LibreOffice is an open-source office suite that has many of the same features and applications as Microsoft Office. It even has some capabilities that the world’s most popular suite does not have.
It runs natively on Windows, Mac, Linux distros, and other operating systems.
The six applications that compose the suite and the StartCenter have their own sections in this Website, which contain articles and videos about features and settings that are unique to them:
- LibreOffice StartCenter (document management application)
- LibreOffice Writer (word processor)
- LibreOffice Calc (spreadsheet)
- LibreOffice Impress (presentation)
- LibreOffice Draw (vector drawing)
- LibreOffice Base (database)
- LibreOffice Math (formula)
LibreOffice can be downloaded from its Website. Other ways to obtain the suite are presented below.
The rest of this page gives an overview of the office suite. It has short sections on the following:
- Downloading and Installing
- Comparing to Microsoft Office
These sections have links to pages with more detailed information.
Pages in this section
Downloading and Installing
As mentioned above, LibreOffice can be downloaded from its Website, This is the only way to get the suite for these systems.
Most Linux distributions come with LibreOffice pre-installed. If they do not, they will typically have the applications in their package manager, a software program used to install and uninstall other software applications.
However, the latest version of LibreOffice may not be available through one of these. The latest versions may need to be installed by using the Terminal, a program that allows users to use their Linux distro’s command line.
LibreOffice also can be run on older and more obscure systems.
Click here to learn more about installing and running the suite on different modern and legacy systems.
The Document Foundation, a German non-profit organization that forked LibreOffice, wanted to share an office suite with the world at no cost. It believes that users should also be free:
- Free to run the program as they wish, for any purpose.
- Free to study how the program works and change it.
- Free to redistribute copies of the software.
- Free to distribute copies of the versions they modified.
The type of software is known as open source, or free. TDF states that they believe free software “better-quality, higher-reliability, increased-security, and greater-flexibility than proprietary alternatives.”
For this reason it has a manifesto of values to guide its developers. It values giving everyone access to its office productivity software at no charge; translating the software and its supporting documentation in many different languages; using open formats and standards so users can retain intellectual property rights of the documents they create; and an open and peer-reviewed process for creating software.
This has guided TDF to make LibreOffice with all of its applications look and run equally on many different operating systems.
LibreOffice was based on a closed-source office suite that was developed in the mid-1980s. Sun Microsystems purchased the creating company at the turn of the century, and shortly there after released the source code.
The suite was known as OpenOffice.org About a decade later, LibreOffice was created from its source code.
To learn more about the history of LibreOffice, click here.
Comparing to Microsoft Office
LibreOffice has features that Microsoft Office doesn’t have (of course the opposite is also true). One of the main advantages it has over Office is that all of its applications and all of their features are available on all the desktop operating systems that they can be installed on. The Mac versions of Office have never have had the same number of applications or the same features as the Windows versions.
There are other key advantages as well. LibreOffice supports more languages for free. This includes spell-check dictionaries and other writing aids, as well languages for the user interface. The open-source suite also supports more file formats than Office. This Website gives an extensive comparison of the two suites.