OpenOffice 3 British English Thesaurus

Posted on March 30th, 2009 by whinger. Filed under Tech.

I’ve been persuading friends and family that using OpenOffice is going to save the planet and all the fluffly ikkle animals and everything.

I’ve been using the Novell-sponsored go-oo version (from because it seems to have better compatibility with the MS stuff as well as being quicker and generally more fluffy-ikkle-animal-friendly; however it looks like something they’ve done has caused the British English thesaurus to break. I’m assuming it’s Go-oo’s fault because the standard OO install on Harry’s machine (on the next desk) is fine.

Anyway, after some hours of searching the web for a solution (all of which seemed to be based around editing a file which no longer exists in oo3) for now I’ve packaged up my own extension based on the stock en-gb dictionary and PaulH’s thesaurus from

Apparently this could also be useful if you don’t like the fact that the British English thesaurus in ooo actually points at the en_US version anyway…

So here it is. Just install it and restart OO, that should do it. Let me know if it’s broken.

Edit: to install (assuming that just opening the file doesn’t work) go to Tools->Extension Manager in OpenOffice, click “Add” and navigate to wherever you saved the file!

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61 Responses to “OpenOffice 3 British English Thesaurus”

  1. joe Kisolo Says:

    Thanks for this, it was really bugging me!

  2. Fat Pop Do Wop Says:

    Thanks for that. My upgrade to Ubuntu 9.04 was flawless apart from that thesaurus/dictionary problem. Your extension sorted it out very easily, better in fact than the suggested fixes on the Ubuntu forum.

    It might be worth mentioning that your file is an extension for OOo – newer users may not know how to install it as your article doesn’t mention this explicitly.

    Thanks again man.

  3. whinger Says:

    Thanks for the feedback – nice to know it does the trick.

    I hadn’t mentioned how to install the oxt because for me at least under Windows OpenOffice is the default handler for .oxt files. Will add a comment to explain.

  4. cc_humbry Says:

    Fantastic – I never reply to blogs etc. but this was really p1ssing me off.
    Sorted thanks, but why oh why isn’t this installed by default?
    Anyway, thanks again

  5. krivine Says:

    Thank you!

  6. Kingfisher Says:

    Brilliant How did you do that? Its just what I was looking for – Your a star

    Why haven’t OOo done it though? (rhetorical question)

  7. Al F Says:

    Thank you, absolutely what I was looking for. I have to repeat the question above, why is this not installed by default, or at least on the extensions site of OOo?

    How to put it there?

  8. Mortecouille Says:

    Thanks a lot for this !

    Kind of weird that default thesaurus and hyphenation dictionaries won’t work.

  9. Carlos Says:

    Thank you very much! Easy and very practical.

  10. BigJules Says:

    Now why the *#!! didn’t I come across this before I wasted them hours? Sometimes the ways of the penguin are totally inscrutable

    Thanks a million, whinger – worked instantly.

  11. imolgen Says:

    Thank you so, so, so much for this. It worked perfectly and instantly for me. I also use the go-oo build. This is something that has bugged me for ages (one of only two disadvantages that I’ve come across compared to MS Office, the other being the lack of a multiple-entry clipboard) so thank you. Why don’t you add it to the official extensions page on the open office site?

  12. whinger Says:

    I didn’t think to add it to the extensions list cos I figured there must have been a reason why they didn’t want it in the first place, plus initially I thought it was only a go-oo issue – didn’t think the ooo guys would take too kindly to me uploading it, especially since they’d obviously taken a decision to go with the US thesaurus / UK dictionary for v3.

    I’ll take a squizz and see if I can find out why they did that, and (assuming there wasn’t some big row about it) I’ll try uploading it, assuming I can figure out how :-)

  13. darwinev0lved Says:

    Bit late to the party, but a big thankyou as the lack of a proper en-gb version was driving me absolutely crackers.
    I think you should add it to the official list – your thinking that there must be a good reason for it not being there is the fallacy of competence :)

  14. JohnSmith Says:

    Just wanted to say many thanks, much better than renaming the US thesaurus as most other posts suggest! Cheers 😀

  15. peterthevicar Says:

    Hi whinger, just to say thank you for putting this together and sharing it. That’s what makes FOSS great!

  16. Rollo Says:

    Thanks, appreciated! Of course, this should really be on the relevant OOo page, or better still accessible from within the application. Oh well. Thanks again.

  17. Martin Webster Says:

    Brilliant! Thank you, your instructions couldn’t be simpler. Saved me lots of time.

  18. OpenOffice3 British English Thesaurus « Martin Webster Says:

    […] to The Weekly Whinge I now have a British English thesaurus working with OpenOffice 3 on Ubuntu 9.10. Whinger created an […]

  19. Ray Says:

    This is brilliant! I have been searching and searching for a cure to the lack of a GB thesaurus with OO. Thank goodness I found this blog!

  20. Chris Says:

    Thank you, this is just what I was looking for! Such a simple fix you have created.

  21. Harry Says:

    Thank you for this simple fix. The non working thesaurus is the sort of thing you only discover when you actually need it. Your a star!

  22. pietro Says:

    Wow, thank you.. just spent two hours trying to sort this one out and your fix did it in seconds.

    You should definitely publish this on Linux/Ubuntu forums as many many people are having problems with GB thesaurus missing straight out of the installation box. I have noticed that the problems arose with each and every installation of that OS (and Linux Mint too).

    Thank you again.

  23. Billy Says:

    Thanks. Makes life a little more easy! Now all I want is Nederlands fur the World Cup

  24. dkpw Says:

    Great fix, thanks for your efforts. Writer is now useful.

  25. Jason Says:

    Worked for me, many thanks for sorting this, cheers

  26. amoun Says:

    Yeap sorted. Thanks very much :)
    EEEPC Hardy : Open Office 3.1

  27. Oron Says:

    Thank you! I installed Go-OO recently and the lack of support for UK English was really annoying me! Your dictionary rocks!

  28. Peter Says:

    Many thanks for this, I have been using it for some time in openoffice 3.x so how about submitting it to the Open Document Foundation for use in LibreOffice?

  29. Mat Says:

    Thanks so much for this!

    I can’t believe it is still not fixed in the latest version! (30/04/2011)

  30. murt Says:

    Thanks a lot. This will fix missing thesaurus for LibreOffice Writer 3.3.2

  31. Helen Bredson Says:

    Thesaurus and dictionary are really useful tools, I sometimes use them in different cases.
    By the way, I also use few online tools, for example english thesaurus.

  32. Eugene Ranjo Says:

    Thanks for nice post. It is working fine in LibreOffice 3.3.4

  33. Claudia Says:

    Thank you so much for this package! :-) I was looking for that for a long time. I’m studying English at a university in Germany and chose to write and speak British English. It always bugged me that OO would underline correctly spelled words.

  34. Simona Says:

    Thanks!!! all fixed in two seconds!

  35. Michael Says:

    You saved my day. Nice to know, that they have not fixed it for such a long time. Good to know, that you did. Now I can carry on in writing my books ….

  36. Eddie Says:

    Excellent! I have wasted lots of time trying to find a solution for this problem before I finally found your blog! You made my day, Sir!

  37. comrade Says:

    What a great tool. Excellent. It makes life so much sweeter… or should i say sugary? :( – let me check the thesaurus

  38. How to Install British English Thesaurus in OpenOffice | LibreOffice Says:

    […] to The Weekly Whinge I now have a British English thesaurus working with OpenOffice 3 on Ubuntu 9.10. Whinger created an […]

  39. Stuart Swales Says:

    Might we use this for the upcoming Apache OpenOffice 3.4? I was about to package the en-GB dictionaries for this (as they have been deleted from the Apache OOo source tree!) then remembered this longstanding issue…

    Stuart Swales (the old en-GB OOo lead)

  40. whinger Says:

    I put the file together cos I wanted it and put it online because I imagined other people would too; the copyrights (if any exist) still belong with PaulH, I imagine.

    Either way please feel free to do whatever you like with it.

  41. David A Elston Says:

    Hello there

    Fantastic fix for us often forgotten Brits.

    I am having some trouble on a 3rd machine though. Despite my attempts it won’t “ungrey” the Thesaurus.

  42. Faust Says:

    Job done in 10 seconds!! That’s smashing, thanks a lot

  43. Stuart B Says:

    A big thank you for this. I’m still using Ubuntu 10.04 but removed Open Office to give Libre a try. The sudden lose of the spell checker was a nasty surprise.

  44. Rob Mimpriss Says:

    Many thanks indeed for this fix.

    Linux Mint 13

  45. ecrookes Says:

    oo still do not provide the UK Spell check.

    Releived that I do not have to do what you have already done.

    Reinventing the wheel is such a waste of life.

  46. tatiana.larina Says:


    Every time I update Libre Office (for Windows), it screws with my thesaurus. During a previous automatic update I lost all thesauruses except the French one and your extension then saved my butt. Now I upgraded to 3.6 and I seem to have dictionaries for Swedish, Spanish and Portuguese (neither of which I speak or write) but no English. I tried reinstalling your extension once again but this time this doesn’t seem to work – the installation process went fine, but thesaurus option is still greyed out. Please help.

  47. tatiana.larina Says:

    The cosmic law of the universe – when you ask the right question, the answer will come. I’ll share for the benefit of other users:

    1. Navigate to the Libre Office profile directory (in Win 7 C:\Users\”YourUserName”\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\3\user\extensions
    2. Rename the extensions directory
    3. Restart Libre Office _twice_

    Worked like magic

    A possibly quicker solution from LO 3.6 release notes (haven’t tried it myself)

    If you update from an earlier version, spellchecking might be broken. In this case, the following workaround helps:

    On Linux, in a terminal window enter “rm -r ~/.config/libreoffice/3/user/extensions”
    On Mac OS X, in a Terminal window enter “rm -r ~/Library/Application\ Support/LibreOffice/3/user/extensions”
    On Windows, in a Command Prompt window enter “rmdir /q /s %appdata%\LibreOffice\3\user\extensions”
    After that, please restart LibreOffice twice.

  48. Aj Ray Says:

    Thank You! It worked for LibreOffice 3.6

  49. Coral Says:

    THANK YOU! you saved my life!

  50. Omi Says:

    Thank you! I’ve been hours trying to sort this out. Worked with Ubuntu 13.04 raring, on libreoffice Will put a link to your blog on Google+ Ubuntu community. Thanks again!

  51. SimonB Says:

    Happy New Year!
    Still most useful in 2014!
    Thank You soooooo much for solving a peculiar irritation! I had a working thesaurus and then perhaps due to updating software it disappeared.
    After much annoyance I gave up but then last night in a fit of perseverence I came upon your site!

    Here’s to the revolutionary spirit of Open Source!

  52. Bionic Nell Says:

    I came across this link via this and it worked for me on Ubuntu 12.04 LibreOffice Version I downloaded the link and installed it in Tools -> Extension Manager -> Clicked Add and the Thesaurus popped up and clicked Close button. Highlighted my word and pressed Ctrl+F7 and it showed up. Many thanks! :-)

  53. Daniel Ashby Says:

    Thanks for this it’s a shame this is still required six years later.

  54. Hillbilly Says:

    Ditto and not impressed.

  55. aerostace Says:

    Thanks whinger. Works on LibreOffice supplied with Linux Mint 17.2 (Cinnamon 64-bit)

  56. myklmar Says:

    Soooooo pleased to finally have found this!
    Thank you so much.

  57. myklmar Says:

    Oh! Forgot to say:
    Works with Libreoffice 5. (Mint 17.1)

  58. home Says:


  59. jack Says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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