Troubleshooting Tips

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There are several common sources of problems that cause crashes or sub-optimal performance in NeoOffice. This page collects some common problems and tips to help narrow down the cause of, or in some cases even fix, the problem.


General Issues

  • Always make sure that you are using the latest iteration of Mac OS X (e.g., 10.3.9 or 10.4.8) and the latest available security and Java updates from Apple (see below for instructions on using Software Update and checking your Java version) as well as the latest NeoOffice patch.
    • While NeoOffice might run on older revisions of Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4, each patch is only qualified against the latest "point" release at the time of patch release.
    • Similarly, each NeoOffice patch is only qualified against the latest Java update for the appropriate Mac OS X version, and not having the latest Java update will cause bizarre and otherwise unexplained issues.
    • NeoOffice is updated regularly through patches, and it is often the case that an issue you are experiencing has been fixed by the latest patch, so be sure you regularly install the patches.

NeoOffice fails to start, or crashes during startup or right after starting

  • Check the Console.log (via /Applications/Utilities/ for messages about Java, soffice.bin, or NeoOffice
  • If the NeoOffice icons bounces for a while and then stops, open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/ and type the following and then press return:
    • cd /applications/
    • ls -al soffice.bin, the first few characters should contain x three times.
    • if not, type chmod +x soffice.bin, close the Terminal and try again.
  • If NeoOffice starts but “hangs” during startup (longer than a minute or so on recent Macs), take a sample before force-quitting NeoOffice, one of the developers or community support team might be able to deduce the problem based on log info.
  • If NeoOffice crashes, check for a current entry in ~/Library/Logs/CrashReport/soffice.bin.crash.log (the crash log for NeoOffice, and, unfortunately
    These logs will often contain useful information, and even if they are gibberish to you, one of the developers or community support team can often deduce the problem based on log info.
    See this section of the Bugzilla Guide for more information about obtaining the crash log.
  • Check to see if you are running the most up-to-date version of Java 1.4.2 (or Java 1.5 on Mac OS X 10.4)
    • Run the Mac OS X Software Update application (from the Apple menu) and install any Mac OS X Updates, Security Updates, and Java Updates that are offered. You may need to run Software Update multiple times in order to completely update your system.
    • Open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/ and type the following and then press return:
      java -version
      • Mac OS X 10.3.9:
        java version "1.4.2_12"
        Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.4.2_12-270)
        Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.4.2-70, mixed mode)
      • Mac OS X 10.4.8:
        java version "1.5.0_07"
        Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_07-164)
        Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_07-87, mixed mode, sharing)
  • Check for a corrupt Java 1.4.2 installation
    1. Create a plain-text file called and put the following lines in it, saving afterwards:
import java.awt.*;

public class Test {

        public static void main(String[] args) {

                Frame f = new Frame();
                Panel p = new Panel();
                f.setSize(500, 500);


    1. Open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/ and "cd" to the folder that you put the file in.
    2. Compile the file using the following terminal command:
    3. Run the compiled program with Java 1.4.2 using the following terminal command:
      /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.2/Commands/java -classpath . Test
    4. If a blank window appears when you run the program, then you know that Java 1.4.2 is working. [1] (modified for Java 1.4.2)
  • Java Shared Archive corrupted (would this be detected by the above?)
    Often caused by some 10.3.x update; Apple issued another update to fix it (but other causes, too; Terry had a potential solution for them)
  • You have installed a Java extension in one of the following folders and it is messing up your JVM [2]:
    • ~/Library/Java/Extensions/
    • /Library/Java/Extensions/
    • /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.2/Home/lib/ext/
    Remove the offending extension and try launching NeoOffice again (N.B.: NeoOffice tries to prevent extensions in the first two directories from loading, but the last one also contains key files for the JVM and its contents cannot be forced not to load).
  • Check if the relevant soffice.* files have executable permissions.
  • Corrupted user preference files
    • (Force-)Quit NeoOffice, move your NeoOffice preferences folder aside, and restart (don't let NeoOffice 2.x (re-)import your NeoOffice 1.x preferences)
      • NeoOffice 2.1: ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.1
      • NeoOffice 2.0: ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.x
      • NeoOffice 1.2.x: ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-1.x
      • NeoOffice/J 1.1: ~/Library/NeoOfficeJ-1.1
  • 24Uemail scripting addition

NeoOffice crashes randomly

  • Haxies (programs that use Unsanity's APE)
    Not all random crashes are caused by haxies, but we have found a disproportionate correlation between the presence of haxies and strange NeoOffice crashes (this was particularly true of NeoOffice versions prior to 1.2 Alpha, which used Java 1.3.1). Many other Mac developers have experienced similar issues with their applications when haxies are present.
    Haxies work by injecting their code into running applications in order to customize the behvior of Mac OS X or an application in a way that neither Apple nor the application developer intended. A haxie may have a bug that causes an application to crash, or it may simply create a condition that the application is not prepared to handle and thereby cause a crash.
    Because of the scope of the project and the limited time and resources of the NeoOffice developers, no effort will be made to fix a bug that only occurs when a haxie is present. Note also that Apple's official support policy is to disregard all reports of problems that occur when APE is present.
    • Disable any installed haxie(s), or add NeoOffice to the exclusions list for the haxie(s)
  • Corrupted user preference files
    • (Force-)Quit NeoOffice, move your NeoOffice preferences folder aside, and restart (don't let NeoOffice 2.x (re-)import your NeoOffice 1.x preferences)
      • NeoOffice 2.1: ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.1
      • NeoOffice 2.0: ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.x
      • NeoOffice 1.2.x: ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-1.x
      • NeoOffice/J 1.1: ~/Library/NeoOfficeJ-1.1

Problems with the menus or menu bar

  • Haxies and haxie-like programs
    • MenuCracker
      While not an Unsanity APE haxie, this hack for enabling third parties to add items to the Mac OS X menu bar has caused problems, such as the disappearance of NeoOffice's menus from the menu bar, in the past.

Crashing in the font dropdown

  • This is usually caused by a corrupt font that hangs or crashes Apple's text layout routines (e.g. Vivaldi)
    • Check for a corrupt font and disable this font via Font Book
      • Mac OS X 10.3.x: Use FontDoctor™ (demo mode)
      • Mac OS X 10.4.x: Use Font Book :
        • Select all your fonts in Font Book
        • In the file menu, select Validate Fonts
        • Select Warnings in the dropdown menu while Font Book operates
        • Then check the fonts you would like to delete and click "Delete selected fonts"


Common causes of slow or lackluster performance

  • Background processes
    Constantly-running background processes can degrade the performance of NeoOffice
    • Seti@Home
    • Folding@Home
    • DNET client (
    • Dashboard/widgets
      disable all inessential widgets for best performance
    • others?
  • Turn off auto spellchecking, because the wavy lines are a problem to draw, due to the fact that OOo code sets individual pixels and Cocoa and Java, that are use in NeoOffice, don't have any functions for setting individual pixels; so we must do a much more expensive operation of drawing a 1x1 pixel filled rectangle
  • Less than 512 MB of RAM
    While NeoOffice will run on a Mac with 512 MB of RAM, it will run (and launch) more slowly, particularly if you have other applications also running (Mac OS X really runs best with 512 MB or more of RAM). Luckily, RAM is cheap; adding RAM is the most cost-efficient way to speed up your Mac. See this thread for some real-life stories.
  • Large number of fonts installed (see this section of the Installation Issues article)
  • 2.0 2.0 by default creates converted copies of all of your installed Mac fonts. Because these fonts are stored inside an application bundle in 2.0 (as opposed to simply being in a normal folder in 1.1.2), all of the duplicate fonts are loaded by the Apple Type Server (ATS) process and made available to Mac OS X apps. These duplicate fonts seriously degrade the performance of NeoOffice, may cause fonts to display incorrectly, and may even cause crashes.
  • Virus-scanning applications
    Some virus scanners scan all files when the files are opened
    Some virus scanners scan archive files (.sit, .tar, .gz, and .zip and its cousins, like .jar) when those files are accessed
    NeoOffice opens and access a large number of files at startup, including a number of .zip and .jar archives.
    • Disable virus scanning of the NeoOffice application and preferences directory (~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.1 for 2.1 or ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.x for 2.0), or of archive files in the NeoOffice application and preferences directory

A patch does not appear to fix a bug it claims to fix

  • Mac OS X "caches" shared libraries and Java classes to improve performance; unfortuantely, it has a very nasty habit of not clearing the cache when updated libraries and classes are installed (like in NeoOffice patches). If a bug doesn't appear to be fixed after applying a patch that should fix the bug, try restarting your Mac, which will clear the old versions of libraries and classes from cache. If the bug is still present after rebooting, you can then reopen the bug in Bugzilla.
  • You applied the patch while NeoOffice was running. Quit and restart NeoOffice.

Preferences don't seem to stick

When preferences or settings changes don't seem to apply or don't stick between restarts of NeoOffice, the most likely cause is a some sort of corruption of your profile/preferences. Allowing NeoOffice to create a fresh set should fix the problem.

  1. Move or rename your ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.1 (for 2.1) or ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.x (for 2.0) folder (~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-1.x folder for NeoOffice 1.x; in this case, also rename or move aside your ~/Library/NeoOfficeJ-1.1 folder, if you had ever installed NeoOffice/J 1.1)
  2. Launch NeoOffice; it will then create a fresh user profile and settings (for NeoOffice 2.0, be sure not to let the "wizard" import preferences from older versions when starting)
  • In some cases the corruption may only be present in the NeoOffice 2.x or 1.x profile, so allowing NeoOffice to re-import your NeoOffice 1.x or NeoOffice/J 1.1 profile could restore some of your settings without reintroducing the corruption. In that case, simply move or rename only the ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.1 (for 2.1) or ~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.x (for 2.0) (~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-1.x for NeoOffice 1.x) folder before launching NeoOffice.
  • For instructions on how to narrow down the specific corrupted preference file (in order to save other preferences) see Lorinda's post in this thread on trinity.

Certain keyboard shortcuts do not work

  • If you assign a keyboard shortcut in NeoOffice and then it doesn't work, it may be because you've chosen a key combo that Mac OS X is already using either as a general system shortcut, or in its Services.
    • Look in the System Preferences, Keyboard & Mouse preference pane, Keyboard Shortcuts tab to see if your choice is in use already as a general system shortcut (edit: this option may only be available in Mac OS X 10.4).
    • Then look in e.g. TextEdit's TextEdit->Services submenu to see if any Services are using your chosen key combo (e.g. cmd-shift-L is often assigned to Search with Google).
      • If you never use the Services keyboard shortcuts and want to free them up, you can install the very handy Service Manager (freeware) preference pane to disable individual Services (works in 10.2.x, 10.3.x, 10.4.x).
      • Users of 10.4.x can also use the ServiceScrubber application (freeware) to disable Services or reassign their keyboard shortcuts.
  • If a key combo shows in one of the NeoOffice menus as a shortcut, but doesn't actually work, it may be because although it has been assigned as a Global NeoOffice shortcut, it is being overridden by a shortcut assigned to the particular module you're in (i.e. Writer, Calc etc.)
    This is the case with cmd-shift-F11, for example; the menubar shows this key combo as calling up the Tools-Options dialogue, but this doesn't work in Writer, as Writer has it assigned to something else arcane to do with templates. Once you delete that module-specific assignment, the shortcut works as displayed in the menubar.

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