Office suite query, please?

I am helping an almost retired family member to become adapted to Ubuntu Mate & this has been going very well for a little while already.

For the most part he is very content, but has one persistent gripe:
LibreOffice isn't QUITE a perfect replacement for M$office.
Though its default file saving can be changed to the XML types, he still finds it lacking somehow & I'm not able to get a very clear answer as to what causes this discomfort aside of it simply being a bit different.

He was previously an XP user with whatever version of Kingsoft (WPS...) Office before this and he griped about that app as well from time to time due to its insistence upon saving to its own strange file type by default.

Now, I am hoping to get him fully acclimated to whatever can closely mimic M$Office that will save by default to the M$ funky XML file formats such that he can most easily make & open stuff that he shares with others who simply MUST use that 'other' type of OS...

Of the locally installable options besides LibreOffice (AFAIK...) there are WPS Office, its 'parent' - Apache OpenOffice, and OnlyOffice (which strikes me as a bit strange as well as needlessly pricey).
(Ofcourse the server-centered options are NOT preferred.)

Of course M$office 2010 can be shoe-horned in via PlayonLinux; that is - if one can get their hands on it, etc.

Perhaps there are other alternatives which I am not aware of ??

Thus my query:
Will the kind & helpful folks here please pitch in with opinions pointing at what may be used to help a windoze escapee to have the most possible comfort in adapting to a native office suite that runs well under Linux ??

Thanks Very Much for any helpful replies !!

LibreOffice allows you to save in .doc or .docx format (unless I did not understand the issue).

You can look at FreeOffice - I believe that that has much better compatibility with MSOffice as far as docs and spreadsheets go.


+1 to looking at FreeOffice. I have a retired family member who found this to be a really good alternate.

  • Freeware (not open source)
  • Cross-platform - Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Interface can be set to traditional/toolbars or the newer "ribbon" (as well as light/dark)
  • Only has the word processor, spreadsheet and presentations - the icon colours are a bit different so you'd need to become familiar with them (or disguise them :wink:)

I only discovered this office suite as they teamed up with another Linux distribution (Manjaro) to offer it as an installable option.


I also have had much better success using FreeOffice with Microsoft Office files than with LibreOffice.


Thanks Very, Very Much for your wonderful replies Folks !!

My only query regarding FreeOffice is whether it can also be made to save to that silly XML file type by default ??

Thanks Again !!

Free office will save to Microsoft's .docx, xlsx, and pptx formats if that's what you are wondering, Iv'e used Softmaker Freeoffice for several years now, I could never get used to Libre Office entirely. I started using it on Android (as they have perhaps the best android office suite for tablets) and when I started using linux, I have used it almost solely and it performs very well with an even faster startup time than Libre Office, they also have some paid versions if the free version doesn't have enough features. One bonus to signing up for free office is you get a free font every month, I have about 12 of them now :smiley:

1 Like

Thanks again for replying here !!

What I seek for him goes like so:
New file created (unsaved)=> hits 'save'=> file type immediately shown & selected is DOCX or XLSX without any need to use a dropdown to manually select it.

Sounds trivial I know - but such things do wear on folks when they're forced to do any extra steps just to avoid a file type which they consider to be useless.

This was his main gripe with KSO & how could open, but not save to DOCX & it always tried defaulting to its silly WPS format when one was not looking, despite the default being set otherwise.


in LibreOffice, Tools, Options, Load/Save, General you can specify the default save format (doc) for Document type text. If you change document type to spreadsheet, save as gives you the option to save as xls.

Softmaker Office will as well, the first time you go to save it asks what format you want to use Microsoft's new format or softmakers, choose the Microsoft one and that will be default although you can open and save to other formats, Microsoft's will be default although that can be changed

1 Like

Many friends send me MS Office documents which I have no problem opening. I always save/send LO documents in the oldest MS Office version available - never had an issue.

Hello computerguy

For MS-Office compatibility the "easy" way, I suggest "onlyoffice" - the "desktop editor" that you can download and install free of cost can be found at:

Thanks to Das Geek of Destination Linux fame for the tip. :slightly_smiling_face:


Finally I've had a chance to install & test all those mentioned here & must say that I am definitely impressed with FreeOffice - but that's me, not him (yet...).

What struck me as very odd is from checking the included version of LibreOffice vs. the current downloadable one - with such differing version numbers, etc..
Just for yuks I also removed the installed version of that & did what was needed to have the most recent version from their site - and that is impressive to me also.

The OnlyOffice however, does not impress me in the least - too all-inclusive, brain-dead & lacking in user settings for me to ever choose it myself.

I forgot totally to ask here about WPS Office - which is very recent & also quite compatible - and I also installed that & set it for the DOCX type defaults.

Has anyone here made use of that and/or have any opinions towards it ??


I have used WPS office, but to me it never seemed quite as polished or capable, as from what I've seen it's just a community project, free office has support through the softmaker forum which has softmaker employees providing support and they are quite active

1 Like

Well, if he is use to Microsoft Office and want to use Microsoft's tools, so long he has an Internet connection Office 365 is an option.

Not sure how that can help, as you would need to create a desktop icon which opens a web browser to Office 365 specifically (I am sure there are better ways to do that, too lazy to bother) but if the issue at hand is "It's not Microsoft Office" then Office 365 may be the web-based solution for that problem.

Thanks for thesuggestions here Folks !!

The final solution turned out to be a bit obscured as compared with the 18.04 release of this OS.

It had an older version of LibreOffice included - and it made no sense to me that checking the officially released version showed that it was way newer - so I got that, removed the older version & installed the newer one.

Wow !!
It was full of huge improvements !!

That is now the default WP app and it is a very good & happy solution too.

I agree, I had spreadsheet sent to me that LibreOffice Calc could not open as there were more columns than LiberOffice could handle. OnlyOffice handled them with no problem.
More info on OnlyOffice:

Hello jymm

Sometimes, when I see what some people try to do with spreadsheets - instead of using a database - I feel both frightened and sad. Data-manipulation-literacy seems to be a neglected topic in general education to this day, in every country that I know a little about, even though they say that data is the new "oil" or "gold" of our time... :thinking:

Just think if you had been sent a .csv file instead... :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

In general I don't use spreadsheets, I have no use for them. This was for a budget for an organization I belong too. Actually LiberOffice Calc will open a .cvs file I have as an export list from Thunderbird. I wouldn't even know how to begin to set up a database!

Hello Again Folks !!
Here is the final, final result of all the office suite hijinks for my old friend...

I literally installed every app mentioned here + maybe 1 or 2 more & presented them to him on his desktop screen.

Several were immediately eliminated as being too unfamiliar in operation, those remaining really boiled down to LibreOffice & 1 of the others.

The operation of LibreOffice really suited him best, but it had severe problems involving how his many older files were being shared with his assistant - and LO would freeze, lock files, etc. - which was a daily hassle for a while that had me helping him remotely when his work got messed up.

When no amount of diddling around with LO itself fully calmed that down, I searched & found Collabora Office, which claimed to be better for such uses, and then installed that as well.

Collabora seemed to normalize things very nicely after I had found a couple of other non-app problems with his older files & corrected those as well; It has all been far better for him since then.

The oddity with Collabora is that in contacting them to find out about licensing it, they scoffed at such a small account - saying it wasn't worth their while to bother & just to use it endlessly unregistered - and then later contact attempts went unanswered.

So his office suite needs are finally well covered, thank goodness !!

As for my needs - all my WP needs are served either by FreeOffice Textmaker, Abiword, KKEdit - and sometimes even my old favourite Atlantis WP !! (I may touch 1 spreadsheet a year, so that is not a big deal for me, personally.)

Now I'll see if the title of this thread can be marked with 'solved'...

Thanks Very Much for all the replies here Folks !!