Free Office Program


LibreOffice builds on OpenOffice, which I have recommended to some of you in the past.  Once again, the major functional difference between these products and Microsoft Office is Microsoft Office’s personal information manager, Outlook. If you need email and calendar and notes and tasks and contacts on your computer, you need OutlookOutlook alone costs about $150.  If you can survive without Outlook (I can’t), then LibreOffice is for you. 


It improves on the functions of OpenOffice by recognizing and allowing you to edit more formats and even lets you edit Adobe Acrobat (pdf) documents, although this function is not as easy as editing a regular text document.  I first tried to stretch its boundaries by opening a large and roughly formatted document that I had written in Word 2010.  This is my novel and it’s about half finished.  It has headers, double-spacing, embedded pictures, and different justifications within a page.  It’s about 50,000 words, 180 pages, and it is formatted and saved in Microsoft Open Document format.  The book imported properly except the first part, maybe a third of the pages were single-spaced. 


I next tried opening several types of pdf documents.  I tried a text document (my novel) and maps and brochures from various sources.  The text document worked well, however editing is much slower than editing a standard text document.  The brochures could only be edited as they were created:  as picture and text boxes.  This was difficult and very time consuming and I would recommend using LibreOffice only for very minor edits. 

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