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I have to write a dissertation for my university. I have to respect various format guidelines, and my professor uses MS Word on his workstation. In my experience, LibreOffice has been faulty when it comes to MS Word compatibility, with many incorrect parameters (happened earlier this month). I can't afford a MS Office licence to install it in Wine, so I'd like to know if there are any alternatives for Linux.

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(Im sorry i cant comment so I have to post an answer) What are the restriction s you face? Maybe we can help you decide whether or not you can achieve them in LibreOffice too and then save it as a .pdf or .doc file for your professor. –  Dominik Oct 16 '11 at 17:13
Nothing, not even MS Word of some year-version other than the one your prof uses, is 100% compatible with MS Word. LibreOffice/OpenOffice is already the MOST word compatible alternative. You might want to ask a specific question about a specific incompatibility and how to work around it, rather than assume that something that is "more compatible" actually exists. It doesn't. –  Warren P Oct 16 '11 at 17:42
Check with your University to see if they offer student edition of MS Office for free or nearly free. –  erjiang Oct 16 '11 at 17:43

7 Answers 7

Your best bet will be IBM lotus symphony. It is free and most compatible with MS office when compared with Libreoffice/Openoffice. Official Ubuntu binaries are available from their website for both 32bit and 64 bit architecture.Though package says Ubuntu 8.0, worry not it works well on Ubuntu 11.10.

Also don't forget to download and install the service pack 3.


Atul Kakrana

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Can you give a reference about "most compatible compared with Libre/OpenOffice"? I thought IBM Lotus Symphony was a forked OpenOffice. –  zpletan Nov 17 '11 at 4:49
@Atul Kakrana - Looks like meanwhile IBM guys have made some changes on their website. I've noticed that the link you've provided returns a "This page cannot be displayed" kind of message. I think that the actual link for Lotus Symphony is now this one:… –  Cristiana Nicolae Jan 26 at 6:12

There are a good compatible office suite for Linux, but unfortunately it’s proprietary.

It has the standard toolbar-based UI, no ribbons.

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I think that'd be the default word processor that comes shipped with Ubuntu, LibreOffice.
You can also choose to run Office 2007 under wine, that should work. To make things easier there are tools like Winetricks and PlayOnLinux.

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sadly the OP can't afford an MS office license. –  Warren P Oct 16 '11 at 17:43

As of right now, LibreOffice is the most compatible word-processor with MS Office.

KingsoftOffice has an interface which is more similar to MS Word than LibreOffice, but the documents made in KingsoftOffice are less compatible with MS Office than the documents made in LibreOffice.

Even though KingsoftOffice has a similar interface (GUI), that doesn't mean that it is compatible with MS Office.

I understand your problem, and I want to give you a good advice: Make the entire document in LibreOffice. Work in LibreOffice, but use MS Office only for final editing.

My advice does not work with complicated files with tables, but is sufficient for university dissertation with text and the occasional simple table. For final editing you can use someone else's MS Office, for example - The MS Office in your universities library.

I know that My proposition is not ideal, but it is a proper solution: Editing mainly with LibreOffice, but using MS Office Word only for compatibility checking and compatibility editing. In some cases it may occur that the document made in LibreOffice is 99% compatible to MS Office Word, in some cases not.

Format editing usually takes less time than creating an entire document in MS Office.

For example, when I learned in university, I wrote my thesis in LibreOffice, but my roommate had legal installation of MS Word. I asked him for his MS Office installation only few times a month, when I need proper MS Word formatting.

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Yozo Office is your superb choice.

For dissertation i recommend Tex , it's NOT a MSWord processor , but a powerful tool that many people use

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tex (latex) is not at all an answer to this person's question. If he wanted to do TeX he'd have asked for it. Yozo appears to be a commercial (paid) application. if this person can't afford a student license of MS office, maybe free apps would be better for them, since that seems to be looking for a free linux alternative. –  Warren P Oct 16 '11 at 17:40
@WarrenP , Yes , it's commercial , i'm using it for years , better compatibility than any other suite , like StarOffice / LibreOffice / AbiWord –  warl0ck Oct 16 '11 at 23:01

There is also Open Office which many people still use for free. It is compatible with all word documents and you can save as a word document. I recommend this software.

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LibreOffice is itself a more up-to-date version of OpenOffice. Since the fork, OpenOffice has been on its way out anyway, so it might not be as good as a long-term solution. –  Christopher Kyle Horton Oct 16 '11 at 19:08

I think Kingsoft Office is the best when it comes to compatibility with MS Office. There is a free version available.

See also Can Kingsoft Office be installed?

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