LibO vs. MS Commercial


(Screenshot taken from:

So, here is the very first real post in the category “LibO vs”. I would like to start analyzing the commercial, which is about the surface Pro, which runs the standard Windows 8, so that you are able to use all of the Win 7 programs.

So let’s compare the functionality of LibreOffice with MS Office (MS Office prices from )

Full Office Suite LibreOffice 4.1 (0$) MS Office Home & Student 2013 (139,99$) Office 365 Home Premium (9,99$ / month or 99,99$ / year) or Office Professional 2013 ($399) Office Professional 2010 ($???) Office Online (0$)
Create Presentation
(Easy to add effects and organize them in a beautiful way)
YES (Personally not that easy)
YES (If you are OK with Ribbon [UI since 2007] than absolutely)
YES (If you are OK with Ribbon [UI since 2007] than absolutely)
YES (If you are OK with Ribbon [UI since 2007] than absolutely)
YES (Basics only)
Read and save OOXML documents
(e.g.: docx pptx)
YES (See MS Office for some incompatibility issues)
YES (If saved in “strict”)
YES (If saved in “strict”)
YES (Keep in mind: Default format since 2007 –> The OOXML this program saves is not the standard)
YES (Basic functionality, No strict mode)
Read ODF files (e.g.odt, odp) 1.2 extended
1.1 (That’s why some ODF files are “damaged” for MS Office….)
YES (Do not know which ODF version, assume 1.2)
Open | Edit MS Publisher files YES | YES (No possibility to safe .pub files)
Open | EDIT MS Visio files YES | YES
NO | NO (I do not own this program, it is not advertised on the website)
YES | NO (I guessed this one, I am sure about 2010 Professional)(I do not own this program, it is not advertised on the website)
YES | NO(Not advertised, but I own this program)
Save an editable copy of a document inside of a PDF YES
Where can I use it? Windows, Mac and Linux [iOS and Android, as well a online version in work]
Windows and Mac (There is a version for Windows Phone, Windows RT and online, but with reduced functionality]
Windows (There is a version for Windows Phone, Windows RT and online, but reduced functionality]
Office 365: Additionally: iOS [reduced functionality]
Windows (There is a version for Windows Phone and online, but reduced functionality]
Online Connection required, can be used additionally to the normal suites
Touch optimized NO
NO (not really)
NO (not really)
E-mail client included NO (You may use the OpenSource Thunderbird by Mozilla)
NO [ is another online service, but no desktop app)
End 12 + / 3 4 + / 7 11 + / 2 7 + / 6 4 + / 9
Final result












9,99$ / month or 99,99$ / year or 399$ one-time





Disclaimer: I have done my best to research this. If you think I am wrong, please comment!!!

So, please use the full Office Suite: LibreOffice

24 thoughts on “LibO vs. MS Commercial”

  1. Thanks for the table.

    MS Visio is not included in any MS Office package. Hence, MS Office’s modules cannot read MS Visio files.

    Could you verify that LibreOffice 4.1 is actually able to read/write the OOXML strict standard? I am not so sure and I could not find any evidence that it is able to do so?!?

  2. Well, why to compare again, when LO will always win when you select LO only features and set open source point of view. Unfortunately most of those are on paper only and look good in tables. Real life examples of incompatibilities and problems with those advertised features you will find in Bugzilla.
    Questions while browsing this table: why advertise Publisher and Visio features when you can’t save in original format? Why Office H&S 2013 users can’t use Thunderbird and got double negative points? Also Office is available for Mac, Windows RT devices (for free) and on every platform with modern browser (Office 365).
    I know this is your comparison, your opinion, your use cases. I could do mine, where LO would get as many negative points as many Office features are missing. This is general problem comparing those products…
    I think that such comparisons are a waste of time (especially for LibreOffice developer) – better to fix a bug or two ;).
    BTW: There is another comparison table at:

    1. Hi,
      Well at least I tried to be fair and with the first revision it got fairer to be honest. I would be extremely interested, where you found the “open-source point of view”. As I am not a developer in LibreOffice (yet), but a member of the QA team, I do know the situation @ FDO perfectly well. If I do not comment on a specific issue, please be sure that I heard them.
      Mac: Reduced functionality, when going with Access (reflected in the table).m Windows RT is reflected as Reduced functionality.

      I do know that LibreOffice is not perfect for anyone, but everyone should try it, before spending money for MS Office. For non-power users LibreOffice’s functionality is sufficient.

  3. The mainstream feature of MS Office 2010/2013 is a ‘smart’ element: guidelines in PowerPoint, alignment, themes.
    I use MS Office at my work computer and LibO at home. And I am really missing this smart elements when I am switching from MSO to LibO.

  4. Well… You’ve “scratched the surface” with your comparison.

    I don’t like comparisons – let me try to explain why:

    In case of an e.g. mobile phone, which has technical specifications, a comparison is easy.

    You can simply dissect the mobile phone, compare each of it’s parts and it’s done.

    Comparing software is hard – what you’ve compared is basic functionality. I don’t see anything going in depth in your comparison sheet.

    I personally use both products – LibreOffice and MS Office. And I must say that LibreOffice has dramatically improved in the last versions – but back to topic:

    To compare LibreOffice and MS Office in a more “scientific” way, there should be something like a feature matrix – and I think that this feature matrix would be… insane.

    You would need to dissect the whole software (especially in regards to the possibilities of the different file format specifications, e.g. ODF 1.0 / ODF 1.1 / ODF 1.2 …) and compare each feature set against the possible features of MS Office.

    But – if such a feature matrix would exist, I think It would be a close call – I didn’t see anything groundbreaking the last years in all office suits and I think that the common problem is not “MS Office” vs “LibreOffice” vs XY.

    Typically, when I help someone who works with any “unknown” software, he does what any human would do: Compare it with something that he’s used to.

    And I think that this is the common problem: If you’re used to a UI, anything else is “complicated”, “crufted”, “unknown” and the most common answer is “I don’t know what to do” and it mostly ends with “Sorry for taking your time, but I’m just not used to this software, I’ve used XY for XY time ….”

    Might be not the nicest way to say it – but the human being is a lazy one. If someone does not use the “higher functions” of e.g. Excel / LibreOffice Calc (Pivot Tables, Conditional Formatting, Mutli Page Formulars etc.) or any other product he’s fine with LibreOffice or MS Office.

    He just needs to get used to it – and maybe invest a bit of time in google.

    On one hand, I’m very happy that LibreOffice did not simple copy the ribbon UI – but I must admit it is sometimes awkward to use, especially because some options are hidden somewhere deep in the menu. The menu or the options can sometimes be like a djungle – you don’t know where you are, you don’t know why it is there – but after some time of usage you remember it. And that’s the same for both products – I needed a lot of time to get used to the ribbon UI – but I’m now fine with it. I think the design point is where LibreOffice should maybe not go for a “world revolutionizer”, but instead rethink some menu points and maybe put some option pages on diet and overwork the context menus for right / left click, so that some common tasks are easier to reach. That’s everything.

    Ouch. Quite long post, sorry. Mind blown.

  5. The main problem in switching is still all the .doc or .docx files which do not render well enough. Almost any organization I am familiar with has some. No, I cannot upload most of those.

    Is there also already some way to translate from MS office vba to Libreoffice scripts?

    1. Hi,
      That’s not only LibreOffice’s fault…. Also it has improved with time. Please test with 4.1 version.
      If it is possible to extract what is wrong -> One page document especially created for the bug. That would help more than one big document…

      Thanks for your reply

  6. I want you to note that I am deeply dissatisfied with LibreOffice, i.e. LO Calc. Since November 2011 I have not been able to work with the OOo documents I had used years to develop, while OOo can handle them, albeit not perfectly. I am now running Version (Build ID: Arch Linux build-2) and it is worse than ever – it takes a long time to full load and the painting is slow and “hesitant”. The latter may well be some recent dysfunctionality in KDE, though. Not that this matters, as it cannot handle my documents anyway. This ‘development’ has set me back in more ways than one; it doesn’t matter to me how many theoretical new features LibreOffice purports to offer when it’s not backward compatible for basic functions. You may therefore also note that I am very tired of insincere ‘fanbois’.

    1. I am sorry, that you are not pleased with the product I want to ask you some questions:
      1) Did you report that bug?
      If yes, please give me the link.
      If not:
      IT IS YOUR FAULT and the situation won’t improve, till you file one with the document (or any test document) attached.

      BTW: I am not only a fanboy, but also a member of the QA team, so please let me try to help you.

      1. Yes, it is surely my own fault that I have not tried to submit a bug report. I figured that Linux is a known entity, the (original) OOo source is a known entity, KDE is a known entity, and that with the given user-base a solution would be forthcoming shortly. However, that was nearly two years ago and I have had to make do with OOo, which at least lets me load my document, but is now spending 10 seconds accepting an entrance…

        I should mention that in November 2011, both OOo and LO started to refuse to load my document, but while this was eventually fixed in OOo, there is still no go with LO. It could be that LO, as OOo before, is still poorly integrated with KDE. For a long time prior to Nov ’11 KDE users had the option to tell OOo to use the GNOME interface, which worked. Such an option does not exist in LO, I believe.

        I might also mention that LO’s behaviour has varied over time. From not loading my document, to closing immediately when I try to make an entrance, to again refusing to load my document, to loading the document and letting me make an entrance, but using upto 40 second to accept it, and, right now, to spend upwards of a minute to finish painting an empty Calc instance – and 20 seconds for changing from one sheet to another. Seeing that, I have not bothered trying to open my document with the present version. As mentioned in my previous comment, the new painting problem may very well be a KDE feature, as I see ‘artifacts’ in KDE program GUI’s, but not in e.g. Firefox or Thunderbird.

        My amateurish document is more than 9.5 MiB and uses very many functions, probably way too many for efficient execution. However, strangely, it worked well in OOo two years ago, but has been a nightmare to work with since OOo and LO both came with new versions in November 2011. I don’t know whether it is LO itself or its KDE integration. My document has stayed essentially the same since at least 2008.

        I don’t know what else to provide; the document itself is about competition and should not be divulged to a third party.

        My present system is vanilla Arch Linux under

        Motherboard: ASUS P6T Deluxe V2
        CPU: Intel Core i7 920
        Video: Radeon HD 7870

        Thank you for a constructive reply to my negative comments!

        1. That is extreamly bad [that you can’ share the document].
          Personally it seems to me, you are not using the ‘vanilla’ (original) buils of LibreOffice, but the ones from Arch Linux.

          Did I read correct, that your system needs 1m to open a new Calc document and 20sec to change to a different sheet?
          I can tell you, that this can only be on your system, as on my 3 test system it is working quite quick…

          Would it be possible to install a VM with Ubuntu x64. I am still willing to help you, but this being said, it is very difficult, when not having the document. The preferred way would be something like this:
          Recreate the aspects of this document till it is slow again and reproduce able in a quite small document. Still it might be quicker to set up a Ubuntu VM and try to bisect your error: Beforehand I would try to open it with the default LibreOffice of Ubuntu. Another thing worth a try would be to rename your user profile ( )
          Maybe that helps to get useful information….

        2. I am using the vanilla Arch Linux OS and the LibreOffice builds offered in their repos. My understanding is that Arch makes very few, if any, changes to the code from upstream, but LibreOffice might be an exception from all I know. I started by reading what your last link referred to, and subsequently cleaned out every trace of LibreOffice I could find on my system, including extensions, rebooted and reinstalled. And now LO starts much faster, finishing painting much faster, and without any artifacts. However, opening my infamous document takes 6+ minutes, after which the entire system turns into almost immobile molasses. My System Activity monitor says LibreOffice is using abt. 1.4 GiB memory, but with 6.0 GiB RAM installed I would guess memory is not the problem, but I am no computer expert.

          I have VirtualBox installed, but must learn to use it. That may take a while…

          Would it be an idea to try running LibreOffice from a live system, a DVD?

        3. Yes, I use Arch x86_64. Arch packages are of the .deb variety, handled by Arch’s own package manager, Pacman. The best 😉

          I will try installing from as you suggest; a live DVD seems like a detour.
          I’ll be back…

        4. I guess I was wrong in saying Arch uses a .deb variety. It uses its own; I don’t have and can’t use dpkg. The installation Readme mentions a “desktop-integration” directory to be used for all distros other than those explicitly dealt with in the Readme, but there is no such folder or directory to be found in either “LO-4.1.0_English-NA-DVD_All-Platforms_Multi-Lang_plus-extras.iso” or “en-US/LibreOffice_4.1.0_Linux_x86-64_deb.tar.gz”. Perhaps it’s meant to be found after installation. A catch 22?

          So I could try e.g. an Ubuntu live distro – do you have a link to a recommended version? I find the Ubuntu site(s) rather confusing. Or I could learn to compile from source, although there is little reason to believe I could do a better job than the official Arch packagers.

        5. OK, I have tried loading my document under Ubuntu Live. It comes up in 39 seconds, which in my experience is record speed. Moving around in the document was ‘effortless’, i.e. with nearly instant response. I could not enter any characters in the cells due to lack of permissions. Creating a comment or changing a cell’s background was allowed, but took between 10 to 15 seconds. That is actually worse than on my installed LO under KDE, which spends between 6 and 9 seconds.

          I had not looked at Ubuntu for years and find it abominably slick and seemingly puroposefully ‘dumbed down’. Where is the terminal in the thing? Well, perhaps it is a bit better when fully installed, and when the user finally finds his way around…

          Apart from the ridiculous loading time under my Arch/KDE (6 mins!), a clean LO install seems to be much faster to work with than having it on a live DVD, but I guess that is to be expected. However, even 6-9 secs response time is way too much, practically unworkable. I had tried before to suspend recalculation of the entire document for every entry, without success, but that was before a clean install. I cannot test this right now, since I uninstalled it for the upstream substitution.

          I still don’t know if it is poor integration with KDE or my messy construction of the LO document that is to blame for LO’s sad performance, but judging from how fast it loaded my document under the live DVD, I would think it is a bit of both. Who is responsible for the KDE integration – is it the Document Foundation or KDE?

          Anyway, I think we should end it here. I will now have a clean install and LO will be able to at least load my document, which is tremendous progress. Thanks a lot for the guidance, Florian!

        6. I presume your first sentence is referring to LO…? A terminal icon?
          I am not exactly a fan of KDE, but years ago, when I tried Ubuntu, I disliked the lack of options in Nautilus and switched to KDE with Konqueror. Then KDE turned crazy and switched to Dolphin, which was even worse than Nautilus. It has eventually become usable 😉

          According to the KDE version is 4.10. I am presently at v4.10.5 in Arch. Incidentally, KDE seems to be getting flakier by the hour here. That’s the charm of a rolling release like Arch – you get the latest versions of all programs, with a full serving of all the newest bugs to go ;(


        7. I did mean the LibreOffice version ( The latest here is 4.1.0.x (I can’t tell the ‘x’ at the moment 🙂 )
          Hope that this helps (LibreOffice itself seems to have only minor fault here…)


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