MS Office vs. Libre Office – What’s the Difference?

Microsoft Office and LibreOffice are both office software packages that help you with word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. Their functions are similar but differ in some ways that you should consider when choosing which one to use. I will break down the differences between these two programs so you can make an informed decision on which package to use.

Introduction To Microsoft Office

is proprietary office suite software for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and also part of Xbox One. It is developed by Microsoft Corporation. The latest version is Office 2016 which was released on September 22, 2015. All versions of Microsoft’s office suites (ProPlus) can be used on a subscription basis through their web apps: Word Web App, Excel Web App, and PowerPoint Web App (Windows only). These are free to use for consumers but require an Office 365 subscription for business use.

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The latest version is Office 2016 which was released on September 22, 2015. All versions of Microsoft’s office suites (ProPlus) can be used on a subscription basis through their web apps: Word Web App, Excel Web App, and PowerPoint Web App (Windows only). These are free to use for consumers but require an Office 365 subscription for business use.

Introduction To LibreOffice

Libre means free, as in freedom. It is free software, based on The Document Foundation version of Apache OpenOffice. It aims to be a complete office suite—including word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics manipulation, and more—but it has fewer features than MS Office.

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That said, it is very robust and popular among Linux users. It’s also available for Windows and Mac OS X, but not iOS or Android. It’s worth noting that The Document Foundation was formed by former members of Sun Microsystems who worked on OpenOffice; Oracle later donated OpenOffice to them after acquiring Sun.

Differences Between MS Office and Libre office

1. Word processing

OpenOffice vs. Microsoft Word – LibreOffice, Open Office, also known as OOo or Openoffice, is a leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases. It was started in 2000 by Sun Microsystems’ Star Division to avoid Oracle’s fees for its use of Java in another office application.

2. Spreadsheets

In a nutshell, spreadsheets are a type of program that allows users to create or edit tables (aka spreadsheets) which in turn can be used to calculate sums. Generally speaking, these programs also offer additional features like word processing functions. Spreadsheets may not be as exciting as word processors or graphics design software, but they’re far more practical.

3. Presentations

I’m a big fan of open-source software, so I use LibreOffice (and not Microsoft Office) in my day-to-day work. It’s free to download, so you can try it out on your computer without any hassle. If you’re using Mac OS X or Linux, it’s probably already installed on your machine.

4. Working with PDFs

You can’t edit PDFs directly in Word, but you can view them by opening a PDF file in its own window. The advantage of viewing PDFs in their own window is that you don’t have to stop working while they load. You can also fill out PDF forms with your computer keyboard, which is especially helpful if you’re using a tablet or touchscreen device like an iPad.

5. Collaboration tools

While both of these software suites are perfectly capable of producing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from scratch, collaboration is another matter entirely. When it comes to working together on team projects, Google Drive will forever remain a strong leader in online productivity—and that’s because it allows you to work with others at almost every step of your process.

Comparison Between Microsoft Office and Libre Office

The great thing about both apps is that they are continually being updated, with new features being added all of the time. The only difference is that Microsoft office has more advanced features but at a cost. If you don’t need those features or your budget allows for it, then go with Libre office! You’ll save money while getting almost identical software.

Comparison Microsoft Office LibreOffice
Definition Microsoft Office is a proprietary office suite for Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X operating systems by Microsoft. It comprises desktop applications, servers, and various services. Libreoffice is also an office suite, but it is developed by The Document Foundation. It is a free and open-source suite.
Initial Release August 1, 1989 25 January 2011
License Proprietary commercial software LGPL public license
Cross-platform availability Windows, Mac OS X, *Linux

(*Microsoft Office can be installed on Linux by using products like Wine and Cross Over)

Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and FreeBSD
Word Processor Word (Supports diagonal borders in tables, extending reading mode of the document, picture styles, and additional effects) Writer (Supports overlining of text, master documents for longer texts)
Spreadsheet Excel (Supports Interactive diagrams/ Pivot chart, Import access databases, and export generic XML) Calc (Supports comparison to two spreadsheet files, hyphenation in cells, and page styles)
Presentation Software Powerpoint (a powerful piece of software) Impress (Missing the animated diagrams and lacks the ability to collaborate on presentations as a group)
Database Software Access (only available for Windows) Base (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux)
Localization 96 languages 113 languages
Additional writing aids Extended Support Limited
Macro scripting languages Single language Multiple languages
Creation of HybridPDFs, Import of graphic formats, Import of MS Visio files Not Supported Supported
User Interface approach Ribbon UI Classic UI

Conclusion

While they are both very similar, there are some subtle but important differences between Microsoft Office and LibreOffice. For example, when it comes to compatibility with other programs such as Adobe Creative Suite, you may be better off using LibreOffice over MS office. If you’re looking for something less expensive than MS Office or want to help out a free open source software, then you should definitely give these guys a shot. I’ve been using them for years on Linux servers.