Whether you are a student or a professional, you must have at least used an office suite once. They are a set of tools that help achieve multiple tasks. We mainly use them in various tasks such as writing, maintaining records(spreadsheets), making presentations, and many more.
Each and every tool should be finely tuned to achieve these tasks with minimum effort while providing additional flexibility in the process. Hence, your options for these tools are limited in the market.
However, it is more expensive, and not everyone can afford it unless you are a professional. Today we will discuss two free best alternatives to this application, and they are LibreOffice and OpenOffice. We will further examine LibreOffice Vs. OpenOffice and conclude, which is a better choice.
If you do not require heavy lifting and only want to do simple tasks quickly without installing any extra software, then google’s office suite is the right choice for you.
You need to have an internet connection to start using google suite tools such as google docs, sheets, and slights to get most of your work done without much hassle. It also saves all of your work automatically to the cloud keeping your documents secure while working.
However, if you are looking into desktop software to do rigorous tasks regularly, LibreOffice and OpenOffice are the two best free choices available.
They provide some of the best advanced features that you can only get in a desktop alternative to these applications. These applications are brought to us by the open-source community. So you can download and use them for free.
These applications are quite similar to each other in many aspects. So, let us compare them through several features and see which comes on the top.
If you truly want to analyze an application, you must look at its past journey. So let us start by diving right into their enriching history. It gives us an insight into what problems these apps ran into and how they evolved to be what they are now—looking at LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice, they go way back in time.
In fact, they have a long history since they both were started around the same time. People who have been following these applications over the years must be familiar with their conflicts and struggles.
They have had several clashes over time, competing with each other in providing the best services in the field. If you look at both applications, you will notice a lot of similarities. Hence, it is very difficult to compare them both with only a few subtle distinctions.
Following all the intrigue and drama surrounding office suite apps, LibreOffice and OpenOffice are two of the best alternative choices to Microsoft’s office suite.
Previously StarOffice was one of the first office suites. It was later acquired by Sun corporation and remodeled. Sun launched OpenOffice.org that replaced StarOffice with an open-source version.
It quickly gained popularity and became the default suite for Linux distros. Everything was well and good until Oracle acquired Sun and became the owners of OpenOffice.
LibreOffice basically came to life when Oracle disbanded the development of the OpenOffice project and laid off the majority of developers working on the project.
Soon after, developers who were working on Open office also began leaving, and the development came to a halt.
These developers later utilized the open-source code that they were previously working on and gave birth to LibreOffice. This utilization happened as community members were not thrilled with the Oracle in their development and rebranding of OpenOffice suite.
In addition to that, Oracle decided to donate their Open Office code and the trademark to the apache software foundation. That led to the development of the Apache Open Office suite.
Developers basically forked LibreOffice from Open Office using the document foundation as the host. They invited Oracle to join the document foundation, but they declined.
However, Oracle quote-unquote didn’t harm their business with the development of LibreOffice. They justified that this creation did not end any contributions valued by the company.
Many experts say that this business decision was inevitable since the moment the oracle acquired the Sun. Recently OpenOffice released new updates that piqued the interest of many users and its back in the race.
LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice: Comparing Applications
As we know, both LibreOffice and OpenOffice contain a set of tools in their office suite. That can help you achieve a variety of tasks.
Some of these tools are writer, spreadsheet, presentation program, database management system, vector graphics editor, Mathematical formulae editor, etc.
All of these programs are included in their package that you can use to achieve several personal and professional tasks. Let us compare all these programs offered by both of these applications in terms of their functionality and effectiveness.
Writer:- Both of these software are packed with word processing or a writer program. This word processor has similar functionality to Microsoft word.
It comes with extensive editing capabilities that you can basically use as a text editor. They both support .doc or .docx format out of the box. You can write proposals, letters, and do anything related to text editing.
Calc:- It is also known as a spreadsheet program. They both include a spreadsheet program that anyone can utilize to edit or create sheets and maintain records.
Both of them are a great alternative and competitor to Microsoft excel. They both boast tons of unique features, such as creating graphs out of the information provided by the user. These applications are highly used by business owners and several professionals as well.
Impress:- People who love to make presentations and display their information through slides can utilize the handy presentation maker tool from both of these apps.
This application is a replacement of Microsoft’s PowerPoint. You can export presentations in different formats such as SWF and view them using adobe flash player.
Draw:- They include an extensive vector graphics editor that is similar to Corel draw or Microsoft Visio. This program will help you create and edit vector images with ease.
You can connect several shapes, apply various styles, and create drawings in a flowchart format. LibreOffice’s version of this tool can also act as a PDF file editor and include several features similar to Microsoft publisher.
Math:- It is one of the most useful tools solely designed to edit and create various mathematical formulas. This basic software can assist you in solving mathematical equations easily and quickly. You can also incorporate the formulas created here into other tools such as writer, calc, etc.
Base:- Both of these apps include a database management system out of the box. This software is extremely useful for businesses and professional companies that need to maintain a database.
It is a great alternative to Microsoft access. You can also create reports and forms as well as create or manage databases with ease.
LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice: Community Support and Coding Licenses
Community support is quite essential for the development and maintenance of the application. Also, users benefit a great deal from the community, and whether it is learning new features or discussing the workflow, it becomes a great platform to communicate.
A good community can largely determine the success of an application. Most of the open-source software, such as LibreOffice, is largely tied to their community. Being an open-source software means its users, such as you can find bugs and also fix them.
That improves the efficiency of the app by great margins, and you can rest assured that there are tons of people out there to keep the application bug free and smooth.
LibreOffice has an Ask page that is continuously monitored and a subreddit page that is quite active.
They also have an entire wiki website that records the latest changes to the software and also regular updates. You can find several comprehensive guides to the latest rolled out updates.
OpenOffice has been largely discontinued, but despite that, you can still find it if you know where to look. People who look in the right places can easily get support for the app.
The subreddit page of OpenOffice is not very active, and you can most likely find answers to your questions on the Open office official forum, which is still active to this day.
In addition to that, several other support resources have been closed as well. Due to inactive users such as the unofficial forum of the application and 8daysaweek. In contrast, you can easily get a ton of support for the LibreOffice application.
Software licenses greatly matter for both businesses and people who want to use the respective application.
In the case of LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice, licenses for every individual surely affect the set of features that the application has to offer. LibreOffice has gone under rapid development over the years and has great potential for the future.
It is mainly due to the difference in their licenses. LibreOffice boasts a dual LGPLv3 / MPL license, whereas OpenOffice boasts an apache license.
You need to know that since the Open office has an apache license, it can not incorporate code from LibreOffice, whereas LibreOffice can easily incorporate code from OpenOffice.
Hence, LibreOffice is able to roll out several updates regularly and develop at a much faster pace. The ability to adapt features from the other surely makes the development much quicker.
LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice: User Interface and Software Design
When it comes to comparing two similar applications, User interface and software design play a crucial role in determining the winner. The user interface and design of both LibreOffice and OpenOffice are very much similar to each other.
They have a distinct vintage design that rejects Microsoft’s modern interfaces. However, both applications being quite similar, we will have to look a lot closer to find the differences. They both have a clean design that makes it very easy to navigate around options for the users.
Although LibreOffice has a particularly modern design in contrast to OpenOffice’s simple looking interface. OpenOffice has more features typically as default settings that are visible on the page.
You can easily modify or customize both of these applications to hide or show various features on the page. For instance, Inside the word processor of OpenOffice, you get to see an extra sidebar on the page out of the box.
Whereas in LibreOffice, you will have to display or hide the feature according to your preference, and it is not displayed as a default setting.
Another interface difference is that you get to see the word counts dynamically when you are writing inside the LibreOffice’s editor. Whereas In OpenOffice, you will need to look at the word count manually, and it is not available dynamically that can be a let-off for many writers.
With LibreOffice being quite modern, the fonts that you use on its editors can be accurately imported to other editing applications. Relatively it also allows you to save your documents in the .docx format, whereas OpenOffice does not support this format.
On a positive note, they both support most of the Microsoft document formats as well as OpenDocument formats. They also have similar tools and programs.
LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice: Formats Supported and Compatibility
Compatibility and supported formats are a critical factor for most of the applications coming out today. With several options, onboard most people like to use apps that are compatible with others and support similar formats.
Suppose you want to transfer your documents to another editor and work there, so your app needs to be able to support the format of the other.
Hence, you should prioritize knowing the supported formats and their compatibility with other software such as Microsoft’s office suite. One of the biggest motivators for the people who are deciding between these applications is to pick the one that can open the files that they often use.
The files that a program can open and the formats that it can save the documents in are extremely crucial for an application. If you are dealing with files that are created in other programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Gsuite, then the file format is very important.
For instance, If you want to use one of these programs to open.docx Microsoft Word files, you must first determine whether these programs are able to open such files or not, whether it can save the files in the format.
Else you will have to select a different format to open such files. Both of these apps can open a vast range of file formats. Although OpenOffice has support for a broader range of file formats than LibreOffice.
However, LibreOffice being a more modern solution, can save in much more different file formats. We have compiled a list of all the formats that both of these applications can load but not save the file in the same.
OpenOffice can open the files with the following file extensions:-
- XPM, XML, XLW,XLTX,XLTM, XLT, XLSX, XLSM, XLSB, XLS, XBM, WPS, WPD, WMF, WKS, WK1M, WB2, VOR, UOT, UOS, UOP, UOF, TXT, TIF, TGA, SXW, SXM, SXI, SXG, SXD, SVM, STW, STI, STD, SMF, SLK, SGV, SGL, SGF, SDW, SDP, SDD, SDC, SDA, RTF, RAS, PXL, PSW, PSD, PPTX, PPTM, PPT, PPS, PPM, POTX, POTM, POT, PNG, PLT, PGM, PDF, PDB, PCX, PCT, PCD, PBM, OTT, OTS, OTP, OTH, OTG, ODT, ODS, ODP, ODM, ODG, ODF, ODB, MML, MET, JTT, JTD, JPG,HWP, HTML, HTM, GIF, EPS, EMF, DXF, DOTX, DOTM, DOT, DOCX, DPCM, DOC, DIF, DBF, CSV, CGM, BMP, 602, 123
Let us take an example, OpenOffice is able to load DOCX files, but it can not save them in this format because it does not support creating DOCX files, so you will have to save your file in the latest formats such as RTF or DOC.
Similarly, OpenOffice Calc has similar limitations to XLSX files. It can load them but not save them in this format. A similar situation is viable for its other applications as well.
Below are the formats that LibreOffice can load but not save them:-
- ZIP, ZABW, XLW, XLTX, XLTM, XLSM, XLSB, XLM, XLK, XLC, WPS, WPG, WPD, WN, WMF, WKS, WK1, WB2, VSDX, VSDM, VSD, VDX, UOF, TGA, SYLK, SVM, SVG, SGD, RAS, PIB, PSD, PPTM, PPM, POTX, PICT, PGM, PDF, PDB, PCX, PCT, PCD, PBM, OTH, ODM, NXD, MWD, MW, MET, MCW, LWP, LRF, KEY, JPG, JPEG, HWP, HQX, GIF, FB2, EPS, EMF, DXF, DUMMY, DOTX, DOTM, DOCM, CWK, CMX, CGM, CFR, BMP, ABW, 602, 123
We have also compiled a list of file extensions that both of these files can load as well as save in the same format.
- XML, XLT, XLSX, XLS, UOS, UOP, TXT, SXW, SXI, SXC, STW, STC, SLK, RTF, PPTX, PPT, PPSX, POTM, POT, OTT, OTS,OTP, ODT, ODS, ODP, ODG, HTML, FODT, FODS, DOT, DOCX, DOC, DIF, DBF, CSV
You may notice from the above lists that LibreOffice can support all of Microsoft’s latest file formats, whether it is PowerPoint, Word, or Excel. If you are simply looking for a fabulous alternative to Microsoft’s office suite, LibreOffice has the upper hand.
LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice: File Size Difference
Now, we will compare the download size and the storage space that LibreOffice Vs. OpenOffice takes up on your systems.
LibreOffice has a significantly larger download size than OpenOffice, but if you do not have a bandwidth issue, it is surely not a problem. The download size of LibreOffice for macOS is a bit over 250MB, and for OpenOffice, it is over 185MB.
Similarly, the installation size or the file storage space is significantly more substantial as well. LibreOffice may require somewhere between 800MB to 1.6GB of disk space for you to install and use the application successfully.
On the other hand, OpenOffice may require somewhere between 400MB to 600MB of disk space for your installation to be successful. Some people face file storage problems because not everyone can afford high-end systems.
However, today most of us have the right amount of storage space on our hard disks. So, you should not have any problems unless you are pressed for space. In that case, you will have to go with OpenOffice.
Also, you will require somewhere between 256MB to 512MB of Ram, depending upon the platform. They both have similar requirements in this regard. If your system meets these minimum requirements, you should not have any trouble running these applications on your Pc.
Available Language Support
When you are deciding between applications, one of the major requirements is the available language support. As you won’t be able to operate the program unless its language comes under your linguistic expertise.
There are tons of languages spoken all around the world. Hence, it becomes a priority for software developers and companies to provide essential language support with their programs.
Providing support for various languages basically means you are increasing your customer engagement. More and more people tend to join if the app supports their language. Hence, let us compare LibreOffice Vs. Openoffice in this regard.
LibreOffice supports far fewer languages than Apache’s OpenOffice. In this case, you are required to pick one language and then stick with it the entire time.
However, it is to be noted that apache’s OpenOffice has much more flexibility in terms of support for various languages. Also, the program lets you download additional language packages in the form of plugins making it really simple for the users.
So if you ever want to switch languages or want to add any different language, you can do it in a breeze. Finally, unless you are multilingual, you may find some language difficulties with LibreOffice.
Mobile Applications: LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice
In this new era of smartphones, people want to do all of their tasks through their mobile phones. Hence, most companies often provide mobile apps for their programs so that users can have ease of access.
They also come in handy during emergencies when you do not have access to a laptop or a pc, and you need to get some work done urgently. Companies try to incorporate all of the features from their desktop applications to the mobile app while providing a simple yet intuitive interface for the users.
Suppose you are one of the folks who love to do all of their tasks from their mobile phone and give it preference over the desktop system. LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice both have their respective applications for mobile users.
With constant updates and upgrades, these apps are regularly improving. So, let us look at the mobile apps of both of these programs.
OpenOffice brings you the ported AndrOpen Office app for your android devices. The application is entirely free to use on this platform. For the IOS platform, they have Office 700 that will cost you around 5.99$.
With both the apps, you can easily access all the tools such as writer, calc. Impress, math, and draw. You can see the supported file formats in their download description.
There is also a free version or lite version of the IOS app, but it has many ads, missing certain features from the paid version, and has no access to the cloud storage.
LibreOffice also offers two applications to its users for the respective IOS and android platforms. Both of these apps have different uses, so you should not get confused.
They provide the Collabora Office app for the android platform that boasts similar features to LibreOffice and allows you to open or edit various standard file formats such as PPTS, XLSX, DOCX, and many more.
They also offer another application called Impress Remote that is available for both IOS and Android platforms. It enables you to create or edit impressive presentations directly on your phone, similar to the desktop version. Now, you can walk around anywhere while creating or presenting presentations.
Although you can only take advantage of all the features that come with these applications in a desktop environment, having a mobile alternative is always a great option.
Software developers from both of these companies have devised the respective apps to extend the desktop program’s functionality and provide a similar service for their mobile platform.
Their applications have a good interface and also include some exact features from the desktop version so you won’t have any problems while continuing your work on your phone.
Stability and Security
One of the major issues with modern applications that you need to keep in mind is stability. You can not finish your tasks effectively if the app is unstable and tends to break down every once in a while.
Similarly, security is also a big issue, as you must have heard about all the data leaks and app vulnerabilities. You do not want your data stolen, right? So you must carefully analyze the security of the application you are thinking of using. We shall now discuss the stability and security of both LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice programs.
Libreoffice has a much larger, dedicated development team working around the clock. Hence, it gets more frequent updates as compared to OpenOffice. Naturally, they are putting more resources into the project.
Another factor, as we discussed above, there is a license in place. It means that the code of OpenOffice can be used by LibreOffice and not vice versa. Although OpenOffice rarely gets updates as they have a small team working on the project.
Not getting regular updates also means outdated security, so it is more vulnerable to the latest online threats. It could take them a long time to fix bugs or vulnerabilities that are popping up today.
For instance, there is a critical bug on the Mac version of the program’s calc tool. It just crashes when trying to make diagrams. Such issues are yet to be fixed, but apache seems to be scrambling on the matter.
After our lengthy discussion over LibreOffice Vs, OpenOffice, let us summarize all of our findings. To begin with, both of these programs have several tools incorporated in them; hence they are called suites. Each of these tools can perform different tasks.
They have six of them, namely writer, calc, impress, draw, math, and base. In addition to that, you can install as well as use these applications on different platforms such as Windows, macOS, IOS, and android.
They also support a variety of languages to choose from. Especially on OpenOffice, you can download language packs as plugins and install them in your program.
Both of these apps are entirely user friendly and provide one of the best user experiences in a similar category. If you are just looking for a free alternative to Microsoft Office, then any one of these can be your pick as they both are entirely free to use.
LibreOffice is much more secure and stable as compared to OpenOffice. It gets regular updates and timely release of security patches to keep their security up to date.
You can also download and use the mobile version of these programs. They both support a ton of file formats or file extensions so you can easily get most of your work done.
After carefully accessing every aspect of these applications, it comes down to which is better? Well, based on our findings, it is too close to call and pass judgment.
However, if we have to make a decision, then we will choose LibreOffice over OpenOffice as it has a slight upper hand in some of the categories that we discussed above.
If you are still not satisfied, you can also explore google’s Gsuite, which contains some of the most powerful tools. The best part is that all tools are hosted on the cloud, so you don’t need to download or install anything extra. We hope that this article would have helped you in making an informed decision.