Libre Office is an open source office suite that looks exactly like a replica of MS Office in the first view.
As MS Office has different tools to accomplish various tasks like Word for writing, Excel for data entry, PowerPoint for presentations, Libre Office has Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, etc.
However, the major difference between both the Office Suite is, while MS Office is available either as a rental or paid service, Libre Office is open forever for free.
But since it’s going to be a writing software review, the spotlight will only be on Libre Office Writer.
Libre Office Writer is a multilingual word processor that works and even looks like a twin sibling of MS Word. So, it’s clear that you won’t have any trouble using this tool.
But is it any different than its sibling? Or more importantly, is it worth using Libre Office Writer?
To help answer this question, I’ve pointed out all the plus points and drawbacks of this tool. So let’s take a look.
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Libre Office Writer Pros
Libre Office Writer is a plain-Jane word processor that unlike Zoho Writer and Write App, doesn’t come with a boatload of features. But it still impresses with its simplicity and user-friendly nature.
Here are all the good things you would find in this tool.
#1 Super-easy to use
Since it looks like a carbon-copy of MS Word and functions the same way, it’s safe to say that you are already familiar with Libre Office Writer even if you’ve never used this tool before.
All you’re required to do is, open the Libre Office app, choose “Writer Document”, and start typing.
The file saving process, keyboard shortcuts, formatting options, everything is same as our age-old MS Word.
It can’t get easier, right?
#2 Pre-designed templates for different writing projects
Libre Office does all the heavy lifting for you by providing you a vast collection of ready-made writing templates that give you a headstart in writing.
All you need to do is choose the right template according to the nature of your project and start filling information.
#3 Compatible with prominent operating systems
In order to access the awesome tools of Libre Office, you need to download the whole suite in your desktop as an app.
And you’ll be glad to know that it works great on all the three renowned operating systems we know, i.e. MacOS, Windows, and Linux.
However, if you think that it’s enough just to have a Windows or Mac device, then think twice.
Because it has some specific system requirements to work properly.
For Windows users, your PC must be running at least on Windows 7 64-bit or newer version. It seems it doesn’t support the 32-bit version of the operating system.
Similarly, for Mac users, the minimum requirement is to have MacOs x86_64 (10.8 or newer version).
Libre Office Writer Cons
The cons list is much bigger than the pro list. Of course, Libre Writer is a decent word processor that excels in the bare minimum, but it lacks many advanced features that you expect in a modern-day writing app.
Let’s break this down further.
#1 No Storyboard or brainstorming tool
Libre Office Writer is designed only to perform the very basic of thing, and that is just writing. There’s no separate feature like a storyboard or corkboard that helps you to brainstorm ideas or jot them down.
#2 Can’t create and save previous versions of content
If you’re someone who constantly like flipping back and forth to the new and old version of your content, then it’s better to skip this tool for now.
The undo function is undoubtedly there, but it works to an extent. After hitting ‘Ctrl + Z’ around 8-10 times, it stops responding.
#3 No arrangements to block distraction
It has become a norm among the writing softwares to provide users a distraction-free writing environment; either via full-screen mode or focus mode.
But surprisingly, you won’t find either of the functions in Libre Writer.
#4 Limited ability to collaborate with others
In its Wiki page where it’s taking MS Office heads on in terms of feature, it’s mentioned that it partially supports collaborative editing in its online version. But there’s no such provision in the desktop app.
I even checked the online version page, but it looks very confusing. It seems the online version of Libre Office is still in its infant phase and yet to be released on a large scale. So, no sharing or collaboration feature there, too.
#5 Limited export options
I don’t have any complaint in the importing part as it supports a number of file formats like Docx, RTF, Text, PDF, etc. But when it’s time to export the files, Libre Writer falls on its face.
There are only two ways to export your files, and that is either as a PDF or Epub. No other file format is included.
#6 No mobile app
It’s not like Libre doesn’t have any presence in the smartphone world. It does offer an Android app to its users, but that’s a Libre Office Viewer.
It’s to enable the users to view/read Libre office files on their Android smartphones. Otherwise, there’s no dedicated app given to iOS and Android users.
Libre Office Writer Pricing Plans and payment options
As mentioned in the beginning, it doesn’t cost anything to use the Libre Office Writer app. In fact, the whole Libre Office suite is free forever.
However, if you like the software and want to appreciate the effort of Libre team, you can make a monthly or one-time donation. It’s all up to you how much amount you want to donate, and it’s completely optional.
Do I recommend Libre Office Writer
Yes and no.
If you’ve got bored of working on the same MS Office tools, then you can try Libre Office for a change. And trust me, you won’t be disappointed because, at the end of the day, both the office suites are almost identical.
Similarly, if you’re someone who can’t afford to pay for MS Office, Libre Office would be the perfect choice for you.
However, I don’t recommend Libre Writer to anyone who is a professional writer, blogger, or author and looking for a top-notch writing app with advance functionalities.