Best office suite for Linux

Office suites are a highly debated topic in Linux and finding the right one for you can be tough. In this article I will be comparing two of the biggest: Libre Office and Calligra.

Lets start out with the apps in the suite. Calligra has many more apps for a more diverse experience, whereas Libre packs the punch in six focused apps plus a hub which puts all of your recent documents and templates together in one app. The apps that Libre come with are:

  • Writer (Word processor)
  • Calc (Spreadsheets)
  • Impress (Linear presentations)
  • Draw (Drawings)
  • Math (Formula)
  • Base (Data Base)
Libre office hub

Libre Office app. All recent files apear on the right

Personally my favorite is Calligra because it is very customizable (Not surprising, it being a KDE app) compared to the only customization feature on Libre, Extensions. But anyway most extensions are very old and not usable on newer versions of Libre. The apps that Calligra come with are:

  • Braindump (Sort of like a drawing app but is meant to “dump and organize the content of your brain [ideas, drawings, images, texts…] to your computer… It works by allowing to create and edit whiteboards, which are infinite canvas on which you can add texts, images, charts, drawings”)
  • Flow (Flow charts)
  • Karbon (Vector art)
  • Kexi (Data base)
  • Krita (Sketching and painting)
  • Plan (Project management)
  • Stage (Linear presentations)
  • Sheets (Spreadsheets)
  • Words (Word proccesor)

What I don’t like about Libre are the toolbars. I feel everything is jumbled up and icons don’t even align!. However in Calligra it uses a vertical arrangement, like a sidebar and a toolbar. Plus you can add panels, icons, toolbar shortcuts and so on.

Calligra Words with its sidebar

Calligra Words with its sidebar

Word processor

One of the main apps in an office suite is the word processor. So lets check ’em out!

One of the first things that you notice when you open the apps up is that Calligra presents me with options of templates. Secondly, Calligra uses system icons and GTK but Libre does not. Another thing is that without the vertical bar the menus where very crowded on Libre whereas in Calligra the menus are very small and more friendly because all of the settings are in the toolbar or the vertical menu. Also I found it very annoying to use Libre, because you are constantly in menus trying to find things. The only major con for Calligra is that you can’t use it very well in half screen mode because of the sidebar using up so much space.

Libre complex menus

Libre with its own icons and complex menus

Spreadsheets

If you are anything like me and are always dealing with spreadsheets, this app is another very important one for you.

The layout of the apps aren’t much different and all the pros and cons carry over. Another thing I noticed was that in Calligra everything was labeled so it was easy to find, whereas in Libre there were only icons, except in the top menu bar.

Presentation

Slide shows apps are a staple of office suites so why not compare them?

When opening up Calligra I find a massive amount of templates to chose from. One thing that is very visible is a sidebar on Libre Impress. It holds layouts, animations and more. Another thing was that with Calligra I could just start making a slide show but in Libre it was quite hard for me to understand what to do.

Drawing

How can I explain how much Calligra wins this. Calligra has 3 drawing apps compared to one app in Libre.

I think by what I have shown you Calligra is a much better office suite.

EDIT: Calligra does have a hub sort of thing called Gemini but it seems to be quite buggy. It only supports presentations and text documents. But instead of launching Words or Stage it launches it in Gemini. From what I can see the Gemini version is identical.

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One comment

  1. besanladoo · August 1, 2015

    Very informative! You make it so easy! Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

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