LibreOffice has released version 4.0 of their popular free office suite with some exciting improvements. Is it worth a download? Is it as good as Microsoft Office 2013? I’ll give you just the facts below.
LibreOffice is an Open Source project spun off of the popular Open Office suite. This suite of applications includes a word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation software, drawing tool, database software and a mathematics formula program. It can be downloaded for free by clicking here , and used by anyone without purchasing a license. You are, of course, free to donate to fund the software; but donations are not required and there are no annoying popups asking for donations.
So what’s new in version 4.0?
- Integration with content management systems for businesses via the CMIS standard .
- Themes via Firefox Personas  which let you customize the look of Libre Office.
- Visio and Publisher Document Support
- New template manager allows easy access to templates.
- Improvements in document load and save times.
Writer (word processor improvements)
- You can now attach comments for document text ranges. Helpful for editing/annotation purposes.
- Ink annotation support from docx and rtf documents.
- Importing and exporting of math expressions in rtf
Calc (spreadsheet software improvements)
- Improved document importing accuracy and speed.
- Automatic display of last value in formula helps speed opening of complex spreadsheets.
- Automatic rotation of chart labels to prevent overlapping.
- Higher quality charts and higher quality printing/exporting to pdf.
- Ability to export charts as images.
Impress (presentation software improvements)
- Remote control app for Android lets you remotely control presentation from your phone.
- Improved acceleration on previews and embedded video.
- Sidebar and interface settings remembered automatically.
So is it worth a download?
I guess the question really should be, “Do you like free improvements to an already free software that offers a significant part of what Office 2013 does for no cost?” If the answer is “Yes,” then you definitely should download LibreOffice. Having used Office 2013 a lot recently, I do want to point out that LibreOffice doesn’t offer the cloud integration or many of the new charting features of Office 2013. Does that mean I would run out and spend hundreds on Office 2013 over LibreOffice if my needs were more basic? Definitely not. LibreOffice gives you 80% of what Office offers at a 100% discount.
P.S. I keep LibreOffice on a USB flash drive when I’m traveling. The portable install lets you run LibreOffice without installing it into the system you’re working on. This comes in handy if you’re at a computer without a full office suite or if you’re not allowed to install software. You can download the portable installer by clicking here  (the installer just copies the files to the selected directory, I put mine on my flash drive in a folder called LibreOffice).