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LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a free and open source suite of office software programs. It is the default office software in many distributions of the Linux operating system, and can also be downloaded in Windows and Apple OS X versions. Windows users will find that it offers a range of advantages over Microsoft Office, just one of which is the fact that you don't have to pay a penny to download and use it.

The full LibreOffice suite includes:

  • A word processor and desktop publishing tool called 'Writer'.
  • A spreadsheet program called 'Calc'.
  • A presentation tool (think PowerPoint) called 'Impress'.
  • A graphics editing tool called 'Draw'.
  • A desktop database creation and management tool called 'Base'.
  • A mathematical formula editor simply called 'Math'.

An organisation called 'The Document Foundation' is behind the development of LibreOffice, which grew out of another open source office software project called OpenOffice (now Apache Open Office).

Contributions of new code to the LibreOffice project are placed under a dual license of LGPL v3 (Lesser General Public License) and MZP (Mozilla Public License). To make it easy for users to create their own custom features and functions it has its own programming language called LibreOffice basic, which is based on Star Office Basic.

The default file format used by LibreOffice documents is 'OpenDocument (.odt) – which is now supported by most other popular office suites (including Microsoft Office), which solves the earlier problem of not being share the documents created by this software with people using different products. You can also use LibreOffice to open and edit many files from other office suites, such as Microsoft Word or Excel documents, and you can choose to save the documents you create within the software in these formats too if you need to.

LibreOffice offers a range of features as standard, and these can be supplemented by adding 'extensions', some of which can be activated from the software itself (like language packs), whilst others can downloaded from the internet.

The various components of the LibreOffice suite operate in an integrated manner, meaning that you can access the features of one program from another. For example, whilst creating a document within the word processor, you can access Math for easily adding mathematical symbols and formulae into your documents (just press F2 to bring up the Math bar), add and edit images using tools from Draw, quickly and intuitively import data from databases, and so on.

Categories: Open Source


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