A reader wants to put in a recommendation for a great, free program:

“Not a question, just a comment: Readers who don’t want or can’t easily afford to keep up MS Office also might want to try LibreOffice, which I think you have mentioned in the past but not recently. I am one of those old-fashioned souls who wants to have all my programs and files on my own computer. (Yes, I have local and cloud back-ups, and occasionally use a little cloud storage to make files easily available to more than one computer.) I have MS Word on my “main” desktop, but, as you know, the resident versions are licensed for a single computer, so having it on several computers, especially the ones that are infrequently used for office functions, does get pricey. I have been running LibreOffice on my laptop for many years, and although I don’t use it a lot, I have never had any problem with file compatibility with MS Word and the to and fro movement of works in progress. The user interface is similar enough to Word that you don’t really have to learn to use it. If you’re stuck, there are help screens. I have also loaded it onto the computers of a few friends who, for one reason or another, cannot justify the expense of keeping MS Word but who might sometimes benefit from having an office suite, especially in the years after MS stopped supplying its little production suite (Works?), which many people found adequate for their needs. I have never tried Open Office, so I can’t comment about it. However, inasmuch as both Open Office and Libre Office, along with a couple other lesser known competitors, are free, my suggestion would be that people who need to “kick the MS Word habit” try both (or all) to see which one they prefer. Or, keep all of them!”

Great advice and a good testimonial. We’ve talked about LibreOffice before, but it’s been some time and not everyone may have seen it.  Let’s look at how easy it is to try out.

This great, free option works for your PC, Mac, or Linux computer.


LibreOffice is developed by users and is a project of the not-for-profit organization, The Document Foundation. LibreOffice is free and open source software, originally based on OpenOffice.org (commonly known as OpenOffice).

The suite features the Writer word processing program, Calc spreadsheet program, and Impress presentations software.  You also get Draw, a program for making diagrams, Base, a database program, and Math, a formula editor. These programs can read and edit program created with Microsoft Office and you can read and edit documents created with LibreOffice in Word and Excel.


Let’s look at how to download and install. Start by going to https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/

First, click on Download Now.


Then select your operating system.


Click Download. You’ll need about 1.5 GB of hard drive space to install the entire suite.


There’s an option to donate, but it is not a requirement.


The download might take a few minutes. Then go to your downloads folder and launch the LibreOffice Installer.


You’ll need to give it permission to run.


Once the installer wizard opens, just follow the instructions.


You can choose between the typical or a customized installation. I’d suggest just going with the typical.


You can choose whether or not you want a shortcut on the desktop.


Installation can take several minutes


Click the desktop shortcut to open.