=file:///c:/OOo/$USERNAME => A single shortcut for everyone and all the profiles will be in C:\OOo\<user>, so each user has his own profile in a common parent folder !