The standard recommendations for MS Office alternatives are OpenOffice and LibreOffice. The two are very similar. The differences are in the details—a comparison. Similar, the differences are in the details—a comparison. With this willingness, it looks different with companies: They often value maximum compatibility with the file formats of the original, as well as possibly the Office 365 subscription model (now called “Microsoft 365”) with frequent new functions and cloud connection.
Private users usually find the above less important: “Perfect compatibility with the formats of MS Office, Ribbon user interface? I don’t spend any money on that,” is the motivation for many to use free alternatives such as OpenOffice or LibreOffice. You get decent, albeit not perfect, MS Office compatibility with both office packages: You largely master the handling of files that other users have created with the Microsoft package. In addition, the use is pleasant given the free factor.
Apache Only Brings Mini-Updates
Smaller updates keep coming out for LibreOffice – and bigger ones. Version (Major Release) 7 improved the compatibility with the MS Office formats of Word, Excel and PowerPoint in August 2020. Smaller updates followed in 2021, most recently to version 7.1.3. This brings over 100 bug fixes, with a quarter ensuring better compatibility with the MS Office file formats DOCX, XLSX and PPTX. OpenOffice hasn’t received any major updates for years. In 2020 there was only one (minor) update to version 4.1.8. The versions 4.1.9 and 4.1.10 released in 2021 are maintenance versions.
The Apache Wiki describes OpenOffice 4.1.10 as a “security version with important bug fixes”. The update closes a security hole, fixes the problem of inconsistent results when including MP3 files in a presentation and updates the Danish and English dictionary. The suites celebrated an anniversary in 2020: LibreOffice celebrated its 10th anniversary, OpenOffice booked twice the duration. LibreOffice is based on OpenOffice.
In an open letter, the developers of the Libre package indirectly requested the end of the sibling program. They want to work together so that users get the best overall package. However, as a user, you can easily have both suites on the disk. This constellation resulted from the article research.
OpenOffice Or LibreOffice?
To anticipate: you are not doing anything wrong with OpenOffice or LibreOffice. Both have their competing components for the MS Office applications: Writer instead of Word, Calc instead of Excel, Impress instead of PowerPoint – so far, so well known. However, in contrast to Outlook with MS Office, there is a functional gap in the email program. Thunderbird jumps into the breach: Mozilla software comes from open-source environments, like OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Alternatively, you can use a web mailer in your browser to handle mail traffic – however, a client program such as Thunderbird is preferable for managing mail accounts from multiple providers.
OpenOffice Vs. LibreOffice Differences
OpenOffice and LibreOffice can be installed as full versions without investing money – in contrast to MS Office. You can use the latter at least to a limited extent free of charge: In addition to testing versions (easily downloadable via Windows ISO downloader ), there are functionally reduced web app versions that require a Microsoft email address. The iPod touch, iPhone and iPad apps can be used free of charge, depending on the size of the device.
Meanwhile, a rarity: On older Windows 7 notebooks, there is partly an MS Office 2010 Starter with Word and Excel installed by the device manufacturer, which omits some functions and displays advertisements. If you have reinstalled Windows (7) on such mobile computers and no longer have the manufacturer image, you can no longer get MS Office Starter for free. Then the OpenOffice and LibreOffice competition almost imposes itself.
Is LibreOffice Better Than OpenOffice?
LibreOffice emerged from OpenOffice, so they have a lot in common: The source code base is identical. The code is open source, i.e. viewable – i.e. open source. If you wish, experts can look inside and overview the working method and possible security gaps. There is no registration or fee for downloading, installing and using the packages. Both applications are available for download as installable and portable versions; the portable offices do not require installation and run directly from the hard drive / SSD or external storage media. LibreOffice is not installed in Windows but numerous Linux distributions such as Ubuntu.
Despite some similarities between OpenOffice and LibreOffice: Differences can already be seen during installation. Overall, LibreOffice is more modern, thanks to more frequent updates and a 64-bit version. OpenOffice again scores with lower RAM consumption. You can read more details and a few more differences in the photo gallery above. Note: For comparison, it is almost impossible to tap and compare every corner of the applications, as they are enormously complex. In this respect, you will only find a selection of differences.
Some users may use LibreOffice for reasons of sympathy. If you want to use products for logical rather than philosophical reasons, use the photo gallery above to explore The points in which the programs are designed differently – even a parallel installation is not a problem.
LibreOffice Versus OpenOffice: Comparison – Conclusion
There is no right or wrong: All in all, OpenOffice and LibreOffice are recommended. If you have no special requirements, you will not necessarily notice the quirks of the tools, and you will be fine with both. If you want to rely on a proven application with a long history, OpenOffice is an option: The sometimes lower RAM consumption is advantageous when used on older PCs. The software does little things better than LibreOffice – despite technical lag: LibreOffice is available as a 32- and 64-bit version, OpenOffice only as a 32-bit version.
The more frequent updates at LibreOffice not only close security gaps and maintain more modern designs, and only LibreOffice offers Microsoft’s X formats (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX) for storage. The rarer updates speak against OpenOffice because of the security – actually: If you find frequent updates annoying, you may tend to prefer OpenOffice. Because with less update effort, OpenOffice users are version-wise “up to date”. Please note, however, that the security situation at LibreOffice is probably better due to more frequent updates.
Tip: Install both OpenOffice and LibreOffice on a test basis – and keep or use more often the program that is more stable in the long term and whose interfaces and handling you like better. The article author uses LibreOffice and OpenOffice: he uses LibreOffice on his own devices. All two suites are used on one PC, and he equipped his mother’s PC with OpenOffice. Since both tools do a good job, both come into play.