Seafile Pro 5.1.3 add Excel/PPT editing and device management

We are happy to announce that Seafile Pro 5.1.3 is ready. Two useful features are added:

  • Support xlsx/pptx editing via office web app (OWA)
  • List devices and syncing errors in admin panel

Support xlsx/pptx editing via OWA

Preview for office files via OWA was added a long time ago. Now the office file editing comes too. Unfortunately, We find that only pptx/xlsx editing via OWA is possible. Supporting docx is not possible with Office Web App. But with the new version of OWA (now called office online server 2016, not released yet), it may be possible. We will come back to this issue when office online server 2016 is ready.

List devices and syncing errors

As system admin, you likely want to know whether all the desktops syncing files as expected. Listing syncing errors for desktop clients are now available in the admin panel. Enjoy this feature and better manage your devices!

The full change log

  • [fix] Fix group rename
  • [UI] Remember the expanded status of groups
  • [accessibility] Improve accessiblity of library trash page
  • [accessibility] Improve file/folder upload menu
  • list all devices in admin panel
  • list device syncing errors in admin panel
  • Support server side file content encryption
  • Support xlsx/pptx editing via OWA
  • Add syslog support for seafile.log

Seafile Pro Server 5.1 Stable Released

We are happy to announce that Seafile Pro 5.1 is finished. This release includes the following major features:

  • Re-design of the Seahub web interface and usability improvements
  • Seafile Realtime Backup Server
  • Manage users into multiple institutions (workgroup model)
  • Automatic file locking for office files when a document is opened in the Windows desktop client
  • Accessibility improvements

Attention: In addition, the Django framework is upgraded to v1.8, which no longer supports Python 2.6. All users still running Python 2.6 must manually update Python to 2.7.

Please enjoy the new version and give us feedback.

Changes and improvements to the Seahub web interface


The new navigation reflects our current re-evalutaion of the importance of different features.

In the previous design we saw each group as a hub for collaboration with files and discussions for each group. There was a standalone page for each group with files and discussions on the same level of navigation. But the group discussions feature was not as widely used as we anticipated. It actually turned out to be a relatively minor feature.

The new navigation has a uniform left-side navigation that combines the files from mine, shared, groups and organization. Not widely used features like the group discussions are now hidden to make the file navigation easier and even more intuitive to use.


Grid View now available everywhere in Seahub

Bigger image thumbnails have been high on our users’ wishlist for quite some time. In combination with the improved image preview, a grid view helps to better keep track of files in folder or library.

Seafile Professional 5.1 sees the grid view now being introduced everywhere in Seahub. It’s no longer limited to just share links.

The view can be changed by clicking on the grid view icon in the file menu at the top.


Easier access to Library Operations

In Seafile Professional 5.1 operations for libraries like renaming, transferring and sharing as well as the history settings can now be accessed from the library listings page, just like operations for folders.


Seafile Realtime Backup Server (Beta feature)

Please note that the real-time backup feature is currently still in beta state. Minor issues on the backup server, while unlikely, might happen. But this feature will not affect the functionality or data integrity of the primary server.

The Seafile Realtime Backup Server uses a syncing algorithm similar to the Seafile desktop client to retrieve data from the primary server.
Whenever a library is updated, the primary server notifies the backup server to retrieve the changed data. With a delta syncing algorithm, this procedure runs quickly and updates the backup server almost in real-time.
The backup server also checks all libraries on the primary server at a fixed period. Any new or updated libraries will be synced to the backup server. This will pick up any delayed updates due to glitches in the real-time syncing procedure.
The backup server always keeps the database and data directory consistent. So that no libraries on the backup server will be in a “corrupted” state (unless they’re already corrupted on the primary server).
The full history of all libraries will be backed up. This is different from the desktop client, which only syncs the latest state of a library.

If you are familiar with MySQL or another database, you likely know master/slave replication. Seafile realtime backup is exactly like the master/slave replication, except that it is for files (metadata and file blocks).

You can find more information about the Seafile Realtime Backup Server at

Multiple institutions support (“Workgroup model”)

From Seafile Professional 5.1 you can add institutions into Seafile and assign users into institutions. Each institution can have one or more administrators.

This feature makes user administration easier when multiple organizations (for example branches of company or different universities) share a single Seafile server instance. Unlike multi-tenancy, the users are not-isolated. A user from one institution can share files with another user from a different institution.

You can find more information about this feature and how to deploy it at

Accessibility improvements

We want to make sure that Seafile can be enjoyed by a wide range of people with diverse abilities and devices.

That’s why we will start working on responsiveness for the Seafile web interface for version 5.2 But responsiveness is just one aspect for including a wider range of users with different requirements. The other, even more important factor is accessibility support for people with disabilities.

We are aware that Seafile needs to improve in this aspect. That’s why Seafile Professional 5.1 will put down the groundwork for improving accessibility.

Here are the accessibility improvements we have done for Seafile Professional 5.1. More will follow in later versions:

  • Use standard checkbox instead of styled checkbox based on image
  • Make library/folder/file operation icons visible on focus
  • Make operation icons focusable
  • Add aria-label to operation icons
  • Make library/folder sort operations focusable
  • Add role (navigation, banner, main) to regions
  • Make dropdown menu items focusable

Other changes in Seafile Professional 5.1

  • Improvement for user auto-completion
  • Removement of group avatar
  • Improved file sorting for large folders
  • Remember the sorting option for folders
  • Use HiDPI icons for libraries and files
  • Auto-focus on username field when loading the login page
  • Don’t show share menu in top bar when multiple items are selected
  • Remove self-introduction in user’s profile
  • Disable the possibility to add non-existing users to a group
  • Force the user to change his password if the user was added by an admin or if his password was reseted by an admin

Seafile Server 5.1 Comes with Brand New UI

It’s been about 5 months since the last major update of Seafile server (5.0). Now it’s time to release something fresh! Seafile server 5.1 includes quite a lot of UI re-design and improvements. In addition, the Django framework is upgraded to v1.8, which no longer support Python 2.6. The change to Django v1.8 also improves security since it’s the LTS and gets more security fixes.

There are a few major changes to the web user interface.

Flatter Navigation

A long-time critics about Seafile’s web UI is that it uses two navigation bars, one at the top and one on the left (see the screenshot below). The rationale of the old design is that we thought groups are collaboration places with files and discussion. So it’s better to put groups on the same level of navigation as files. The top bar is the level-1 navigation, while the left bar is the level-2 navigation. But this old design confuses many users. And it’s inconvenient to switch between the groups page and files page.


The new navigation reflects our recent thinking on the importance/priority of a few features. As we discovered that the discussion feature is a minor feature, it is better to hide it and make the file navigation flatter and simpler. Thus in the new design, an uniform left-side navigation is used that combines the files from mine, shared, groups and organization. Now the users don’t need to frequently switch between file view and group view.


Grid View

Users can now use grid view to list files in a folder. Previously it is only available in share link.


Library Operations

In the new version, operations for library, like rename and history settings, are put directly in the library listing page, much like operations for folders. This makes operations on libraries more similar to operations on folders/files. It’s more intuitive for users.


Improvements on web UI is a continuing mission of Seafile. There are more to come in the future. Any suggestions are welcome!