Software & Apps Apps LibreOffice vs OpenOffice A comparison of two similar free office suites Share Pin Email Print Apps Best Apps By Cindy Grigg Writer Cindy Grigg is a former freelance contributor to Lifewire and a productivity writer who teaches Microsoft Office software to students and pros. our editorial process Cindy Grigg Updated December 05, 2019 1,074 1074 people found this article helpful In a battle between OpenOffice versus LibreOffice, which office software suite would win? They're both 100% free and are great alternatives to MS Office, but which one will bring home the productivity title for you or your organization? Unfortunately, deciding on which to download can be complicated since they don't look very different from the start. On top of that, even their more detailed distinctions are subtle. Really, the suite you choose will depend on personal preference, but we've reviewed them to find a few defining features, which might help push you over the fence in one direction. Overall Findings OpenOffice Full suite of programs. Language pack available. Feature-rich. Free software. LibreOffice Comprehensive application suite. Language-specific installs available. User-friendly. Free to use. Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice have several components that allow them to be called "suites." Each program serves a separate purpose as part of the whole. These suites have six programs, identically named and with similar functions: Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (diagrams and illustrations), Base (databases), and Math (math equations and formulas). LibreOffice and OpenOffice can be installed on Linux, Windows, and macOS operating systems, and both support a wide range of languages. With OpenOffice, you can install the full suite in your desired language or get the suite first and then install a language pack. LibreOffice has a huge set of language-specific installs, too, but you have to get LibreOffice in that language from the start; you can't install a language pack later. Installation: Program Availability OpenOffice Run from cloud, external drive, or local folder. No install required. Compatible with other office software. LibreOffice Full-featured portable version. Works with Windows OS. Works from USB, cloud, or local drive. Both are also entirely portable, meaning that you can install the portable LibreOffice on a flash drive, for example, or a single folder on your computer and then transport it anywhere you want while keeping all the same settings. OpenOffice portable works the same way. One difference between these two office suites when it comes to program availability is that with OpenOffice, you can, if you want, install only Writer, or only Calc instead of the whole suite. However, when installing LibreOffice, your only option is to install everything even if you don't plan to use every program. If you have limited hard drive space, you might avoid LibreOffice since the whole suite will take up more space than just one or two OpenOffice programs. Then again, both suites can be installed on portable devices, so if you have an external hard drive or other USB drives, that's another option. Supported Formats: Microsoft Compatibility OpenOffice Can open Microsoft files. Can save in older MS formats. Cannot save in current MS Office formats. LibreOffice Able to open and use MS files. Can save in Microsoft format. Limited formatting issues. A big motivator to choose OpenOffice over LibreOffice, or vice versa, is to pick the program that can open the files you use often. That is, which files can each program in the suite open and—as equally important in some situations—to which formats can document be saved? This is an important question to ask if you're dealing with files that were created in or will be opened with, other programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. For example, if you want to be able to open DOCX files from MS Word in one of these programs, you should know beforehand both whether or not the program can open the file as well as if it can save the file back to that same format or if you have to choose a different one. 1:59 Free Word Processors Alternatives to MS Word OpenOffice can open all of the file types below. That means if you have any file that ends with one of these file extensions, you can open it with an OpenOffice program: 123, 602, BMP, CGM, CSV, DBF, DIF, DOC, DOCM, DOCX, DOT, DOTM, DOTX, DXF, EMF, EPS, GIF, HTM, HTML, HWP, JPG, JTD, JTT, MET, MML, ODB, ODF, ODG, ODM, ODP, ODS, ODT, OTG, OTH, OTP, OTS, OTT, PBM, PCD, PCT, PCX, PDB, PDF, PGM, PLT, PNG, POT, POTM, POTX, PPM, PPS, PPT, PPTM, PPTX, PSD, PSW, PXL, RAS, RTF, SDA, SDC, SDD, SDP, SDW, SGF, SGL, SGV, SLK, SMF, STD, STI, STW, SVM, SXD, SXG, SXI, SXM, SXW, TGA, TIF, TXT, UOF, UOP, UOS, UOT, VOR, WB2, WK1, WKS, WMF, WPD, WPS, XBM, XLS, XLSB, XLSM, XLSX, XLT, XLTM, XLTX, XLW, XML, XPM One major exception that matters when choosing between LibreOffice and OpenOffice are the formats that files can be saved to; the files that these programs can create. For example, OpenOffice Writer, while able to open DOCX files just fine, cannot save back to that same format. Since it doesn't support making DOCX files, you have to save the newest MS Word format to something else like DOC, ODT, or RTF. OpenOffice Calc has the same limitation when it comes to XLSX files; it can open them but cannot save back to that same format. The same is true for Impress and PPTX files, and Base and ACCDB files. The following are all the file formats that LibreOffice programs can open but not be saved back to that format. In other words, just like with OpenOffice, these files can be loaded into a LibreOffice program but when it's time to save the file, you have to pick a different format that's supported as a "save as" format: 123, 602, ABW, BMP, CFR, CGM, CMX, CWK, DOCM, DOTM, DOTX, DUMMY, DXF, EMF, EPS, FB2, GIF, HQX, HWP, JPEG, JPG, KEY, LRF, LWP, MCW, MET, MW, MWD, NX^D, ODM, OTH, PBM, PCD, PCT, PCX, PDB, PDF, PGM, PICT, POTX, PPM, PPTM, PSD, PUB, RAS, SGF, SGV, SVM, SYLK, TGA, UOF, VDX, VSD, VSDM, VSDX, WB2, WK1, WKS, WMF, WN, WPD, WPG, WPS, XLC, XLK, XLM, XLSB, XLSM, XLTM, XLTX, XLW, ZABW, ZIP On the flip side, this is a list of all the file formats LibreOffice supports for both opening and saving, meaning that you can not only open and edit the file, but also save back to that same format: CSV, DBF, DIF, DOC, DOCX, DOT, FODS, FODT, HTML, ODG, ODP, ODS, ODT, OTP, OTS, OTT, POT, POTM, PPSX, PPT, PPTX, RTF, SLK, STC, STW, SXC, SXI, SXW, TXT, UOP, UOS, XLS, XLSX, XLT, XML As you can tell from that list of file extensions, LibreOffice fully supports Microsoft's newest file formats used for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. If you're looking for a great Microsoft Office alternative that will let you create MS Office formats as well as edit them, your best option might be LibreOffice. Apps: Mobile Functionality OpenOffice Free Android app. Premium iOS app. Fully functional. LibreOffice Free Android app enables opening and editing. Free Remote app for iOS and Android. Control presentations from phone. If mobile access is important to you, consider which suite supports smartphones and tablets. While the features of OpenOffice and LibreOffice are only fully realized through the desktop software, there are mobile apps from both developers that can extend the functionality of the desktop program or offer a similar service for mobile devices. AndrOpen Office is the OpenOffice app for Androids. The app is completely free. For iOS, Office 700 is $5.99. With either app, you get access to Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, and Math. You can see which file formats are supported and what you can do with it if you follow that download link. Two free LibreOffice apps are available but they have two totally different uses. LibreOffice Viewer is an Android app that can open and edit common file formats like DOCX, XLSX, PPTS, and more. It uses the same software engine as the desktop version of the program and utilizes a Firefox-based interface to open documents for reading. Another free LibreOffice app is called Impress Remote, for both iOS and Android. It lets you control Impress presentations from your phone so that you can walk around the room while presenting. Final Verdict: Too Close to Call Both of these suites of office software applications are feature-rich and easy to use. The powerful programs are user-friendly with intuitive menus and tools, although you might find OpenOffice slightly more familiar. LibreOffice does have greater functionality when it comes to saving in Microsoft Office file formats, but that can be worked around using older file formats in Open Office. The bottom line is that, since they are both free to use, you really cannot go wrong. Try whichever one you choose. If you're not pleased with the first suite, download the second one.