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LibreOffice is free Office productivity software. The software is being developed as a free project with support from volunteer group ready to collaborate, create and share ideas into this project. This project is been under development for the last 12 yrs. Currently LibreOffice is in version 4.0. This software is one of the better alternatives to the free version of Office Suites available in the market, even better than OpenOffice. Surely, the software does not provide some of the awesome and advanced features included in Microsoft Office, but the software does a great job in doing the basic everyday simple tasks freely.
LibreOffice is based on free open source software. It includes word processor, spreadsheet, presentation creator, drawing, database and mathematical equation editor. The latest editions have improved lot compared to the previous edition. The new edition is more polished, added some major improvements to formatting using word processor. LibreOffice at present supports Win XP/ Vista/7/8, Mac OS X and Linux. The file is 183MB large and can be downloaded from LibreOffice website.
Writer, LibreOffice’s word processor has improved tremendously compared to previous version. There are more options now for controlling over formatting text. There is also more control over headers and footers with ability to attach comments to text. The software also has an improved support for .docx files. So if you have a file created using MS Office2007 or later versions, you have a better chance to continue editing the file using LibreOffice without degrading the formatting quality.
Calc, the excel equivalent of LibreOffice is noticeably faster than any of the previous version. The software is capable of opening larger and complicated files faster than before. The chart created using Calc now looks better. You have the option to print and also use it as a PDF. The charts can be converted to image formats such as JPEG, PNG format.
The presentation creator is also equally impressive. There is a remote control option for Android devices which offers multimedia previews using hardware acceleration. Page previews also improved lot. Overall there is better support for non native formats like RTF or .docx, import and export of RTF native math equations and allowing import of ink annotations. LibreOffice also have a template manager which allows customizing the software according to your tastes.
LibreOffice is now more integrated with CMS and also supports document storage using CMIS standard. This will allow sharing direct access to documents stored on ECM systems, either from Open source like Nuxeo, Alfresco or proprietary ones such as Microsoft SharePoint.
Overall, LibreOffice is worth trying out if you are not into creating any complicated highly formatted office files or if you don’t want to spend more money on an Office Suite. If you want to get complicated stuffs done using the software, it can be done but got to go through more learning curve. LibreOffice being open office and with a good community support to develop the software, we can expect more from this software in the future.