ONLY OFFICE - A free alternate to MS office

Posted by Praveen on August 27, 2022 · 3 mins read

Many people willing to test Linux OS often return to their windows for one primary reason: MS Office. The same is true in my case when I attempted such switches in the past. After a while (ten years ago), I have been settled with LaTeX and ultimately adopted Linux. In fact, with markdown syntax, this tends to be even more convincing.

But this is not the case when I am working with my collaborators. In particular, all my bosses are just using windows and MS Office. So, I often need a word processor to view/edit the documents they send to me. Also, writing a letter or preparing research-related data in LaTeX or MD is not so easy. Often, I need correct our project students’ slides too. That’s when the real issue arises - libreoffice can be helpful - but it often causes formatting issues. Similarly, the online solution Google Docs is also not so satisfying to me.

But a few years back had an encounter with ONLY OFFICE desktop edition, and it was mostly encouraging. I no longer had any ‘unformatting’ issues or received emails like “what the hell have you been sent?” as replies. The package supports word, powerpoint, and excel equivalent documents. Also, it will save in MS offices’ native formats such as ‘docx,’ ‘ppt,’ or ‘xls,’ and everything comes as a single package.

Though the appearance would be familiar for MS word users, it has a more aesthetic look, in my opinion. Furthermore, unlike windows, Linux supports a system-wide dark theme. So, you may notice the gracious dark accent and focused writing area in the picture.

Personally, it doesn’t altogether remove my requirement for Libreoffice. A significant issue for me is that it is impossible to simply copy/paste the images. You must click the insert button and search for images in your directories to bring the pictures to your document. - ( though it seems like a known bug, it is yet to be rectified). And sometimes, I have issues like saving it as a PDF or printing it. One feature I am missing is the Libreoffice Draw-like image editor (MS Office has a similar package called the publisher).

I primarily use this with all such limitations for my word processing requirements. So, if you are also looking for an alternate WYSIWYG editor, I would strongly recommend you to consider ONLY OFFICE. The package is available for Linux, Mac, Windows, and an online version.