LibreOffice vs. WPS Office: Which Office Suite Should You Use on Linux

LibreOffice and WPS Office are two common Microsoft Office alternatives for the Linux platform. There has been several debates as to which of these is the better alternative to Microsoft Office. The debates, surely, are not going to end anytime soon.

There is no definitive answer here! The choice between the two is completely dependent on the user and the job at hand. LibreOffice and WPS Office both have their pros and cons. After sharing some pros and cons of each office suite, you will be better informed to make your choice should you get caught up in such a dilemma.

A major difference one may notice between LibreOffice and WPS Office is the number of applications bundled in each office suite. WPS Office comes bundled with only three applications:

  • WPS Presentation
  • WPS Writer
  • WPS Spreadsheets

However, LibreOffice comes bundled with additional applications:

  • LibreOffice Base,
  • Calc
  • Draw
  • Impress
  • Math
  • Writer

In short, WPS offers a presentation, word processor, and spreadsheet software, whereas LibreOffice, in addition, includes a database management program (Base) and drawing program (Draw). For this reason, LibreOffice may be your first choice if you want to use the additional software.

LibreOffice

WPS Office

Beyond that is the number of file formats each suite can handle. LibreOffice can read file formats as diverse as Hangul WP 97, Microsoft Word documents, and DocBook. WPS Office reads some of the most common file formats as well; however, not as many as LibreOffice. They can both write to almost all the common file formats. WPS Office renders Microsoft Word documents better, in most cases, than LibreOffice, as it supports most of the default Microsoft Word fonts. These fonts must, however, be installed, as they are needed for better performance.

If you are only dealing with Microsoft Office documents, either one will work fine. If you need support for more diverse formats, then LibreOffice is the one to go with.

The user interface may not play a major role in choosing between the two software. Nonetheless, it may be a factor worth considering. WPS has about five skins to choose from with some looking similar to that of Microsoft Word. LibreOffice, likewise, provides the ability to change the theme. A key feature which, in my opinion, is very helpful but not included in LibreOffice, is the tab interface. WPS provides tabs for the various documents you are working on; hence, there is absolutely no need to switch back and forth between windows.

WPS Tabs

LibreOffice is free and open source. There are absolutely no fees to worry about. WPS has a free version which will suffice for most tasks. There is also a Professional edition with more features like document collaboration, but at a fee. WPS Office supports other platforms which are not supported by LibreOffice like Android.

A subtle thing you may notice in WPS Office is the lack of automatic em dash. In LibreOffice when you hit the spacebar after a word preceded by two en dashes, the two en dashes change into one em dash. To get an em dash in WPS Office, you must search for it under symbols; trust me, that is annoying.

Both office suites are great and perform very well. The dilemma between which to install on your system may not really matter. In fact, you can have the two suites installed on your computer, and that uses far less space than Microsoft Word does. In addition, there are several other office suite applications you can use, such as Calligra or Google Docs, so you are not bound to either LibreOffice or WPS.

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