Is LibreOffice compatible with Microsoft [Office]?

Hello, I can’t find anywhere to ask a question. So, I will try here if it’s the incorrect place Please forgive me.
I am using Microsoft office but it is expiring today. I would like to try Libre if it is compatible with all "I have in Word, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc. I have the 7.3 version on my laptop but noticed 7.4 is available. My concerns are can I transfer my work from Micro to Libre and not lose any data or work? I have well over a year of work on micro and can’t risk losing it even if I have to stay with greedy Mrico. If I dload 7.4 will it supersede or replace 7.3 or will I have both versions on my laptop at once?

Glenn Stanford

There are fundamental differences, see Apache OpenOffice Community Forum - [Tutorial] Differences between Microsoft and AOO/LO files - (View topic)

Having said that, the only way to see if LibreOffice meets your needs is to try it. Don’t think of it as a cheap Microsoft alternative, it works differently. For some things LO is better featured or more usable, for other things the reverse is true. If working in LibreOffice always save in its native format, e.g. .odt, .ods, etc. If you need to send in MS format do a Save As and send that but do not carry on editing the MS file.

If you need to collaborate on single documents with colleagues, you all should use the same software whether MS or LO

I use the stable version of LO for my work and have only recently upgraded to I am likely to stay with it for a long time, possibly skipping 7.4 entirely.
If you install 7.4 it will overwrite 7.3. With care, it is possible to do a parallel installation of LibreOffice to have two or more different versions but an easier way to test out a newer version might be to add a portable version, Portable versions | LibreOffice - Free Office Suite - Based on OpenOffice - Compatible with Microsoft.

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In addition to @EarnestAl ,

My Transition from MS-Office to LibreOffice

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Thanks for the help!


The key point to this is to have backup-files - also recommended, if you only use MS or only LibreOffice.
Some years I used both. As long as every suite uses its own files .docx/…xlsx and .odt/.odc… no inherent danger.
For cooperation I prefer “streams”: Documents from MS are imported, tested and then I continue wirh LO-Files. Same the other way round. To be avoided is the constant conversion, even if this is no problem for simple files.
Advanced features like tracking changes, LO styles I would avoid in a cooperative setup. Macros and database-usage differ very much, so not a good topic to cooperate - but both suites may be connected to the same database-server. You need to re-create forms…

You tagged base which means your question is about the DB component Base (similar to M$ Access). I skipped your question and I think others have done too. Please retag as common to give your question more “exposition”.



I’ve used both with nearly complete compatibily for years. Only now, with recent Microsoft Windows 10 version and write V7.4.3.2 (x64), I’ve lost presentation of a word document. Perhaps you can save your MS documents in old format.
Also, in write not all the Ms fonts are used but can be displayed.


As already mentioned by @EarnestAl, the suites are based on different principles.

As long as the documents (text, spreadsheet, presentation) are quite simple, you should have a fairly good acceptance in LO. But if they are sophisticated, expect difficulties.

The right answer depends on what you do with your documents.

  • If they are private to you (not sent to external recipients)

    When you need them, translate them into native features so that the documents end up in “pure” ODF.

    Expect a lot of manual work:
    • Writer will “import” .doc(x) and make approximate conversions; the global structure will be messed up and it is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to fix the structure.
      The cleanest way I found was to copy DOC(X) contents and paste as unformatted text. This means all formatting is lost but you don’t import Word idiosyncrasies.
      Then you reformat the document. Forget your Word muscle memory. The right way to do it is with styles. Styles are much more developed in LO than in Word. In particular, you have character, page, frame and list styles, of which Word is totally unaware and manages as direct (manual) formatting.
      Before undertaking conversion, you should read the Writer Guide and practice a bit on example one-shot files. Then design your own styles. Note that direct formatting in Writer is the cause of many formatting “surprises”. Contrary to common belief, direct formatting is not intuitive nor simple. Succeeding to format a document with direct formatting need guru level to understand all its subtleties.
    • Function names in Calc may be different and the arguments too.
      Note that any VBA macro will not work because LO uses a different language (a variant of Basic or if you prefer Python).
      Here too, you can use styles (and this is also recommended).

  • If you share your documents in a collaborative environment

    It is preferable to use the same application. As already mentioned, editing sessions in different apps has a cumulative effect leading to quick unrecoverable damage due to iterated conversions between format. Usually, this ends up in encoding the least-capable features and losing formatting or presenting weird appearance.

In summary, the suites are fairly compatible for quick’n’dirty display of file contents. Adoption of one or the other is a matter of workflow. But if you opt for LO, the best thing is to restructure the documents the LO way.

Thanks for all the input. I would like to transfer everything from MS Office to Libre and not use MS at all. If it can be done I will do so, after I figure out how…

And if you need further help, just get back in touch here. Welcome to our site.

Thank you and thanks for having me.