I know there is a lot of people who strongly dislike the Ribbon interface… I’m not one of those, I like it. I’m no fan of Windows and his stuff, but in Office this interface looks nice and uncluttered.
So… I’ve been trying Office 2013 for a week or so (I have Office installed in my phone from before) and I can say some interesting points about it. And about LibreOffice. Because this is the thing, I never used Office before and I don’t feel really comfortable with Windows (in general and 8 in particular). But now I’m trying and comparing both and maybe someone find anything of use in my experience.
After two weeks using it I found good and bad things, sadly I found more pros than cons. Besides this, I don’t use Bases (like Access or so) nor spreadsheets (like Excel or so) so there will be gaps in my review. In any case, here are the things I found, in no particular order:
What is good…
- On Word, when you mistype or have anything wrong on your text you can highlight it and right click on it. A context menu appears showing options including other words to correct yours. Just like in Firefox and Opera. Why this hasn’t been implemented on LibreOffice yet? Is such a useful tool!
- Again on Word, when you’re adding headlines and titles (formatted as that) the programme shows you the index at your left updated on the fly.
- Indexes on Word are simply fantastic. They have some more options and if you select your index and right click on it, you’ll have the option of updating it automatically.
- One Note is a whole thing on its own. There is no equivalent on LibreOffice so this is not a comparison really but a remark on something that is extremely useful. You can take notes anywhere (web interface, your computer, your phone) and sync them using an email account.
- It has more and better templates. And they’re all up to date.
- The “Resume Reading” feature mentioned above also works online, so if you edited your file, let’s say in your phone, when you go to your laptop it will show you the last point you left including editions you made on mobile (or any other device for the matter).
- On Word, yet again, clicking on the beginning of a line selects the whole phrase. If you hold and drag your pointer down, it selects everything saving you from actually painting each word of a given text. In long documents or selections, this quite handy.
What is not good…
- Synchronising or uploading stuff from Office is a real pain compared to the mobile version. Who knows why!
- Don’t you like how Office looks? Bad luck! It’s impossible to customise beyond changing some fading drawings at the back of menu. But everything stays flat and white. Or grey, which is worst.
- For some odd reason, Office finds difficult to understand that changing languages doesn’t mean changing keyboard and interface. Didn’t they noticed the fact of Internet connecting people from all points of this nice world? Moreover, do they ignore there are people working as translators? Is it that complicated to leave spelling & grammar tools separated from interface and keyboard? Apparently, it is for Microsoft.
- Microsoft/Office font types are utterly boring with some very remarkable exceptions. It’s mandatory to install other better fonts to use it at its best.
- If you use the default styles or templates everything goes well. Try modfying the littlest thing, and everything fall into pieces. Not very nice really.
- Menus and sections have odd names. Why the edition of fonts, paragraphs and pages is called “Home”? Just as example.
What is good…
- Supports every single format past and present, even those that were used by deprecated programmes like StarOffice or dropped by actual programmes.
- Works better with customised formatting and edition.
- Highly customisable interface.
- Understands perfectly the difference between keyboard, system language and text language.
- It’s easy to write or set multi-language texts.
- PDF creation and export working perfectly. It’s native, not an addon or side programme.
What is not good…
- Index come in only one version and using and setting them is a pain… there.
- Makes strange format changes when handling docx.
- Somewhat cluttered interface.
Besides there’s a feature that many people find awesome, syncing with some cloud service, but I’m not crazy about it, so the lack or presence of that sort of online stuff leaves me really indifferent.
I found both very good, at least from the Word/Writer point of view. So it depends on your needs whether to use one or another. Just to final notes: LibreOffice won’t annoy you with any “activation key” warning and it’s available to all operative systems. This doesn’t applies to Microsoft stuff.