I recently came across an article that lays out 11 points where they feel MS Office has an advantage over LibreOffice (formerly OpenOffice for those of you living under a rock). While I am no LibreOffice expert I do spend a fair amount of time with it, so I thought I would offer my counter points…and yes, I do concede some of their points, this is not a fan boy rant. Here is a link to the article I am referencing.
- An Advanced Grammar Checker
This might be due tot he age of the article, but there is a grammar checker built-in for LibreOffice 3.5, not nearly as mature as MS Office, but they both still get confused sometimes.
- A Useful Bibliography Database
I am not 100% sure with this one since I have never written a research essay with MS Office, so I can’t directly compare the functionality. There is, however, a very capable plug-in for LibreOffice called Zotero which integrates with Firefox for managing your research sources. Granted, not built-in, and you have to know about it to be able to find it.
- Advanced Diagramming Tools
LibreOffice Draw is capable tool, but no where near the functionality of Visio.
- Sound in Slide Shows
Honestly, I have never used Impress, so I will have to concede this one if it is true. I generally use Prezi for presentations.
- Broadcasting Slide Shows
Again, I never use Impress. I have never seen anyone that uses this functionality in Powerpoint though.
- No Whiteboard
OneNote was a late comer to the Office suite. It is a powerful tool that I really like, no equivalent in LibreOffice exists.
- Screen Capture
Seriously?! I am not really sure how the author considers this a feature of Office, since most people just hit printscreen, then paste into Word. I can do that with MS Paint too. Most basic screen capture programs trump Office in this regard.
- Sparklines in Spreadsheets
Ok, so Calc is lagging behind Excel in this regard, I will admit. However, I will throw in that most people that use Excel don’t use Sparklines anyway. Yes, they are a nice feature, but so are pivot tables, which is supported by both.
- Filtering Spreadsheets by Color
I am not 100% sure how to respond to this one since I have never really seen it in action in Excel. I guess the author uses this feature a lot, but I think most people don’t. If you gotta have it, then yeah, you will miss it in Calc.
- A Useful ClipArt Gallery
I am not even going to argue this one. LibreOffice has no real clipart
- Easily Available, Ready Made Formats
Agreed, setting styles in LibreOffice is sort of a PITA. There are no usable default styles so you are stuck making your own. This definitely needs some work
So there you go, yes, MS Office still trumps LibreOffice. However, when you compare pricing, you can’t compare the two. So if someone asks you what paying $300 for a retail copy of MS Office will get them, now you have an answer.