LibreOffice Homepage

LibreOffice…Is it good enough??

By Pritesh Kumar 12/03/16 09:51:00

For past many years, Microsoft Office has been the de facto office productivity suite. No doubt, MS Office is an excellent software which has evolved over the years and now has a formidable presence but the only sore point is its exhorbitant price.

At one point of time, OpenOffice seemed to be catching up but internal rife among creators did not let this happen. OpenOffice is still being developed but not with the same support and enthusiasm like earlier.

Meanwhile LibreOffice was forked from OpenOffice in 2010 and with active developer support, it has caught up very fast. In fact LibreOffice is the default word processing software provided with many Linux distros like Ubuntu.

Now lets find out the strengths and weaknesses of LibreOffice. For the time being, have a look at the quick comparision table below.

Quick Comparision Table:

AREA MS Office LibreOffice OpenOffice
Software Type Properitary Open source Open source
Developed By Microsoft The Document Foundation The Apache Software Foundation (presently)
Price Rs 3000 to 34000/annum Free Free
First Released 1990 2011 2002
Development Active Active Active
Latest Stable Build Released On Office 2016 5.1.1 Milestone AOO412m3
Available for

Windows, Mac OS, Android, Windows phone

Linux, OS X, Windows, Solaris, Free BSD, Net BSD, Android (Viewer) Linux, OS X, Windows, Solaris, Free BSD(ported)
Available In 102 languages 110 languages 121 languages
Extensions Yes Yes Yes
Cloud Support Full Cloud Sync NA NA
Cloud Storage 1 TB(One Drive) NA NA
Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, MS Publisher etc among others Writer, Calc Spreadsheet, Impress Presentation, Draw, Math Formula

LibreOffice

The official documentation defines LibreOffice as “LibreOffice is a modern, easy-to- use, open source productivity suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and more .” It is also free.

LibreOffice Homepage

Software Package:

LibreOffice includes the following softwares:

  • Writer: Word processor
  • Calc : Spreadsheet,
  • Impress: For making and editing Presentations
  • Draw: Used to produce sketch, technical drawings, posters etc
  • Math Formula : Maths formula editor
  • Base: Database creator

Detailed Analysis:

User Interface:

The UI is more refined as compared to previous versions but still looks outdated. It seems it came straight from the last decade. Toolbar is also a bit cluttered.

LibreOffice toolbar customization

The toolbar, menu etc can be customised using Tools>Customise>Toolbar to remove some of the clutter.

Users who only want the job get done won’t care much because the interface although cluttered, is usable. Still there is a lot of room for improvement.

Rating: 2.5/5

Feature Set:

Some of the features are:

Save As: You can save the document in almost every document format available. In case you care about Office compatibility, that too is available(.doc, .docx, .dot etc).

Export as pdf: You can directly export any document in pdf format for easy sharing.

Backward Compatibility: You can use this to open almost any legacy document format.

Extensions: There are many extensions(>200) to take your productivity to the next level.

Preview in Web Browser: You can also preview your document directly in any web browser.

Password Protection: You can password protect your document with multiple options like Modify Protect, Open Protect etc

There are many other features.

The only very important(for some users) feature it misses is Cloud Integration and yes it should be present in today’s cloud centric market. The developers are hard ad work and hopefully the feature will be integrated very soon.

Rating: 4.5/5

Ease Of Use:

For those already using MS Office, this is a piece of cake. For others too, it is nothing difficult to be wary of and you will be at home in a day or two after using it.

In Windows, Writr, Impress etc can also be directly accessed from Start menu. Rating: 4/5

Download package:

The complete software package was just 217 MB’s while Office 2016 is 2000 MB+. So its very light on data usage and hard disc.

Rating: 5/5

Hardware Response:

I tested the software extensively on 4th gen i3, 4th gen i5 and 5th gen i5 machines and for most part, it worked smoothly**. Even one large document file() I had downloaded from net opened fast.

**While testing there were some minor glitches like space or enter button not working (twice to be exact). Although these distracted attention but nothing up to the level that annoys. Hopefully, these will be ironed up in future updates.

Rating: 4/5

Data Privacy:

Since the software is being developed as an Open Source project so there is no one to snoop at your private data (contrary to MS Office) . Hence, you can rest assured that your data is only yours.

It also addresses the concerns of Governments who constantly worry about their secret data being monitored by foreign secret agencies. They can feel less worried by using this.

Rating: 5/5

Merits:

Free of cost

Fast and fluid

Light weight

Excellent community support

Demerits:

Outdated and Cluttered UI

Lack of Cloud Integration

Final Words:

Overall LibreOffice is fast and reliable Office Suite and without any rival in the free arena. It does everything you expect an Office Suite to do and that too for free. The students will highly appreciate this. People who use pirated copies of MS Office should also give this a try.

Overall Rating: 4 (Recommended)

Software Version reviewed: 5.1.0.3

OS: Windows 10 Processor: 4th gen i5

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