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Key Difference – LibreOffice vs OpenOffice

The key difference between LibreOffice and OpenOffice is the frequency of updates and fixes. Openoffice comes with less frequent releases and fixes while Libreoffice comes with faster fixes and features. However, both are almost identical except for some minor differences which go unnoticed. was an open source office suite but separated into two projects, Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Apache Open Office and Libre Office continue to release new versions.

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. Background to LibreOffice and OpenOffice
3. What is LibreOffice
4. What is OpenOffice
5. Side by Side Comparison – LibreOffice vs OpenOffice
6. Summary

Background to LibreOffice and OpenOffice

It would be beneficial to know the history behind these two office suites which were built on the same OpenOffice source code.

In 1999, Sun microsystems acquired StarOffice office suite which was a proprietary office suite. Sun made the Star Office software open source. This free open office suite was known as Open The project was assisted by Sun employees and volunteers offering the OpenOffice office suite to everyone.

In the year 2011 Sun microsystems was acquired by Oracle. StarOffice office suite was renamed as Oracle Open Office. Many of the contributors of this project left to form Libre Office. Libre office is built on the original code base. Many distributors including Ubuntu switched office suite from to LibreOffice.

Due to the above reason, seemed down and out. Oracle gave the code to the apache software foundation. The Open office that you use today is actually Apache open office. This has been developed under the Apache umbrella and uses the Apache license.

Although Libre Office has been quick in releasing new versions frequently, Apache OpenOffice project still exists. LibreOffice and Open office are available free from Windows, Linux or Mac. Both office suites come with the same applications but are not identical. Both the projects share the same code areas.

LibreOffice – Features and Specifications

The Libre office suite, a new fork of Oracle Open Office, was released in September 2010 by the document foundation. Libre started to move away from Open Office or Libre office has reduced reliance on Java and includes a windows installer. The name Libre office comes from the French word “Libre” which means free and the word office. Like open office, Libre office comes with a word processor, Spreadsheet app, Presentation program, Database management tool, Vector graphics editor and an app to work on mathematical formulas. Libre office comes with a pdf creator and an import tool to work with Pdf files.

Libre office uses the open document format as its native format. The office suit is also able to support numerous other formats. You can read and write on older and newer versions of Microsoft office files, XML files, and Rich text files using Libre office.Difference Between LibreOffice and OpenOffice

OpenOffice – Features and Specifications

OpenOffice, officially known as Apache open, is an open source office software suite that comes with word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, database, and graphics. It supports many languages and works with many common computers. It stores your data in the international open standard format and is capable of reading and writing files in the common office format. It can be downloaded free of charge and used for any purpose.

Apache open office is a result of over 20 years of software engineering. It is easy to learn and use as it is similar to many other office packages that are available. Open office can read other office package file formats without any difficulty.

Apache open office is free of charge and can be downloaded with a free license. The open office software can be used for domestic, commercial, educational, public administration. You can install the software bundle on as many computers as you like. You can make copies and give them away if you prefer. Open office can be used by friends, students and employees and family members.

Key Difference - LibreOffice vs OpenOffice

What is the difference between LibreOffice and OpenOffice


Apache OpenOffice is behind LibreOffice when it comes to releasing new features and fixes. Libre Office is more rapid when it comes to releasing the latest iterations. This means you receive fixes and features faster. Libre Office releases its new features as small increments, whereas Apache OpenOffice’s new features tend to be more dramatic.


An average user may not notice a much difference between Libre Office and Open Office. The sidebar is by default on for Apache Open office and needs to be enabled on the Libre Office. The sidebar gives you access to document properties in an instant. You will be able to format a page quickly with the sidebar.

You can enable and disable the sidebar on both office suites according to your preference. Libre office comes with an Android remote control for presentation which lets you control a presentation from your smartphone. Libre office comes with an embedded font feature. Other than these, feature-wise both are consistent across the board.


Advancements and improvements can be incorporated from Apache Open office to Libre Office but cannot be done vice versa due to licensing issues. This mean when LibreOffice comes up with a game-changing feature, Apache Open office will not be able to enjoy the same feature.


Apache Open office needs to be downloaded and installed manually. But Libre Office comes pre-installed with most distributors. A user who wants to just install an operating system and start working would prefer Libre office over Apache OpenOffice.

LibreOffice vs OpenOffice

LibreOffice releases features and fixes frequently. OpenOffice does not release features and fixes frequently.
New features are tiny increments. New changes are often dramatic.
Side Bar
Side bar has to be enabled. Side bar is on by default.
Android Remote Control for Presentation
Android remote control for presentation is available. Android remote control for presentation is not available.
Embedded Font Feature
Embedded font features are available. Embedded font features are available.
It is possible to incorporate features from Apache. It is not possible to incorporate features from Apache
This comes installed. This needs to be downloaded and installed.

Summary – LibreOffice vs OpenOffice

There are only minor differences when we compare the two open source office suites. The key difference between LibreOffice and OpenOffice is the frequency of releasing new features and fixes. Libre may have the upperhand as it comes with faster feature releases and fixes.

Image Courtesy:
1. “Aoo-logo1” By Apache project / various –  F Filho Apr 29, 2012 18:21 vetorized new and old logos (Public Domain)  via Commons Wikimedia
2. “LibreOffice logo” by the LibreOffice Design Team, cropped and optimized by Fitoschido – The Document Foundation wiki (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia