Looking at converting from Windows XP to Ubuntu. Need to know if Ubuntu can open and update Microsoft Word files.

  • Yep, That's why Libreoffice is for? Commented May 16, 2014 at 4:33
  • No, Ubuntu can not (just as XP can not open Word document). Libreoffice can (and Office can). And you can install libreoffice on XP too so you can even check it upfront.
    – Rinzwind
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 12:46

5 Answers 5


To be frank there's a lot of issues with .doc and .docx formats in LibreOffice. If your MS Office files are simple text files, it won't give you trouble. But if it contains images, specially the .docx files, you might have a frustrating experience with LibreOffice.

You can do all the things in LibreOffice that you do in MS Office. But first thing is you need to get rid of doc/docx file formats. Open Document Tex (.odt) is the default file format in LibreOffice and it is great. It even works with MS Office.

However, if you want to stick to the doc/docx file format, you can even install MS Office in ubuntu. There's a provision for that.

  • 2
    What does "There's a provision for that" mean? Who's making a provision?
    – jon
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 14:42
  • I meant Wine or Play on linux.
    – Uttam Pal
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 15:21

Apache Open Office, and LibreOffice are both freely available for Ubuntu. While they do support editing/creating word documents in .doc and .docx formats their support isn't 100%. If you want to test them out first to see if this will affect you both Apache Open Office, and LibreOffice are also available for Windows. Another option would be to try running Microsoft Office in Wine. Wine is a program that attempts to act a compatibility layer so that you can run Windows programs on Linux operating systems. Some programs work, some sort of work, and some don't work at all. I've never tried Office in Wine so I don't know if it works.

LibreOffice: http://www.libreoffice.org/

LibreOffice Direct Download Link (An Official Mirror): http://tdf.mirror.rafal.ca/libreoffice/stable/4.2.4/win/x86/LibreOffice_4.2.4_Win_x86.msi

Apache Open Office = https://www.openoffice.org/

Apache Open Office Direct Download Link (An Official Mirror): http://softlayer-dal.dl.sourceforge.net/project/openofficeorg.mirror/4.1.0/binaries/en-US/Apache_OpenOffice_4.1.0_Win_x86_install_en-US.exe

  • 4
    Please note that LibreOffice is pre-installed with Ubuntu. Commented May 16, 2014 at 12:28
  • Why should I download the msi or exe for Ubuntu where there are native binaries?
    – Braiam
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 15:54
  • The context behind this answer's links to .exe and .msi files is to make it easier for Windows users considering switching to Ubuntu to try out OpenOffice or LibreOffice on Windows, so as to discover if it suits their needs. (mango has not suggested installing the Windows versions of those programs in Ubuntu.) With that said, the specific .msi and .exe links in this answer should probably still not be used (even in Windows) as they're obsolete: newer versions of both have come out. (We could update the links in this answer, by editing... but they'd just become obsolete again soon.) Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 4:15

Yes it can, Ubuntu comes with Libreoffice writer installed it can open ms word files and can save them to ms word document format it supports .doc and also .docx format. Libreoffice is freeware and preinstalled so no need to install it.

  • 1
    Notice although that compatibility is not 100%, sometime in very basic things (highlighting is one example). You can still use MS Office with wine or Codeweavers crossover (which works quite well).
    – Rmano
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 5:01

I almost never use Microsoft Word these days as Google Docs (free if you have a Gmail account) works simply and straightforwardly in the browser on Windows, Ubuntu, Mac OS X and even on tablet devices. The other advantage your data is stored in the Cloud and therefore automatically backed up and available from wherever you need it.

If you go down this route I would recommend you download and install the Chrome browser in place of the default Firefox to get the most out of the features.

LibreOffice though is definitely a competent alternative Microsoft Word, and as noted is installed as standard in Ubuntu.

Whilst the use of open file formats is to commended you may find Windows / Word stalwarts (especially ones running older versions) complaining when they receive files with unusual extensions!


As already mentioned, as long as the .doc/.docx files are simple structured you won't have big issues. That changes with the complexity of the .dox/.docx files. A further headache is the collaboration with other users who use MS-Word only on their Windows or Apple machine or even work with customers.

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