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4 Best Alternatives To Libre Office On Linux

Libre Office is the main reason open source projects have made a real dent in the office suite market share. For many people,  Microsoft Office is the go-to  productivity suite for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations but Because Libre Office is freely available via the Document Foundation, there’s an alternative for those that need one. With all that said, Libre Office isn’t the only choice that users who don’t want to use MS Office have. For all the good that it does, Libre Office also has some major drawbacks. That’s why in this list, we’ve decided to go over some of the best alternatives to Libre Office.

1. Calligra Suite

The Calligra Suite is a complete Office Suite from the KDE Project. It comes with many different office applications that can satisfy basic office editing needs for most Linux users. Applications include Words (document creation and editiong), Tables (spreadsheets), Stage (presentations), as well as Kexi (database  mangament) and others.

There are many different tools in Calligra, that offer a ton of compelling features. As far as office suites for Linux go, this one is the most comparable to Libre Office. Calligra not only includes a solid Word/Excel/PowerPoint alternative, but it includes replacements for some of the lesser-known MS Office tools (Kexi, Karbon, Flow, and Calligra Art).

Like Libre Office, each program has a ton of features to offer to the user and covering each and every one would take a long time. Instead, let’s talk about the most notable features that this suite has to offer:

  • Words can read MS Office formats, Google Docs, and many others
  • Stage offers decent transitions and supports MS PowerPoint files
  • Kexi is a competitive alternative to MS Access, with a vast amount of complex database manipulation features
  • Karbon offers a highly customizable and competitive vector drawing application with support for multiple file formats
  • Calligra Suite, like Libre Office, is completely free and open source software

If you’re not happy with the office suite included on your Linux operating system and are looking for a complete replacement of it, this should be your first choice.

2. WPS Office

WPS Office is a freemium, cross-platform office suite that promises to be 100% feature-compatible with the latest version of Microsoft Office. WPS Office includes the WPS Writer (document editor), WPS Spreadsheets (spreadsheet), and WPS Presentation (presentation). 

Each of the applications tries their best to have “feature-compatibility” with their Microsoft counterparts. For example, the WPS Spreadsheets application includes a lot of common formulas users use in Excel to make the transition easier. In addition to MS compatibility, WPS Office has a lot to offer:

  • Online, downloadable templates for anyone to use
  • Users can download an Android/iOS app to access their documents at any time (up to 9 devices)
  • Offers free cloud storage of all documents for easy sharing and remote access
  • Can convert PDF files to MS format
  • Supports collaborative editing with comments, a change tracker and etc

Libre Office is nice, but if you’re in need of something better for the Linux desktop, try WPS Office.

3. SoftMaker Office

Whether open source advocates like it or not, Microsoft Office and the Docx format is what most of the world uses. On Libre Office, users can import these files. For the most part, it works fine, but due to the fact that these files are not being read and used directly in their original apps, formatting sometimes is disturbed.

SoftMaker Office takes a different approach. Instead of importing the data from files, it just reads and saves in the Microsoft Formats everyone uses by default. For Linux users who have jobs (or classes) that require saving documents in the Microsoft formats, this is a killer feature.

In addition to MS Office compatibility, SoftMaker Office has other features:

  • Easy ePub creation
  • Free technical support (something Libre Office doesn’t offer)
  • Many Microsoft Office feature similarities/compatibilities
  • Mozilla Thunderbird Email extensions to integrate SoftMaker with your email client
  • The 2018 version of Softmaker offers an interface similar to MS Office’s ribbon UI

SoftMaker Office isn’t free and costs money. That said, if Libre Office, WPS or Calligra Suite don’t do it for you, this suite may be worth the cost.

4. Abiword

Abiword is one of the best applications to install if you’re a Linux user that views the entire Libre Office suite as unnecessary bloat. It is a free, open source word processing tool that is specifically for writing and editing text documents. 

Much like the Libre Office Writer tool that comes with a lot of Linux distributions, AbiWord has the ability to check spelling/grammar, has several font choices, various formatting options, table support and more. Additionally, AbiWord users can use the word processor to create PDF files, draw shapes (for diagrams and charts), and etc. 

Many people love all the office tools in the Libre Office suite. If you are not one of those people, and just need an MS Word-like drop-in replacement, do yourself a favor and check out AbiWord. It’ll get the job done!

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this article. I’m new to Linux (Kubuntu), and I have been struggling With Abiword and Libre Office Writer. I frequently copy mixed images and text and type text into each document, but Abiword and Libre Office handle the clipping and pasting of images very poorly.

    In Word and Wordpad (which I prefer), when I clipped an image (I think I used Winsnap), the image was both saved in my picture folder or asked me where (& whether to save it), BUT it ALSO copied the image to the clipboard and was ready to paste. It pasted “in-line” and behaved as if it were just another line of text – easily integrating with the other data in the document. Clean and straightforward.

    LibreOffice and Abiword are a pain in the neck, with quite poor image handling. Sometimes it will plop an image any-old-where (ignoring my cursor position), even if it is on top of something else (image or text).
    It doesn’t make it’s own space, beginning at the cursor. Then you have to try to move it around to a place where it is not on top of something else, which can be dicey as it seems to have no rhyme and reason in its behavior.

    If I paste it at the end of a document, it does make space for itself – sort of. If there is no space manually added for it at the bottom of the document, it pastes at the end of the document. However, if you have not PREPARED space for it AHEAD of time, then you cannot get below it to continue typing. You have to press enter enough times to create space ABOVE it (because when you press enter, the entire image moves down – still with NO space beneath it for typing. After you manually create space, then you have to drag the image UP into the empty space you created manually. Then you can use the leftover space below it to continue typing.

    Linux needs a word processor that handles images like Wordpad does: it goes where your cursor is, it makes it’s own space, and your cursor is positioned at the lower of the right-hand corner, just outside the image, so you can continue typing into your document. It doesn’t have any little circles or anchors or anything else attached to it (unless you select it to copy it, or do something else with it).

    I’m going to try the ones you mentioned above – hoping one of them handles images well, like .RTF files do. Thanks again for the suggestions – I hope one of them works.

    Oh, there is another problem with Libre Office, which has apparently been going on for at least 8 years and has a plethora of “hits” on a search, so I know I’m not the only one this is driving a bit crazy. If you minimize a Libre Office document window, it disappears forever – or at least until you reboot the machine (where it shows at shutdown and asks you to “recover” it on bootup), unless you want to let minimized windows & open windows fill up your Launch Bar – which I do NOT want – at all. Duplicate identical icons taking up the limited space on the launch bar is not my idea of clean programming (now the little dots in Gnome are great – they take no space and yet you can see at the one launch icon for the app, how many instances of it are open and choose the one you want. LibreOffice has no problem there.

    Various “activitiy switchers” also do NOT see Libre Office (even “WindowsList”), even though I have “SKIP Activities Switchers” set OFF. The Alt+Tab Window Cruiser does not work for Libre Office either, even though I have “SKIP Alt+Tab” ALSO set to OFF. Someone suggested “Super+W” which also doesn’t work (if “super key” means the Windows modifier key – I wasn’t sure what “super-key” meant).

    If you minimize a .ODT document window, it disappears, and it is just GONE. You have to reboot the entire machine to ever see it again.

    Thanks again for the suggestions – I hope one of them works right. –AnneF

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