A new version of the free Office software suite LibreOffice has been released, bringing extended compatibility with Microsoft Office file types.
In a blog post (opens in new tab) announcing the update, the creator of the open source software bundle explained why it was so difficult to build in Office compatibility in the past.
“Microsoft files are still based on the proprietary format that was deprecated by ISO in 2008 and not on the ISO-approved standard, so they hide a great deal of artificial complexity,” the blog post states. “This causes problems with the handling of LibreOffice, which defaults to a true open standard format (the OpenDocument format).”
Given the popularity of Office and the sheer volume of documents in circulation, LibreOffice needs to offer extensive compatibility to draw users away from Microsoft. The team says users can expect multiple updates in quick succession with this goal in mind.
For those not in the know, LibreOffice is an office software suite designed to cover the same basics as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. In the words of our reviewer, LibreOffice offers “a competitive suite of office software that is just as exceptional, versatile and feature-rich at no cost to users”.
With the cost of living rising, the open source suite could be an excellent option for anyone looking to save on the cost of a subscription, especially with the advent of improved Office compatibility.
According to the blog post, users should regularly check for new releases of LibreOffice as the compatibility upgrades come so thick and fast that “each new version improves drastically over the previous one”.
While this may be the biggest, it’s not the only change in LibreOffice 7.4. In fact, there are quite a few improvements in the latest version of the productivity suite, including the spreadsheet app, Calc, which now supports 16,374 columns, and the entire suite now gets support for dark mode in both Windows 10 and 11.
When it comes to performance, the team has also made improvements for things like PDF export, document loading, and more.