LibreOffice is my favorite of several free, open-source application suites, and the one I have configured on my Mac as my default app for Word documents that one frequently has to deal with. It also, of course, opens and saves documents created in the formats of the other two members of the MS Office triad: Excel and PowerPoint. Highly compatible with Microsoft Office formats, LibreOffice also imports legacy and other formats otherwise unusable under OS X.
If you need heavy-duty office app power, Libre Office should be more than adequate. It has six distinct app modules Writer (analogous to Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (PowerPoint), Draw (a vector drawing app), Base (database front end), and Math (equation editor), plus a built-in PDF file creation app. For free.
Writer is the LibreOffice word processor, supporting while-you-type auto-completion, auto-formatting and automatic spelling checking. Its powerful enough to tackle desktop publishing tasks such as creating multi-column newsletters and brochures. LibreOffice Writer reads Microsoft Word documents (.docx, .doc), and you can also save your work in Microsoft Word format.
Calc is LibreOffices spreadsheet app, featuring a fully-integrated help system and graphing functions to display 2D and 3D graphics from 13 categories, including line, area, bar, pie, X-Y, and net.
Impress is LibreOffices multimedia presentation module.
Draw lets you build diagrams and sketches from scratch, including dynamic 3D illustrations and special effects.
Base is the the LibreOffice suites database front-end that can seamlessly integrate existing database structures into the other components of LibreOffice, or create an interface to use and administer your data as a stand-alone application. You can use imported and linked tables and queries from MySQL, PostgreSQL or Microsoft Access and many other data sources, or design your own. Support is built-in or easily addable for a wide range of database products, notably the standardly-provided HSQL, MySQL, Adobes D, Microsoft Access and PostgreSQL.
Math is a simple equation editor that lets you lay-out and display mathematical, chemical, electrical or scientific equations quickly in standard written notation.
LibreOffice comes configured with a PDF file creator. It also offers cross-platform support for Windows, and Linux as well as OS X, and its noteworthy that LibreOffice is the only full-featured office suite that supports Linux.
LibreOffices marquee features are that it costs nothing, opens and exports to the latest Microsoft Office formats in addition to its native ODT format, and can import legacy documents created by old Windows and MS-DOS versions and even ancient WordPerfect documents. However, a downside is that LibreOffice is not the speediest of apps on the Mac.
Low End Mac’s Dan Knight notes that Probably the best thing you can do to speed up LibreOffice is to avoid using the Java runtime environment. Choose Preferences in the LibreOffice menu and then deselect Use a Java runtime environment. In Preferences, you can make the memory settings to optimize LibreOffice performance. Note that some of these will increase the amount of memory used so LibreOffice will work more efficiently.
For more LibreOffice optimization tips, visit: