I know Microsoft Office 2003 and Microsoft Office 2007 have some incompatibility issues with LibreOffice. For example if I create a document in LibreOffice with doc format and try to open it in Office 2003/2007, the margin, tables and images might/will move a bit around.

Reading that Microsoft Office 2010 is "more compatible" are this issues resolved that when I create a doc or odt file, it will be correctly read in Office 2010.

Note that I say THEY have incompatibility issues. For what I have seen, the correct format is the one used in LibreOffice/OpenOffice and not the other way around. It is more standardized.

UPDATE - Would like to add that in 2 pages of Wikipedia, Microsoft Office 2010 is mentioned as having compatibility for version 1.1 of the ODF.



Because of this, I made the question just to be sure from experience of other LibreOffice users in Ubuntu.

UPDATE 2 - The European IT authorities have come up with several ideas to improve the OOXML compatibility in LibreOffice. they include all the problems I mentioned like images, macros, frames and such. More info here and here.

I want to also add that after LibreOffice 4.x, the compatibility level has risen. There is more compatibility between both office suite.

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    More compatible with...? Office 2007/2003 I presume, In this case it is not Microsoft Office the one that has to offer Compatibility but LibreOffice. It is how it is though. Dec 14, 2011 at 1:18
  • Sorry, not asking if LibreOffice is compatible with Microsoft Office 2010. Am asking if Office 2010 is compatible with LibreOffice in regards to the small details I mentioned in the question. Dec 14, 2011 at 1:21
  • Probably it isn't. Dec 14, 2011 at 1:23
  • I linked a question to this one as possible duplicate, but the OP had a point that these answers might be out of date. Can we update this question? May 14, 2013 at 19:49

5 Answers 5


With my personal experience, I say that NO they are not.

A .doc file created in LibreOffice suffers from some changes when it is reopened in MS Office 2010. You will also feel that your header and footer settings are disturbed.

Same in the case of .ppt files.

I prepared a seminar of robotics in LibreOffice and saved it as a .ppt file. But, at the time of presentation my college offered me a Windows computer with MS Office 2010. When I opened the .ppt on Windows, I have to make several changes before presentation such as page width, table size, heading size and images (specially charts and bars).

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    i agree with you microsoft 2010 is not compatible with libreoffice Dec 14, 2011 at 4:37
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    I also ask since in wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office_2010 it is mentioned that one of the "changes" in 2010 is "Microsoft Office 2010 supports OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.1, which is an OASIS standard." This is the confusion am having. What you mention in your answer has happened to me on 2007 so many times I lost count a couple of years ago but just to be sure I made the question. Can you add to your answer maybe something additional that might clarify what wikipedia mentions about ODF Dec 14, 2011 at 5:07
  • What you should try is to open a ODF document (native LibreOffice format --- I mean, .odt or .odp) in Windows --- your comments here seems to point that you tried to create a .doc in LO and then opened it in MS Office 2010. I read the spec cited here as "you can now open ODF documents in MS Office", not "MS Office will read correctly .doc and .ppt documents created in LO". Or I am reading it backwards?
    – Rmano
    Oct 16, 2013 at 15:17
  • Anyway, I still feel the worst incompatibility is the one tracked here... bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/openoffice.org/+bug/295014
    – Rmano
    Oct 16, 2013 at 15:18

In my experience it is completely unrealistic to suggest that in dealing with an organisation of any size that relies on Microsoft products, anyone can survive by using LibreOffice. I work in a university (in theory, more open to experimentation, difference and tolerance than, say, businesses). Our admin constantly bombards us with documents containing complex tables, forms, formating etc. Very soon I realised that opening, modifying or creating anything like that in OpenOffice/LibreOffice is asking for trouble. You can never be sure you are seeing all the (possibly critical) information that is there, and if you fill a document in and forward it, it is almost certain someone will complain and you will have to do it again using MS Word. Line managers and colleagues do not understand the technical issues or politics involved. All they want is the job done and an easy life, so you are left looking weird.

I have LibreOffice on my netbook and I must say I cannot rely on it for self-sufficiency. On one occasion a couple of years ago I couldn't open a password-protected Word doc because OpenOffice back then didn't support passwords! The problem is I was abroad and I had to reply to a work email urgently. That's when I said never again. I had to install Microsoft Word. I nearly abandoned Ubuntu that day. I wish I could rely on LibreOffice, but I am afraid this is not possible. It may be Microsoft's fault but that makes little difference in practice. Clearly, when people don't see compatibility issues either they deal with very, very simple documents, or they are very biased.


I have struggled with this for years. The fact is that you cannot use a workflow that includes passing documents back and forth between any version of Microsoft Office and Libre Office -- with the possible exception of very simple spreadsheets and word documents.

You either need to force your associates to move to Libre Office or conform and use MS Office yourself. It's a huge issue for Libre Office in a world where MS Office is still the dominant player.

  • I do not agree. Since LibreOffice 4.x came out I have not had any problems whatsoever between Excel, Word or Powerpoint documents. They had animations, special backgrounds and effect, tables, margins, etc.. And did not have any problems with more than 30K documents. In the field of Medicine and Engineering I work with many documents that have special formats. None have had problems with them. This does not mean there will be no problems at all with all documents but with a population of 30K+ documents I have not had a problem when converting from MS Office 2003, 2007 or 2010 to LO 4.x. Oct 16, 2013 at 16:36
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    I wish SOOOOOOO bad that I had your experience. I could provide dozens of simple ODP files that my business partners cannot accept as PPT or PPTX because when they are opened everything (headers, footers, font size, graphics, margins, etc.) are all messed up. As it is, my company is planning to move from Ubuntu to Macs mainly because of this problem -- though I am pushing a Wine based solution instead.
    – Dave
    Oct 16, 2013 at 18:19
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    Will do...for what its worth I attached them to a bug report made to OpenOffice years ago.
    – Dave
    Oct 17, 2013 at 18:24
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    Thanks to HDave I saw several bugs related to their document. While it shows correctly using LO, the moment I save the document as pptx (at least in Office 2010) it has a couple of issues, mainly bullets not shown correctly, spaces between text or images not handled correctly and headings removed of their boldness. Oct 18, 2013 at 15:48

On my experience, I really did not saw any bigger change on the way it show the files, still the same kind of formating problems.

on my case i used play on linux to install a MS-office 2007 in my ubuntu so i could open the pptx files in a correct manner.


I think "the margin, tables and images might/will move a bit around" is way too strong definition of incompatibility. This way MS Office is not compatible with itself: you may open the same document on two different computers using the same version of MS Office and get two different results. It is less related to presentations because Power Point presentations are more like sets of objects with implicitly or explicitly given coordinates, but still even in Power Point there may appear, for example, another empty slide or some other discrepancy.

The reason is obvious, .doc is a "flow of text" that has as much information about every piece as possible but still some default settings not included in the document itself may matter. For example, at least in earlier versions the page format was not included in the .doc file, and if two computers have Office with different default page sizes, e.g. US Letter and A4, they will render the same document differently.

To ensure this kind of compatibility everything should be compiled to PostScript or PDF. But even pdf may look different on another computer (though, those are mostly font-related issues when fonts are not embedded into the document). Luckily, the Acrobat Reader is available on every computer and even allows to show presentations full-screen etc.

Since you asked about own experience: for me the real issue is when one program cannot open the document created in the other one, and I believe (and from my own little experience -- little because I prefer TeX) by now they are 99%-compatible. Except for VBA and macros -- there are still a lot of issues even though LibreOffice has VBA-compatible mode. The last issue I had was when I was trying to modify a VBA macro using LibreOffice: it run the changed macro beautifully, but just did not save any changes, and did not show any errors when I was saving it... Beware.

  • If you open the same document on 2 different PCs and see something different then there is some serious problem with the format. The format should look the same no matter where you open it. In regards to mentioning the margin, tables and images as too strong for incompatibility as stand by it since if applied to a document, when viewed in another program like LibreOffice, for example in the case of paru38 which is almost the same as me, having an equal format is pretty important, specially if it is full of images, margin and for example with powerpoing and impress it can get ugly. Dec 14, 2011 at 15:47
  • Word's initial goal was to give people WYSIWYG text editor for articles, papers etc.: for a sequence of formatted objects. BTW, WYSIWYG doesn't imply that it looks the same on any computer. MS PowerPoint was designed with different purpose: for presentations it is more important to have the look the same on any computer. So, I agree, if there are such issues with PP and Impress, then yes, it is a problem. And this is why I mentioned .pdf formats. I personally consider .ppt as a source file, and .pdf as the compiled product, the one you show to others. (It is a core logic of TeX.)
    – Vadim
    Dec 14, 2011 at 16:39
  • Actually WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) implies that it should look the same when creating it and when viewing it everywhere. It does not say anywhere that it should be local to the computer and only the computer you are using should see it correctly (Note that wysiwyg is not related to parsing or compiling from one source to another). But this really has little to do with the question about ODF Dec 14, 2011 at 17:03

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