Not many people have money to subscribe to Microsoft Office that is why people consider open source software examples such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice. But when it comes to LibreOffice vs OpenOffice, it is important to know which one to choose.
Before you get to LibreOffice download or OpenOffice download, it is worth thinking carefully if you really need office software. If you have an internet connection or you are always connected to the internet, Google Docs, Slides and Sheets might provide you with everything you need, without having to install anything.
With Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, you get the bonus of saving everything you create to the cloud and there will be no more document loss. You will also not have to email your document to yourself.
However, if you write, make presentations and create spreadsheets regularly, you might need some of the advanced features that you can only get in desktop software. If that is you, you might need LibreOffice download or OpenOffice download because they are actually the best options around.
Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice are free to download and use because they are open source software. Unfortunately, they are similar in every aspect and you might find it hard to choose the right one for you.
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The Origin Of LibreOffice vs OpenOffice
Though the LibreOffice vs OpenOffice debate seems relatively recent, the debate is dates back to 1985 when StarOffice was born. Its name at that time was StarWriter but the company was sold to Sun Microsystems in 1990.
In 2000, the open source version of StarOffice called OpenOffice.org was announced and quickly became the default office suite on Linux distributions. In 2010, Oracle bought Sun and became the leader of OpenOffice.org development.
Later in 2010, LibreOffice was forked from OpenOffice.org. when Oracle was invited to join the Document Foundation of LibreOffice, it declined because Oracle’s behavior towards open source software was bad.
Oracle renamed StarOffice as Oracle Open Office. This caused confusion and many of OpenOffice.org developers started to leave the project. Not long after, development on OpenOffice.org and Oracle Office came to a halt.
Since Oracle stopped developing OpenOffice.org, it gave the code and trademarks to the Apache Foundation. Apache abandoned it for a few years and in 2014, Apache started updating it. Since 2014, Apache OpenOffice has received updates and releases. This is what renewed the LibreOffice vs OpenOffice debate.
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LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice
Here, I want to list the reasons you should choose one over the other. The decision is yours, but you want to choose the right office based on the features.
LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice Updates
One of the biggest differences between LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice is the frequency of releases. LibreOffice always gets regular updates than Apache OpenOffice, meaning you will receive new features and bug fixes more quickly on LibreOffice than on OpenOffice.
The frequent updates on LibreOffice also mean there is more potential for bugs on it, but that the bug is likely to be quickly fixed.
LibreOffice Tools Vs OpenOffice Tools
Both Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice provide essentially the same set of apps including Writer, Draw, Impress, Base, Math and Calc, but LibreOffice also offers an additional tool called Charts. The Charts is a small application that allows you to create graphs and charts that you can import into other documents. It is great for presentations.
LibreOffice Language Support Vs OpenOffice Language Support
If you are multilingual and will prefer many languages, Apache OpenOffice comes handy because it allows you to download additional language patches as plugins. With LibreOffice, you can only choose one language at the beginning and stick with it.
LibreOffice Templates Vs OpenOffice Templates
If you are going to be making presentations, you might want to stick with LibreOffice because of its quality slide templates. Though both software suits provide many user-made designs to download, LibreOffice selection of pre-installed options is superior to OpenOffice’s.
LibreOffice Design Vs OpenOffice Design
The design of these two software suits is almost identical. The functional differences are minor. For instance, the OpenOffice Writer’s sidebar is opened by default, but LibreOffice’s own is closed.
LibreOffice and OpenOffice Supported File Types
Although both Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice can open and edit native Microsoft formats XLSX and DOCS, only LibreOffice can save to these formats. So if you will be sharing your documents with people that are using Microsoft Office, you might want to choose LibreOffice.
- Able to open and use MS files
- Can save in Microsoft Format
- Limited formatting issues
- Can open Microsoft files
- Can save in older MS formats
- Cannot save in current MS Office formats
It is important to pick the program that can open the files you use often. When you are deciding between the two software suits, you might want to choose the one that can open and save in the format you use most.
For instance, Apache OpenOffice can open all the types of files below. It means if you have files saved in the following formats, the OpenOffice program can open them.
The extensions include: 123,602, DBF,DOC,CSV,DOCM,DIF,BMP, DIF, CGM, DOCX, DOTM, DOT, DXF, EPS,EMF, DOTX, GIF, HTML, HTM, HWP, JTT, JPG, HWP, MET, MLL, ODF, ODM, ODG, ODB, ODP, ODT, ODS, OTH, OTS, OTP, PBM, OTT, PCD, PCX, PCT, PDF, PLT, PGM, POT, PNG, POTM, PPM, POTX, PPS, PPTM, PPT, PPTX, PSW, PSD, PXL, RAS, SDA, RTF, SDC, SDP,SDD, SDW, SGL, SGF, SGV, SMF, SLK, STI, STD, STW, SXD, SVM, SXG, SXM, SXI, SXW, TIF, TGA, TXT, UOP, UOF, UOT, UOS, VOR, WKS, WB2, WMF, WPS, WPD, ZBM, XLSB, XLS, XLSM, XLT, XLST, XLTM, XLTX, XML, XLW, XPM.
OpenOffice Writer can open DOCX files, but can’t save back in the same format. Since it doesn’t support saving DOCX files, you have to save the newest MS Word format to extensions such as ODT, RTF, or DOC.
Also, OpenOffice Calc can only open XLSX files but can’t save back to the same format. The same is true for Impress and PPTX files, and Bas and ACCDB files.
Here are the file formats that LibreOffice programs can open but cannot save in:
123, 602, CMX, DOCM, DOTX, DOTM, CWK, CGM,CFR, BMP, ABW, DUMMY, EMF, DXF, FB2, EPS, HQX, GIF, HWP, JPG, JPEG, KEY, LWP, LRF, MET, MWD, MW, MCW, NX^D, OTH, ODM, PCD, PBM, PCX, PCT, PDF, PDB, PICT, PGM, POTX, PPTM, PPM, PSD, RAS, PUB, SGF, SVM, SVG, SYLK, UOF, TGA, VDX, VSDM, VSD, VSDX, WK1, WB2, WKS, WN, WMF, WPD, WPS, WPG, XLK, XLC, XLM, XLSM, XLSB, XLTX, XLTM, ZIP, ZABW, XLW.
Here are the file formats that LibreOffice can comfortably open, edit and save in:
DBF, CSV, DOC, DIF, DOT, DOCX, FODT, FODS, HTML, ODS, ODP, ODG, ODT, OTS, OTP, OTT, POTM, POT, PPTX, PPT, RTF, SC, SLK, STW, SXI, SXC, TXT, SXW, UOP, XLS, UOS, XLT, XLSX, XML.
As you can tell from the extension list, LibreOffice fully supports MS’s newest file formats including Word, PowerPoint and Excel. If you are looking for the best Microsoft Office alternative that is also free, LibreOffice is the best.
Apps: Mobile Functionality
- Free Android app that allows opening and editing
- You can control presentations from your phone
- Free remote apps for iOS and Android
- Fully functional
- Free Android app
- Premium iOS app
License Difference Means Future Differences
When it comes to LibreOffice vs OpenOffice, the license each uses affects its future. LibreOffice uses a dual LGPLv3 / MPL license while OpenOffice uses the Apache License.
What is important to know here is that LibreOffice can freely incorporate features and codes from OpenOffice, but OpenOffice can’t incorporate anything from LibreOffice. This allows LibreOffice to add features at a faster rate because it can adopt new features added by OpenOffice.
User Interface (UI) Differences
There are slight differences between the two software suits, but both of them look similar. LibreOffice tends to have a cleaner interface and modern look while OpenOffice crams more features in by default. When you launch both programs, you’ll immediately find that OpenOffice has a sidebar that’s missing from LibreOffice.
It is not that the sidebar is not in LibreOffice but you just have to click a subtle arrow to the right of the screen to bring it out.
Software Size Differences
When it comes to size differences, LibreOffice is larger than Apache OpenOffice – this shouldn’t matter much though. The macOS download of LibreOffice 6.2 is about 250MB, while the Apache OpenOffice 4.1 download is about 185MB.
You need 400 MB to 650 MB of disk space, while you need 800MB to 1.55 GB of disk space depending on the platform.
LibreOffice Vs OpenOffice: Which Should You Choose?
It is apparent that LibreOffice is better in all aspects. If you are looking for new features faster or you are looking for a quick bug fix, you should choose LibreOffice over OpenOffice.
LibreOffice Download and OpenOffice Download
If you are looking to download any of the two software suits, you can download it below.
Both of these software suites are easy to use and feature-rich. They are also user-friendly with intuitive tools and menus. Although you may be more familiar with OpenOffice, LibreOffice does have greater functionality.
The bottom line is that both software programs are free to use and you can’t go wrong for choosing any of them. If you don’t like the first one you installed, you can always install the second one.