Which Office Solutions Should I Use On Linux & Why?

linux office solutionsComputers are necessary tools to be productive members in today’s society. We need them to be able to do what we want them to, whenever and wherever. A part of being productive means using an office suite to write documents and create presentations. Under Linux, there are a number of great options available which allow you to be as productive as you possibly can.

Each office suite has its own advantages, so it’s important to determine what your needs are in an office suite under Linux.


linux office solutions

As far as traditional office suites go, LibreOffice is the most popular choice. A cross-platform suite of office utilities, LibreOffice aims to address the needs of all its users and is therefore often seen as the open source alternative to Microsoft Office. It includes alternatives to the most popular components of any office suite – Writer for document creation, Impress for presentations, and Calc for spreadsheets. The suite also includes decent compatibility with Microsoft Office’s proprietary formats, including the new .docx and .pptx extensions.

From there, LibreOffice and Microsoft Office start to go different ways. For example, LibreOffice doesn’t include any alternatives to Publisher, Outlook, or OneNote. However, there are other Linux software The Best Linux Software and Apps Whether you're new to Linux or you're a seasoned user, here are the best Linux software and apps you should be using today. Read More applications available which aren’t related to the LibreOffice suite but take care of the job.


office for linux

While LibreOffice can be installed on any Linux desktop, some people who are running the KDE desktop environment may want to have an office suite which integrates better into their desktop. For those people, there’s the Calligra office suite. It takes a slightly different approach to LibreOffice and Microsoft Office when it comes to the layout, but you can still work effectively with this suite.

While it may be a joy to use, it doesn’t save in every format that you may want to use, so this is a slight downside to using it. Besides that, it’s mostly a preference of taste as to whether you prefer LibreOffice, this, or the following solutions.

Google Docs

office for linux

If you want to have something which you can use online from anywhere, you should look into Google Docs. Although it doesn’t include as many suite components as LibreOffice, this online office suite provides good functionality for documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Google Docs is also fantastic to use for collaboration, so people can work on a document and see those changes in real-time.

The suite is feature-complete for basic to moderate functionality, so it’s more than enough to write papers for school or other simple documents. Again, don’t expect a level of editing as found in Microsoft’s Publisher.

You save files in a number of popular formats, or simply use, print, or present your work directly from Google Docs. The office suite is available to anyone with a Google account, and not just a Google email address.

Microsoft Office Web Apps

linux office solutions

Last but not least, if you need the best compatibility possible with Microsoft Office documents, you can go straight to the source and use Microsoft Office. Of course, you can use WINE to have Office run on Linux, but if you’re looking for a more native solution, you can use Microsoft Office’s Web Apps Use Microsoft Office for Free with Microsoft Web Apps Read More which you have access to from a Live account. Like Google Docs, you can easily collaborate with other people on the same document and see changes being made in real-time.

The Web Apps are quite a bit more limited in functionality than the fully-fledged products, however, but at least you’ll be guaranteed to have complete compatibility with whatever documents you’re working with. Otherwise, you can always try your luck with WINE.


With these four office suites, you should be fairly well prepared to start an epic journey of productivity under Linux. There have also been a few rumors going around lately that Microsoft may be looking at porting Office to Linux, now that the operating system has shown some commercial viability through the advances made by Steam. However, no matter what you actually use, it should serve you well in personal, educational, and professional environments.

What office suite are you currently using under Linux? Why do you like it? What would you like to see added or improved to make it better? What do you think about the Microsoft rumors? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: KDE

Explore more about: Google Docs, LibreOffice.

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  1. Abdiel Jireh
    March 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    gnome office should also work

  2. Rubis Song
    February 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I am always using google doc on my Linux Mint. Found it easy to work with because I can also access the same file anywhere else with other OS.

  3. Anonymous
    February 26, 2013 at 10:03 am

    LibreOffice for personal work and Google Docs for sharing with others

  4. Rajaa Chowdhury
    February 26, 2013 at 9:18 am

    How about the free office suite from the biggie IBM. IBM Lotus Symphony supports Windows, MAC OS X, RedHat, Ubuntu and Suse Linux. http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/downloads/ls/symphony/

    • Rajaa Chowdhury
      February 27, 2013 at 4:17 am

      The home page and more details of the software is here : http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/downloads/ls/symphony/index.html

      • Hélder Ricardo Pereira
        February 28, 2013 at 11:02 am

        AFAIK, IBM is discontinuing Lotus Symphony development in favour of Apache OpenOffice, to which they have contributed their whole codebase to merge with.
        Symphony has some winning features, the tabbed interface is great but I always found it missing crucial OO.org features like math editor and stuff.
        I hope both Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice could use Symphony's UI. It is that good.

        • dragonmouth
          March 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm

          Lotus Symphony is based on the original OpenOffice. Since the code for Symphony and Apache OO is very similar and since IBM was developing both, they decided to merge the two projects into Apache OO.

    • Danny Stieben
      February 27, 2013 at 7:20 am

      I've only heard about Lotus Symphony from a small (albeit loud) group of people. I wasn't sure how many people actually used it.

  5. Nevzat Akkaya
    February 26, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Many years ago lack of quality Office programs was an issue, however we have many good and free Office programs plus we can do many of the bulky Office work on the cloud too.

    • Danny Stieben
      February 27, 2013 at 7:20 am

      It's true -- the push to the web has made the choice of OS a little more obsolete. Why pay for Windows when you can use Linux for free if you'll just be using your browser anyways?

      It's probably the reason why Chrome OS is working so well.

      • Nevzat Akkaya
        February 27, 2013 at 7:25 am

        Viva Linux!

  6. Dan
    February 26, 2013 at 6:41 am

    I prefer to use Softmaker Freeoffice in both Windows and Linux. It's freeware (but not free software) and downloadable at freeoffice.com. I use Freeoffice cause it is fast to launch, very responsive, not overly complex, and has pretty good MSOffice file format support. The Linux version does not feel like a native app but once you get over that, it is a cinch to use.

    • Danny Stieben
      February 27, 2013 at 7:19 am

      FreeOffice sounds familiar, but I haven't really given it a shot. I'll definitely have to take a look at it!

  7. Márcio Guerra
    February 26, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Hi! I use LibreOffice. When I came to Linux, a few weeks (just a few months) ago, I was looking for OpenOffice, but soon realized that it was no longer used with that name, so, it still is the same under different name, which in fact means the same, only in Spanish instead of English. I was used to use it in Windows, so, no big deal for me.

    I also like to use Adobe web apps, like Google Docs, and Google Docs. It tends to differ in the use, if it is professional I go with Adobe (all CV and some professionalwork) and in a casual funny way I go with Docs.

    The others, as I believe, I don't know them. Well, I know Microsoft web apps but only tried it once back when it was available, several months (?? one, two years??) back.


    Márcio Guerra

    • Danny Stieben
      February 27, 2013 at 7:18 am

      What web apps does Adobe have available? Most of its productivity software has remained as desktop applications.

      • Márcio Guerra
        February 27, 2013 at 8:00 am

        Hi Danny!

        If you have an Adobe account you can log in and use a Word processor (was called BuzzWord), a similar to Excell software, a PowerPoint similar... All inside Acrobat. Even a free online room for up 3 people to gather, video, sharing files inbetween, audio, of course, like those for online courses, but only 3 at the time in the free version (Acrobat Connect Now) and a sharing file system, like Dropbox (can't exactly compare, but like Docs, for example, at least).

        The problem is that they were moving some apps, like Connect Now, but I think they're still active.


        They are inside Workspaces (dropdown menu to log in).

        Yup, Buzzword, Presentation and Table, the 3 web apps. Create an account, if you don't have one, and you'll be amazed. From what I knew a few years ago when I registered into Buzz, not sure if from Adobe right from the beggining, created around CS3 or before, they invested a lot into type design and professional features in the app. Now it is all Adobe, better yet, it is all Acrobat. Online they are my favorite for relatively easy professional stuff, like I've said, and Docs for general purpose/basic stuff.

        Hope it helped!


        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          February 27, 2013 at 1:43 pm

          Wow, I have an Adobe account and I never knew any of these. Thanks!

        • Márcio Guerra
          February 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

          Tell us if you try and what you think!


  8. Halfey Halphstein
    February 25, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    I found myself always switching between LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice though lately I tend to stick more with Apache OO. I also always keep KOffice in my Linux installation.

    • Danny Stieben
      February 27, 2013 at 7:16 am

      Is there even a noticeable difference between LibreOffice and Apache OO? I haven't been watching too carefully, but last I checked, there's still barely a difference.

      • Anonymous
        February 27, 2013 at 7:23 am

        Yes there's almost not difference at all but I keep switching between the two to see who would be the first to bring major changes.

  9. Bob
    February 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Microsoft Office should be a paid alternative to LibreOffice.