Why Use Microsoft Office When There Is A Free LibreOffice

This is not so much a review, more of a heads up to those that have not heard of LibreOffice yet. Many of us at LearnByCam have been using the Microsoft Office suite of applications since the start way back around 1990. But for the past couple of years we have been using LibreOffice and now wonder why anyone would want to use anything else.

Microsoft Office users have had to keep paying vast sums to upgrade to the newer versions over the years to maintain compatibility with other users. 

LibreOffice is open source and completely free for everyone to use. LibreOffice can read and write to the Microsoft Office formats such as 97/2000/XP/2003 or 2007/2010 formats. LibreOffice can also export to PDF format as well as saving to the new international standard OpenDocument format. So compatibility wise it’s absolutely fantastic.

LibreOffice is available for all the major operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux. We ourselves run it on several Windows versions as well as Ubuntu Linux. It’s also available in a large number of languages. A mobile Android version is also being developed as well as a cloud based ‘online’ version.

The LibreOffice suite comprises the following applications:

  • Writer – For creation of documents like ‘Microsoft Word’.
  • Calc – Spreadsheet application like ‘Microsoft Excel’.
  • Impress – for creation of presentations like ‘Microsoft PowerPoint’.
  • Draw – All purpose diagramming & charting tool like ‘Microsoft Visio’.
  • Base – Database compatible with MySQL, PostgreSQL & Microsoft Access.
  • Math – A simple equation editor for mathematical & scientific equations.

There are also a large number of extensions available, including dictionaries, tools, import export filters etc.

LibreOffice does a very good job of doing what the Microsoft Office suite does but it does it completely for free, so for us its a classic no brainer.

Some may ask what about OpenOffice? LibreOffice was created as a fork from OpenOffice a few years ago so they are similar to a large extent. The difference is that OpenOffice has had a rocky ride over recent years due to Oracle/Sun Microsystems attempt to over manage the project. To cut a long story short that didn’t work out well and the name OpenOffice now resides under the ‘Apache Software Foundation’ and is licensed by them. The original OpenOffice community of developers that were fired or left went on to create LibreOffice. So LibreOffice contains most if not all of the great developers that originally created OpenOffice. OpenOffice although now returned to the ‘community’ doesn’t seem to be as active in its development, which is why we prefer LibreOffice.
You can read more about LibreOffice and download it for free from the following link: https://www.libreoffice.org

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