LibreOffice Review 2022: Features, Pricing & More – The Motley Fool

LibreOffice Review 2022: Features, Pricing & More – The Motley Fool


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LibreOffice is open-source software backed by a huge community of avid developers and users. It’s free to use and works on Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems. With no internet connection required, LibreOffice is an excellent alternative to paid office suites.
Free to download and use on unlimited devices
LibreOffice is open-source software maintained by The Document Foundation, meaning like-minded developers frequently update and improve the software. Unlike other office suites, you will never pay a dime for LibreOffice unless you’d like to donate to the nonprofit group. If you’ve been burned by legacy software, such as being told you can’t open files from outdated Word programs, then you’ll appreciate LibreOffice.
You can use LibreOffice on most operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and macOS. It works on older computers and laptops. However, The Document Foundation doesn’t offer a cloud-based version or mobile apps, but you may find a solution through a certified third-party partner.
Its core offerings include a word processing program, spreadsheet application, presentation tool, and database. LibreOffice also offers standalone features that you can use on their own or within LibreOffice applications, including a graphic editing program, chart builder, and advanced formula tool.
The two main tools are LibreOffice Writer, a word processing program that functions similarly to Microsoft Word, and LibreOffice Calc, a spreadsheet program. Although there’s a learning curve and many functions don’t seem as intuitive as other office suites, it’s fairly easy to use once you become familiar with the user interface.
What makes LibreOffice stand out are the hundreds of extensions, which are plugins to add features to programs. You can find nearly any feature you want and add it to your software for a custom experience.
If you need a tool for infrequently used devices, want to support many languages, or are simply tired of getting tied into subscription plans forever and giving away your personal data, then you can download LibreOffice for free on any laptop or computer.
If you’re looking for a Microsoft Office alternative, don’t want a monthly subscription, or prefer to download your software, LibreOffice is an excellent choice.
As open-source software, LibreOffice is continually updated with new improvements and doesn’t need an internet connection to run. In this LibreOffice review, you’ll learn how the software functions and how it differs from other office suites.
LibreOffice is for individual users and small businesses who want free, downloadable tools, without worrying that their software will become obsolete and unsupported in years to come. Although some large enterprises use LibreOffice, the lack of support is an issue.
Companies with developers may prefer LibreOffice because, by the nature of open-source software, you can configure the code to fit your needs. Moreover, several partners sell enterprise versions with customer service and service level agreements (SLA). You may prefer LibreOffice if:
There is a cloud-based version of LibreOffice available through third parties under names such as Collabora Office and LibreOffice Online powered by CIB. However, the web-based version doesn’t include a file storage system and isn’t supported by The Document Foundation, so this LibreOffice review doesn’t include information about the cloud version.
LibreOffice also gets updated frequently. For example, LibreOffice 5.0 came out in 2015, version 6.0 appeared in 2017, and 7.0 was introduced in 2020.
Like other Zoho Office Suite, LibreOffice comes with the main tools you need to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It also provides a database comparable to Microsoft Access.
However, it doesn’t offer any communication or collaboration tools. Nor does it offer cloud storage, so you can use document management best practices using any existing file solution.
The main features of LibreOffice are:
LibreOffice Writer is a word processing tool offering standard features found in other similar programs, including an autocorrect dictionary and autocomplete feature.
Writer is compatible with many document formats. However, there may be formatting errors or non-compatible fonts when opening a Word document in LibreOffice, which can pose a problem if you work with clients or team members who use Microsoft Office.
In contrast, if you work with international clients and teams using open document formats, you’ll appreciate the native support for this file type.
LibreOffice Writer also offers pre-built templates for documents such as faxes, business cards, meeting minutes, or conference agendas.
Although the interface is similar to Microsoft Word, completing some tasks, like changing your header style, takes more clicks than with other word processing programs. However, there are some neat built-in features and extensions, such as:

LibreOffice Writer uses a familiar interface and toolbars. Image source: Author
LibreOffice Calc is a user-friendly spreadsheet program with a wizard that helps you pull in content from databases or ask “what if” questions from its Scenario Manager.
You can have up to 1,024 columns and 1,048,576 rows per worksheet. Both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace spreadsheet programs allow over 15,000 columns but offer a similar number of rows per spreadsheet. Calc also offers 508 spreadsheet functions, which is comparable to Microsoft.
Although the software lets you create charts, there is a lag time to update your spreadsheet with a new chart and fewer chart options than other spreadsheet programs. Furthermore, software bugs exist with things like patterned or gradient cell background colors.
To get functionality similar to Microsoft, you’ll need to download extensions. For example, LibreOffice Calc doesn’t come with the function to remove duplicate cells. You can add this feature by downloading the Remove Duplicates extension and restarting Calc. You also won’t find templates for Calc, but a few are available for download as an extension.

Easily get totals for your columns using the sum function. Image source: Author
LibreOffice Impress is a slideshow-creation tool offering several views including, normal, outline, notes, handout, and slide sorter.
It provides 3D imaging tools, downloadable templates from extensions, animation functions, and a presenter console. Use your phone or tablet as a remote during presentations by downloading an app from Google or App.

Create, import, or edit presentations in LibreOffice Impress Image source: Author
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Source: LibreOffice software.
LibreOffice Draw is a graphic-editing program perfect for designing flowcharts, network diagrams, and other technical drawings. It offers freehand tools, object grouping functions, and displays dimension lines. You can also use Draw to edit photos and PDF files.

Use LibreOffice Draw to create and edit graphics Image source: Author
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Source: LibreOffice software.
LibreOffice Base is a database management system that lets you build a custom database for all LibreOffice suite programs.
Unlike Microsoft Access, which only works on the Windows operating system, LibreOffice Base is fully functional on all operating systems. However, it’s not nearly as visually appealing as Airtable.
Base comes with wizards and pre-defined table definitions, which help you design forms, tables, and reports used for tracking customers, invoices, or assets. Base supports:

Use the table wizard to quickly build a database in LibreOffice Base. Image source: Author
Source: LibreOffice software.
LibreOffice Math is an advanced formula editor used by researchers or data scientists. You can use Math on its own or within Writer, Impress, Calc, or Draw. You can create scientific and mathematical formulas with various elements, including:

Create advanced formulas in LibreOffice Math. Image source: Author
LibreOffice Charts can be used as a standalone application or within any other LibreOffice programs. It allows you to create embeddable pie charts, 2D and 3D charts, dot charts, and trend graphs.
All LibreOffice programs allow you to add an unlimited number of extensions or templates to improve your software’s functionality. You can find extensions via LibreOffice or OpenOffice, with more than 1,100 available options.
Popular extensions include:

Choose from hundreds of extensions in the LibreOffice extension center. Image source: Author
If you grew up using Microsoft Office products, then you may find LibreOffice easy to use. The interface resembles older versions of Microsoft, although the latest update offers a Notebook bar design view, closely resembling Google or Microsoft interfaces.
Regardless, there is definitely a learning curve with the LibreOffice suite. Some functions are hidden under submenus, meaning you’ll click more times to get the results you want.
As an open-source software, LibreOffice is free to download and use on as many supported devices as you want. New updates come out frequently; you simply download the latest update without uninstalling the current version or losing any saved files.
However, there isn’t any type of technical or customer service options. The Document Foundation recommends using an ecosystem partner for assistance and new features.
Ecosystem partners include:
LibreOffice also has a certification program and can direct you to various professionals for support services. Professionals include developers, migration experts, and certified trainers.
Unlike other platforms, LibreOffice doesn’t provide any direct support. There aren’t phone, live chat, or email customer services. To get help with LibreOffice, you can:
LibreOffice can be a great alternative to Microsoft or Google products if you want free software that won’t ever require you to upgrade and pay.
Your company can use LibreOffice with the peace of mind that it’ll still be around and be able to open your old documents, even a decade from now. Other advantages of using LibreOffice include:
If you’re tired of per-user or per-device subscription fees or are worried about losing access to documents when using outdated software, then LibreOffice is a good alternative. It provides basic office tools that work without an internet connection. Although there’s a learning curve for simple word processing documents and spreadsheets, this tool is relatively easy to use.
For basic word processing and spreadsheets, LibreOffice works as well as Microsoft Office does. However, the Microsoft 365 office suite provides cloud storage, real-time collaboration, and a friendlier user interface.
Yes, using LibreOffice is as safe as using any other type of software. Since it’s developed using the open-source method, any type of malicious code would be caught quickly. Furthermore, LibreOffice doesn’t store your files online or collect your personal data, so using it is as safe as using your office computer’s hard drive.
If you download LibreOffice through The Document Foundation, there is no online version. However, ecosystem partners offer online LibreOffice versions, which usually have less functionality than downloaded programs.
Jessica Elliott is a business technology writer and communications consultant, specializing in uncovering insights from data collection, observation, and analysis to help leaders make strategic decisions. From restaurant management to working with startups, Jessica relies on her 24 years in public-facing roles to connect the dots so that business professionals can develop their billion-dollar idea into total market visibility.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned.
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May 19, 2022 at 06:26AM

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