Updated by Tina Sieber on 28 February, 2017.

When it comes to word processors, LibreOffice Writer and Microsoft Word are easily two of the best out there. If you've used Microsoft Word before, then you'll be right at home with Writer. In the other direction you may see similiar phenomenons if editing a Writer dokument on Word. Fact is that OpenOffice/LibreOffice are for free and developed by a free community but not Microsoft Office. If being free is a grave value for you the answer of your questions is a simple one.

Long-time Microsoft Office challenger LibreOffice regularly receives major updates. This article discusses the makeover LibreOffice received in a previous iteration.

Meanwhile, we’ve covered LibreOffice version 5.1Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown?Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown?LibreOffice is the king of free office suites. It's unlikely to replace Microsoft Office in a business environment, but it's an excellent alternative for casual users. Here's what's new in LibreOffice 5.1.Read More, explained how to install version 5.3 on UbuntuHow to Install LibreOffice 5.3 on Ubuntu in SecondsHow to Install LibreOffice 5.3 on Ubuntu in SecondsLibreOffice just released version 5.3, an exciting update with all sorts of new features and improvements. Here's how to install it on Ubuntu now with one command.Read More, and we showed you how to boost your productivity with LibreOffice Writer9 Effective LibreOffice Writer Tips to Boost Your Productivity9 Effective LibreOffice Writer Tips to Boost Your ProductivityThe one free Microsoft Office alternative that shines above the rest is LibreOffice. We'll help you get (more) familiar and productive with this versatile office suite.Read More.

LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOfficeIs OpenOffice Shutting Down? 4 Great Free Office Suite AlternativesIs OpenOffice Shutting Down? 4 Great Free Office Suite AlternativesOpenOffice is no longer a free Microsoft Office alternative you can count on. We have compiled the four best options for Windows, Linux, and Mac.Read More and a serious contender to the Office crown of productivity suite king, but has been held back over the years. Niggling bugs, and a somewhat clunky user interface (UI) have been long time complaints, as have import and export formatting issues.

Has LibreOffice finally found the winning formula? And will it be enough to convert this life-long Office userSave on Microsoft Office! Get Cheap or Free Office ProductsSave on Microsoft Office! Get Cheap or Free Office ProductsReluctant to spend a few hundred bucks on a glorified word processor? You can get Microsoft Office for cheap and alternatives for free. You've got many options and we offer a summary.Read More?

What’s New?

Let’s start with a quick rundown of LibreOffice 4.4 new features:

  • Almost a complete UI overhaul. Menus, toolbars, buttons, rulers, tabs, and more receive an update making the LibreOffice UI much more aesthetically pleasing and easier to navigate.
  • Introduction of OpenGL for presentations. 3D accelerated slide transitions and more come to Windows.
  • Track changes and review now work, jumping from one comment to the next on completion.
  • Increased compatibility with Office “C-Fonts”How To Make Windows Fonts Look Like Mac FontsHow To Make Windows Fonts Look Like Mac FontsEye candy is not a Windows forte. Modern UI (aka Metro) brought improvements, but still lacks in one important area: fonts. We show you how you can get beautiful font smoothing on Windows.Read More such as Calibri and Cambria. LibreOffice ships with open-source fonts with equivalent proportions.
  • Improved “Start Centre”, with additional user templates added from the LibreOffice community.
  • Improved source code via Coverity Scan analysis.

Let’s Take a Closer Look…

On first impressions, LibreOffice really has made ground on Microsoft Office. The UI is nice. It loads notably quicker than previous version, 4.3, which I was playing with last week for an upcoming Excel alternatives article. Developers, The Document Foundation, believe LibreOffice 4.4 is “is the most beautiful ever” having received “a lot of UX and design love.”

The properties, styles and tabs sidebar has received a little makeover, too. I’ve always liked having this selection of formatting tools to the right of my work, and LibreOffice offers this in their native setup, across Writer, Calc, Impress and Base. +1 for LibreOffice. Maybe another +.5 for the colour on my screen.

I’m not convinced it’s the most beautiful application ever, but it’s looking good.

Tracking Changes and Formatting Updates

Tracking your editorial changesHow to Collaborate With Track Changes in Microsoft WordHow to Collaborate With Track Changes in Microsoft WordRead More and commenting now workproperly, as each time you accept or reject the editorial note it moves directly the next in queue. Seeing the small bugs like this finally being erased from LibreOffice illustrate the desire to gain parity with Office. I can see this small update winning LibreOffice users. It has been a genuine frustration receiving documents from colleagues using .ODF files, only for Office, or any other software suite to break everything.

Importing into and out of LibreOffice has become relatively seamless. Compatibility with Office is a must, and the developers have recognised this. Documents saved with comments, editing and formatting in LibreOffice export to Office, and import just as well.

LibreOffice’s inclusion of open-source fonts Carlito and Caladea certainly aid the process, making the import of Microsoft Office Open XML (OOXML) that bit faster, with more, if not all of your formatting escaping modification. Most of the niggling .docx import import issues have also dissipated with this 4.4 update.

Start Centre and Templates

The Start Centre offers more drop-downs and functionality than previous iterations. Having all recently associated documents centred in the Start Centre is a nice touch. However, the lack of native templatesUseful Free Open Office Templates To Make You More ProductiveUseful Free Open Office Templates To Make You More ProductiveRead More is slightly disappointing, and for those users potentially making the switch from Office, this could be a turn-off.

I know that there are a massive amount of templates available for download, but Office really does excelUse Microsoft Office Templates to Captivate Your Audience & Efficiently Deliver InformationUse Microsoft Office Templates to Captivate Your Audience & Efficiently Deliver InformationA template is like a virtual billboard, visually reinforcing text or data. Here we offer a basic overview of Microsoft Office templates and your options.Read More with the convenience there: tap what you’re after into the search box, and you usually find a functional, well-designed template for instant download. Perhaps later versions will see this feature further implemented.

OpenGL Presentations

3D Accelerated presentations come to Windows, having already featured on OSX and Linux for some-time. Let’s face it. Slideshow transitions stopped being an amazingly fun tool when most of us were teenagers, but the move to include a feature that has been commonplace in OSX and Linux will undoubtedly please those PowerPoint and LibreOffice Impress users.

Coverity Scan Analysis

As we can see in the image, the Coverity Scan Analysis metrics returned some 12, 354 defects in the current code. Following the scan, nearly 12,000 of these defects have been fixed, delivering you a more compact, safer, reliable Office package. If the code isn’t working, your application wont work. It stands to reason. LibreOffice are making great progress by eliminating the small issues, before they become big problems.

LibreOffice vs. Microsoft Office

There are countless Office alternative articles9 of the Best Free and Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office9 of the Best Free and Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft OfficeMicrosoft Office has dominated the market of text documents, spreadsheets and slide shows for years, and for good reason – it’s one of the very best. However, there’s one drawback and that is the price..Read More extolling the virtues of LibreOffice over Microsoft OfficeThe 7 Best Free Microsoft Office AlternativesThe 7 Best Free Microsoft Office AlternativesMicrosoft Office is the king of office suites, but that doesn't mean it's the right one for you. Here are some other office suites you might like better!Read More, but this article isn’t one of them.

Yes, The Document Foundation has upped its game with LibreOffice 4.4, and yes, it is quite pretty all round. Even better yet, its completely free, and if that is something you need from your software, then I would absolutely advise you to download and use it.

However, it still cannot compete with Microsoft Office across the board. I may be biased. I might. But Word does almost everything right for me. The top-menu, and right-hand properties and formatting tab is a bonus, but I can rearrange Word to this end. Excel still packs a powerful punchExcel Vs. Access - Can a Spreadsheet Replace a Database?Excel Vs. Access - Can a Spreadsheet Replace a Database?Which tool should you use to manage data? Access and Excel both feature data filtering, collation and querying. We'll show you which one is best suited for your needs.Read More that most other spreadsheet applications struggle to get close too, but Calc is a strong second, and I can see why so many Linux distros use LibreOffice as their default Office package.

It is better. It’s not the winner.

Has the new beautiful LibreOffice inspired you to jump ships? What would make you leave Microsoft Office for an alternative? Let us know in the comments below!

Explore more about: LibreOffice, Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft Office Alternative.

  1. There are many contenders to MS Office and for the rudimentary user, they may not even notice a difference, however, when it comes to high end performance and functionality, MS Office unfortunately has no contenders. It is simply the best there is.

    • What about Gnumeric? I've heard it is very fast, so it would be a worthy contender to MS Excel.

  2. It's a great alternative. But in the end, that's all it is- an alternative. Sorry, but it isn't powerful enough to replace Office. I'd rather pay for something I depend on and use daily than use some free, underpowered alternative.

  3. As long as you don't need to embed images, LibreOffice is fine. But it is notorious for loosing images in documents. This can be a very embarassing problem in the presentation program. Otherwise it is a great office suite.

  4. I've been using OpenOffice and lately LibreOffice for about ten years now. As a CEO of a small company I find it most difficult at our employees to say goodbye to some irrelevant features of MS Office. However at newcomers, who have never used MS Office, experiment prooves that they refuse to switch to MS Office from LibreOffice. They find MS Office hard to navigate. When you need support, explanations at MS are plain and contain a lot of unnecessary stuff. If you have a courage to use free suites, there is absolutely no reason to finance Mr. Gates. You still can switch to MS Office if you need some special feature only included within there.

  5. I have used microsoft office in the past but the changes and updates makes buying the last version a must, so i kicked that ms office game a long time ago. I even paid for a copy of a ms office (cost me 10 dollars) and I gave it to my mother who still uses ms. Am happy nowadays with ubuntu and the new open office.

  6. Hello, try yourself to open a .csv file, formatted with ';' as separator and some content with nueric values starting with 0 (for example: 0123 or 039123456789).
    Calc will prompt how to open the csv, suggesting parameters for cells, separations and cells format.
    Excel doesn't to id, opening the file and showing the data WRONG. NO WAY TO OPEN THE CSV CORRECTLY!
    So, Excel sucks!

  7. The only reason I use Office at all is that my school gives us a subscription for it. But if I can avoid putting any of my pennies into Bill Gates' pockets, then I will use this. Writer is actually better than Word in almost all use cases. Calc isn't fully compatible with word, but that is of limited concern for me since I hardly use it. Impress is less full-featured than powerpoint but you're getting shat uou pay for at that point. Writer, the one I use most is for me an easier program to use than word, so if I can, i'll stick with it.

  8. The first thing I did when I opened Libre Write for the first time was go to View and look for Outline. Sadly, it wasn't there. I know, there is Navigator, but it doesn't do what Outline does in Word.
    When I start a long document in Word, I start in Outline mode and frequently move back and forth between Outline and other views. It's a must have for me and I'll probably stick with Word until this becomes available.
    I'm surprised that no one else in this topic hasn't mentioned this.

    • Over a year since P Thomas made this point and I found this page because I've been looking for a possible LibreOffice extension that will enable me to continue using my thousands of pages of MS Word outline-view-formatted documents with their in-folding subsections and easily moved parts. I use massive numbers of hyperlinks among these documents and Word 2002 still does everything I need except for one major feature that has become essential: the ability to hyperlink between my points in my Word documents and PDF pages. Recent versions of Word do this but I dislike the ribbon interface, even if price were no object. I've been looking at the LibreOffice Writer documentation and it seems that it can do the hyperlinking but that doesn't help me if it can't open Word documents with their intended Outline View functionality. It wouldn't need to work exactly as Word does as long as it preserved the important functions and could be imported into the hoped-for Writer 'Folding-Outline Format' without major editing.

  9. Libre Office version 5 is out now, and it's still hopelessly buggy. When reading documents (not editing them) if I use the 'copy' command it will frequently cut the text instead and then save the changes without asking me.
    Also I have some larger documents (over 1600 pages) of text only. It takes 10-15 minutes to open them, and each time I do Libre Office somehow 'loses' a few pages. Now it's reporting 1520 instead of 1603 pages for the same unedited document!
    I enjoy using Libre Office for my own self, personal documents and correspondence, journaling etc but if it's a document I must share electronically with the world (such as a resume or work related documentation) I am forced to use Microsoft Office. Libre Office just can't handle any MSOffice formatting whatsoever.

  10. I use libre office for my daily work . It is more than enough and I am very happy with that . I never needed MS Office documents compatibility . And if I ever need that I would go for Office Online which will be a wiser decision .

  11. Would like to go to Libre or another alternative to MS but I worry about compatibility with documents/powerpoint/excel files from my office (Workplace).

    Also when other organisations send me files. Its important that everything displays as it was designed to.

    A few years ago was still running office97 while everyone else had moved to 2003. I was forever having to convert files that people sent to me. Especially if someone needed to use my laptop to give a presentation with a powerpoint slideshow they designed on their own machines.

  12. I don't use Office programs anymore. If I have to write anything important and present it, Paint.net is the program. Weird I know but it gives you that WhatYouSeeIsWhatYouGet control. Perfect for creating fake docs

    • Giving up MS Office for paint.net? That's a first.
      Actually, it seems like a neat idea.. I've got to try it sometime.

  13. I have been a Mac user since 1980. AND a PC/parallels user since 1988 for unique SW not on the Mac. I have been through the publically announced degradation of MSO on the Mac. I tried for years to write 35 page grant proposals with graphs and pictures, and tables in Word. It was horrible. After two pages of text and graph, the thing would always blow us and scatter everything all over the page.

    As soon as Apple Pages came out, I started using it. Very stable, no explosions when mixing text, graphs, objects, etc. I don’t do a lot of collaboration, so the collaboration features don’t interest me.

    When MS Excel dumped the fomular bar, and changed formatting every two years, I switched to LO Calc. People say it is not as powerful. For me it is much better than MS Excel. I do a lot of heavy calcultions, lookup tables, 5th order polynomial equations in lieu of a look up table, etc. The formular bar helps me get through the hairy formulas. I do technical calcs, financial ledgers, check writing, etc., all in Calc. I print reports that I send to clients directly from Calc.

    I have no problem with the “look” of the Calc interface. I want functionality, not beauty. Some of recent icon changes were for the worse, making them less recognizble, and there is no functionality when the menu bar is truncated horizontally, but I can live with this until they fix it.

    I suffered throught all the bugs in the 3…. series, and some in the 4…. series, but Calc has calmed down in recent versions, and the only compliants I have now are preference items.

  14. Honestly of course MS suite is more powerful but that is reflected in the price. I have tried Libre,Apache,Calligra,WPS and google docs and abi word.It comes down to what you need if you work on formula heavy spreadsheets at work they are unlikely to work perfectly with the free office suites not without some format loss. If on the other hand you just want an office suite you can track your personal finances, write a cv then really any of them will do providing you can save it in .doc format as 100 percent of all companies expect cv's in that format as do countless recruitment websites.
    I have found that WPS office does handle formatting the best out of the free office suites at least when it comes to word however, MS now offers word online for free as long as you have an outlook account which can of course be accessed on Linux as all you require is a web browser. Currently I use do not have a suite installed other than google docs in offline mode as have found the function reduced MS offerings via outlook do everything I need.

  15. I am personally frustrated with open/libre office. I used linux for 9 years and I am an open source lover.

    Each time in those 9 years, I gave a chance to LibreOffice when a new version was out. Each time, a tons of post on the Internet tells that this version was the best ever, ultra compatible with MSOffice without any compatibility issue.

    The thing is that I use simultaneously 3 OS at time for my job (Mint, Windows and OSX). I use MSOffice on OSX and Windows and LibreOffice on Mint/Ubuntu. There are compatibility issues. Corrupted xlsx or badly formatted docx. The usability is really poor on LO vs MSO. Even WPS does a better job from the usability point of view. I dream to put MSO to the trash but there is no good alternative. WPS has it's own compatibility issue but his usability is far ahead of LO.

    The documentation is also not very good. The menu layout is really poor from a usability point of view. For example, in calc, I always need to fight against autocompletion. I want to insert the number '2' then press 'enter' but LO automagically transform that entry to 2015-04-26. What? Don't panic. I will disable autocompletion. Search the internet, find a lot of documentation. Menu / outils / autocorrection / insertion automatique with a screenshot: (http://m.bestofmedia.com/sfp/images/ugc/topicContent/4a88665e12b5d71a8aacdf42155aa2a5/desactiver-suggestion-mots-auto-correction2_tha_fr_1375870058_w_500.jpg) But when I do it on my side, here is what I see (http://picpaste.com/NoAutoInsertTabs-1QVJuAt5.png). Where is the 'Insertion automatique' tabs!!! Grrrr. Ok my LO is version I will add a PPA to update it to 4.4. After the update, the tab is still not there.

    Autoinsert is not the only issue. Date, auto url detection, formula incompatibility, etc and this is only for Calc. Each time I reinstall my linux, I need to customize LO each time. PHDs, researchers and others geeks are a minority. I understand that LO has a lot of geeky features. But the everyday Joe will never use them. It needs to be more user friendly and to behave well from the start. LO bad behavior for simple task (like editing a cell) needs to be eradicated.

    I don't want to use MSOffice. Please deliver me a real LO. LO users: stop trying to convince everyone the LO is better the MSO. It is not. Doing so will taint the confidence in LO. Maybe it is already too late :(

    • I agree with pretty much everything you covered as much as I support open source and open source development the fact is the business world runs MSO.Lo is fine for the home user but as I have said and you have said if you work with MSO professionally you need that same software at home because you need to guarantee that if you mail something across it will be readable and display correctly at the other end.

      • What you wrote here is exactly what Mr. Gates want people to believe. He is putting a lot of effort in this.

        • 'What you wrote here is exactly what Mr. Gates want people to believe. He is putting a lot of effort in this.'
          So, any criticism of a product is automatically considered to be some sort of propaganda 'Mr. Gates want people to believe.' That's the surest marking I've ever seen on a fanatic.

  16. LibreOffice has 1000's of features ÷ 0 cost = ? (Infinite) Value

    So for me LibreOffice wins hands down.

  17. For the past couple of years, I've used OpenOffice and then LibreOffice. When my school switched to Office360 for e-mail, I switched back to Microsoft Office. Since then, I've spent more time trying to navigate around and fix all the inane quirks than I have doing any actual work. Finally, after the latest incident tonight, I have had enough. I am back to LibreOffice and getting actual work done.

  18. I am jumping ship! That is why I am reading your article..research. I am fed up with the greed of MS, bad enough to have to pay so much for the program initially, but now you have to 'rent' the frickin program!! Enough is enough..ready to go back to pen & paper before long. Tired of being a victim in the program 'king-of-the-money-mountain',mogul wars..

    Download and play racing games,3d action games, car games, bike games, 3d games,shooting games,fighting games,adventure games,hidden object games and train simulator games,gta vice city games. Welcome to Freepcdownload.net,the source of the best download free games.This is one of the best places on the Web to play new PC/Laptop games for free in 2019!Our games are licensed Full Version PC Games. Plants vs zombies 2 apk download.

    • Hope we could help you make a decision. Also give WPS Office a try.

  19. I'm a scientist who often writes papers with mathematics and diagrams, I happily use MSWord for short reports with few equations (using MathType-Lite for the equations — the built in one is awful). If the document has some length, citations and heavy maths I use LaTeX (try overleaf.com as a starter). I always go to LibreOffice Draw to prepare drawings; some functionality is limited, but you can actually control what's going on — MS-office drawing is uncontrollable mayhem to me. Often my drawings will ultimately end up back in MS (Word or Powerpoint). LibreDraw can export to encapsulated postscript which means a good quality diagram can be included in anything, especially LaTeX. I find the equation editor impossible to get good results — that's where I would like to see improvement then I change from using MS-Word for the simpler documents.
    Same sort of story for Excel/Calc, they're only good for simple stuff with a few numbers.

    • Great insights and thank you for the recommendation, Robert.

  20. I've always preferred MS Office. My only pet peeve is that whenever I paste a document (like a long letter that I compose in Word) into, say, my webmail (I don't always use Outlook for email), the formatting gets all screwed up, e.g. line breaks gone or doubled. Other than that, MS suits me fine. Alternatives seem like just that: alternative. MS wannabees, however good they may be.

    • You sound like me, Scott. But they are catching up - some are, at least.

      • Good! If Microsoft wants to remain relevant, they'll be forced to keep improving MS Office as well. Even though I'd never touch those alternative softwares, competition is always invaluable in improving technology.

  21. I have LibreOffice installed on my laptop. It works just fine for me. If I encounter any file which is dependent on MS Office features I will just use Office Online. I am not a fan of all those updates which come with MS Office. So much of data is wasted.

    • Sounds like a good work around. Best of both worlds, perhaps?

  22. I've been keeping my eye on LibreOffice (and OpenOffice before that), but sadly it still can't get Word compatibility right. Opening .doc or .docx files shows problems immediately, with simple things like tab stops and paragraph spacing. For those of us who work professionally where MS is the universal tool, this means we must keep using MS. For other uses, it seems fine and does look better this time around. But it isn't any faster for me.

  23. I don't use any of them, I must have distraction free editor. Always.

    • Not even using Word or Writer in full-screen mode? What do you use instead, Hildegerd?

  24. For a comprehensive feature-by-feature comparison see: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Feature_Comparison:_LibreOffice_-_Microsoft_Office

    LibreOffice leads in lots of features, MS Office leads in other features..

  25. I've never personally enjoyed using MS Office, especially after the ribbon was introduced, and I have always used the 'alternatives'. LibreOffice is currently my go-to, and I highly recommend it to anyone, especially those who can't give a good reason why they HAVE to use MS Office.

    • When did you make the switch, Mike? Also, what other MS alternatives have you been through to arrive at LibreOffice as your go to?

    • I didn't like the ribbon menu at first, but once you get used to it, it kinda make sense.

      I'd like to see a classic and revamped menu for Libre Office.

  26. I've tried both and I've tried them for a very long time. While Writer comes pretty close to MS Word but Calc can not be compared to Excel as Excel is way more powerful. But as long as you are looking for free software. LibreOffice is a gift from the heavens.

    • @Amir, It's actually been proven that some of Excel's more complex math functions generate incorrect answers. In that respect, you're better off with someone else's spreadsheet if that's a thing you need.

  27. you should try/review Kingsoft Office.

    highly recommended

    • Now rechristened as WPS Office. For those who don't use Access -- but just spreadsheet, word or powerpoint -- I too highly recommend this over Libre (I've used both). WPS is far smaller, nimbler and faster than Libre (although Libre does include an Access alternative). Also, WPS provides an option for traditional button toolbars -- or ribbons for those who prefer the latter.

    • I really don't understand why people recommend WPS office. It is proprietary, doesn't run well on Linux and does not support ODF file formats. All parts of the suite mimic MS Office and are still less powerful. WPS started to also include a rent-per-month model.
      There is neither innovation, nor freedom, nor superiority in terms of features.

    • I agree with Person. It really doesn't tick any boxes for me. What makes it so good for you, Andy?

    • I worked with both Libre and OpenOffice before I switched to WPS. for a while.

      What made me stick to WPS was that it didn't mess up tracking changes and comments when working with colleagues who used different versions of MS Office, including Office for Mac.

      I might give LibreOffice another try again, although I'm back to MS Office.

  28. Have always used it from birth out of Open Office. I can't compare as I've never used MS Office. I try to avoid MS as much as possible. Unreasonably prejudiced.

    • Wow, that's impressive. Never, ever, ever, never ever really?

    • Same here. Really!

In a battle between OpenOffice versus LibreOffice, which office software suite would win? They're both 100% free and are great alternatives to MS Office, but which one will bring home the productivity title for you or your organization?

Unfortunately, deciding on which to download can be complicated since they don't look very different from the start. On top of that, even their more detailed distinctions are subtle. Really, the suite you choose will depend on personal preference, however, there are a few defining features that each are better known for, which might help push you over the fence in one direction.

Available Programs

Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice have several components that allow them to be called 'suites.' Each program serves a separate purpose as part of the whole.

These suites have six programs, identically named and with similar functions: Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (diagrams and illustrations), Base (databases), and Math (math equations and formulas).

LibreOffice and OpenOffice can be installed on Linux, Windows, and macOS operating systems, and both support a wide range of languages. With OpenOffice, you can install the full suite in your desired language or get the suite first and then install a language pack. LibreOffice has a huge set of language-specific installs, too, but you have to get LibreOffice in that language from the start; you can't install a language pack later.

Both are also entirely portable, meaning that you can install the portable LibreOffice on a flash drive, for example, or a single folder on your computer and then transport it anywhere you want while keeping all the same settings. OpenOffice portable works the same way.

One difference between these two office suites when it comes to program availability is that with OpenOffice, you can, if you want, install only Writer, or only Calc instead of the whole suite. However, when installing LibreOffice, your only option is to install everything even if you don't plan to use every program.

If you have limited hard drive space, you might avoid LibreOffice since the whole suite will take up more space than just one or two OpenOffice programs. Then again, both suites can be installed on portable devices, so if you have an external hard drive or other USB drives, that's another option.

Supported Formats

A big motivator to choose OpenOffice over LibreOffice, or vice versa, is to pick the program that can open the files you use often. That is, which files can each program in the suite open and—as equally important in some situations—to which formats can document be saved? This is an important question to ask if you're dealing with files that were created in or will be opened with, other programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

For example, if you want to be able to open DOCX files from MS Word in one of these programs, you should know beforehand both whether or not the program can open the file as well as if it can save the file back to that same format or if you have to choose a different one.

Free Word Processors Alternatives to MS Word

OpenOffice Formats

OpenOffice can open all of the file types below. That means if you have any file that ends with one of these file extensions, you can open it with an OpenOffice program.


One major exception that matters when choosing between LibreOffice and OpenOffice are the formats that files can be saved to; the files that these programs can create. For example, OpenOffice Writer, while able to open DOCX files just fine, cannot save back to that same format. Since it doesn't support making DOCX files, you have to save the newest MS Word format to something else like DOC, ODT, or RTF.

OpenOffice Calc has the same limitation when it comes to XLSX files; it can open them but cannot save back to that same format. The same is true for Impress and PPTX files, and Base and ACCDB files.

Libreoffice Free Download

LibreOffice Formats

Following are all the file formats that LibreOffice programs can open but not be saved back to that format. In other words, just like with OpenOffice, these files can be loaded into a LibreOffice program but when it's time to save the file, you have to pick a different format that's supported as a 'save as' format.


On the flip side, this is a list of all the file formats LibreOffice supports for both opening and saving, meaning that you can not only open and edit the file, but also save back to that same format.


As you can tell from that list of file extensions, LibreOffice fully supports Microsoft's newest file formats used for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. If you're looking for a great Microsoft Office alternative that will let you create MS Office formats as well as edit them, your only option here is to go with LibreOffice.

Mobile Apps

Libreoffice Writer Vs Microsoft Word Free

If mobile access is important to you, consider which suite supports smartphones and tablets. While the features of OpenOffice and LibreOffice are only fully realized through the desktop software, there are mobile apps from both developers that can extend the functionality of the desktop program or offer a similar service for mobile devices.

The only option for using OpenOffice on a mobile device is with the AndrOpen Office app for Androids. The app is completely free, and with it, you get access to Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, and Math. You can see which file formats are supported and what you can do with it if you follow that download link.

Two free LibreOffice apps are available but they have two totally different uses. LibreOffice Viewer is an Android app that can open and edit common file formats like DOCX, XLSX, PPTS, and more. It uses the same software engine as the desktop version of the program and utilizes a Firefox-based interface to open documents for reading.

Libreoffice Writer Vs Microsoft Word 2017

Another free LibreOffice app is called Impress Remote, for both iOS and Android. It lets you control Impress presentations from your phone so that you can walk around the room while presenting.

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