LibreOffice export to PDF has no text

In LibreOffice in Lubuntu 20.04, when I Export to PDF, the PDF has no text. Lines and boxes, if the original had them, but no text. Open up LibreOffice Writer, write “hello world”, export to PDF, and it will generate a PDF and give the impression that all went well, as there is no error or warning message. But the PDF will be blank.

This likely means fonts are missing, or LibreOffice can’t find them.

Export to PDF works fine in Lubuntu 18.04.

Anyone else seeing this problem in 20.04?

Known bug mentioned in the release notes.

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That workaround made things much worse. Perhaps it’s because I’ve fiddled a bit with the system font settings. When I run LibreOffice like this:

SAL_VCL_QT5_USE_CAIRO=true libreoffice --writer

And load a real short text file, less than 100 bytes, this is what I see:


That looks like a graphics error more than anything. I would try adding compositing by turning Compton on to first see if that doesn’t fix it.

I had the same problem on a 20.04 installation, for me what helped was to unset SAL_USE_VCLPLUGIN or change it to SAL_USE_VCLPLUGIN=kf5

With SAL_USE_VCLPLUGIN=qt5 it always produced PDFs with invisible text, so there may be something wrong with that.


I fixed all my problems with Libreoffice on Lubuntu doing:

sudo apt remove --purge libreoffice-qt5

I think the community need do maintenance this package.


I found a simple enough workaround for the graphics problem: maximize/unmaximize the window. The graphics scramble occurs immediately after loading a file, and only with the USE_CAIRO flag. Maximizing (or unmaximizing if the window started maximized) clears it up

Export to PDF works correctly.

kf5 works perfectly. No screwed up graphics, and the PDF has text.


Thank you ailtonbsj!, this worked on my newly installed Lubuntu 20.04 and LibreOffice


Thank you for your advice. It worked fine.


thanks, this worked for me :slight_smile:


The Terminal command recommended by ailtonbsj worked for me (after closing and reopening LibreOffice); many thanks. Having done this step, I printed a document successfully.

Side-effect: the icons and ‘skin’ of LibreOffice change as a result of this action (presumably, this is because the qt5 theme within LibreOffice is lost – in my case, this resulted in the graphics becoming larger and a bit clearer).

This raises a further question: will libreoffice-qt5 remain removed upon installing further system upgrades within 20.04 LTS?


Also worked for me; now I can export PDF works without problems.


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Hello, just a message to mention that LibreOffice 7.0.3 from the official website ( works all fine on Lubuntu 20.04 LTS. No graphic bugs and pdf export and printing is fine. (After download you need to unzip the archive and install all the .deb package files with something like “apt install ./*.deb”…).


Can you confirm (see Help » About LibreOffice) that you’re using the qt5 VCL? And can you confirm you have Also, could you check the latest daily version of Lubuntu (which has 7.0.3 in it) and see if you have the same problems with it that you did on the older version?

I will say that I cannot confirm your experience. I still get a PDF with no text. I have a feeling the reason it might have worked for you is you had modified some other things. My guess is your VCL is not the qt5 one.

I ran a test on this issue today on Lubuntu Hirsute 21.04 daily 11.12.2020 which has the LibreOffice 7.03.1 in it and experienced no problems with export to pdf. It has the qt5 VCL as default.


Holy crap, @leok, that’s amazing news!!! Ir’s a little bizarre that the one I downloaded yesterday didn’t work but I see it wasn’t using the qt5 +cairo VCL, so that might have been the key.

Were there other issues besides the PDF export that we should check on?


Yes - one issue was that LibreOffice only opens files on Samba shares as “read-only” i.e open a copy. I filed a bug back in April - I will check again (in the AM) to see if this is still the case.