LibreOffice – The Office Suite for Everyone

If you’ve got a computer, you know about Microsoft Office. You know that you can use Word to create documents like letters or signs. You can use Excel spreadsheets to do your budget or track your DVDs. You may even know that you can use PowerPoint to create visual presentations or Access to create databases. You also know that Microsoft Office costs $140 or more.

There is another office suite that is completely free. LibreOffice is a free suite of office tools including Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet program), Charts (chart creation tool), Impress (visual presentation program), Draw (graphics creation), Base (database program), and Math (equations and formulas editor).


That’s everything you’re ever going to need.

But how good is it? It’s good enough to be used by some very large businesses, like Google and Intel. It’s used by many governments, like France and the city of Munich. It’s also used in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools around the world. It’s also good enough to work on your Mac, Windows, or Linux computer.

Is it as good as Microsoft Office? It’s good enough to do almost everything Microsoft Office is capable of doing. It’s good enough to do 100% of everything you’re probably doing.

LibreOffice is also very compatible with Microsoft Office. Files you create in this free office suite can be opened and used by anyone with Microsoft Office. It also means that this free office suite can open and use most anything created in Microsoft Office. There is a slight trick to making this happen though. When you install LibreOffice, you will need to change a few settings.

Once you’ve got LibreOffice installed, open up Writer or Calc. Look for Tools in the top-right corner and click on that. Now click on Options. A new window will open. Now, click on the plus sign next to Load/Save, then click on General. Near the bottom of the window, uncheck the box next to Warn when not saving in ODF or default format.

To make LibreOffice Writer always saves in Microsoft Word format, change Document Type to Text Document and change Always Save As to Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP/2003. Click the OK button.

To make LibreOffice Calc always saves in Microsoft Excel format, change Document Type to Spreadsheet and change Always Save As to Microsoft Excel 97/2000/XP/2003. Click the OK button.

Now, anyone who uses Microsoft Office will be able to use your files without issue. You can get LibreOffice at

First Published: The Guysborough Journal, Vol . 24, No. 23, June 10, 2015

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