Microsoft Office vs. LibreOffice: Microsoft Office remains a powerful platform among office applications. However, with the advent of free alternative office suites such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice, the question arises of moving from Microsoft Office to open source office suites.

Microsoft Office vs. LibreOffice: Choose the Best Office Suite
Microsoft Office vs. LibreOffice: Choose the Best Office Suite

Combinations of commercial and open source productivity suites have their advantages and disadvantages, and one of the most important decisions to make is to choose one of them.

Are you planning to upgrade your old Office suite, or do you want to upgrade to new Office suites? Well, choosing between a commercially licensed Microsoft Office suite and an open source platform like LibreOffice depends solely on how it fits your needs.

Microsoft Office vs. LibreOffice: Choose the Best Office Suite

Microsoft Office and LibreOffice are two great office suites , but how do you know which solution is right for you? In appearance, the two are very similar, but there are some important differences to consider when making your decision. Here is a small panel of topics to be decided.

Price

LibreOffice is free to download and use, even for commercial purposes – without any conditions. Since this is an open source software, you can also download and edit the source code, if you wish.

You can buy a one-time license for Microsoft Office, but a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 offers the best value for money. Different levels are available, depending on your needs, with options for both business and private users.

Microsoft Office 365 is also available for free for students and teachers, and with a 30% discount if your employer relies on the Microsoft Business Program.

Applications

The proposed applications are one of the key elements to consider when choosing between Microsoft Office and LibreOffice. LibreOffice includes Writer (Word Processing), Calc (Spreadsheet), Impress (Presentations), Base (Databases), Math (Formulas) and Draw (Vector Graphics).

A personal subscription to Microsoft Office 365 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive (with 1 TB storage) and Outlook. PC users also have Publisher and Access, although Mac fans will not be able to use them.

File compatibility

Of all the free office suites available, LibreOffice offers the best possible file compatibility. Its tools can import and export all the most common file formats, including Microsoft docx, pptx and xlsx. It also supports a wider range of non-Microsoft file formats.

However, it should be kept in mind that documents will not always be exactly the same in LibreOffice and in Microsoft Office applications. This is due in part to Microsoft’s use of its own fonts and partly to the difference in rendering and rendering data on the screen.

In most cases, this is not a problem, but if you frequently share files with people using LibreOffice or Microsoft Office, you may find it more convenient to stay with the same office suite.

User Support

If you choose Microsoft Office, you pay for customer support . Microsoft provides a help application that can help you solve your common problems. There is also an online chatbot that can also provide solutions. If automated systems do not provide the answers you need, live phone and chat discussions are done with real Microsoft technicians.

Microsoft has released a series of guides to help you perform common tasks using Microsoft Office, which can be extremely useful.

If you choose LibreOffice, you will appeal to the goodwill of the community – but it is large. You’ll find a wealth of information on the LibreOffice Wiki, Ask. LibreOffice provides a ticket system where you can submit queries (and read answers to questions from other users), as well as an IRC channel for live chat. .

It is important to remember that even though LibreOffice support is excellent, it all depends on volunteers giving their time and expertise. The Document Foundation is under no obligation to provide support, and you may have to wait longer to receive a response than if you used Microsoft Office.

Of course, LibreOffice is not supported on mobile, which could be a problem if you are looking for software for your business.

Collaboration

With Microsoft Office 365, multiple users can share files on OneDrive and collaborate on the same document with a real-time chat. LibreOffice does not have equivalent functionality. If you are looking for a free office suite for collaborative work, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides should be your first choice.

Cloud services

If you opt for LibreOffice and want to store your documents in the cloud , you will have to rebuild your own system (it goes without saying that Document Foundation can not provide free storage for millions of LibreOffice users). However, this is not complicated, and a service like Dropbox makes it easy to synchronize files in the cloud, by saving them to a dedicated folder on your PC or Mac.

You can also sign up for Microsoft OneDrive without being subscribed to Office.

If you choose a Microsoft Office subscription, things are much simpler because Microsoft OneDrive is built into every application and is the default backup location for all new documents. A subscription to Microsoft Office 365 also gives you more storage space than a free OneDrive account.

Platforms

Microsoft Office 365 is available for Windows and Mac, with mobile apps for iOS and Android (the latter also running on Chrome OS). There is also Microsoft Office Online, which offers lite versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in any modern web browser.

LibreOffice is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, with a portable version that can be installed on a removable storage device. However, there is no application that can work on smartphones, tablets, and Chromebooks, with the exception of LibreOffice Viewer for Android, which uses the same engine as desktop software to help you read documents. There is also a remote application to control slide shows made with LibreOffice Impress.

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