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On 19/09/2020 16:33, Dave Barton wrote:
I am trying to create a Writer document with a number of links to files
in the same directory as the odt file itself. Using absolute paths
everything works perfectly, but relative links (eg. file://
always fail with a "not an *absolute* URL" error.

What version of LibreOffice are you using, and what is the exact wording of the error message? At least with recent versions of LibreOffice, the wording of the error message when clicking the link should be: "'file://' cannot be passed to an external application to open it (e.g., it might not be an absolute URL, or might denote no existing file)."

And note that <file://> is not a relative URL, it is an absolute file URL with an "" authority, which is interpreted by LibreOffice at least on Windows to denote the root directory of some (most likely non-existing) UNC share.

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