LibreOffice Impress remote control via Android


Updated: August 19, 2013

When I wrote my LibreOffice 4 review, I mentioned an Android port. Well, I was a little bit mistaken, because an official release is still well off. However, there's one cool thing that the latest version of this office suite brings, and that's remote control from Android devices.

However, before we dig into the tutorial, I want to divert your focus to a lame joke, a play of words that just popped into my mind. I wrote an official release of an office suite, right? But what if it were a home suite, would the official version then become homing. Oh, how droll. Now, tutorial, yes, follow me. It's a bit tricky, but we will manage.

Teaser

Ingredients

You will need a portable device, like a laptop, that can be controlled either via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. You will also need an Android device, running Gingerbread, version 2.3 at least. Now, we can move on. Next, Install LibreOffice Impress Remote from the Google Play store.

Laptop setup

The Impress Remote application is fairly new, and is considered somewhat buggy. Hence, you will need to do some extra preparation work before you can make these things behave as they ought to. As I have mentioned earlier, Impress can be controlled either by pairing your devices via Bluetooth or over a Wireless network. For Bluetooth setup, you have my very extensive tutorial explaining how to achieve this.

Moreover, you need to tick two options in the LibreOffice Impress settings to make the program be able to communicate via network and be remotely controlled. In the Options menu, go to LibreOffice Impress > General, and checkmark Enable remote control box.

Enable remote control

Then, under LibreOffice > Advanced, check Enable experimental features. This will allow you to use Wi-Fi connectivity. Please restart the program now. This ought not to be necessary, but due to inherent first-release bugginess, you should.

Enable experimental features

You might as well create some content now, some nice little presentation. At this stage, you should have your device paired via Bluetooth, you should have the options marked in the menus, and both your laptop and the Android phone should belong to the same Wireless network.

Android phone setup

After you have downloaded the application and paired via Bluetooth with your laptop, do open the program. Do note that it will automatically scan the Bluetooth channel only, but not the Wi-Fi, because it is not enabled by default. Press the vertical three-dot symbol in the right bottom screen to access the options menu. The little popup will appear grayed out, and may confuse you, but access it, no worries. Then, in the next screen, check the box that reads Enable wireless. At this stage, you might actually want to exit the app and relaunch it, again because of the inherent bugginess. In future versions, the the features should all allow seamless usage.

Impress Remote app Options

Impress Remote is rather buggy. It crashed a few times trying to connect to the laptop using the Bluetooth, and it would not recognize the laptop via Wi-Fi. Not the best beginning, but after a few hiccups, a-la starting an old diesel truck in a snow blizzard, you will get there. Hopefully. If you do see a screen where it says, a presentation not running, then you're on the right track.

Connecting via BT Presentation not running

Control, use and enjoy

And now you can begin controlling your presentation using the Android device. Go back, forward, display tiles, blank the screen, all the usual stuff that you would expect from a remote control. Once running, the Impress Control app did its job well.

Works 1 Works 2

Thumbnails Blank screen

Conclusion

Apart from the obvious emotional sacrifice that I invested in making this little guide, as I find the inefficiency of touch devices fairly maddening, you get a neat trick for making your LibreOffice Impress behave more like a proper, professional program. True, it's still somewhat buggy, and more polish is needed, but it does what is expected of it.

This tutorial also teaches you the basics of Bluetooth connectivity, some extra hidden options in LibreOffice, working with devices of different kinds and types and whatnot. All in all, not a great waste of an early afternoon, for me, that is. I hope you like it. See ya.

Cheers.

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