Libre Office - The free alternative to MS Office

For a long time, many end-users have had their limitation in the use of Microsoft office. Why is this case? Microsoft falls under the category of commercial office suite product package, unlike free or open-source suite of office products like LibreOffice. For one to use Microsoft Office, the purchase of a license is required. These licenses are not cheap by all standards. As a result of this payment, many end-users find themselves on the receiving end. Thanks to LibreOffice, that is a free-to-use for all. Most offices come with different applications like Word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation, among others. All these applications have different formats, including the most common ones like DOCX, PPT, XLSX, mainly found on the commercial platforms.

There is also a format known as OpenDocument Text (ODT), which is not very common. An ODT file can be created mostly using the free OpenOffice Writer word processor program. The file format finds its similarity to the DOCX file format since both can display text, objects, images, and styles. The good news is that you can easily convert most formats from one type to the other, like the ODT to PDF.

Microsoft Office has different versions to run on Windows and Mac. Sadly speaking, Microsoft Office cannot run on Linux easily. On the other hand, LibreOffice runs smoothly on all Windows, Linux, and Mac. How can you then compare Microsoft Office with LibreOffice? To find the outstanding differences, you can compare their toolbars, file compatibility, cloud services programs, and user support for the duo.

When comparing the LibreOffice toolbar with Microsoft's tool, it is good to consider the ribbon toolbar, which helps users quickly and easily find the commands. The most recent Microsoft Office's version limits the toolbar customization. However, you can order the commands and tabs in any way you want and hide and unhide the ribbons and commands you hardly use. Microsoft Office allows you to export or import a customized ribbon though you are not allowed to reduce its size or the text and icons on it. In contrast, like the older version of Microsoft Office, LibreOffice allows you to customize without reservations. Further, LibreOffice recently introduced Notebook Bar, an optional user interface that unifies toolbars by grouping them into tabs.

LibreOffice is compatible with Microsoft and non-Microsoft products, whereas Microsoft office documents mostly look different on LibreOffice since Microsoft uses its own fonts. Again, more significantly, data is interpreted and rendered on-screen differently in both suites. When you compare the two suites based on cloud services, LibreOffice does not come with any cloud storage as in Microsoft Office OneDrive, built into all the programs. OneDrive is actually the default save location for the Microsoft Office documents.

The two suites offer various programs that have almost similar functions though different. Although both will offer a Word processing program, LibreOffice comes with Writer while Microsoft Office gives you Word. Moreover, LibreOffice's presentations program is Impress while Microsoft Office is PowerPoint. When you compare the two suites' database programs, Microsoft Office offers Access while LibreOffice offers Base. Though calc is an inbuilt application in Windows, LibreOffice offers it its Spreadsheet while Microsoft has Excel. Interestingly, LibreOffice does not come with an email program while Microsoft comes with an Outlook email program.

Customer support as a service is included as you purchase a Microsoft Office license. There are various options, including live chat support, online chatbot, among others with Microsoft Office whiles LibreOffice relies on the goodwill of the community who volunteer both their time and expertise.