Frequently asked questions - General

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Java Access Bridge set-up archival details (applicable for LibreOffice < 4.2.0 and earlier)

Upcoming builds of LibreOffice (> dev, >, > dev) have implemented support for Oracle Java SE 7, Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 1.7u45 with its imbedded Java Access Bridge (JAB) v2.0.3 (activated with a "jabswitch -enable" command). Or users preferring so may continue to use Java SE 6, and JRE 1.6u45, with an installation of JAB 2.0.2. -- 2013-07-24

LibreOffice release builds prior to 4.0.5 (i.e. 3.5.7, 3.6.7, 4.0.4) do not support Java SE 7 Java Accessibility API roles exposed to the JRE, and those versions still require use with a JRE 1.6 version and a JAB 2.0.2 installation.

LibreOffice 3.6.4 build restored AT tools support for Java Accessibility roles using JRE and JAB mappings of the UNO Accessibility API roles. Builds 3.6.0, 3.6.1, and 3.6.3 did not provide AT tools support. LibreOffice 3.5 builds through 3.5.7, 3.6.4 - 3.6.7, and now the 4.0.4 builds provide functional AT with a correctly configured Java 6 Runtime Environment and the Java Access Bridge, v2.0.2.}}

Oracle "Java Accessibility Bridge" and JRE configuration

Install (clean & reinstall) in this order:

  1. Java Runtime Environment (1.6u45, or 1.7u45)
  2. Java Access Bridge (install 2.0.2, or enable 2.0.3)
  3. LibreOffice ( 3.5.7 < or > 3.6.4 including > 4.1.0 )

Folks should understand that for the Windows OS builds, the Java Accessibility Bridge (JAB) foundation for LibreOffice Assistive Technology and Accessibility Tools is one of the primary components entirely dependent on a functional system wide JRE (a full list of Java dependencies is here).

Additionally for the Windows OSes, Java Access Bridge, LibreOffice AT, and Java components of LibreOffice on Windows require use of a 32-bit JRE to function. Calls to a 64-bit JRE will fail.

For Windows users either JRE 1.6u45 or JRE 1.7u45, Oracle's latest release of the respective branches, are completely functional with LibreOffice when properly configured. Note: JRE 1.7 builds > 6 now install Java Access Bridge version 2.0.3 by default, but it is disabled and must be enabled for use--with a "jabswitch -enable" command. Full instructions from Oracle here.

  • Both JRE will support Oracle's Java Accessibility Bridge and Assistive Technology and the Accessibility Tools in LibreOffice.
  • Both JRE have the latest Oracle security patches to allow the included browser plug-ins to be used safely.

Problems for LibreOffice use on Windows will occur when the JRE is not configured correctly. For LibreOffice users that have had a JRE 1.6 installation and have problems following a JRE 1.7 installation. Doing an "upgrade" installation to JRE 1.7 does not clear the JRE 1.6 per-user configuration that LibreOffice had been using. You must manually delete the javasettings_Windows_x86.xml file in each per-user C:\Users\<userName>\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\4\user\config folder.

Unfortunately, users of 64-bit Windows are also tripped up by the Oracle JRE installers (or Ninite installer packaging) and receive installations of both 32-bit and 64-bit JREs.

These Windows JRE installers finish an installation by copying program executables into the C:\Windows\System32 and C:\Windows\SysWOW64 folders. This causes problems for LibreOffice Java Access Bridge dependent users. Simply put, the wrong version of the JRE gets called.

There are two methods to correct the problem for a 64-bit Windows user:

  • install only a 32-bit JRE. Perform a manual "offline" installtion of just the 32-bit JRE. Found here for JRE 1.7u45 downloads. or here for JRE 1.6u45 downloads.
  • force use of a 32-bit JRE by removal of the copied executables from the Windows system folders, and making an entry to find the 32-bit JRE installation location on system PATH variable.
Convention says use a JAVA_HOME variable, but appending the full path to the JRE bin directory is just as effective, e.g. append ";C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre7\bin" to the PATH variable.

Sounds simplistic, but if you start with a correctly configured 32-bit JRE install, the JAB will install cleanly--for JRE 1.6u45 use the JWin installer by Jamal Mazrui for JAB v2.0.2; or enable the built-in JAB v2.0.3, now bundled and installed by default with JRE > 1.7.u6--but not enabled, as referenced by Oracle here.

Activating LibreOffice Assistive Technologies on Windows OSes There are 3 options to activate

  • If installing LibreOffice 3.5.7, activate Assistive Technology by launching LibreOffice and navigating to the Tools ▸ Options ▸ Advanced/Java options menus, and then also to the Tools ▸ Options ▸ Accessibility menu to make selections.
  • If installing the 3.6 release, LibreOffice 3.6.4 or newer, there is now a checkbox option on the installation panel to "Support assistive technology tools" during the installation--for ALL users on the Windows system. This checkbox will enable JRE support in LibreOffice while enabling assistive technologies. Note: when using this installation option, your must first have enabled the Java Access Bridge as above prior to the installation. And at completion of the installation you must logoff and then logon for the Windows user profile to be refreshed and support for accessibility features to be activated.
  • Finally, for any LibreOffice build, if just a single user requires activation of Assistive Technologies, the following text can be saved as a registry configuration batch file--.REG-- extension and run by each individual.
:Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

For additional details about LibreOffice Accessibility, see these links