Heads above G Suite, but a few feet short of Microsoft Office
January 01, 2019

Heads above G Suite, but a few feet short of Microsoft Office

Christopher Boyd | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with LibreOffice

LibreOffice was reviewed within my company as a possible replacement to Office 365 (namely the desktop applications Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). Whereas LibreOffice is an excellent program, ranking well above applications like Google Docs, it still isn't exactly a pop-in replacement for Microsoft Office. My disclaimer here is that I found LibreOffice to be excellent and would very much enjoy using it, if only it had an Outlook and OneNote application, or at least integrated with replacements for those smoothly elsewhere. Alas, the world of open source can be a little too open sometimes.

The aim was to replace Microsoft Office and not have to rely on Google Docs. We initially found LibreOffice to be very easy to use and incredibly user-friendly. The problems came when we needed (see: expected) to be able to just swap out Word or Excel for Writer or Calc. The default font settings, for example, are not the same between Word, Writer, and Google Docs. This led to confusion among users, despite it being configurable. We then had issues with the way Calc works versus Excel, and transitioning our spreadsheets over would have required reworking several of our formulas in large documents.

We ultimately didn't make the switch to LibreOffice due to the learning curve and nuances but are intending to review it again.
  • It's free, which is the biggest difference between Office. It definitely feels like a full-fledged office suite of software for no more than the cost of an optional donation.
  • Lots of templates exist out on the internet for Writer and Impress (the Word and PowerPoint equivalents in LibreOffice). The open source community really likes to support one another in their usage of each other's software.
  • It works smoothly on almost every OS out there, including Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
  • It's a step up from Google Docs, but it doesn't quite reach the heights of Microsoft Office. This might simply be because if you grew up using Microsoft Office, the nuances add up spread across the multiple pieces of software.
  • There is no Outlook or OneNote equivalent in the LibreOffice suite. They recommend some alternative apps, and you can find suggestions on the internet, but nothing works or integrates as smoothly as the entire Microsoft Office Suite does.
  • Though lots of templates exist, it's clear that this software is mostly supported by developers and Linux users, which doesn't number a lot of graphic designers in comparison to MacOS or Windows.
  • We ultimately didn't go with LibreOffice as our Microsoft Office replacement, but if we did, for our small company, we would've saved approximately $600/yr.
As noted previously, LibreOffice blows Google Docs (G Suite) out of the water in terms of singular application quality, and comes close but misses the mark as a drop-in replacement to Microsoft Office. We currently are evaluating the latest release of LibreOffice to see if we can replace Microsoft Office with it entirely as we've had more time to fill in the holes that were left when losing out on Outlook and OneNote and all of the integrations that come with Microsoft Office.
If you are working in a Linux environment, then LibreOffice is an excellent choice for you, if not the best choice.

If you don't need to collaborate with people often or the documents you are working on don't need to adhere to strict style guidelines, then you really can't beat the quality for the price (free) of LibreOffice.

However, don't expect the fluidity or integration choices you have with Microsoft Office or Google Docs. LibreOffice is built as standalone software, and whereas tools, apps, and workarounds exist, if you are used to the bells and whistles of the other office suites out there, then LibreOffice will require some patience and extra work.