LibreOffice is a fully functioning office software suite, including spreadsheet, word processing and presentation programs, and the files it produces are in Microsoft Office format. This office suite isn’t a web-based system and instead is downloadable and runs offline. It's compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux systems. LibreOffice is a popular product because, although there are a few missing features, you get all the basic office software and some advanced options at no cost.
With LibreOffice, you get the three main programs that you'd expect. These are Writer, which is the word processor; Calc, spreadsheet software; and Impress, the presentation maker. You also get Draw, which is the equivalent of Microsoft’s Paint; Base, database software; and Math, an equation formulas editor.
One notable missing ability of this free office software is online collaboration, which can be problematic for those who need multiple people to access a file simultaneously. However, LibreOffice does provide a Remote Files feature. You can use Remote Files to access files and documents stored in the cloud. By entering your cloud storage username and password, you can access your remotely stored documents as if they were on your hard drive. This feature includes Google Drive, SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 support, but it doesn’t support some other popular cloud storage options like Dropbox and Box.
This free office suite is compatible with most major file types, including Microsoft Office. While the vast majority of Word files render perfectly inside LibreOffice Writer, some more complex text documents may render differently. You’ll also find that the spreadsheet software from LibreOffice is a little more restrictive than some more expensive office suites' spreadsheets and lacks a few of the advanced options, such as using power pivots and adding graphics to headers or footers. However, these minor compatibility and functionality issues really aren’t deal-breakers.
Because this software is free, there are no licensing restrictions in terms of number of users or the number of computers it can be installed on per user. However, because it doesn’t have any web-based applications and collaborative suites, you won’t find any licenses for your mobile devices.
LibreOffice is open-source software that is free to use, so it doesn't maintain an extensive support network. You won’t find live chat or telephone options, but you can connect with the company via social media. There’s plenty of online help in the form of tutorials, as well as an active community that can provide answers to your questions.