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LibreOffice 5 – Free Office Suite Keeps Getting Better

LibreOffice is the best office software available, or at least on Linux. LibreOffice is a powerful office suite that comes with a clean interface and feature-rich tools that seeks to make your productive and creative. LibreOffice includes several applications including Writer for word processing, Calc for spreadsheets, Impress for presentations, Draw for vector graphics and flowcharts, Base for databases, and Math for formula editing.

LibreOffice allows you to use documents of all kinds. It is compatible with Microsoft Office formats and the new open standard, the OpenDocument Formats. It also comes with support for extensions to add more functionality to all of the suite or specific applications. And best of all is FREE as in Freedom. LibreOffice is Free and Open Source Software, available for everyone to use, share and even modify.

1. Writer

LibreOffice Writer is a fully-featured word processing tool that allows you to edit documents of all kind and it works great with Microsoft Word formats. It might not be as pretty as MS Word but it is just as powerful, better possibly. Everything looks great in Writer by default, and you can customize your work quite extensively, virtually every part of your document. There are also handy tools like AutoCorrect to check your spelling and AutoComplete will provide you with intelligent word prediction. Even if you need to use different languages in your document, Writer can handle that too. The writer is simple enough for a quick memo and powerful enough for your legal writing or your book.

2. Calc

LibreOffice Calc is an intuitive and comprehensive spreadsheet program. If you have used another spreadsheet software before, you’re going to be right at home with Calc. It comes with some handy wizards that will guide you through most of the functions and features. There is DataPilot technology which allows you to easily pull-in data from databases, cross-tabulate and then summarize and convert it into meaningful information. You may even stream real time data for use in your calculations. There is a scenario manager for “what if” analysis. It also allows for collaboration with others on the same file by just sharing it with them. And it also works great with Microsoft Excel.

3. Impress

LibreOffice Impress is impressive. It is truly an outstanding tool for making presentations. You can make your presentations quite quickly and without any fuss. It also comes with a ton of features to make your presentations rich. There are drawing and diagramming tools available and you can create 2D and 3D images. You can also add animations and transitions to your presentations. When you have to present, Show mode gives you total control over how your slides are displayed and sequenced.

4. Draw

LibreOffice Draw allows you to create eye-popping graphic documents. You can make anything from a quick sketch to a complex drawing or convert images from one format to another. It is not quite a publishing tool but it is more than MS Paint.  You may even create and manage your images with albums in Draw. You can also design and create flowcharts, organization charts, network diagrams and more with Draw.

5. Base

LibreOffice also comes with Base, a fully-featured front-end for all your database needs. If you are looking for a functional database tool for everyday work, Base will suffice. It comes with wizards that will guide you in setting up queries, forms, and the kind even if you are a beginner. If you are looking for an enterprise level database manager, Base will also be sufficient. It supports most of the popular database engines around like MySQL and MS Access. The base also integrates quite well with other LibreOffice applications such as serving address book for your Writer or Calc documents.

6. Math

Do you want to come up with neat equations and formulae, LibreOffice Math got you covered. Math is a standalone editor that can also be invoked in other LibreOffice applications like Writer and Calc. With Math, you can easily present elements, functions, exponents, integrals and all of your mathematical signs and functions.

LibreOffice and the Competition

On Linux, LibreOffice is by far the best Office Suite available. But there are many others especially if you live in the Windows world. Microsoft Office is the gold standard of Office Suite but it is not cross-platform like LibreOffice. OpenOffice (DEAD) from which LibreOffice spawned off has not the support LibreOffice posesses. Google Docs and Microsoft Office offer online versions and they are getting pretty popular, but LibreOffice has not. LibreOffice version 5 brought an update to the UI but if you prefer the ribbon interface of WPS Office and Microsoft Office, you’re at a loss. And then the thing with macros, they don’t work, or at least in the way you expect it to. LibreOffice is no pushover, it is definitely among the best.

Conclusion

LibreOffice works fine for most of your Office document needs from spreadsheets to documents. It is great that it is also absolutely free with no caveats or a catch. Get it and use it. But it is not perfect, especially if you are switching from Microsoft Office. Functionality wise, LibreOffice comes close unless you are an advanced user with some very specific needs. Previously, LibreOffice has had some formatting problems when having to import from or export to Microsoft Office applications but these are rare nowadays. It is best to work with its default format, which is the OpenDocument formats. If you have share documents, you can consider saving them as PDFs to prevent formatting changes and losses. There is also a version you can put on your drive and use on any PC without needing to install. But then, what would be awesome is an online version would be so welcome. Nonetheless, LibreOffice remains quite capable and this free software just keeps getting better. Grab it from here.

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