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LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: Which Free Suite is the Better Choice?

August 30, 2023 4.0K views

Discover the debate between LibreOffice and OpenOffice, two free office software options challenging Microsoft Office. dvrfThis guide helps you decide which suite suits your needs by exploring their features, performance, compatibility, and user interface differences. Make an informed choice based on this comprehensive comparison to select the office suite that aligns best with your preferences and requirements.

Part 1: An Overview of LibreOffice and OpenOffice

LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice, are both widely used open-source office suites. Initially released in 2000, OpenOffice offered a free alternative to Microsoft Office. However, concerns about its future led to the creation of LibreOffice in 2010. LibreOffice, with a more active community, provides regular updates and a broader range of templates and extensions. OpenOffice, under Apache, prioritizes security updates and stability.

Both suites allow for seamless collaboration by providing simple compatibility with Microsoft Office formats. They share similar features, like presentation tools and advanced formatting. Available for various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, they cater to diverse user needs.

In summary, the LibreOffice vs OpenOffice debate can conclude that both are popular open-source office suites. LibreOffice's vibrant community offers extensive customization options and regular updates. OpenOffice, focused on stability, has a loyal user base. Both suites offer similar features across multiple operating systems and support Microsoft Office formats.

Part 2: What's Common in LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice?

1.  Free, open source

Both LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice are free and open-source office suites. That means they are accessible to users, and their source code can be freely accessed, modified, and distributed.

2.  Similar Features

–Writer

–Calc

–Impress,

–Draw

–Math

–Bath

Both suites offer a similar set of core applications. These include Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics), Math (formula editor), and Base (database management). These applications provide users with comprehensive tools for document creation and editing.

3. Neither application package includes an email client.

Neither LibreOffice nor Apache OpenOffice includes an integrated email client. Their primary focus is providing office productivity applications rather than email management.

4. Compatibility with Microsoft Office and google docs file format

Both suites are designed to be compatible with popular file formats used by Microsoft Office, such as .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx. This compatibility allows users to open, edit, and save documents in these formats without compatibility issues. Also, both suites can import and export files in Google Docs formats, facilitating collaboration with users of the Google Docs platform.

5. Template libraries

LibreOffice and OpenOffice offer a wide range of templates users can utilize to enhance their document creation process. These templates cover various categories, including resumes, invoices, presentations, etc. That gives users a starting point and saves time in designing documents from scratch.

While both suites share these common elements, the differences in the ongoing debate of LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice might decide which one is the best. It is essential to note the differences between the two suites regarding community support, development, and updates. These distinctions will be explored in detail in the next section.

Part 3: What’s the Difference between LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice?

Item

LibreOffice

Apache OpenOffice

Website

libreoffice.org

www.openoffice.org

Operating system

Linux, Windows, macOS

Android, iOS, ChromeOS

Linux, macOS, Windows

Size

1.5 GB(Windows)

168 MB (4.1.10 en_US Windows .exe)

Language

119 languages

41 languages

User Interface

LibreOffice:

  • The user interface of LibreOffice is modern and customizable, allowing users to adapt the layout and toolbars according to their preferences.

  • It offers a tabbed interface, making it easier to switch between multiple documents within the same window.

  • LibreOffice suits various users, including individuals, families, businesses, and professionals from different occupations.

OpenOffice:

  • The user interface of OpenOffice is more traditional and resembles older versions of Microsoft Office.

  • It provides a more familiar interface for long-time OpenOffice users or those who prefer a more straightforward layout.

  • OpenOffice suits individuals, families, and small businesses who prefer a friendly, uncomplicated office suite.

Additional features

LibreOffice:

  • Advanced sidebar: It offers an advanced sidebar that provides quick access to various formatting options and tools, enhancing productivity and convenience.

  • Enhanced document collaboration: LibreOffice offers improved collaboration features, such as track changes, comments, and document sharing, facilitating teamwork on documents.

  • Improved support for OpenDocument Format (ODF): LibreOffice strongly supports ODF, an open standard file format, ensuring compatibility and interoperability with other software supporting ODF.

OpenOffice:

  • Legacy file format support: OpenOffice supports some older file formats that may not be widely used anymore. That makes it suitable for users who require compatibility with older documents.

  • Simplicity and familiarity: OpenOffice maintains a more straightforward interface and workflow, appealing to users who prefer a more concise and familiar office suite.

  • Basic document collaboration capabilities: OpenOffice provides basic document collaboration features, such as comments, and track changes, enabling limited user collaboration.

Compatibility With Other Office Suites (MS Office & Google Docs)

LibreOffice and OpenOffice are compatible with Microsoft Office and Google Docs file formats.

  • They can open, edit, and save documents in popular Microsoft Office formats, such as .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx, ensuring seamless collaboration with MS Office users.

  • They also offer import and export capabilities for Google Docs formats, allowing users to work with documents created in Google Docs.

It's important to note that both office suites strive for compatibility. But, occasional formatting discrepancies may occur when dealing with complex or heavily formatted documents. Users should carefully review and adjust their records when transitioning between office suites.

Part 4:  LibreOffice vs OpenOffice: Which is the better choice?

Pros

LibreOffice

OpenOffice

Advanced Sidebar & UI

Modern and customizable UI

Familiar interface for long-time users

Enhanced Document Collaboration

Improved collaboration features

Basic document collaboration capabilities

Improved Support for ODF

Strong support for ODF

Legacy support for older file formats

Compatibility with MS Office

Good compatibility with MS Office formats

Good compatibility with MS Office formats

Compatibility with Google Docs

Import and export capabilities for Google Docs formats

Import and export capabilities for Google Docs formats

Large and Active Community

Large and active community support

Established user base and community support




Cons

LibreOffice

OpenOffice

Learning Curve

Some users may find it slightly more complex initially

Limited updates and slower development pace

Resource Intensive

Higher resource requirements

Requires fewer resources

Limited Template Collection

Can be relatively smaller

Can be relatively smaller

Occasional Formatting Issues

May encounter occasional formatting discrepancies when working with complex documents

May encounter occasional formatting discrepancies when working with complex documents

User Interface Preferences

Some users may prefer a more traditional interface

Some users may find the interface outdated

Less Active Development

More frequent updates and new features

Less frequent updates and new features

In the debate of LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice, LibreOffice emerges as the better choice due to several key reasons. Here they are:

  1. It offers a modern and customizable user interface, allowing users to tailor the layout and toolbars to their preferences. This enhanced user experience makes it more intuitive and user-friendly.

  2. LibreOffice boasts advanced document collaboration features, making it ideal for teams and organizations that require seamless teamwork and version control. Additionally, LibreOffice provides improved support for the OpenDocument Format (ODF), ensuring compatibility and interoperability with other software supporting ODF.

  3. LibreOffice demonstrates strong compatibility with Microsoft Office and Google Docs file formats, facilitating smooth document exchange with users of these popular office suites.

  4. The thriving and active community surrounding LibreOffice ensures regular updates, support, and the availability of a rich pool of extensions and templates. Considering these factors, LibreOffice stands out as a robust and feature-rich free office suite that caters to a wide range of users, from individuals to businesses, providing a superior overall experience.

A Free Alternative Office Suite: WPS Office

WPS Office image of suite package

WPS Office is a popular free alternative office suite providing a comprehensive set of tools for creating, editing, and managing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It offers a user-friendly interface with a familiar layout, making it easy for users to transition from other office suites.

Main features and functionalities:

  • Cloud synchronization capability allows you to save your documents in the WPS cloud and access them from anywhere.

  • Seamless opening, editing, and saving of documents in Excel spreadsheets, presentations, and Word documents.

  • Compatibility and ease of collaboration with users of MS Office

Price:

WPS Office standard version is FREE with all functionalities

Supported Devices:

  • Windows

  • macOS

  • Linux

  • Android

  • iOS

Pros:

  • Viable alternative for individuals, students, and small businesses

  • Wide range of templates and resources to quickly create professional-looking documents

  • Powerful and feature-rich free office suite

  • Wide range of useful tools for document creation and management

Cons:

  • Free version of WPS Office does include ads

How to download WPS Office step-by-step:

Step 1:

Go to the WPS Office website and click download (see the red box below)

Step 2:

Select the specific operating system you have and click “download” to download the most compatible version with your device

Step 3:

Once the download is done, click on the file and complete the setup on your device

FAQs

Can I Use OpenOffice On Mobile (Android&iOS)?

AndrOpen Office and AO Office world's first ports of OpenOffice for Android and iOS/iPadOS respectively. They are made available on Google Play and the Apple App Store respectively.

Can I install only one component?

With OpenOffice, you can, if you want to, install only Writer or only Calc instead of the whole suite. However, when installing LibreOffice, your only option is to install everything, even if you don't plan to use every program.

Can LibreOffice and OpenOffice be used in a business environment?

Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice can be used in a business environment. They provide a comprehensive set of office productivity tools, including word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. However, the choice between the two depends on specific business needs and preferences.

What languages are supported by WPS Office now?

Our PC version now supports 46 languages including English, French, German, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, etc.

Final Thoughts

We hope we have made the debate between LibreOffice and OpenOffice much easier. However, it is essential to consider other alternatives as well. One notable option is WPS Office which was discussed in detail in this comprehensive guide.

WPS Offices is a comprehensive and user-friendly office suite that offers compatibility with Microsoft Office files, additional features, and seamless cloud synchronization. Its intuitive interface, strong compatibility, and availability across multiple platforms stand out.

Whether you are an individual, student, or small business owner, exploring WPS Office as an alternative could prove beneficial in meeting your office productivity needs.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.