Are there affordable password management services and support for LibreOffice Writer? | Q&A with Patrick Marshall

Q: You often recommend password management services, and I understand the security benefits of these, but I was reluctant to sign up for one for three reasons.

  • The cost. I already pay for Internet, TV, streaming services, Microsoft Office, Norton security, etc. I’m not thrilled to add another paid subscription service. Are there reliable and free password manager providers? If so, can they be used with Windows and Apple iOS devices? I have a mix of both.
  • It seems that once you sign up for a password manager, you can’t get out. What happens to your passwords if you ever want to stop the service or switch to another provider? I have over 200 website passwords. Could I ever access it again?
  • I could use the password manager service that comes with my Norton 360 subscription, but that only covers five devices. I currently have three unprotected devices. Wouldn’t every device I own that accesses websites need the password manager service?

John Sprague, Bothel

A: The good news is that all major web browsers now offer password management, so no, you don’t have to pay for a password management service if all you want to do is save your words. outmoded.

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And every password manager I know of – whether built into your browser or a separate app – allows you to export passwords. So, yes, you can switch to another password manager.

So why pay for a third-party password manager? Many reasons. First of all, I use several different browsers and don’t want to have to replicate all my passwords in every built-in password manager.

Second, I like the ability to assign emergency access to someone else in case I’m disabled or worse. In this way, it is not very painful for my family to access my important accounts.

Third, I like being able to selectively share passwords with others.

Fourth, yes, I don’t want these capabilities tied to a program that limits the number of supported devices.

Finally, I like my password manager’s ability to automatically generate unique and strong passwords.

I use LastPass, but there are other programs available. All the password managers I know of work on Apple and Windows devices.

Q: I write with LibreOffice Writer. In most cases, it performs pretty well, except for two bugs: First, it fails to clear the clipboard, so you can only cut and paste text once. Only by completely closing the document and then reopening it will it be erased.

The most frustrating bug, however, is its insistence on italicizing text without prompting. I often use italics for my scientific writing, but LibreOffice Writer will just arbitrarily start a new sentence in italics. You have to constantly uncheck the “i” icon.

“Reporting a bug” is almost impossible, I’m not a techie so I don’t understand all the steps LibreOffice asks to report a bug. Apparently you have to write the bug report in Ubuntu. I have no idea what it is.

I’m not the only one I’ve seen in my research that has this issue and through multiple updates and iterations of LOW the bug has been ignored.

Can you help me figure out how to stop unwanted italics?

Michelle Blanchard, Olympia

A: I’m afraid that’s the compromise. LibreOffice has a lot to offer, starting with the fact that it’s available for free. And it offers file compatibility with other office suites such as Microsoft Office. The suite is generally well-regarded, although it doesn’t score as highly as Microsoft Office in the comparison reviews I’ve seen.

As for your particular issues using LibreOffice, yes, I’ve seen similar reports of unwanted issues with the suite’s clipboard and italics. And I’m afraid I don’t have a solution for you.

There is no official customer support for LibreOffice. I can, however, suggest that if you want to continue using LibreOffice, you might want to engage with other users. Instead of trying to file bug reports, you can chat with users and search for FAQs here: