It is an open source, powerful office suite, one of the biggest and most well-known alternatives to the paid-for Microsoft Office suite. The software package emulates Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more, with many of the same features offered by the Microsoft suite. The Libre software also supports common document types from Word, Excel and so on.
This software can be used on a range of platforms, including Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, Linux, Android and certain other operating systems (OS). There are certain more in-depth requirements; for example, only Windows versions 7 or higher can support the suite of software. At least 256 MB of RAM is also required, as is around 1.5 GB of hard drive disk space.
Downloading and using the software suite is free. It is also an open source product, meaning that its users can study, change and distribute the software. The software license is made readily available for developers to use and improve upon. There are no paid-for tiers or subscription services hidden behind a pay wall.
The software suite is generally agreed to be safe by the general consensus of users and reviewers online. However, one must keep in mind that it is an open source software, and this could potentially open it up to suffering from security vulnerabilities more than a product developed by Microsoft, for example. It is also reliant on continuous security updates from its open source developers.
This software is often referred to as the 'best open source alternative' or 'best free alternative' to the Microsoft Office suite of products. Although the software doesn't emulate every single feature offered by Microsoft Office, and aesthetics are good but not fully on-par with said competitior, it is still a highly-functional alternative that continues to improve over time. Most importantly, it is free for near feature parity.
Files can work cross-functionally between both Microsoft Word and Libre Writer. Any documents saved within one of these software platforms can be opened by the other. The same can be said for other products within the Libre suite, including the Excel and PowerPoint imitation programs. This makes it simple to switch between a paid-for Microsoft package and Libre running at home.
Though this has not always been the case, Libre is capable of supporting docx files that have been saved in said format from a more recent version of Microsoft Word. These files can be opened safely within Libre. The only caveat is that, as above, these files may contain stylised features that are not supported by Libre, which may not display correctly.
For such a powerful open source office package, users may be surprised to learn that there are no clunky advertisements blocking up the workspace in Libre. The software is funded by donations that can be made by contributing developers, or by users and members of the public. This is a refreshing change from many free-to-use programs that self-fund using embedded advertisements.
Yes, it is possible to save a Libre document in one of a number of formats, in the same way that one might do so from Microsoft Word. One of the supported document types is PDF, which means that it is possible to create a range of basic forms. Images created in Libre Draw can also be exported as PDF files.
Fortunately, editing PDF files is one of the more advanced features offered by Microsoft Word that is also emulated in Libre. Though users can't create interactive forms, more basic editing tasks can be carried out with ease. Once an edit is complete, it's just a case of exporting said document back into PDF form; this can be done on any platform supported by the software.