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Apache OpenOffice vs. LibreOffice – Which Office Suite Is Better For You?

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Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice originate from OpenOffice.org, which was an open-source office suite. There was also Oracle Open Office, but this closed-source office suite is no longer available. But the two separate office suites which were built on the OpenOffice.org code are updated regularly and there are plenty people who are using. If you don’t know which one to install, below we’ll tell you about the differences between them.

The story began back in 1999, when Sun Microsystems acquired the StarOffice office suite, then one year later, its name was changed to OpenOffice.org and became an open-source office suite which continued to be improved by the Sun employees and volunteers. Then, in 2011, Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, who changed the name of the StarOffice office suite to Oracle Open Office, which was discontinued in the end. Some volunteers no longer wanted to be part of the project and founded LibreOffice, which was a fork of OpenOffice.org.

So, what happened to the original OpenOffice.org? In 2011, the Apache Software Foundation took over the OpenOffice.org trademarks and code and renamed the office suite Apache OpenOffice.

Now, both Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice are free and new versions are released frequently. They are supported by Windows, Linux and Mac devices and, basically, they offer the same applications for writing/editing word documents, spreadsheets, presentations and databases and have similar interfaces.

The word processing program of each office suite has a different default theme, but unlike OpenOffice, LibreOffice doesn’t show a sidebar which was created for widescreen displays. However, that doesn’t mean that this sidebar is missing from LibreOffice, as it can be enabled by going to Tools>Options>LibreOffice>Advanced. Now, check Enable Experimental Features, restart the program and click View>Sidebar.

Another difference is related to the status bar, which in LibreOffice is located at the bottom of the window and has a live-updating word count. To view the word count in OpenOffice, you will need to go to Tools>Word Count.

To embed a font in documents is possible only in LibreOffice, and to activate this feature, you will need to go to File>Properties, under the Font tab.

The sidebar above was recently added to the Apache OpenOffice, while OpenOffice’s sidebar is identical to the experimental sidebar in LibreOffice. This was possible because LibreOffice used OpenOffice’s sidebar code (a dual LGPLv3 / MPL license), while the Apache OpenOffice project has its own Apache License.