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I am using Ubuntu and I need to do my project work. When I use libre office for the work purpose it stores in odt format and converting from odt to docx format changes the alignment of words and paragraphs in documentation.

By reading some blogs and watching videos on Youtube I found wine but,I didn't have license for Microsoft office.so is there any other possible way?

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  • 11
    No, there isn't. If there was a way that could give results "identical" to Microsoft Office, then no one would buy it any more... So, if you put what you already knew in your two paragraphs, you would have answered your own question. For most people, libreoffice and openoffice are "close enough". If that's not close enough for you, then you'll have to purchase a Microsoft Office license.
    – Ray
    Apr 19, 2021 at 17:06
  • 4
    You can save in docx format directly. From then on WYSIWYG (usually). Alternatively you can install WPS for better compatibility. Installing Microsoft Office with Wine is also possible but it may not work depending on the version and users always need a valid license, this isn't a piracy service! Apr 19, 2021 at 17:18
  • 3
    ChanganAuto is correct. You can set LO to default to docx. The only real difference between the 2 is visual basic for macro's. LO uses pyhon. MIND that there is one more alternative: GOOGLE DOCS. To me(!) it trumps them all. Google drawings to me is far better for making flow charts the LO Draw.
    – Rinzwind
    Apr 19, 2021 at 17:19
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    Other free alternatives are online word processors like GoogleDoc and the free online version of Microsoft 365. The free online version of 365 has only limited features compared to the paid desktop and online versions.
    – user68186
    Apr 19, 2021 at 17:24
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    You may want to install Microsoft TTF fonts in your Ubuntu computer and use TimesNewRoman or Calibri in LibreOffice, so that looks don't change due to font substitution. This will not solve all your formatting problems, but it will help with compatibility with Word.
    – user68186
    Apr 19, 2021 at 17:57

16 Answers 16

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Yes. There is a cloud implementation of Microsoft Office.

Simply put, yes, it's possible to use Microsoft Office on a Linux computer, without needing to use a Windows emulator. Microsoft has created a version of Microsoft Office with Cloud integration called Microsoft Office 365, which can be accessed on any device by using a web browser to connect to the web version of the Microsoft Office package.

Of course, this will require you to create a Microsoft Office account and pay Microsoft for the privilege of using their software. Also, the web version of Microsoft Word is not fully compatible with the standalone Microsoft Word software, having quite a few features such as image captions and title pages missing.

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    I also want to add that I once tried to open a document I created on my desktop with Word, on the web based version. The displayed result was rather chaotic (things were not where they were supposed to be).
    – Clockwork
    Apr 21, 2021 at 10:41
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    @Clockwork Yes. Like I said, the two versions of MS Word aren't fully compatible.
    – nick012000
    Apr 21, 2021 at 11:56
  • Yep. Not fully compatible. On my experience, Libreoffice has much less incompatibilites than Office365. If you do not use Excel Macros or very complex spreadsheets, LibreOffice is the best option if you don't want to use Wine.
    – josircg
    Apr 22, 2021 at 0:52
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    @Clockwork : You've just described my experience with every pair of desktop versions of Word. Back where I worked we had fussily specific layout requirements for certain customers. Various patches to Word would alter rendering of documents and version upgrades broke everything. At least once, Word 2010 fubarred a file so badly that only OpenOffice was able to make sense of the file and save a clean DOCX. ("-541 inch cropping?!? Really, Word?!?" -- that is not a typo'; there is no missing decimal point.) Apr 22, 2021 at 22:54
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You can't use Microsoft Office in any way without a license ... It is payware. You need an windows emulator like wine to run Microsoft .exe files on any Linux.

You can use LibreOffice. It reads and writes MS-Office format files. LibreOffice is free software.

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    Windows: Microsoft offers free 30-day trials of Office 365 and Office 2013. After your free month is over, you won't be able to use some major features of these office suites. One little-known secret, however, is you can actually extend your trial five times, for total of 180 days of use Apr 20, 2021 at 6:48
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    I don't understand why this is the accepted answer. Other answers contain more valuable information (no offense@Soren A).
    – DarkTrick
    Sep 30, 2021 at 12:44
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    Wine is not an emulator, it's a compatibility layer.
    – Sadeq
    Jan 13, 2022 at 15:27
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    LibreOffice is a piece of crap, I would not have it on Ubuntu Apr 14, 2022 at 20:58
  • I agree. Libreoffice can be frustrating if you are not used to. Also, it does not open files created in MS office at all. Sep 14, 2022 at 13:01
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Yes, there is a good alternative. Onlyoffice is free and open source (GitHub), and has excellent Microsoft Office compatibility (including viewing Annotated Powerpoint presentations).

enter image description here

It can be installed in many ways.

Snap Package

snap install onlyoffice-desktopeditors

Debian package

Downoad link for .deb-package.

Flatpak

flatpak install flathub org.onlyoffice.desktopeditors

Appimage Can be downloaded from https://www.onlyoffice.com/download-desktop.aspx?from=desktop#desktop

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Onlyoffice in any way.

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    It is fine but not excellent. My ppts look very weird in only office. Oct 17, 2022 at 15:41
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VirtualBox

Windows runs great in Ubuntu using VBox: https://www.virtualbox.org/

And Microsoft Office runs best in Windows. It is 100% compatible.

VBox can be installed from Ubuntu Software.

The version of VBox from Ubuntu Software works better with Ubuntu than the version from virtualbox.org

Windows running in VBox must share resources with Ubuntu so it is a little bit slower than with it's own computer.

Windows running in VBox still technically requires a license for full performance. Without activating, you won't be able to personalize the desktop background, window title bar, taskbar, and Start color, change the theme, customize Start, taskbar, and lock screen etc. Additionally, you might periodically get messages asking to activate your copy of Windows

Microsoft offers free 30-day trials of Office, you can extend your trial five times, for total of 180 days of use

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    My first thought. You want to run a Windows program? Then run Windows. I am *not* knocking Wine, which can do a great job, But, some programs are just too ... windowy for anything but Windows
    – Mawg
    Apr 21, 2021 at 15:58
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    Why use third-party Virtualbox if Linux (including Ubuntu) has its native virtualization solution: KVM (accessible through libvirt/virsh/virt-manager etc.)?
    – raj
    Sep 18, 2021 at 18:41
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There is no 100% compatibility with Office word formats in Linux as these formats are proprietary or intentionally obscured.

You didn't specify which Office version you are trying to run. If it is a newer Office version you will most likely require a commercial offering that allows running Windows programs in Linux.

Codeweaver offers a paid version of Wine that supports many of the Microsoft Office versions. You can use their version in free Trial mode to see if it works for you.

An alternative approach is running Windows in a VM and having your office-suite there.

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    All current versions of Office use Office OpenXML, which is an ECMA and ISO standard. The proprietary formats haven't been used in a loooong time. Apr 20, 2021 at 18:05
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    This answer is incorrect, Office hasn't used propietary formats for years Apr 20, 2021 at 19:11
  • and even the old office binary formats have been opened quite long ago. Anyone can get the spec from MSDN
    – phuclv
    Apr 21, 2021 at 0:43
  • Office OpenXML was initially just a documented XML version of the binary format. Perhaps things are better now. Apr 21, 2021 at 10:58
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    Wow, how quickly people have forgotten... OpenXML was a joke when it was first released. Only the threat of governments switching to OpenDocument formats got them to clean up their act.
    – barbecue
    Apr 22, 2021 at 14:30
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My personal experience is that the most seamless Ubuntu/Linux integration with full native Linux compatibility is provided by Softmaker Office. Compared to say, LibreOffice, I've found the compatibility w.r.t. Microsoft formats (especially .docx) far superior.

The drawback is that you are switching one commercial solution for another. However their pricing is much better than Microsoft.

My answer might look like an ad, but this is really my experience w.r.t. compatibility of complex .docx documents (comments, styles etc.)

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If you prefer a solution that looks and feels very similar to MS Office (including closed source!), you could also try Softmaker FreeOffice.

Generally speaking, there will always be some discrepancies in how your documents are displayed in different applications and versions. Even MS Office 2019 Professional, MS Office 365 and MS Office for Web do not always display documents in the same way.

Another issue to consider is compatibility with your peers: if some of your peers are also using let's say LibreOffice already, you may have less issues when sharing documents with them if you also use LibreOffice.

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Just from personal experience, I have found WPS office has the best compatibility with Desktop MS-Word and Excel; I've tried Libre Office, OnlyOffice, Office365 (Google Docs is better I think), an others I've forgotten about, but they all come up a bit short. Also since WPS's ribbon format seems to be an almost like-for-like rip-off of MS-Office, it has the shortest learning curve if you're a long-standing MS-Office user. I have tried to persevere with LibreOffice in the past, it's very comprehensive, but some features are still a bit clunky, and the rendering quite often is just a bit "off" (like Disney characters on the back of ice-cream vans), enough to make it a time-waster

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  • Agree on WPSO. But I wouldn't dismiss so easily OnlyOffice and FreeOffice (Text Maker).
    – cipricus
    Nov 22, 2021 at 12:15
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Perhaps I'm gonna state the obvious, but you can (and should!) use Office online. Dropbox (even the free tier) provides access to an online Microsoft Office suite which should be more than enough for us mortals (provided you don't need crazy Excel macros or that stuff), integrated with their storage. IMHO that's the best feature from Dropbox.

https://help.dropbox.com/es-la/installs-integrations/third-party/microsoft-office-faq#web

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  • It is not clear if one gets any extra features in Microsoft Office by going through Dropbox. A free web version of Office is already available directly from Microsoft: microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/…
    – user68186
    Apr 20, 2021 at 15:46
  • @user68186 Good to know! But it's still tied to onedrive too, so even if you don't use Dropbox you still need to use some sort of cloud storage service. I'd stick with Dropbox but that's just personal preference.
    – maaw
    Apr 20, 2021 at 17:36
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As of now; I believe in winapps. I think it's the best solution while waiting (forever?!) for Microsoft do release an Ubunutu version.

https://github.com/Fmstrat/winapps

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WPS

You may use WPS Office as an alternative.

It is said (there are some articles mentioned, but I can't find any official announcement), in history, the company behind WPS Office has a format compatibility agreement with Microsoft Office.

And it is free (the pay "free", not the source "free"), though it contains some ads.

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Google docs is also a good alternative for microsoft office package. It's bit hard to truly dependent on microsoft office if you are on ubuntu. The best option is to stick permanently to one option. There is a burden to switch between softwares. I prefer google docs.

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You can always install Microsoft Teams and from there you will be able to access onedrive, office apps like excel, word, onenote, etc. Just tested it out.

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  • Please, add more information to make your answer clear. Nov 1, 2021 at 19:45
  • Those "apps" must be the online office.com, which doesn't need Teams. Already mentioned in a different answer.
    – cipricus
    Nov 22, 2021 at 12:22
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outside of running Microsoft Office 365 in a browser, depending on what functionality and version compatibility you need, you can use different alternative as already said before, but one important for me is the OLE automation. The only office alternative that has it to my knowledge is openoffice. note that it is not working when libre office is installed!

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A possible alternative would be https://snapcraft.io/office365webdesktop which is in the Beta stage now. To install run:

Beta snap install --beta office365webdesktop

Edge snap install --edge office365webdesktop

Unfortunately it's not available on the stable version

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  • Hello. There are 14 answers before yours. Some of them quite good. None using BETA software. I would suggest to not use BETA.
    – David
    Apr 14, 2022 at 10:07
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As far as I know, yozo-office is the closest imitation of microsoft-office. It's more like microsoft's than wps-office and libreoffice. You can take a look here.

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  • Is there a link to an English website? Your link sends to a site in Chinese.
    – cipricus
    Nov 22, 2021 at 12:31
  • Once installed it's in Chinese, a language I ignore completely. I can try open a file that any other text processors can open. Yozo cannot open it. It might be lacking access to European fonts I don't know. It is also behaving oddly (would not close).
    – cipricus
    Nov 22, 2021 at 12:46

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