An alternative version of Open Office is released that doesn't cost a penny
Whether your computer is for home or work, it's inevitable that it'll need some kind of office software, even if it's only a word processor. Libre Office is a complete office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, vector drawing program, database and formula writer.
The interface looks a little more polished than Open Office with a cool blue gradient behind icons rather than the dull grey. Some of the icons have also been redesigned.
Writer is a capable word processor. Along with the basic tools of spelling and grammar checking it can create tables and indexes. It can interact with spreadsheets or databases for mail merge.
This is done a little differently than Microsoft Office as the available data for the merge is shown at the top of the screen. Once you get used to it, it is the equal of the Office method.
We're a little disappointed that there is no real-time word count in Libre Office. It's a very useful tool for anyone who writes to a specific word count, not just us but students with essays as well.
Draw can be used to create diagrams and includes some 3D effects for improving how they look. Unlike Open Office it can import SVG images.
Base is the database editor in LibreOffice. Although most people probably won't need to use this program, it is very powerful if you want to access a database and can import information from a wide variety of sources.
The background of LibreOffice is a little complex. Open Office was created by Sun as an opensource office suite. Sun was recently bought by Oracle and many of the Open Office developers have since left and formed The Open Document Foundation.
They are hoping that Oracle will donate the trademarks and related stuff for Open Office so LibreOffice may well change its name back to Open Office. More information on this situation can be found on Wikipedia.
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An excellent and free office suite, but it's a shame about the confusing relationship with Open Office
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