LibreOffice 2014 Free Office Suite

LibreOffice is a free suite of apps for creating text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more, which you can then save in Microsoft Office formats. With LibreOffice, you get nearly all the functionality of paid word processing and other programs without the hefty price tag.

Pros

Familiar interface: In LibreOffice, each program's interface will be familiar to anyone who's used Microsoft Office. Whether you're creating a presentation, a document, or a spreadsheet, you'll be able to quickly find the tools and features you're looking for, grouped just as you'd expect them to be.
Additional programs: In addition to the three core programs (Writer, Calc, and Impress), LibreOffice offers apps for drawing, math formulas, and databases. There is even a Database Wizard to guide you through the process of creating a new database.
Easy sharing: While the default file format for this program is ODT, you can save documents in several other formats. That includes Microsoft Office file formats, making it easy to share LibreOffice files with others. You can also open Microsoft Office files.

Cons

Convoluted help: LibreOffice's Help File contains very little information. There is also a Discussion page, presumably for users to exchange information and ask questions, but that is completely blank and doesn't allow you to enter anything.
Java Runtime Environment requirement: LibreOffice requires the latest version of Java Runtime Environment for certain features, including creating a new database. Without this extra installation, you won't be able to take full advantage of all program features.

Bottom Line

LibreOffice is a good alternative to Microsoft Word or other paid word processing programs and office suites. Its apps are accessible and organized in a familiar way, and the suite includes a few bonus apps. Power users will have to install Java Runtime Environment to get the most out of the program, but casual users can likely skip this step and just enjoy the basic functions of word processing, spreadsheet creation and management, and presentation construction -- all for free.
What's new in this version:
  • We now ship Adobeâ??s Source Sans Pro 2.0, which includes a greatly expanded range of characters. It now supports the Cyrillic, Greek and IPA writing systems, tweaks several diacritic marks and adds the new Russian Rupee sign.
  • There was a leftover 1 px border around the Start Center, which is now removed.
  • The background color was tweaked and unified with that of the rulers, streamlining and improving the default look.

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