LibreOffice makes Linux distros viable alternatives to Windows

You leave work for a short lunch break. You don’t have time to sit and eat at a fast food restaurant or cafe, so you use the app for of one of those establishments to place an order that will be ready for you when you arrive.

It is highly likely that you interacted with a server running a Linux operating system when you placed the order. These flexible operating systems are widely used on servers, smart devices, and many other computers that people use every day. They typically use them without knowing the operating system.

However, if you had more time to spend in a restaurant and observe people sitting in it and working on their laptops, one thing that would be rare to find is one of those computers running a Linux distro and the person editing a document in LibreOffice. This would be a rare sight at any restaurant, office, or even home around the world.

Linux distros run on about 2 percent of the desktop computers worldwide. Microsoft continues to dominate the work world with its operating systems and office suite.

This domination has caused many computer companies to go out of business. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were several operating systems and office applications on the market that were widely known. However, Microsoft was able to advance its market share on PCs with the introduction of Windows 95. Other operating systems and office applications became obsolete for this reason.

Linux was released in 1991, and was originally designed as a desktop operating system for Intel’s x86 architecture. The companies who develop Linux operating systems for servers and other devices, also maintain free desktop versions of their applications. Other organizations, that release distros, rely on donations to operate.

LibreOffice has been developed to run equally well on these operating systems, as well as Windows and Mac OS. The question is why continue to develop for platforms that collectively only run on 2 percent of PCs?

Microsoft created versions of its office applications that run on Android, iOS, and Mac, as well as Windows. It has never made a Linux version, and probably doesn't see a viable business reason to do so.

Other companies, however, made Linux versions. They later discontinued them. For example, Corel made a version 6 of WordPerfect for Linux in 1995. Version 9 was not designed to run natively on Linux. The Corel Linux Business Division was sold to Xandros in 2001.

LibreOffice history
LibreOffice was developed from source code, which was taken from StarOffice code. StarOffice was one of the office suites that was released on Linux platforms, like WordPerfect.

Star Division, the company that created StarOffice, was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999. The company that created the Java language, valued open-source communities to help them develop software. In July 2000 at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, Sun announced that the source code for StarOffice would be released. was the new community.

"Microsoft's lock in on its Office file formats is arguably at least as important to their monopoly position as their control of the operating system itself," said Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly and Associates (from the press release for the convention). "The availability of StarOffice under the GPL will give Linux a boost on the desktop, but more importantly, the wide availability of StarOffice Suite's code for reading and writing Microsoft Office formats will allow other open source projects to provide compatible functionality as well. Open data is the other side of the open source coin."

LibreOffice came on the scene in 2010, shortly after Oracle had acquired Sun Microsystems. Key volunteers at decided to form The Document Foundation, due to concerns Oracle’s commitment to open-source projects.

In April 2011, Oracle announced that it would move to a “to a purely community-based open source project”. It gave it to the Apache Foundation, never contributing the name to The Document Foundation.

TDF evolved LibreOffice’s capabilities so it could could open legacy and modern formats, including the latest Microsoft Office ones. It makes it easier for LibreOffice users to work with Microsoft Office users. LibreOffice can easily convert the Office documents to OpenDocument Formats, which are not tied to any vendor.

This compatibility and the dedication to cross-platforming gives the user a choice of what operating system he or she uses.

Linux distros advantages
One of the advantages of open software and file formats, such as ODT (OpenDocument Text), is that the source code can be studied and modified. This is important for everyone, not just programmers.

Open applications are not tied to a particular vendor and its whims. This gives users more control over their documents and systems because they won’t be forced into making changes.

For example, when Microsoft evolves and discontinues support of older software, many users lost could not open older documents because new versions of Office don’t support them. The company also has a history of forcing upgrades and doing other things the user cannot control.

While Microsoft addresses complaints, for users the fact is that the user has to wait on them or downgrade their system. There is not a way for users to fix a problem themselves or hire a programmer to fix it for them.

The Document Foundation is a community of developers and other volunteers dedicated to free and open-source software. Like LibreOffice, Linux is free and open-source. TDF, therefore, strongly believe in Linux distros as alternatives to Windows.

In addition to giving users control, they are more secure than Windows, and they also work better on older computers. There are numerous other reasons why they are better than Microsoft’s offering.

Linux distros offer users freedom and control that Windows does not give them. Over the years, graphical user interfaces have evolved, so many of these distros are easy to use.

TDF’s like-minded dedication to this freedom has led them to keep the latest versions of its office suite available on them. Linux users can continue to create and collaborate with their computers, even though they are in the minority of users.

Some well-known Linux distros:

LibreOffice can migrate legacy graphic formats into open ones

Incorporating images in documents is commonplace in modern office work. Most office-suite applications can easily import an image from a hard drive into a document and integrate it into a paragraph, so the text wraps around it.

Both LibreOffice and Microsoft Office 2016 have had this capability for a long time. They can import common bitmap and vector formats. These formats can be produced by graphics creation and photo manipulation programs, such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

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Impress needs video export option

Videos are great ways to share ideas on the Web. Create one, upload it to your server or a video hosting service, like YouTube, and embed the video in a blog or other type of Web page.

NOTE: PowerPoint for Mac can export recorded slideshows to MP4 and MOV videos, but the audio may not be included in the video.

Turning a presentation into a video is a great way to share it, and if audio is included in the presentation, converting it into a video format is usually an effortless way of preserving the animation and audio of the original file. Currently, only Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows and Apple Keynote have easy ways to convert presentations to videos.

The current versions of LibreOffice Impress do not have this feature without adding a plugin. It has many of the same features as PowerPoint and several that the Microsoft application does not.

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PowerPoint, Impress enhance Websites with presentation exports

Presentation applications can be run from a computer attached to a projector, and a presentation can be given in front of a room.

However, these applications can do so much more. They are designed to integrate images art, and text to create visually impacting documents. They have a lot in common with standard drawing applications.

Slides for presentations can be exported to common image formats and uploaded to a server, so the presentation can be given through a Web browser. They also can enhance a Web page or blog

Two of the most popular presentation applications are Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows and LibreOffice Impress. Both can convert presentations to various image formats so they can be seen through a browser and Website.

This article will explore the capabilities how both export slides and presentations to images so presentations can be seen through the Web.

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Calc make saving charts as stand-alone images simple

Microsoft graphs and charts are easy to work with. They are created from data in an Excel spreadsheet. Then they can be inserted into a Word document or PowerPoint presentation, where they also can be edited.

This makes it easy for students and professionals to insert charts into reports and presentations as long as they are using Microsoft Office.

However, Microsoft’s charts do not work as easily outside of the suite. Many people may want to post their charts in a blog or Web page. They may want to email it to colleagues or send it to them during a chat session on Skype or a similar application.

Others may want to include a chart in a larger graphic element with professional drawing applications, such as Photoshop or Illustrator.

These require charts to be saved as images. The images are then inserted into a document or attached to a chat.

Excel requires the user to perform several steps to save a chart as an image. There are several different ways to do it.

LibreOffice Calc is different. It allows charts created from its data to be exported into several graphic and image formats with one simple step.

This article covers the steps it takes to save a chart as an image in Calc and Excel. It also covers the formats they can be saved in.

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Calc, Excel can create customizable bar, column charts

Bar and column graphs are some of the most used in presentations. They are great visuals for different data in a spreadsheet. Most spreadsheet applications have them as one of the charts that can be created.

LibreOffice and Microsoft Excel for Windows are the most advanced spreadsheets on the market. They have several bar and column charts to choose from, and both allow users to edit and modify every aspect of the charts they create.

This article will compare how many bar and column charts the two applications have to offer, the options each has for stylizing the charts, and they create them.

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Excel’s sophistication makes it the best spreadsheet for chart creation

Spreadsheets are the tools of number crunchers. Stockbrokers, financial analysts, and mathematicians are a few of the professionals who use this type of application heavily. When it comes time to share their information with others, however, they cannot rely on the rows and columns of figures to be clear to their audience.

This is why they create charts that can be inserted into presentations and word processor documents. Most spreadsheet applications have features to create charts from the data in their cells.

Like with other functions, Microsoft Excel for Windows and LibreOffice Calc, are the two most feature-rich applications for creating charts. Other popular spreadsheets, such as Google Sheets and Apple Numbers, don’t have the number of categories or the number of charts that these two have.

While the Mac version of Excel has many of the same charts as its Windows counterpart, it is still not quite as feature rich. It also doesn’t have the same number of charts as Calc.

This article will compare the number of charts available for Calc and Excel for Windows. It also will compare the user interfaces for the two.

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LibreOffice Calc, Microsoft Excel bury insert rows and columns feature

Spreadsheet applications are not used as much as word processors, but they are used for just as diverse purposes. Grocery shoppers can use them to create lists. Financial managers use them to create charts from data showing forecasts for organizations. There are many other users and uses.

Though people from diverse walks of life use spreadsheets differently, they all typically perform some of the same functions. These include adding and deleting columns and rows.

This article compares how these are done in LibreOffice Calc to how they are done in Microsoft Excel 2016 for Windows.

While these to spreadsheet applications are considered to be the most powerful and feature-rich applications. However, they are not as user-friendly as some other popular spreadsheets, when it comes to adding or deleting rows and columns.

First the article will explain how these are performed. Read more

Paragraph settings increase list adjustment capabilities in Word, Writer

Most word processors treat different styles such as headings and titles as paragraphs. Lists are no different. Many of these applications make the individual points lists.

This means that, while most word processors have special settings for lists and their points, their settings for paragraphs also can be applied to lists and their points. Paragraph settings can be used to indent the left and right sides of a list item. There are also settings to add space above or below an item.

In LibreOffice Writer and Microsoft Word for Windows users can use their various paragraph settings to make adjustments to lists and their items. Both have Paragraph dialogs with similar settings. Their other settings is what sets the two word processors apart from each other.

This article will focus on the settings for indentation and spacing before and after paragraphs in Word and Writer.

Writer’s other indentation and paragraph spacing settings are in the Formatting toolbar and the Properties tab of the sidebar. Like the settings in the dialog, these icons will affect individual bullet and number points.

In Word, they are in the Paragraph section of the Home ribbon. These icons, unlike the Paragraph dialog settings, only affect the entire list. They do not make adjustments to individual items. Read more