LibreOffice is a free and open-source Office productivity suite for Linux, Windows, and Mac. I used Microsoft Office when I was on Windows. You can see more than 90% of Windows users use Microsoft Office. And I was no exception. But when I switched to Linux, I found LibreOffice. And it’s a great Office program and probably the best MS Office alternative.
A Brief History Of LibreOffice
LibreOffice is a free and open-source Office productivity suite developed by The Document Foundation. It was forked from OpenOffice in 2010. OpenOffice was an open-source version of the earlier StarOffice.
Sun Microsystems acquired StarOffice in 1999 and released the source code in 2000 as a free and open-source office suite called OpenOffice.
In 2010, Oracle Corporation bought Sun Microsystems and named the project Oracle Open Office. In 2011, Oracle discontinued the development of OpenOffice and made it a purely community-based project.
What Is LibreOffice?
LibreOffice is the successor of OpenOffice. Since then, it has come a long way. LibreOffice uses the OpenDocument standard as its native file format and supports all the major platforms like Windows, Mac, and Linux. It is available in 115 languages.
It is by far the default Office suite for most Linux Distributions. Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Zorin OS, Manjaro, Fedora all the major distributions use LibreOffice out of the box. You will find many other Office programs for Linux, but LibreOffice is best compatible with MS Office.
Why should I be concerned about MS Office? That’s because MS Office has a significant market share. And when you share your documents with others, you need to ensure that your document doesn’t break on their machine. This is because they are probably using Microsoft Office.
LibreOffice has six different programs.
- LibreOffice Writer – A word processor similar to Microsoft Word.
- LibreOffice Calc – A spreadsheet program similar to Microsoft Excel.
- LibreOffice Impress – A presentation program similar to Microsoft Powerpoint.
- LibreOffice Draw – A vector graphics editor, raster graphics editor, and diagramming tool.
- LibreOffice Math – Designed for creating and editing mathematical formulae.
- LibreOffice Base – A database management program similar to Microsoft Access.
Writer is a word processor program similar to Microsoft Word. It’s a simple yet powerful, feature-rich, modern word processing and desktop publishing tool you can use for free. You can use it to create resumes, ebooks, reports, letters, brochures, newsletters, and other documents.
Write has everything to create custom-style documents. From changing fonts to complex diagrams, you can do all kinds of stuff. It also has the AutoCorrect feature to check for typos and spelling mistakes. You can use predefined templates to get started quickly.
LibreOffice Writer uses the native file format ODT (OpenDocument Text) and can be exported as a Microsoft Word file format like DOC, or DOCX. You can also export your document as a PDF. It also supports various file formats like RTF, HTML, TXT, XML, and more.
Calc is a spreadsheet program similar to MS Excel. You can use it to create and edit spreadsheets for data collection, data analysis, financial modeling, statistical analysis, creating invoices, creating graphs, and lots more. Calc offers a range of features including:
- Customizable cell formatting and styling options.
- Functions and formulas for mathematical, financial, and statistical calculations.
- Charts and graphs for data visualization.
- Multiple sheet management for organizing and grouping data.
- Import and export compatibility with popular spreadsheet formats like XLS, XLSX, CSV, and ODS.
Calc is also known for its user-friendly interface, compatibility with a wide range of operating systems, and low resource requirements. It’s a popular alternative to commercial spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.
Impress is an intuitive and powerful presentation software. You can create professional-quality presentations with LibreOffice Impress. It has a range of advanced features to make the job much easier. You can work with multimedia elements like images, videos, and audio. You can also implement special effects like animations, transitions, and custom slide layouts.
Impress is highly compatible with Microsoft Powerpoint. You don’t need to worry about breaking the slides on other machines running MS Office. You can also export your presentation in PDF. This makes it easy to share and collaborate with others.
Draw is a graphics editing tool that allows you to work with a variety of visual elements. It has various tools and shapes to create diagrams, infographics, flowcharts, vector graphics, etc. You can add annotations, hyperlinks, animations, and other interactive elements to make it more illustrated and useful.
Draw also supports importing and exporting other file types like SVG, PNG, and PDF. This makes it more versatile to share and collaborate with others. LibreOffice Draw is a great alternative to Microsoft Visio.
Math is a formula editor that helps you to create, edit, and insert mathematical equations and formulas into documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings. It supports complex mathematical expressions and symbols to make your work easy. You can export your equations in PDF for easy sharing.
Math is useful for students, researchers, and anyone who needs to work with mathematical content.
Base is a database management system that creates, manages, and manipulates relational databases to store and organize a large amount of data. It supports a variety of database engines like MySQL/MariaDB, Adabas D, MS Access, and PostgreSQL.
In addition, it has built-in support for JDBC and ODBC standard drivers. This allows users to connect virtually any other existing database engines as well. LibreOffice Base is a great alternative to the Microsoft Access database management program.
LibreOffice is great. You cannot tell until you try it. It is free and open-source which means you don’t have to break the bank on a proprietary Office suite. It requires a very little learning curve and can do day-to-day tasks without any major hiccups.
Indeed, The Document Foundation does not provide support. But you will find great community support to help you out. LibreOffice is growing and people are adopting it to reduce costs and increase productivity. Microsoft Office is still dominating the market but has a premium price tag.
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