There’s no shortage of text and document editors today, from apps built for tablets to online editors built for the cloud, but one of our favorites is LibreOffice. What is LibreOffice? It’s a great alternative to Microsoft Office, with a highly customizable package of applications that are still easy for newcomers. Let’s dive into the details of whether LibreOffice might be the right tool for you.

Document your work in LibreOffice.

What is LibreOffice?

LibreOffice is a suite of document-oriented tools from The Document Foundation, designed to work with different file types with a single download. Users can write essays, create spreadsheets, edit their presentations and much more with this software. The technology has been developed over ten years of work, while LibreOffice has kept up with the latest platforms and security requirements to keep things up-to-date and expand into new areas. It’s also open source, with a lot of community involvement as people work on the latest add-ons or solutions.

Comparisons to apps like the Microsoft Office suite are easy to make, and LibreOffice resembles Office apps in many ways. This is one reason why newcomers can jump right in and start using the software confidently without much training. But the interface and features are designed to be more versatile for those who want to dig deeper.

Is LibreOffice free?

Yes. It is entirely open source and free to download for any compatible device. You don’t need to create an account or register for anything. You can find download options right here.

However, if you use LibreOffice for business, The Document Foundation works with partners to provide enterprise-level support, tools, and certifications. This comes with associated fees, which may vary by solution.

What types of documents does LibreOffice work with?

The LibreOffice suite is divided into several categories: Writer (for written documents), Calc (for spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (for scribbling), Base (databases), Math (formula editor), and Charts (for create charts). Together, these applications can cover a wide variety of file formats and work with most files you have. This includes Word .doc and .docx files, as well as corresponding Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher files. LibreOffice also specializes in ODF, or Open Document Format, which is designed to be easily exported to a variety of other programs once you’re done in LibreOffice.

It can also handle PDFs, although formatting issues are (as they often are) a real possibility.

How easy is LibreOffice to use?

As mentioned, those familiar with the Office suite should have no problem getting started. The interfaces are designed to be intuitive and encourage a quick learning process so you can start your work as soon as possible. Writer and Calc in particular are similar to their Microsoft counterparts. As we’ll discuss a little later, the interface is customizable as well, so you should be able to organize things the way you like with a little practice.

Choose LibreOffice dark mode.

What platforms is LibreOffice available on?

While LibreOffice is especially friendly to Linux platforms and a common feature of Linux distributions, it works with a wide variety of operating systems. This includes Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Chrome OS. Some versions of LibreOffice work through Collabora and others can be downloaded directly from the LibreOffice website or from the corresponding app stores.

Do I need an Internet connection to use LibreOffice?

No, you don’t need to be online to use LibreOffice. However, if you want to store files in cloud storage like Dropbox, you’ll need to be online to do so.

Can I customize LibreOffice?

Yes. The open source nature of LibreOffice allows for many different types of customization, and the years of work put into it by the community gives you many options. Many extensions are approved by LibreOffice and available for direct download, so you don’t have to do much work. This includes things like an updated spell check, new color palettes, dictionaries, templates, and a variety of tools to make certain types of work easier. Or you can look for templates and add-ons that are also offered elsewhere, although it might take more work to find the right fit.

Even if you don’t want to download anything, you’ll find that LibreOffice has a number of options in Preferences, Display, and Format for changing the way things look and behave. You can change the position of tools, add or remove tools, change the look of icons, choose from a wide variety of themes, or change specific colors to get exactly the look you want. There’s a lot to dig into if you’re serious about your customization.

Is LibreOffice the same as OpenOffice?

Yes and no. OpenOffice, also known as, was an older version of the open source project that eventually became LibreOffice. LibreOffice was designed to be a more complete and user-friendly version of OpenOffice that could be maintained and improved for years. No competition between the two is necessary: ​​LibreOffice is simply a newer version of OpenOffice.

Does LibreOffice still receive updates?

Yes, LibreOffice continues to receive updates for better compatibility, security and new features approximately every six months. It is currently at version 7.4 and there are no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future.

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