If you're typing up a document, filling out a spreadsheet or creating a presentation, there's a good chance you're using Microsoft Office. It's still the gold standard of productivity software.
Unfortunately, it's also on the expensive side. If you have an older version that's no longer supported, or you got a computer that doesn't have it, you might be reluctant to spend a bundle to get the latest version. Fortunately, you can get the same power and performance without the hefty price tag.
Allow us to introduce LibreOffice. If you haven't heard of it before, LibreOffice is a free and open-source office suite that's compatible with Microsoft Office files. Since it's an open-source software, the program is continually updated and at no charge to you.
LibreOffice offers six programs that will feel instantly familiar to you if you've used Office before. Writer, Calc, and Impress are equivalent to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. They have most of the same features, you just might need to poke around to find some of them.
Even better, as we said, LibreOffice can open and edit the documents you made in Office and can save new files in Office formats. LibreOffice is also compatible with the most popular document formats, not just Office documents. It's also compatible with OpenDocument Format (ODF) and you can even sign PDF documents without having to involve your printer!
Aside from Writer, Calc and Impress, LibreOffice includes drawing, database and equation programs, too. On top of these, there are plenty of extensions and templates you can add to give the program more features.
To download the program, go to the LibreOffice download page or use one of the blue download links below. On the left side of the page is the large green download button that says "Download Version X.X.X" At the time of this writing, the latest version is version 5.1.1.
Your download should begin immediately. Because LibreOffice is a user-supported program, the company asks that you consider a donation if you are happy with the project, but it's not required to download the program.
When the download is complete, open and run the installation file. We recommend using the default installation settings. There is no bloatware or add-on programs to avoid.
Note: This is a free program that is run by donations. It will not try to install bloatware, add-ons or any other extra programs. It will ask you for donations, but it will not prompt you for payment. If you see any third-party programs or it asks for payment, stop the installation. You have clicked on the wrong link.
This is a big program, so it will take a while to install. When the installation is complete you can run LibreOffice from a desktop shortcut.