Don’t want to pay for MS Office? Check out LibreOffice the free alternative.

One of my favorite Open Source applications is LibreOffice, which is a full office suite of applications. I use it almost everyday as a replacement for MS Office and have not encountered anything that it can’t do.

Don’t know what Open Source is?  Check out my overview here.

In my experience, unless you are the most advanced user of MS application and performing extremely complex tasks you will find that LibreOffice can do everything you need.

Applications – MS Office Compared to LibreOffice

The alternative applications are:

MS Office LibreOffice
Word Writer
Excel Calc
PowerPoint Impress
Visio Draw
Access Base

There are a couple of commonly used application that do not have alternatives offered by LibreOffice. These are:

  • Outlook
    • LibreOffice doesn’t include an email program. My prefered alternative is Thunderbird
  • OneNote
    • OneNote is an amazing note taking and organising application which I highly recommend you check out if you haven’t already. It is available for free directly from MS. So even though it isn’t Open Source (if you care about that sort of thing) you certainly can’t complain about the price!
  • Microsoft Publisher
    • If you need to do professional level publishing then an Open Source alternative is Scribus[https://www.scribus.net/]

File Formats

LibreOffice uses the OpenDocument Format (ODF).  The ODF is a standardized file format used by many software applications.

Current versions of MS Office products use Office Open XML file format (OOXML), which is also an open standard format.

Although both suites use different file formats they both use an open standard, which is good because this allows anyone to read the file. MS Office can open LibreOffice documents and LibreOffice can open MS Office files.  You may find minor formatting issues when opening documents between suites but mostly things work well.

Please note that for any files that include macros – the macros are not compatible and therefore will not work in the alternate Office Suite.

Detailed Comparison

I am not going to go into more detailed comparison here because the community over at the Document Foundation have already done it for me!

You can check out the comparison to MS Office over here for more details on how the different parts of LibreOffice stack up against the MS equivalent.


My recommendation if you are looking for a free alternative to MS Office then go and download LibreOffice now.

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