LibreOffice vs Microsoft Office - Feature Comparison

LibreOffice vs Microsoft Office – Feature Comparison: For a long time, I’ve been working with Microsoft Office Suite, which is Microsoft Office, especially with Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Word, which has been on the market for more than 20 years, and can be installed on Windows computers or Mac OS, as well as Android and iOS phones, in their mobile version.

At the same time, I learned how to use LibreOffice and its applications as a free toolset, launched in 2010, and comes from the original project, which was, and can be installed for free on computers running the operating systems Windows, Unix, Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X, plus Android and iOS, which is still in development. LibreOffice applications are entirely free, and can be manipulated without breaking any law, as with paid software.

Read Also: What’s new in Excel 2019 for Windows

LibreOffice vs. Microsoft Office

Major Feature Differences LibreOffice 6.2 Microsoft Office 2019 / 365
Cross-platform availability (desktop) Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Haiku. (based on the same code base). Windows and macOS. Windows and macOS versions have some document format compatibility problems, somewhat different feature sets and differences in the user interface; macOS version does not include the database application MS Access, does not include MS Publisher, and also lacks a number of other features (see below).Feature inconsistencies/differences in Windows versions, between “MS Office 2019” sales version and the “Office 365” rental version: some features are being subsequently included only in the rental version (newly added features also differ between macOS and MS Windows) leading to inconsistencies in the feature set (see below).
Supported versions of MS Windows Windows 7 SP1, 8, 8.1, 10, Server 2008, Server 2012, Server 2016. Versions until LibreOffice 5.4 still also support Windows XP SP3, Vista. MS Office 2019 sales version: Windows 10; Server 2019. MS Office 365 rental version: Windows 7 SP1, 8.1, 10, Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, Server 2016.
Supported versions of macOS 10.9+ (Mavericks). MacOS sales version: 10.12+ (Sierra). MacOS Office 365 rental version: 10.11+ (El Capitan)
A portable version that runs on USB flash disks (without installation) Yes (download) No
Open Source Yes, licensed under MPLv2 and others. No, proprietary and closed-source
Full integration of all office components Supported. From within each office component, files of all other components can be opened and be newly created. Central StartCenter with access to office modules, recently used files and templates. Not supported
Availability free of charge Yes (download, donate) No, proprietary software to purchase or rent. When subscription for the rental version ends, applications enter the read-only mode (view or print) and no new documents can be created. The purchase-version is a perpetual license. One-month trial version available for the rental version (but not for the one-time purchase version).
Extension availability Complex ecosystem of extensions (over 350 on and over 800 on, including automatic updates. Partly, no centralized extension system for add-ons and macros. Microsoft AppSource for Office 365. Office Apps not supported on macOS.
Localization 116 languages (detailed list of languages supported by LibreOffice) 91 languages in Windows version, 27 languages in macOS version (display language for (some) office applications)
Support of Right-to-left⁠ (RTL) languages (e.g. Arabic) and other complex scripts Comprehensive support, based on HarfBuzz⁠ text shaping library Supported on Windows, mobile and online versions and macOS.
Additional writing aids Extended support (spell-check dictionaries, hyphenation patterns, thesaurus and grammar check, specialized dictionaries as extensions. Detailed list of LibreOffice writing aids for over 150 languages. More limited, “proofing tools” for 92 languages in Windows version, 58 in macOS version
Language technology Comprehensive support, based on the most popular spellchecking library HunspellLibreOffice Language Technology – News & Best practices, YouTube, Hunspell 1.7, LibreOffice vs MS Office, Better coverage: words, Unicode, morphology, 3 false alarms in Word, zero in Writer Limited
Support of complex languages and special smart-font features (ligatures, true small caps, old style numbers, proportional or mono-spaced numbers, capital spacing, and true superscript/subscript) Limited support: full support of SIL Graphite font technology and full support of OpenType optional features by syntax, without UI. Interoperability: No support for optional OpenType features in OOXML, and ODF 1.2 don’t provide OpenType optional features support (support scheduled for ODF 1.3) Limited via OpenType supporting ligatures, stylistic sets, number spacing options, number forms, and contextual alternates. Support for optional OpenType features in OOXML.
Support of font variation Limited support for font rendering on screen, no support for printing and PDF export. Limited support for font rendering on screen, no support for printing and PDF export.
Easy access to vector clip art Yes via LO Gallery (clipart extensions). Extension for the integration of clipart from Selection more limited. Feature to include a selection of “icons”.
Macro scripting languages Multiple languages, support for wide variety of languages (LibreOffice Basic, JavaScript, BeanShell, and Python). Import and export of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Single language, support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Indirectly also Visual Basic or Visual C# by using automation.
CMIS protocol support to access Document Management Systems Support for Alfresco, Google GDrive, Nuxeo, MS SharePoint, MS OneDrive, IBM FileNet Lotus Live Files, Lotus Quickr Domino, OpenDataSpace, and OpenText ELS. Inbuilt support only for MS SharePoint and MS OneDrive
Support of ISO standards OpenDocument Format (ODF)⁠ Advanced support, ODF v1.2 extended Limited support in MS Windows version, an online version, ODF v1.2. Support of ODF in macOS version and mobile versions (Android, iOS, Windows 10 Mobile) are limited and require the use of an online file format conversion service.
PDF export extended options Multiple options (Additional options: Tagged PDF, Timestamp protocol⁠, detailed image settings, Hybrid PDF, transition effects, extended security and permission options, PDF forms, initial view settings, extended handling of URLs, digital signatures, and PDF signatures according to PAdES⁠ standard). Support for font embedding of all font types (incl. OpenType .otf fonts). High or low-quality PDF, page and markup to print in Access, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; pictures resolution and non-printing information in Publisher. No support for font embedding of OpenType (.otf) fonts in PDF export
Document classification Document classification in Writer, Calc, and Impress according to TSCP-standards (also with multiple policies). No inbuilt document classification system, but Information Rights Management (IRM) supported
Import of SVG vector graphics (.svg, .svgz) Supported .svg files supported
Import of Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) vector graphics (.eps) Supported (with some rendering issues) Support for .eps images entirely removed in Office 2019 and rental version (In Office 2016 sales version, it was) turned off by default due to security issues but could be manually enabled via Windows registry. There were general rendering issues of .eps files in PDF export
Insert PDF as an image into documents Supported Not supported
Creation of Hybrid PDFs (ODF file embedded in PDF for full editing) Supported Not supported
Import from raster graphics software: Adobe Photoshop (.psd) Supported Not supported
Import from vector graphics / DTP software: CorelDraw (v1-X7), Corel Presentation Exchange, Adobe/Macromedia Freehand (v3-11), Adobe PageMaker, Zoner/Callisto Draw (.zmf), QuarkXPress 3.1 to 4.1 Supported Not supported
Import of MS Visio files Supported (Visio 2000-2013) Not supported (only via MS Visio which is not part of MS Office)
Import of video and audio formats FLAC Audio (.flac), Flash Video (.flv), Matroska Media (.mkv), OGG Audio, Ogg Video, Quicktime Video, WebM Video, Real Audio (.ra), Real Media (.rm), Digital Video (.dv), Audio Codec (.ac3), and Ogg Opus (.opus) Supported Not supported
Drawing and vector graphics software LibreOffice Draw, drawing and vector graphics software that supports pages (up to 300cm x 300cm), layers, numerous drawing tools and DTP features. Partial. MS Powerpoint provides some features of drawing software.
PIM and email software Not part of LibreOffice, referring to alternative PIM software such as Mozilla Thunderbird.
Mail Merge Wizard sends out emails directly from LibreOffice without email software. LibreOffice-wide access to address books via Base.
MS Outlook
Desktop publishing (DTP) software Partial. Writer supports many advanced DTP features (see section on Writer in this comparison table). Draw supports frame-based DTP features. Import of MS Publisher files (and from other DTP software) in Draw. MS Publisher
Integrated Development Environment (IDE) feature set The BASIC Integrated Development Environment (IDE) does not have 1. Refactoring facilities (Renaming affects dependencies/Extract Method/Extract interface etc.); 2. Intellisense (or any other code completion functionality) such as auto-code-completion and showing the properties and methods of an object; 3. Error checking (the IDE actually knows its symbols). Supported with Visual Basic for Applications and/or additional purchase of Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio (Windows-only). macOS version only supports a simplified Visual Basic Editor.
Import & Export of Microsoft OOXML files Good support of real life OOXML files (e.g. .xlsx, .docx, .pptx) and standardized (transitional) OOXML files, as well as import of OOXML-strict files. Advanced support of transitional (default) and strict OOXML files
PDF Import Partial, into Draw and Writer with the limitation that text is imported line-based Supported, into MS Word
Versions of the office suite for mobile operating systems (smartphones, tablets) Ports for Android and iOS are in development, the viewer for Ubuntu Touch/UBPorts. LibreOffice Viewer for Android available, with basic and experimental editing features. LibreOffice for iOS (iPhone, iPad) is in development: Preview for iOS; other porting effort: LibreOffice Light. The Document Viewer of Ubuntu Touch is powered by LibreOffice it and therefore supports viewing most file types supported by LibreOffice. Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. Mobile versions for smartphones and tablets with Android and iOS with restricted features set, for ‘Windows 10 Mobile’ smartphones with the heavily restricted feature set. Professional users, as well as users on tablets >10.1 inch, are required to have an eligible Office 365 subscription at a monthly fee. Private users are allowed to view and print documents without registration private users, basic editing functionality requires registration. More comprehensive features require an eligible Office 365 subscription at a monthly fee.
Online/cloud version of office suite LibreOffice Online 6.1.4 / Collabora Online 4.0 with full document support and rendering fidelity, as well as collaborative editing. Advanced but reduced editing functionality compared to the desktop version. Online version supports Vereign compatible authentication & document signing. Office web apps, with advanced features, but reduced functionality compared to the desktop version.
Integration of online office suite into (third-party) collaboration software and groupware/content management systems Integration of LibreOffice Online in OwnCloud and Nextcloud, Kolab,Pydio, Seafile,IceWarp, AG-I Solutions, Alinto, VNCLagoon, EGroupware, Univention App Center. MS Office Online Server integration in MS SharePoint
Availability of online office suite in (third-party) online services Variety of available service providers: UrBerri, eqipe, New Access, Arawa, Artistanbul, TransfertPro, Extensys,Rono-IT, SecuredStore, StudioStorti,united hoster, Option Service Télécom, AggreCost,, FileCloud, Retention Range,, OffiDocs, CiviHosting, ETES, Sunjun, opendsi, GMS, OpenLogic, SwissStash, iOffice Cloud, cloudplan, EGroupware, ZenTao, SwissVON, CQ Net, Mijncloudoffice, mentorITe, PowerFolder MS OneDrive
Synchronous collaborative editing Partial. Collaborative editing in LibreOffice online version (Writer, Calc and Impress). Not available in the desktop applications Supported in online versions of MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Partial support in desktop applications via OneDrive or MS Sharepoint. Support in desktop applications varies “Real-time typing” in MS Word, Powerpoint, “Co-authoring” in MS Excel (not supported in MS Powerpoint and MS Excel in MS Office 2019 sales version; MS Powerpoint 2019 sales version only allows for co-authoring (syncing after saving file). Simplified “sharing” of office documents in MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint via OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint. AutoSave feature, which automatically saves every few seconds, is supported in MS Word, MS Excel, and MS Powerpoint, if files are stored on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint Online (Not available in MS Office 2019 sales versions on macOS and Windows. Real-time collaboration for MS Word supported in MS Office 2019 sales version on Windows).
User Interface approach Highly customizable UI concept “MUFFIN”: Available user interfaces: (1) Classic UI with multiple toolbars mode, and Sidebar panel. (2) Single toolbar mode, and Sidebar panel. (3) Notebookbar (Tabbed UI). (4) Groupedbar (Compact UI). Other additional variants “Contextual groups/single” and “Tabbed Compact” are still in experimental mode. Customization possible: Several icon themes available (Breeze, Breeze Dark, Colibre, Elementary, Sifr, Sifr Dark, Tango). Firefox themes are available for LibreOffice via Tools ▸ Options ▸ LibreOffice ▸ Personalization. Ribbon UI; Colour themes (on MS Windows: Colorful, Dark Gray, Black, White. On macOS: Colorful, Classic; Dark mode (not supported in Office 2019 sales version on macOS))
User interface improved to enable use on touch screen devices on desktop operating systems. No A slightly adjusted user interface for touch screen devices, but no redesign.
Keyboard driven menu system (search function to better find features in office suite). Not supported. Only via the help system. On Ubuntu Unity support for Head-Up-Display (HUD) system. Supported, Tell Me search bar.
Accessibility checker Not supported. Extension for text documents: AccessODF Supported
Chat with other authors (collaborative editing) Not supported. In-app chat with co-authors for shared files on SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business. Not supported by OneDrive Consumer or any other storage location. Non-persistent chat (history not preserved; new users see only new incoming messages). (Not supported in MS Office 2019 sales version; not supported on Android and iOS).
Integration of Instant Messaging (IM), voice, video, or screen sharing. Not supported. Skype integration (not supported in macOS version).
Dictation / speech recognition Not supported Supported in MS Word, MS Powerpoint, MS Outlook. Voice audio is sent to Microsoft cloud servers and returned as text. (Not supported in MS Office 2019 sales version on Windows and macOS)
Inserting and editing 3D models Not supported (previous support in Impress for glTF (.dae/.kmz) 3D models removed in version 6.0) Supported in Powerpoint, Word, and Excel.
Support of colour fonts Not supported Supported
Minor Feature Differences LibreOffice 6.2 Microsoft Office 2019 / 365
Import of graphics formats DXF, MET, PBM, PCD, PCX, PGM, PPM, PPM, RAS, SGF, SVM, TGA, XBM, XPM Supported Not supported
Import of Classic Mac OS legacy vector and bitmap graphics formats: BeagleWorks, ClarisWorks, GreatWorks, MacPaint, MacWorks, SuperPaint, MacDraw, MacDraw II, RagTime for Mac 2-3, ClarisDraw, MacDraft Supported Not supported
Import of additional video and audio formats: CD-Audio, Vivo Video. Supported Not supported
Drawing features: Arrow endings Substantially wider selection, including Crow’s feet notation Less supported arrow endings
Document converter wizard Supported Not supported
Euro currency converter wizard Supported Not supported
Expert config to access a multitude of settings from UI Supported Not supported
Support for multiple color palette formats: Gimp (.gpl), Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase), LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice (.soc) Supported Not supported
Import MathML formula from clipboard Supported Not supported
Import of StarOffice binary file formats .sdc, .sda and .sdw Basic support Not supported
Digital signatures / Signature Line Multiple signatures, including OOXML signatures. Round-trip with MS Office problematic. Import/export of PDF signatures. Support of XAdES⁠ standard (XML Advanced Electronic Signatures) and OpenPGP keys. Additional support of ECDSA keys (on Linux and macOS). Additional (experimental) support for OpenPGP-based document encryption. Supported (OOXML/XML-DSig and XAdES signatures)
Convert SVG image to shapes/polygon Conversion supported in LO Draw. Additionally opening SVG files directly as shapes are supported in LO Draw. Supported
Enhanced list of recent files and folders Partial. Option to a clear list of recent documents. Selectively delete Recent Documents (in StartCenter) Supported (option to set recent files as permanent)
Custom colours in formula editor Set of 16 colours Supported
Third-party software dependencies Java runtime environment (JRE) installation required for certain – but not most – features of the software. Java is notably required for Base. Not required
Shortcut keys for accented Latin characters Not supported, workaround using Unicode conversion Limited support
Inserting audio/video from online sources Not supported. Workaround: Download of online video and embed it in presentation (incl. Flash videos) supported
Quick access to email attachments Not supported Supported, “Shared with me” feature in PowerPoint, Excel, Word.
Streaming of office applications/office on demand Not supported (possible via third-party services) Supported
Ink drawings/annotations (e.g. on touch- and pen-enabled devices) Not supported, (only support for import of existing ink annotations from MS Word file format) Supported. Several pens, highlighters, colours and colour effects, and pencils for inking to draw/annotate/highlight. Ink equations (conversion of drawing to the equation). Lasso Select (free-form tool for selecting ink). Ink replay feature (Not supported in macOS version)
Recognition of shapes from ink drawings Not supported Yes
Automatic background removal of a picture Not supported Supported in MS Windows version (not supported in macOS version)
Live preview while formatting Not supported Supported
Inserting a screenshot from within applications Not supported Supported
Import of graphics formats: MEZ, EMZ, WMZ, PCZ Not supported Supported
Export to XPS format⁠ Not supported Supported
Support for Touch Bar on Apple MacBook Pro Not supported Supported (macOS only)
We tried to include every detail for comparison of LibreOffice and Microsoft Office. If we missed something to mention, let us known by writing in the comment section. Thanks for reading LibreOffice vs Microsoft Office – Feature Comparison


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