6 Best Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft Office for Linux

Brief: Looking for Microsoft Office in Linux? Here are the best free and open source alternatives to Microsoft Office for Linux.

Office Suites are a mandatory part of any operating system.  It is difficult to imagine using a desktop OS without office software. While Windows has MS Office Suite and Mac OS X has its own iWork apart from lots of other Office Suites especially meant for these OS, Linux too has some arrows in its quiver.

In this article, I list the best Microsoft Office alternatives for Linux.

Best open source alternatives to Microsoft Office for Linux

Best Microsoft office alternatives for Linux

Before we see the MS Office alternatives, let’s first see what you look for in a decent office suite:

  • Word processor
  • Spreadsheet
  • Presentation

I know that Microsoft Office offers a lot more than these three tools but in reality, you would be using these three tools most of the time. It’s not that open source office suites are restricted to have only these three products. Some of them offer additional tools as well but our focus would be on the above-mentioned tools.

Let’s see what office suits for Linux have we got here:

6. Apache OpenOffice

OpenOffice Logo

Apache OpenOffice or simply OpenOffice has a history of name/owner change. It was born as Star Office in 1999 by Sun Microsystems which later renamed it as OpenOffice to pit it against MS Office as a free and open source alternative. When Oracle bought Sun in 2010, it discontinued the development of OpenOffice after a year. And finally it was Apache who supported it and it is now known as Apache OpenOffice.

Apache OpenOffice is available for a number of platforms that includes Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Unix, BSD. It also includes support for MS Office files apart from its own OpenDocument format. The office suite contains the following applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Base, Draw, Math.

Installing OpenOffice is a pain as it doesn’t provide a decent installer. Also, there are rumors that OpenOffice development might have been stalled. These two are the main reasons why I wouldn’t recommend it.  I listed it here more for historical purposes.

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5. Feng Office

Feng Office logo

Feng Office was previously known as OpenGoo. It is not your regular office suite. It is entirely focused on being an online office suite like Google Docs. In other words, it’s an open source collaboration platform.

There is no desktop version available so if you are looking to using it on a single Linux desktop, you are out of luck here. On the other hand, if you have a small business, an institution or some other organization, you may try to deploy it on the local server.

4. Siag Office

SIAG Office logo

Siag is an extremely lightweight office suite for Unix-Like systems that can be run on a 16 MB system. Since it is very light-weight, it lacks many of the features that are found in a standard office suite. But small is beautiful, ain’t it? It has all the necessary function of an office suite that could “just work” on lightweight Linux distributions. It comes by default in Damn Small Linux.

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3. Calligra Suite

Calligra free and Open Source office logo

Calligra, previously known as KOffice, is the default Office suite in KDE. It is available for Linux and FreeBSD system with support for Mac OS X and Windows. It was also launched for Android. but unfortunately, it’s not available for Android anymore. It has all the application needed for an office suite along with some extra applications such as Flow for flow charts and Plane for project management.

Calligra has generated quite a noise after their recent developments and it may be seen as an alternative to LibreOffice.

2. ONLYOFFICE

ONLYOFFICE is Linux alternative to Microsoft Office

Relatively a new player in the market, ONLYOFFICE is an office suite more focused on the collaborative part. Enterprises (and even individuals) can deploy it on their own server to have a Google Docs like collaborative office suite.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to bother about installing it on a server. There is a free and open source desktop version of ONLYOFFICE. You can even get .deb and .rpm binaries to easily install it on your desktop Linux system.

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1. LibreOffice

LibreOffice logo

When Oracle decided to discontinue the development of OpenOffice, it was The Document Foundation who forked it and gave us what is known as Libre-Office. Since then a number of Linux distributions have replaced OpenOffice for LibreOffice as their default office application.

It is available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X which makes it easy to use in a cross-platform environment. Same as Apache OpenOffice, this too includes support for MS Office files apart from its own OpenDocument format. It also contains the same applications as Apache OpenOffice.

You can also use LibreOffice as a collaborative platform using Collabora Online. Basically, LibreOffice is a complete package and undoubtedly the best Microsoft Office alternative for Linux, Windows and macOS.

What do you think?

I hope these Open Source alternatives to Microsoft Office saves your money. Which open source productivity suite do you use?

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I believe such a list would be incomplete without the WPS Office of the WPS Linux community.

I am wondering why in 21st century we are still stuck to some office formats that limit us to one or another company.

I am working on a new standard that is about having all documents in a very simple and interchangeable format with least storage space required, even I gave up xml and replaced with rsml (reduced size markup language), it can be edited using a text editor like notepad++ or gEdit, and results are displayed on the normal browser.

I use LibreOffice in general and sometimes Abiword. Thanks for the article.

The alternative is use is the google suite with docs, sheets, slides... But it is not open source.

I use both LO and MS Office. LO is NOT a replacement for MS Office. It is good, but not that good. The user interface is old and knowing it will not help someone that needs to know MS Office to make a living. The documentation is not as good or as complete. And the support is a newsgroup. I like LO, but it is not a replacement.

Dave,

Thanks for the roundup. I have been using Libra office for a couple of years, and one big plus I found is that Libra Office Draw will open older Microsoft publisher files. I have hundreds of documents made in publisher 2003, and as I transferred to Linux, I was resigned to rebuilding these old pages, when one day I clicked on a file and lo and behold it opened in Draw, now I use Draw for much of my desktop publishing needs. It does have issues when a file has a table in it, but it's a lifesaver in allowing me to get away from Microsoft.

Planmaker has a freeoffice application that is ... free

Author
Abhishek Prakash

not open source :)

Indeed.. and I do hope they continue to make LibreOffice better.

I guess if we talk about alternative to MS Office, then WPS is also a good candidate... but i agree that the chinese company isn't really open source

Author
Abhishek Prakash

WPS is good if people are not concerned about the license :)

I have been using Libre Office for some time and it does everything that I require admirably.

Author
Abhishek Prakash

LibreOffice is what I have been using for years :)

OpenDocument format is not the LibreOffice own format, is an ISO standard format, used by many office suits. OpenDocument format makes possible that a document created on any device or os, can be opened without any modification in the aspect and content on another device and os.

LibreOffice is not only the Best Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft Office for Linux, but is the Best Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft Office for Windows too.

Author
Abhishek Prakash

No doubt about that.

What about KingSoft Office? It is a really good alternative.

Author

It is, the community about Linux has I think an open source iteration of WPS Office.

LibreOffice seems to have the least compatibility issues with windows. Especially helpful when you're looking for a job.

Give it a try to KingOffice :)

I will, Thank You.

Author

It is not really Open Source if you take my view.

Author
Abhishek Prakash

Apache is slowly gearing up as well.

I avoided Apache, didn't seem mainstream to me. I'll see.