Software & Apps Apps 1,099 1099 people found this article helpful LibreOffice vs OpenOffice A comparison of two similar free office suites 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 March 13, 2020 Apps Best Apps Tweet Share Email In a battle between OpenOffice versus LibreOffice, which office software suite would win? They're both 100% free and are great alternatives to Microsoft Office, but which one will bring home the productivity title for you or your organization? Deciding which to download can be complicated since these office suites don't look different from the start. On top of that, even the detailed distinctions are subtle. The suite you choose depends on personal preference. We reviewed both 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 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. Download LibreOffice Download Apache OpenOffice Installation: Program Availability OpenOffice Runs from the cloud, external drive, or local folder. No installation required. Compatible with other office software. LibreOffice Full-featured portable version. Works with Windows OS. Works from USB, cloud, or local drive. Both are 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 where you want while keeping 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, avoid LibreOffice since the whole suite takes up more space than 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, or PowerPoint. For example, if you want to open DOCX files from Microsoft Word in one of these programs, find out beforehand if the program can open the file, if it can save the file to that same format, or if you have to choose a different format. 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 can open DOCX files but it can't 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 those files 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 can't save 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 the file formats LibreOffice supports for opening and saving, meaning that you can open and edit the file, and also save back to that 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 for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. If you're looking for a great Microsoft Office alternative that creates MS Office formats as well as edits these files, 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 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 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 these have two different uses. LibreOffice Viewer is an Android app that opens and edits 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 OpenOffice. The bottom line is that, since both are free to use, you can't go wrong. Try whichever one you choose. If you're not pleased with the first suite, download the second one.