Feature Comparison: LibreOffice – Microsoft Office

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Introduction

This page compares the features of LibreOffice 4.1 and Microsoft Office 2013. It separates major and minor feature differences and also includes LibreOffice extensions. The comparison highlights differences and therefore does not display any features which are present in both office suites.

General office suite: LibreOffice vs. Microsoft Office

Major Feature Differences LibreOffice 4.1 MS Office 2013
Cross-platform availability Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and FreBSD (based on the same code base). Windows and Mac OS X (based on different code bases resulting in some format compatibility problems and differences in the user interface). Mac OS X Version is old version “Office 2011” and no MS Access.
Supported versions of MS Windows Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 (8.1, Server 2008 R2, Server 2012 also reported to work. Needs to be added to page “System Requirements” (fdo#71690)) Windows 7, 8, 8.1, Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, Windows RT (few features missing, no MS Access and not Metro-compliant)
Portable version that runs on USB flash disks (without installation) yes no (discontinued MS Office Starter 2010 edition runs on USB flash disks)
Open Source yes, licensed under GNU LGPL Version 3 no, proprietary and closed-source
Full integration of all office components supported, Start Center, creation and opening of files of other office components. not supported
Availability free of charge yes no, proprietary programme plus additional charges for language packs. 30-day trial version available.
Eco-system of extensions complex ecosystem of valuable extensions (over 190 on extensions.libreoffice.org and over 750 onextensions.services.openoffice.org) for LibreOffice (including automatic updates). partly, no centralized extension system.
Localization 110 languages 96 languages (52 main languages for purchase, 44 more languages (in total 60) from Language Interface Packs (LIPs) for free download)
Changing language of the user interface on the fly supported supported, but requires additional purchase of language packs / download of local LIPs
Additional writing aids extended support (spell-check dictionaries, hyphenation patterns, thesaurus and grammar check, specialized dictionaries as extensions (123456,7)) limited, requires additional purchase of language packs
Support of complex languages and special font features (ligatures, true small caps, old style numbers, proportional or mono-spaced numbers, capital spacing, true superscript/subscript) comprehensive support of SIL Graphite font technology (not available of Mac OS X). Support of OpenType optional features limited to localized forms (locl) (fdo#58941). limited via OpenType supporting ligatures, stylistic sets, number spacing options, number forms, contextual alternates.
Easy access to vector clip art yes via LO Gallery (clipart extensions (1 or 2)) selection more limited
Macro scripting languages multiple languages, support for wide variety of languages (LibreOffice Basic, JavaScript, BeanShell and Python). single language, support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Indirectly also Visual Basic or Visual C# by using automation.
CMIS protocol support to access Document Management Systems support for Alfresco, Nuxeo, SharePoint, IBM FileNet Lotus Live Files, Lotus Quickr Domino, OpenDataSpace and OpenText ELS. Support for GDrive will be available in coming version 4.2. inbuilt support only for SharePoint and Skydrive
Support of ISO standardized OpenDocument (ODF) format advanced support, v. 1.2 extended limited (Windows), v. 1.2, no ODF support on MacOS X
PDF export extended options multiple options (Additional options: detailed image settings, watermarks, HybridPDF, embedding of standard fonts, transition effects, tagged pdf, extended security and permission options, PDF forms, initial view settings, extended handling of URLs, digital signatures) no additional options
Creation of HybridPDFs (ODF file embedded in PDF for full editing) supported not supported
Import of graphics formats SVG vector graphics, PSD Photoshop and CorelDraw supported not supported
Import of MS Visio files supported not supported (only via MS Visio which is not part of MS Office)
Import of video and audio formats FLAC Audio flac, Flash Video (flv), Matroska Media, OGG Audio, Ogg Video, Quicktime Video and WebM Video supported not supported
Drawing programme LibreOffice Draw no
PIM and email programme not part of office suite, referring to Mozilla Thunderbird with Mozilla Lightning. MS Outlook
Import & Export of Microsoft OOXML files Good support of real life OOXML files (e.g. .xlsx, .docx, .pptx) as well as standardized OOXML files Advanced support of transitional (default) and strict OOXML files.
PDF Import partial, into Draw with the limitation that text is imported line-based (fdo#32249). supported, into MS Word
User Interface approach Classic UI; New Sidebar currently available as experimental feature Ribbon UI; Classic UI available as third-party paid extension
User interface improved to enable use on touch screen devices on desktop operating systems no Slightly adjusted user interface for touch screen devices, but no redesign
Versions of office suite for mobile operating systems no, ports for Android and iOS in development (1,2,34) Versions for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 with heavily restricted feature set, good viewing capabilities but very limited editing abilities. Mobile versions are restricted to smartphones (not on tablets). Android and iOS versions only available if subscribed to Microsoft 365 Cloud services at a monthly fee.
Online/cloud version of office suite no, in development: experimental version. Office web apps, with reduced functionality. (1)
Synchronous collaborative editing no, in development: experimental version supported
Minor Feature Differences LibreOffice 4.1 MS Office 2013
Import of graphics formats DXF, MET, PBM, PCD, PCX, PGM, PPM, PPM, RAS, SGF, SVM, TGA, XBM, XPM supported not supported
Import of additional video and audio formats: CD Audio, Vivo Video. supported not supported
Written in language(s) C++, Java, Python C++, C, (ASM)1
Enhanced list of recent files and folders partial (fdo#61174fdo#60743). Option to clear list of recent documents. supported (option to set recent files as permanent)
Digital signatures / Signature Line single signature without visual features (fdo#63001) supported
Custom colours in formula editor Set of 8 colours (fdo#40436) supported
Ink annotations (e.g. on a windows tablet computer) not supported, (only support for import of existing ink annotations from MS Word file format) supported
Live preview while formatting not supported (fdo#37048) supported
Import of graphics formats MEZ, WMZ, PCZ, CGM not supported supported

Word processors: LibreOffice Writer vs. Microsoft Word

Major Feature Differences LO Writer 4.1 MS Word 2013
Working with large documents stable layout layout problemsa
Handling of captions for graphics or image boxes stable layout layout problems
Styles (page styles, frame styles, list styles) supported not supported
Overlining of text supported no, but complicated workaround
Master documents for longer texts supported supported but deprecated because it causes file corruption
Business card wizard a supported not supported
Text auto completion of words already used before supported not supported
XForms documents creation supported not supported
Mathematical calculations in tables complex calculations only basic arithmetic
DirectCursor (allows to enter text anywhere on a page) supported not supported
DocBook import & export supported not supported
Import from Lotus WordPro supported not supported
Export to MediaWiki (Wikipedia) format supported not supported
Export to XHTML supported not supported
Extended label creation features a supported (generic database access, synchronise content) partial
Frames DTP-like features like text in multiple columns and text-wrap around graphics concept of “horizontal frames” is more limited
Grammar check out of the box only 4 languages (English, Russian, Hungarian and Brazilian Portuguese)
extensions: e.g. Languagetool for 29 languages plus 9 language variants (level of language support varies),Grammalecte for French, CoGroo for Brazilian Portuguese
out of the box (21 languages (plus 1 language variant) supported with additional costs)
Picture styles & additional effects not supported (fdo#59906) supported
Table styles not supported (bug 34392), in development as GSOC 2013 project (1). supported
Print comments in right margin not supported (fdo#36815), only on next page or at the end of text supported
View changes in the right margin in “track changes” mode not supported (fdo#34355) supported
Diagonal borders in tables not supported (fdo#51665) supported
Extended reading mode of documents not supported (fdo#55168) supported
Collapse and expand parts of a document not supported (fdo#47746) supported
Simultaneous editing of a document not supported, in development supported (via Skydrive or Sharepoint)
Border around characters not supported. Feature implemented in coming version 4.2GSOC 2013 project. supported
XML import / export no export supported
Minor Feature Differences LO Writer 4.1 MS Word 2013
Protected cells in tables (allows better creation of forms) supported not supported
Open erroneous .doc files better recovery modea,b more frequently denies opening those files
Wizard to create personalized letter templates supported not supported
Import Hangul WP97 and T602 documents supported not supported
Import & Export Unified Office Format supported not supported
Import & Export AportisDoc (Palm), PocketWord documents supported (requires Java installed) not supported
Import of legacy Mac OS word processing documents (MS Word for Mac (1-5.1), MS Works for Mac, ClarisWorks, AppleWorks, Write Now, MacWrite Pro) supported not supported
Logo toolbar and interpreter supported not supported
Conditional text supported not supported (1)
Number of columns per table in document unlimited columns limited to 63 columns
Maximum page size 300cm x 300cm 55.87cm x 55.87cm
Bibliographic features basic inbuilt support. Excellent extensions: e.g.ZoteroMendeleyBibusJabRefEndnote. supported plus extensions: e.g. Zotero,Mendeley,Endnote.
Rotate images rotation supported only for 90° increments. Rotation of vector graphics not supported (fdo#34423), alternative extensions WriterRotationTool or Easy Image Editor. supported
Advanced find & replace / Special characters partial (fdo#38261), extension: Alternative dialog Find & Replace for Writer supported
Complex Outline numbering / Multilevel list different numerically equivalent format not supported (fdo#35217) supported
Decorative page borders not supported (fdo#39270) supported
Add watermarks to pages not supported, workaround exists. Watermark option in PDF export. supported
Support for paragraphs longer than 65534 characters not supported (fdo#30668) supported
Horizontal split view of the same document not supported (fdo#31481), workaround: Windows > New Window to clone document window. supported
Outline view not supported (fdo#38262), workaround: Navigator > Content View to drag and promote/demote headings supported
Draft view not supported (fdo#39080) supported
Password protection of tracked changes not supported supported
Export to XPS format not supported supported

Spreadsheet applications: LibreOffice Calc vs. Microsoft Excel

Major Feature Differences LO Calc 4.1 MS Excel 2013
Comparison of two spreadsheet files supported not supported
Page styles (in addition to cell styles) supported not supported
Hyphenation in cells supported not supported
Import from spreadsheets: Lotus 123, Quattro Pro 6 supported not supported
Export to XHTML supported not supported
Exporting of a single chart as image (e.g. jpg, png, svg, pdf) supported not supported
OpenFormula standard largely supported partial
Number of columns per sheet max. 1024 columns (fdo#50916) up to 16384 columns
Chart styles not supported (bugs fdo#62925fdo#62540,fdo#39097) Selection of some pre-set chart styles and layouts
Interactive diagrams / PivotChart not supported supported
Import Access databases not supported supported
Export generic XML not supported supported
Minor Feature Differences LO Calc 4.1 MS Excel 2013
Flexible CSV export supported (12) not supported
View clone of spreadsheet in new window independent window cannot be moved outside the application window
Chart type Stepped lines for XY (Scatter) graphs suported not supported
Import Unified Office Format supported not supported
Import & Export from / to Pocket Excel supported not supported
Rotate charts supported not supported
Formatting of cells more detailed
e.g. feature to hide cell when printing
less features
Advanced find & replace / Cell Format partial (Styles supported, Cell Format not supported) supported
Import from Gnumeric partial (experimental) support not supported
Printing of selected chart only not supported, workarounds 12 (fdo#45893) supported
Quick analysis feature not supported supported
Flash fill not supported supported
Chart recommendations not supported supported
‘Publishing’ spreadsheet for online team meetings not supported supported
Sparklines (to give a quick overview of the trend in a data range) not supported, extension: EuroOffice Sparkline supported
Add points to a line, possibility to bend lines not supported (fdo#36943) supported
Copy only visible cells not supported, extension: Copy only visible cells supported
Polynomial trend lines not supported, extension: CorelPolyGUI. Support will be coming in LibreOffice 4.2 (fdo#40317). supported
Export to XPS format not supported supported

Presentation software: LibreOffice Impress vs. Microsoft Powerpoint

Major Feature Differences LO Impress 4.1 MS Powerpoint 2013
Hyphenation support supported not supported
Export to XHTML supported not supported
Export to HTML supported not supported (removed feature since MS Office 2013)
Export to Flash format (SWF) supported not supported
Export to EPS supported not supported
Export to SVG supported not supported
Presentation remote control for smartphones/tablets for Android smartphones/tablets. Version for iOS (iPhone/iPad) will be added in LibreOffice 4.2. for WindowsPhone 8 (smartphones only, no Office 2013 RT), but with additional features for Excel and Word
Edit embedded videos via external programs directly in the program
Comments and reply to comments partial supported
SmartArt diagrams not supported (fdo#37932), solution: smArt extension supported
Save highlights and drawings during presentation not supported (bug 51928) supported
Broadcast presentation on the Internet only via export to PDF or SWF supported
Collaboration features. Several people working on same presentation not supported supported
Animated diagrams not supported supported
Record a slide show not supported (fdo#34959) supported
Minor Feature Differences LO Impress 4.1 MS Powerpoint 2013
Number of slide layouts 12 9
Export to Unified Office Format supported not supported
Export to graphics formats: MET, PBM, PICT, PGM, PPM, RAS, XPM, PWP supported not supported
Embedding of fonts in presentation file supported supported on Windows. No support for embedding fonts in Powerpoint on MacOS X
Maximum page size 300cm x 300cm (Draw and Impress) 142.22cm x 142.22cm
Editing of master slides limited editing, in development as GSOC 2013 project (1). powerful editing
Creation of automatically starting presentations not supported, extension: ImpressRunner supported
Export presentation to video formats not supported (fdo#34959) supported (only to .wmv format)
Export to XPS format not supported supported
Slide zoom and pan not supported (fdo#38263) supported

Database programme: LibreOffice Base vs. Microsoft Access

Major Feature Differences LO Base 4.1 MS Access 2013
Available on MacOS X supported no version for MacOS X
SQL syntax highlighting supported not supported
Native connector to MySQL databases supported not supported
Native connector to PostgreSQL databases supported (PostgreSQL-SDBC) not supported
Integration of Mozilla Thunderbird address books supported not supported
Pivot tables not supported supported
Crosstab queries not supported supported
“Linked tables” capability not supported supported
Imported table from Calc/Excel – keep fields format not supported supported
Minor Feature Differences LO Base 4.1 MS Access 2013
Native connectors to dBase databases supported not supported (removed feature since Office 2013)
Edit MS Access files limited olders driver “Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0” works fine for read/write, while “Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0” driver only reads; (fdo#43187) supported
Native connectors to SharePoint lists, Microsoft Outlook and Paradox databases not supported supported

Extensions: LibreOffice extensions adding outstanding features to LibreOffice

LibreOffice has a complex eco-system of extensions (over 190 on extensions.libreoffice.org and over 750 on extensions.services.openoffice.org). Selection of some extensions adding valuable features to LibreOffice:

LibreOffice Extensions
General office suite: LibreOffice
  • OpenOffice.org2GoogleDocs exports, updates and imports documents to and from Google Docs, Zoho and WebDAV servers.
  • TeamDrive allows to shared spaces in the TeamDrive collaboration software.
  • Wollmux is a complex centralized system for templates, forms and letter heads developed by the city of Munich (in German language).
  • eLAIX allows users to write and read ILIAS learning modules offline and to export to ePUB3 e-book file format.
  • Oracle Connector for Alfresco CMS allows to connect LibreOffice with the Alfresco Document management server.
  • LibreOffice Server Installation GUI facilitates parallel and server installations of LibreOffice.
LibreOffice Writer
LibreOffice Calc
  • GeOOo allows to create thematic maps with LibreOffice.
  • CorelPolyGUI: Chart trend lines improved: polynomial trend line, force intercept of trend line and moving average trend line
  • PalOOCa OLAP Calc Extension: Connecting Calc to access Palo or XMLA capable OLAP servers.
  • File format filters:
    • Calc2LaTeX allows to convert Calc tables to LaTeX.
LibreOffice Impress
  • Export as Images allows to export all the Impress slides or Draw pages as images of JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP and TIFF format.
  • OpenCards is a free award-winning flashcard learning software.
LibreOffice Draw
  • Barcode enables LibreOffice to add barcodes to documents.
  • GeOOO allows the creations of thematic maps with LibreOffice.
  • Cadlo makes it possible to make technical drawings in LibreOffice Draw.
LibreOffice Base
  • Access2Base implements a OOo/LibO Basic library for Base applications.

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Star Trek Armada on Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit)

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(If you don’t care about my life and just want the technical information, skip to the fourth paragraph. I don’t mind!) 

It’s been almost 12 years since Star Trek: Armada came out. It was relased just two weeks after Windows 2000, so naturally it was developed and tested for Windows 98/ME. I was 13 years old at the time and played the game up and down like crazy. Maybe it’s mostly nostalgia, but to me it’s still one of the most fun RTS space games ever. I never liked the sequel, Star Trek: Armada II very much. It came out almost exactly 10 years ago and was based on the same graphics engine, but significantly changed the navigation mechanics of the game, that just felt much too fiddly to me.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried time and again to get the game running on my more modern systems. I tried everything from emulators to varying compatibility settings. At one point, I even built a machine from old parts and installed Windows 98 on it – but time and again I failed, the blame lying with graphics drivers and/or DirectX being too old or too new, or just not working together. I even got myself another original release version from England after I had somehow lost the one I’d been using (which I paid for with what happened to be the only cheque I ever sent in the mail for anything).

Now, finally, I got my beloved Star Trek: Armada working on my gaming laptop! Despite the negative effects this might have on my work and social life, I am more than happy ;-) I am writing this post to collect the information I gathered and to help others play the game on their modern machines as well.

(Technical information starts here.)

My gaming laptop is running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 64 bit. Everything described here should work the same on 32 bit. It has 3 GB of memory installed. Although there are some reports of trouble running ST:Armada with more than 2 GB of memory, I am not seeing those problems. For a proposed solution, see here.

The laptop has an NVIDIA GeForce 9500M GS graphics adapter. Many reports (like this one) say that ATI cards are not causing any trouble, whereas NVIDIA cards have lots of problems. This seems to have changed only recently. I can confirm that NVIDIA’s driver software version 180 did not work with ST:Armada, whereas with 281, it works!

When installing the game on Windows 7, no special action is needed. Just run the installer as you normally would. Unless you game version already includes the patch to version 1.2 (like mine does), you must patch the game (you can get the installer here). There is also an unofficial ‘version 1.3’ patch from the Star Trek Armada II: Fleet Operations team developing the eponymous fan-driven mod. You can get the installer here. It promises to fix some bugs on newer systems and introduces additional screen resolutions. I am running this version with great success.

When the game is installed and patched, you need to make some settings. Set the compatibility level for Armada.exe to Windows XP (SP2) (for detailed instructions, see here). Also, the game must be run with Administrator privileges (don’t ask me why).

In-game, I had to enable the “Use alternate font” options for the fonts to look decent. More importantly, you should not try to Ctrl-Tab out of the game, as you will probably not be able to enter the game again, thus losing any unsaved progress.

This is how I got Star Trek: Armada running! The decisive change over the previous years definitely lies in NVIDIA’s new drivers.

Additional option: If new NVIDIA drivers are not an option for you, there is a tool called 3D-Analyze. It can emulate some graphics functions that are missing from many recent drivers, and thus enable older games to run (albeit with slower software emulation of said functions). For a description of how 3D-Analyze can help with ST:Armadasee here. The tool’s official homepage seems to be this one. When I tried it, it didn’t help me run the game, but I managed to at least get it running as intended by a) ensuring write access to the Armada game data directory (which 3d-Analyze writes data to) and b) setting the compatibility for 3D-Analyze to Windows XP (SP2).

Additional resources for help and hints: One of the single most informative forum threads on the topic is this one on techsupportforum.com (which I have linked above a couple of times). It is, however, not very active anymore. But fret not! There is an active community of players working to get ST:Armada back into action on modern systems, and even in online gameplay! Their forums community is called Star Trek Armada 2011. The forum requires registration, but it is worth it. There is even a dedicated subforum for installing and running the game in Windows 7. As a starting point, see this post for installation and configuring instructions (many of which I have already covered above).

Gimmicks: You can find the official manual to ST:Aramda on the game’s page at TrekCore. They also have cheats, strategy guides, historical information and a lot of other neat stuff revolving around the game.

So, with all this information, I hope you are well eqiupped to enjoy Star Trek: Armada like we did more than a decade ago (yeah, you heard me—more than a decade ago! :-) )

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