Microsoft Office is relatively expensive and does not run on Linux too well.

There's at least

  • Openoffice.org
  • LibreOffice
  • Run MS Office in wine (does it work?)
  • Run MS Office in CrossOffice (is it better than wine?)
  • Run MS Office in virtual machine (requires both Office and Windows licenses)

And on cloud

  • Google Docs (Google Drive)
  • Office365

I'm receiving some files created with MS Office from other, but those are not complicated. Additionally, minor breaking in formatting is tolerable, as files are primarily for transmitting information, not presenting it to e.g paying customer in best possible format. Being able to both open and export to MS Office compatible files is a must, though. Working normally on different format is okay.

In addition to that, I don't have specific feature requirements. I'm looking for recommendations for office suite (in this case, word processor, spreadsheets, slides) in Linux. I certainly don't need every bell and whistle MS Office offers.

  • 2
    Rather annoyingly, the best rendering of MS office files I've seen is in quickoffice for android and chromeos. Technically not linux proper, but might be worth considering in some cases. Feb 11, 2014 at 0:33
  • If you deal only with docx files, then converting them to another format with pandoc (tex, odt, rtf, txt, markdown, etc.: you name it) back and forth might also be an option.
    – Clément
    Apr 19, 2017 at 16:47
  • Add onlyoffice to the list too! It can be self hosted (oncloud) or run locally (electron so ehh). and is Licensed under AGPLv3.
    – Anunay
    Feb 7, 2021 at 0:09

9 Answers 9


I think the first thing you need to do is evaluate how you use Office and what you need it to do. I find what I need in office apps is subtly and annoyingly different on Linux than on Windows and a lot of the cross-platform approaches don't cut it. This may be partly to do with the things I do with spreadsheets and the like, but it is something to think about.

In general you are going to have one of two strategies to go about this. Many people (myself included) use both.

In general LibreOffice and OpenOffice are reasonably comparable. These will get you most of the way there for basic documents. Perfect compatibility is never possible but for simple documents you shouldn't have a problem.

However, it is where you get beyond the simple cases that you really need to do more research and where your tool choices may change. Personally because I do a lot with LaTeX, I find most word processors and spreadsheet software relatively insufficient for anything beyond business letters. I also end up using Gnumeric quite a bit as a spreadsheet because it has a LaTeX export option. In essence the spreadsheet is a small piece of other things you are usually doing and how this all fits together is important. Similarly I find Abiword is very useful for light-weight word processing tasks (including reading/writing simple MS Office format documents).

So my recommendation is to start with LibreOffice or OpenOffice (take your pick) and then evaluate what you need and what other tools you need to add to meet your needs.

  • 1
    I find I need to supplement LibreOffice and Google Docs from time to time with online DOCX conversion sites. Of course this isn't desirable for proprietary info.
    – hardmath
    Feb 5, 2014 at 16:00
  • 1
    Hmm, if I read this correctly, it's just giving general guidelines on how to evaluate different products, not any recommendations. Except that LibreOffice or OpenOffice might be good.
    – Olli
    Feb 10, 2014 at 18:53
  • 2
    Olli: Two points: 1. OpenOffice and LibreOffice are the closest you are going to get to MS Office on Linux. So that's where to start (the recommendation). 2. These might not fully meet your needs so some guidelines for looking for further apps as you need them. The second part is more of a caveat to the recommendation. Feb 11, 2014 at 11:00

There is SoftMaker FreeOffice which is the zero-price less-featured version of the SoftMaker Office suite.

It’s a commercial product (the FreeOffice version is just free of charge), so it’s got some amount of testing, consistence (by means of a small, cathedral-like development team) and effort in it, which may be better or worse than the Open Source bazaar-like developed ones (I actually think both have strengths and weaknesses), so I suggest to evaluate all suggestions.

SoftMaker FreeOffice can load Microsoft OfficeOpenXML documents (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX), but only the commercial version can save them. All versions can load and save the older Microsoft Office formats (DOC, XLS, PPT), PocketWord (Windows Mobile), OpenDocument (ODT, ODS, ODP) and older OpenOffice formats, Plain Text, Rich Text, HTML, and export to PDF.


KingSoft should not be left out of the list of alternatives. It's available for several platforms including Linux, Windows, Android and iOS (soon).

Linux site.

I've tried the Windows version and in my opinion it's:

  • Free
  • Nice and easy to use.
  • Very similar look and feel to MS Office 2007 such as home button, ribbons and menus with some differences
  • Relatively lighter and faster to load
  • Opens multiple documents in tabs using same window

And, it has been in business for decades. I use it because it's free and fast to download and install. It's not that original though; you sense the MS Office ghost somewhere. Some like it even more than MS office; read this review.

Screenshots from random websites:

Kingsoft Write:


Kingsoft SpreadSheet:


Kingsoft Presentation: Presentation

UPDATE 2015/08/05

Faced some issues with the recent version when using it with Arabic (Right-To-Left RTL) Language, the alignment went off straight away (the doc was edited using MS office word). Most likely there are some settings need to be set.

  • Please be advised that Kingsoft Presentation sometimes makes a mess of straightforward Powerpoint slides. Mar 20, 2014 at 8:00

I like using Abiword (don't worry -- it's not as ugly as the site would suggest) with Gnumeric -- not really an office suite, but unless you want presentations they are usually enough. They are not too heavy on features, but very fast and have a user-friendly interface.


Abiword Screenshot


Gnumeric Screenshot

  • How well it works with MS office documents?
    – Olli
    Feb 10, 2014 at 18:55
  • It hasn't caused any problems for me so far ...
    – MadTux
    Feb 10, 2014 at 19:21
  • I've found abiword incredibly paintful when I last used it 2 or 3 years ago. Has it got better? Feb 11, 2014 at 3:19
  • @Oxinabox Paintful? I like Abiword as it is at the moment, so maybe it has. Maybe we just have different tastes. But it is certainly a nice and usable word processor now.
    – MadTux
    Feb 12, 2014 at 11:01

Another -- this time rather extensive -- office suite is Calligra, which consists of (descriptions from their sites):

  • Braindump is a tool to dump and organize the content of your brain (ideas, drawings, images, texts…) to your computer.
    It works by allowing to create and edit whiteboards, which are infinite canvas on which you can add texts, images, charts, drawings…
  • Flow is an easy to use diagramming and flowcharting application with tight integration to the other Calligra applications. It enables you to create network diagrams, organisation charts, flowcharts and more.
  • Karbon is a vector drawing application with an user interface that is easy to use, highly customizable and extensible. That makes Karbon a great application for users starting to explore the world of vector graphics as well as for artists wanting to create breathtaking vector art.
  • Kexi is a visual database creator. It can be used for designing database applications, inserting and editing data, performing queries, and processing data. Forms can be created to provide a custom interface to your data. All database objects – tables, queries, forms, reports – are stored in the database, making it easy to share data and design.
  • Krita is a creative sketching and painting application based on Calligra technology. Whether you want to create art paintings, cartoons, concept art or textures, Krita supports most graphics tablets out of the box.
  • Plan is a project management application. It is intended for managing moderately large projects with multiple resources.
  • Stage is an easy to use yet still flexible presentation application. You can easily create presentations containing a rich variety of elements, from graphics to text, from charts to images. Calligra Stage is extensible through a plugin system, so it is easy to add new effects, new content elements or even new ways of managing your presentation. Because of the integration with Calligra, all the power and flexibility of the Calligra content elements are available to Stage.
  • Sheets is a fully-featured calculation and spreadsheet tool. Use it to quickly create and calculate various business-related spreadsheets, such as income and expenditure, employee working hours…
  • Words is an intuitive word processor application with desktop publishing features. With it, you can create informative and attractive documents with ease.

Calligra Words Screenshot

It is nice and stable (in my experience), nice to use, and works well with KDE.

  • Uh. I read "expensive" instead of "extensive", and was already asking about that, before rechecking it. Looks good. Any experience with MS Office compatibility?
    – Olli
    Feb 10, 2014 at 18:57
  • (Same question :)) Also worked for me, as far as I can remember.
    – MadTux
    Feb 10, 2014 at 19:22

If you still like the Microsoft Office's features, but don't want to spend any money or having to deal with bugs from a port of the original Microsoft Office, you can try OneDrive. OneDrive is made by Microsoft and offers Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Onenote and plain text files to be created, all for free. It comes with 5GB of free space. It also allows you to import files in any Microsoft Office format (including doc(x), xml(x), ppt(x))

Although it doesn't include "all" the features of the original Microsoft Office (it's missing things like shapes, drawing, some view and review options plus other little things), it is still a very useful tool and can be comparable to Google Drive, as it does include the "auto save while editing" feature, however is missing some minor features such as drawing or math equations.


Web Word

Web Powerpoint

Web OneNote

Web Excel

  • 1
    I didn't know skydrive offers all that for free. I guess importing doc(x)/ppt(x)/ppt(x) works flawlessly?
    – Olli
    Feb 10, 2014 at 23:15
  • @Olli Oh yes it does. Forgot to add that in.
    – aman207
    Feb 10, 2014 at 23:56
  • 3
    I believe the rename will be to one drive. Until someone else sues them. Feb 11, 2014 at 0:32
  • @JourneymanGeek Yes you are correct. My memory is failing me.
    – aman207
    Feb 11, 2014 at 0:41

I have used the Teamlab software before

It has word processor, spreadsheet and presentation, and those are compatible with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Can open, save, edit files from those programs.

I think the "document editor" module has the functions you would normally use in the Word editor: fonts, character and paragraph formatting, insert pictures and tables.

It's a cloud solution, free for personal use.


I am using EuroOffice, a free Office suite which is mainly based on the source code of OpenOffice, but it is enhanced with professional language tools and Microsoft Office file filters from LibreOffice. It also offers many free extensions (and also some commercial ones). It runs on Linux, Windows, and Android.


ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors are open source text, spreadsheet and presentation editors for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. They claim the best compatibility with Microsoft Office format among free office suites. Give them a try!


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