While it is not possible to talk about every function of these immense programs, let's try here to see the main functions of LibreOffice and its strengths, to get a general idea of what can be done and what we cannot do.
Comparison between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office
Even if Microsoft Office remains the reference point for working on PCs, LibreOffice can easily replace it at home or on PCs dedicated to the study, since it has all the necessary features to be able to work on all documents without spending a euro.
Libreoffice Writer vs Microsoft Word
The main program of each Office suite is the writing program and LibreOffice Writer and Microsoft Word are definitely the best two. Those accustomed to using Word will find in Writer a worthy replacement, very similar and absolutely familiar.
Writer and Word are pretty much the same in general functions, and while Word looks nicer and provides more preset templates, the set of buttons and options are pretty much the same. Both have an excellent grammar checker, a reliable autosave system, support for all types of documents and files. With Writer you can open files created with Word, both Docs and Docxes, and you can save documents in these two formats (by changing the default option). Writer therefore allows you to do practically everything you can do with Word.
The innovative features of Writer that we don't find in Word are: text overprint, master documents for longer texts, Register-true functionality (DTP function), business card wizard, creation of XForms documents, mathematical calculations in tables, export in MediaWiki format (Wikipedia), Export to EPUB e-book file format, Frames support, export document as images and import Apple Pages documents.
Libreoffice Calc vs Microsoft Excel
Spreadsheets are an important part of an Office suite, and Microsoft Excel has always been the number one program. According to the requirements, LibreOffice Calc it may very well be sufficient for most uses.
Calc and Excel work the same way, and non-experienced users won't notice any difference between the two. Microsoft Excel remains much more powerful, however, and more experienced Mac users won't be able to give it up in favor of Calc. Unfortunately Calc has its own macro language, which is not always compatible with Excel's VBA format.
In any case we can find some functions on Calc that are not available on Excel: comparison of two spreadsheet files, choice of page styles (in addition to cell styles), hyphenation of text in cells, spelling / spelling check as you type, export to XHTML, Full sheet previews: ability to export all pages of a sheet (such as a page in PDF), importing Apple Numbers spreadsheet documents, and Standard OpenFormula support.
LibreOffice Impression vs Microsoft PowerPoint
PowerPoint has been synonymous with presentation and slides for years. An alternative program like LibreOffice Impress it can be an excellent alternative even if for graphic quality and options it will not be able to convince PowerPoint users.
The main problem with Impress is the tiring import of PowerPoint presentations. If you start from scratch, Impress is fine, even if it feels like a few years behind PowerPoint, lacking modernity, graphic options, animations and the ability to collaborate as a team. But Impress is easy to use, can save ppt and pptx files and has a nice free application for Android called Impress Remote that allows you to remotely control a presentation with your mobile phone, making a beautiful impression in meetings.
Also in this case there are some Impress functions absent on PowerPoint: support for hyphenation, export to XHTML, export to HTML, export to vector graphic formats (SVG, EPS), presentation remote control for smartphones and tablets, 3D slide transitions, number of slide layouts, physics-based animations and export of comments in PDF.
LibreOffice Base vs Microsoft Access
If Microsoft Access has long been the default program for managing databases, LibreOffice Base LibreOffice can be considered a rather worthy competitor. The main difference between Base and Access is availability: Access is only available for Windows, while Base can be installed on Windows, Mac and Linux.
For the rest, the programs are very similar, to the point of being able to use it without particular problems instead of Access. With Base they can create forms, reports, SQL and tables and can be attached to external databases. To be able to use it is necessary add Java on the PC, using the installer available from the official website.
The unique Basic functions not present in Access are: SQL syntax highlighting, MariaSQL, PostgreSQL and Novell GroupWise support, Mozilla Thunderbird address book integration, native JDBC driver, connection to ODF (Calc) spreadsheet file format, and dedicated database engine.
For most tasks and functions, if we can't buy Office or Microsoft 365 right away, LibreOffice is a forced and wise choiceunless you specifically require a Microsoft Office program for your work. Furthermore, the two suites are very compatible with each other, so you can try LibreOffice, open and edit documents which can then be reopened from Microsoft Office and vice versa, without having to do any special conversions or configurations. LibreOffice can also be downloaded in a portable version, which does not require installation, to be kept on the USB stick.
To learn more we can also read our guides 9 Options to be changed to optimize Libreoffice e LibreOffice Calc: the best alternative to Excel.
Better LibreOffice features compared to Microsoft Office