Welcome to Adi’s Pick of The Week. If you are new to this website, this is where I recommend one piece of software, hardware or even a website. I think it goes without saying that this week’s pick is a must have!
Let me start out with some background on this one. When buying a new computer (desktop, laptop or laptop/tablet hybrid), one of the packages that you need is something that Microsoft Office. Sad as it is to say this, there is no laptop out there that comes with Microsoft Office. This is how you write documents, this is how you put together presentations. Indeed at work, you don’t have to worry about this because there is a very good chance that your desk at work will already have a computer with Microsoft Office.
Right now, Office 2016 costs £89.99 (Source: Amazon UK – affiliate link) for the home and student version if you have a PC running Windows. If you are on an Apple computer, then Office for mac costs £108.99(Source: Amazon UK – affiliate link) for the home and student version. That’s almost the cost of a cheaper tablet computer or an inexpensive mobile phone(or cell phone). Some of you out there might find that a little bit pricey. Even still if you choose to go with office 365 it’s a little bit cheaper at about £60 a year(£6 a month) and you get the latest version of Office as soon as it’s available.
If you decide to stop paying that subscription fee then your copy of office is restricted, meaning that you cannot make any changes to your documents, spreadsheets or presentations. At that point you would only have the ability to open and read your documents. Some of you might not even like the idea of having to effectively “rent” software.
This is why my pick of the week goes to LibreOffice. It’s Office Suite just like Microsoft Office. It comes with a few different applications. Let’s take a quick look at what they are:
Writer: the LibreOffice equivalent of Microsoft Word
Calc: the LibreOffice equivalent of Microsoft Excel
Impress: the LibreOffice equivalent of Microsoft PowerPoint
Base: the LibreOffice equivalent of Microsoft Access – for creating databases
Math: the LibreOffice app that lets you do formulae (of the mathematic kind)
Draw: the LibreOffice app that lets you draw things
As you can tell, it has pretty much most of the applications that Microsoft Office has. You can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and even databases. Most of the time, people might send you documents that were made to be opened in Microsoft word or excel (for instance). You guessed it, LibreOffice will also open up Microsoft Office files (that’s word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations). Of course, if you are working on a document (say a Word document), you can then save it in a format that you can open in Microsoft Office.
If you want to, you can even make LibreOffice get close to the look of more recent versions of Microsoft Office. Sure it’s not the real ribbon look that Microsoft Office has but it gets pretty close to it if you ask me.
Of course, you can do most of the formatting that you would for your documents (e.g. formatting a cell in a certain colour, changing how wide or narrow the page margins are, assign a different transition for each slide of your presentation to name but a few).
If you are into using functions in Excel, then you can also take advantage of those Excel functions in Libre Office. For example, you would be able to use functions like IF, VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, SUM and many others as well.
Overall, I would say that LibreOffice is my go-to alternative to Microsoft Office. Again, it has most of the functionality that Office has and it can also read the same types of documents that Microsoft Office can open. Additionally you can even save your documents as PDFs (just like Microsoft Office can). It pretty much is a fully-featured office suite and I would high recommend putting LibreOffice on your computer and checking it out for yourself.
LibreOffice is free and available on PC, Mac(Apple desktop and laptop computers), and Linux. You can install it on as many computers as you want and you can download it from the LibreOffice website. Coincidentally I should mention that there is a portable version of LibreOffice for PC that you can take with you on a USB Flash Drive if you like.
Are you using LibreOffice? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments.