One of the most popular open source programs is LibreOffice. The free office suite of the “The Document Foundation” originated from OpenOffice and can be used for private and business purposes. The freeware version includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and graphics software. Since the LibreOffice project originated from the OpenOffice project, it is largely compatible with it. However, the two open source software office suites are developed independently of each other so that they are not 100% identical.
Features of LibreOffice
The freeware of “The Document Foundation” includes the word processor “Writer”, the spreadsheet “Calc” and the database “Base” as well as the presentation program “Impress”, the drawing program “Draw” and the formula editor “Math”. This allows the office suite to perform many tasks in the office. With LibreOffice you can create and edit letters as well as extensive documents such as operating instructions. You can also create presentations, graphics and diagrams. Calculations are possible via the spreadsheet and the formula editor helps to display mathematical equations. In addition, a database is integrated whose content can be used to create documents. In addition, the integration of existing databases is also possible.
With LibreOffice Writer the Office package offers a free alternative to Microsoft Office Word. The word processor uses the fonts installed on the system and thus also those of Microsoft, if one uses Windows as the operating system. The texts can be edited, provided with header and footer as well as table of contents. Different styles can be selected for the paragraphs so that the layout for each paragraph type, such as headings and body text, is always the same and changes affect all paragraphs of the same type. Different styles can also be selected and defined for pages. This makes it possible to design documents as a book in which even and odd pages have different layouts. Pages with a table of contents or index thus also have a corresponding appearance.
Via “Tools > AutoCorrection > AutoCorrection Options…”, a user can specify whether and how the system should automatically help when writing texts. In the pop-up window that opens, the settings are made under the respective tabs. If the word supplements are activated, the word processor displays known words when typing and collects further words when writing. In addition, autocorrection avoids typos such as two large letters at the beginning of a word or a small letter at the beginning of a sentence. If you write the same long words or text sections over and over again, you can define abbreviations that will be replaced by the corresponding text when writing. Special characters can also be inserted in this way, so that their search under “Insert > Special characters…” is omitted.
The alternative to Microsoft Excel for the LibreOffice project is the spreadsheet Calc. A spreadsheet document can contain several tables that can be selected via tabs at the bottom of the page. They can be independent of each other or interact with each other so that results from one table can be transferred to another. In addition to the standard operations such as addition and subtraction, the LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet allows extensive functions that can be created with the function wizard. This provides the function names and fields for the variables and values. For the export as PDF or PNG image file there are different font styles to enhance the table optically. In addition, there are various diagram types that graphically display the data and are therefore better suited for presentations.
Presentations are the job of LibreOffice Impress. Here you can choose between different layouts for the master foil. The same applies to the foil transitions, which can be created via a screen, chessboard, comb, blind or other effect, creating variety and reducing monotony. Additionally Impress allows animations and offers a gallery with symbols from different categories. A presentation can be saved or exported as a PowerPoint, PDF, image or Flash file.
LibreOffice knows open formats and Microsoft files
LibreOffice – like OpenOffice – uses OpenDocument file formats to store texts, tables, presentations, drawings, graphics and diagrams. The Document Foundation is involved in their further development.
In addition, the Office freeware knows various other document formats. Among other things, files such as DOC, XLS, XML, CSV and TXT can be imported and created, enabling file exchange with Microsoft Office. LibreOffice also creates PDFs and supports the PDF/A long-term archiving format.
LibreOffice is expandable, stable and portable
LibreOffice is available in different versions for Windows and Mac OS X and as a package for different Linux distributions. The older version is aimed at users for whom stable software is important. The latest version, on the other hand, is interesting for those who want to be up to date and use the latest features right away, even if there may still be bugs. The portable version LibreOffice Portable is also available, which can also be used from a USB stick without installation to edit a document.
LibreOffice provides numerous functions for office work. These can be supplemented by extensions. In addition, various templates are available and downloadable.
LibreOffice 5 with new surface
LibreOffice 5 is the current major version of LibreOffice. The Office package now includes the OpenGL interface for rendering by default. If there should be problems, this can be deactivated under “Extras > Options > LibreOffice > View > Graphic output”. The surface has also been reworked. This offers a sidebar with the items “Settings”, “Format Templates”, “Gallery”, “Navigator” and “Functions”, which can be expanded using the corresponding icons. A click on the close icon reduces the sidebar to an icon bar and leaves more space for the document. If the sidebar is not available at the right margin, it can be displayed via “View > Sidebar”.
Saving in the Cloud
Starting with LibreOffice 5, files can be stored in the cloud. This can be done for example with WebDAV, SSH, FTP and via the Windows share. You can also use cloud services such as GoogleDrive and SharePoint to open, save, read and write files.
LibreOffice goes back to OpenOffice
LibreOffice was created in 2010 as a spin-off from OpenOffice after Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle and changed development responsibilities. Due to disagreements, the developer community established a foundation, “The Document Foundation”, which continues the development under the name LibreOffice because of the name rights. After the spin-off, OpenOffice and LibreOffice are further developed independently of each other, which leads to differences. The projects on OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice.org are both under Open Source licenses, so that it can come, however, to the assumption of code passages.
LibreOffice Download and System Requirements
LibreOffice is not only available on LibreOffice.org, but also virus checked in our download area. There we offer the current version of the LibreOffice project of “The Document Foundation” virus checked for download. Who prefers the Office package in the stable version gets it on the manufacturer side of The Document Foundation, where Florian Effenberger is the Executive Director. The portable version is available via our entry LibreOffice Portable.
LibreOffice runs under Windows, Linux and macOS. For Linux, installation via the software management of the distribution used is recommended if the office suite has not yet been pre-installed.