When was the last time you used Microsoft Word or Excel, Mac or PC? If this is indeed the post-PC era, there’s even less value in Word and Excel, and plenty of substitutes are available. If you need to use a dinosaur application, it might as well be free.
The Same (almost), But Free
Here’s the deal about using Microsoft Office, specifically Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Why bother? iPads are the best selling non-iPhone computing device. No Office there, right?
What we have found in the iPhone era, and again in the post-PC, iPad dominated era, is that Office, for whatever it’s worth, is a dinosaur suite of apps that hardly anyone likes.
Mac, iPhone, and iPad users can choose from dozens or hundreds of different apps to write, plus, if you have to do some of what Office does, there’s Apple’s suite of Numbers, Pages, and Keynote.
What if you’re a diehard Office user, and you’re looking at another expensive upgrade, yet you recognize the handwriting on the wall (Office is a dinosaur)? Is there a good alternative that’s less expensive?
Do bears live in the woods? Are umpires blind? Is free good? Try LibreOffice. Think of it as Microsoft Office but without a price tag. It’s the perfect suite of apps to keep one foot firmly planted in the past, and the other foot firmly planted in valueland.
LibreOffice runs on Windows PCs, flavors of Linux PCs, and, of course, the Mac. Start LibreOffice with a familiar Start Center.
LibreOffice comes with six distinct modules. Writer is similar to Word. Calc is similar to Excel. Impress is similar to PowerPoint.
That’s three. Also included are Draw (a drawing app), Base (a database front end), and Math (an equation editor).
If you’ve used Microsoft Office does this look familiar?
Tools an menus in Writer are instantly familiar to anyone who’s used Microsoft Word. Excel users will be right at home with Calc. Most spreadsheets for Excel can be opened in Calc.
Impress, of course, is like PowerPoint without the price tag.
LibreOffice is based upon OpenOffice, another Microsoft Office-like suite of apps that are open source and free.
If what you’re after is a, more or less, free version of Office without Microsoft’s tax, this is a good start. LibreOffice has a built-in PDF file creator. The Base module is basically a front end to whatever database you prefer to use, including Microsoft Access.
The Microsoft Office-like menu structure is still a labyrinth, a relic from the feature wars of yesteryear.
Unfortunately, LibreOffice is merely a look-alike and work-alike of a suite of apps whose time has come and gone. The three basic modules are still as cumbersome and complex as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, so there’s no new ground being paved. And, LibreOffice has a poor reputation among Mac users who keep track of apps that crash.
LibreOffice’s claim to fame is basic Office compatibility, and the lowest of low price tags. It remains a link to the past in the post-PC era. If Office is dying, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, and other suites are hastening the death knell, yet they themselves are digital dinosaurs.