Tag Archives: LibreOffice

A Look at the Free Office Suite – LibreOffice 5.2

The Document Foundation recently announced LibreOffice 5.2, a free open source alternative to the Microsoft Suite.  LibreOffice 5.2 is one of the best free office suites currently on the market and this latest version comes with some advanced features that will be appreciated by the more advanced user, while still maintaining ease of use for the beginner.  According to their press release, some of the more advanced features include the ability to classify documents into categories (such as “Confidential”) according to TSCP standards as well as multiple digital signatures and descriptions along with import and export of signatures from OOXML files for improved security.

While LibreOffice still lacks the modern ribbon interface found in the Microsoft Office suite and the free Kingsoft Office Suite, it offers a stable, fully functional suite of office applications, including a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tool, not to mention a database and drawing package.

Here are some of the highlights and new features for the main LibreOffice applications, Writer, the word processing tool, Calc, the spreadsheet tool and Impress, the presentation tool:

LibreOffice Writer

Existing users of LibreOffice will appreciate the new Standard Single Toolbar mode that has been added to Writer that includes the most commonly used functions, insert, and formatting operations as well as redesigned dialogs designed to help you to work more efficiently.   This saves some screen real estate as previously users had to use the default double toolbar arrangement.

In addition, you can now display and dock the Drawing Toolbar that was previously only available in LibreOffice Draw that gives you the ability to draw curves, freeform lines, polygons and a variety of filled shapes.  You can easily turn on and off the toolbars by going to View > Toolbars and selecting or deselecting the toolbars of your choice.  The Drawing Toolbar has not only been added to Writer, but to all LibreOffice applications.

drawing-toolbar

LibreOffice continues to improve the way users can create, save and print documents with the addition of some new features that include a new Print to File option in the list of printers, a Save as Template option on the Save toolbar button so you don’t have to go through the menus and two-factor authentication support for users of Google Drive for storage.  It’s also extremely easy to convert your existing Microsoft Word documents to Writers native ODF format by simply clicking the Save button on the Standard toolbar.  LibreOffice Writer will recognize that your are attempting to save a Word file and will prompt you with the option to save in the ODF Format.

Save Word files in LibreOffice Writer format

LibreOffice Impress

Creating a presentation has never been easier than it is with the latest update of Impress.  This impressive free presentation tool has a similar look and feel to PowerPoint except for the addition of a new Slide Background Properties Panel that lets you quickly change the layout, format, orientation and background image of a slide.

impress

Adding custom animations is extremely intuitive and can be accomplished easily by simply selecting the item that you want to apply custom animation to at which time you will be presented with the Custom Animation properties panel.  Here you can apply the same animation effects you’ll find in PowerPoint such as Fly In, Box, Checkerboard, etc.  The list of effects in the sidebar also now includes a description of the effect, along with the element name.

impress-animation

LibreOffice Calc

Calc, the spreadsheet tool is extremely intuitive and easy to learn offering a comprehensive range of advanced functions.  The latest version includes new functions (including tooltips that describe them), more view options in the status bar, quick-access operations to freeze columns and rows, and a single toolbar mode.  The new freeze columns feature is particularly useful to those who work on large spreadsheets and can be easily activated by selecting the column you want to freeze and choosing the View Menu > Freeze Cells and selecting from the available options.

Freeze Columns in LibreOffice Calc

While Calc saves spreadsheets in its native OpenDocument Format (.ods), it can also open and save files in Microsoft Excel format  and you can easily export to Portable Document Format (.pdf).   Calc can read .xlsx files created with Microsoft Office 2007 for Windows or Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac OS X.

LibreOffice 5.2 can be downloaded at the following link:http://www.libreoffice.org/download/.

Five Completely Free Office Suites

Is the high cost of owning an Office Suite preventing you from getting started on your school projects, setting up your virtual assistance business or managing your non-profit correspondence and spreadsheets?  If so,  you may find the following, completely free, open source Office Suites exactly what you’re looking for.  While nice to have, the average individual, entrepreneur or small business owner doesn’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles that come along with the latest version of Microsoft Office.  If your needs are simply to create common business documents that look attractive and professional, then join the ranks of millions of people and organizations around the world that are already using free open source Office Suites for their business needs.

Desktop Versions of Free Office Suites

LibreOffice 5

LibreOffice a Free Office SuiteThe Document Foundation recently released its latest version of its free open source office suite, LibreOffice 5.0. This new version of LibreOffice is a beautiful office suite that comes complete with new icons, major improvements to the menus, sidebar and intuitive style management.   While it still looks like a slightly older version of Office, LibreOffice is a powerful office suite that embeds several applications including Writer, the word processor, Calc, the spreadsheet application, Impress, the presentation engine and Base, the database application.  LibreOffice is also compatible with many document formats such as Microsoft® Word, Excel and PowerPoint  and also uses a modern open standard called the OpenDocument Format (ODF).  Extremely easy to download and use, Libreoffice is by far one of the best free open source Office Suites on the market today.  Download LibreOffice >>

Apache OpenOffice

OpenOffice Free Office SuiteApache OpenOffice is an easy to learn open-source office software suite used for word processing (Writer), spreadsheets (Calc), presentations (Impress), graphics and databases. OpenOffice can also work with ODF documents as well as documents from other common office software packages allowing you to open and work on Microsoft Office documents and save them in the OpenOffice native format (.ODT).

The Apache OpenOffice software was developed over twenty years ago and has continued to improve over the years.   One nice feature of OpenOffice is that you can open any type of document from any of the applications (Writer, Calc, Impress) so it operates essentially as one piece of software.  It also runs on all major computing platforms – Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris, Apple Mac.  If you’re looking for a reliable, tried and true free Office Suite, you’ll find OpenOffice will definitely fit the bill.  The software can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.  Download OpenOffice >>

Kingsoft WPS  Office 10 for Windows

WPS Premium ReviewWPS offers both a free and premium version of their office suite and if you’re familiar with the Ribbon interface in Microsoft 2013, you’ll be right at home using WPS.  The suite includes 3 applications including Writer, Presentation and Spreadsheets. The software resembles Office 2013 more than any of the other free office suites with its clean Ribbon interface .   We found the Ribbon interface to be extremely intuitive and included all the common tabs and features found in Microsoft Office including the Review tab in Writer that supports advanced collaboration features including track changes, comments, word count and spell check.

All three applications come with a variety of  templates that you can download for free or you can create your documents from scratch as this software contains all the common features and functions you’ll find in Microsoft Office including the ability to insert shapes, text boxes, images, notes, charts and tables in PowerPoint and access to literally dozens of formulas and function shortcuts as well as the ability to create pivot tables, freeze frames, sort and style your tables and charts in Spreadsheet.    The File Roaming function was particularly impressive and,  when enabled,  automatically saves and uploads your documents to the cloud.  Fully compatible with Microsoft Office applications, WPS is definitely a great free and paid alternative to MS Office software.  To download, click on WPS Office for Windows and Click the Download for Free Icon.

Cloud Based Free Office Suites

Google Docs:

Google DocsGoogle Docs is becoming more and more popular and comes with a variety of smart editing and styling tools to help you easily format text and paragraphs.  The software also comes with a variety of resumes, reports, and other pre-made templates to get you off to a good start with your document creation.  Even better, you can access, create, and edit your documents right from your phone, tablet, or computer and collaborate and share with others. As this software is in the cloud, your documents are automatically saved as you type so no more worrying about computer crashes.  Another unique feature of Google Docs is that you can view and edit your Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files right within Google Docs and without needing Office installed on your computer making it easy for you to access and modify your files from essentially anywhere.  You will need a Google login ID to access Google Docs and you can sign up here at Google https://docs.google.com

Office Online (office.com)

office.com reviewOffice Online is Microsoft’s free offering of their professional office suite.  It is a slightly scaled down version of the complete office suite but perfect if you just need to create simple business documents, presentations and spreadsheets and of course, you don’t mind working in the cloud.  There are some limitations with the online version. For instance, you cannot close documents without saving once you open them as they are automatically saved to OneDrive. You can, however, easily delete them from the OneDrive Documents area. As documents are automatically saved on OneDrive, there is no “Save or Save As” option from the Backstage view. From the Save As option, you can easily download your documents to your computer. You can also print your documents directly from Office Online.

office.com reviewIt’s real easy to switch back and forth between applications including Outlook, Calendar, OneNote and Sway.  The real benefit of Office Online though is that you can share your files with others and work together on documents, presentations, spreadsheets and notebooks in real-time.  This is a great feature if you are a person that works with other people on Office documents.  You will need to establish a Microsoft Account to get started then you can simply logon to office.com.

Kingston WPS IOS or Android

WPS for IOS is a free mobile office suite designed for iPhone, iPad, iPad Touch and Android.  The mobile office suite includes writer, presentation and spreadsheets and is fully compatible with Microsoft Office® and Google Docs.  The best part is that you can easily easily access and edit your documents in the cloud by connecting directly to Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and OneDrive.   The suite also supports document collaboration including track changes, comments and spell check.  Download WPS for IOS or Android here >>