Wikipedia says of LibreOffice: “LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite, a project of The Document Foundation. It was forked from in 2010, which was an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice. The LibreOffice suite comprises programs for word processing, the creation and editing of spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams and drawings, working with databases, and composing mathematical formulae. It is available in 110 languages.”

LibreOffice is free.


Writer is similar to Microsoft Word, or at least it is LibreOffice’s version of a word processing application. What you can do is have all of your Writer documents automatically save in the Microsoft Word format so that when other people using Word want to view or edit your document, they can. Word does not recognize the Writer’s file format. How do you do this? Open Writer and go to the Tools menu and click Options. On the left side go to Load/Save and General. On the right side at the bottom, ensure that the Document type is Text document. Change the Always save as to Microsoft Word 2007-2013 XML. You can repeat this procedure for spreadsheets and presentation software.


We have another post on LibreOffice Draw with a sample PDF file that has a few instructions on how to create your own diagrams.

As an IT professional or enthusiast, you might find Draw useful. Wikipedia says of LibreOffice Draw: “A vector graphics editor and diagramming tool similar to Microsoft Visio and comparable in features to early versions of CorelDRAW. It provides connectors between shapes, which are available in a range of line styles and facilitate building drawings such as flowcharts. It also includes features similar to desktop publishing software such as Scribus and Microsoft Publisher. It is also able to act as a PDF-file editor.” You can create a diagram and export it as a PDF file.

Below is a diagram I created fairly quickly with LibreOffice Draw. I used free networking graphics from VRT. I exported it as a gif and then opened it in the graphics program called Inkscape. I then resized it using the mouse and the corners of the image, then I resized the canvas to fit the image and then exported it as a png file. To get the VRT graphics you need to download them and install them into LibreOffice following the instructions on the page that the above link points to. On the right hand side of the LibreOffice Draw interface there is the panel. If you don’t see it go to the menu View and click View > Sidebar. Once installed you need to click the small Gallery icon on the right side of the screen in Draw. Scroll down for the six types of VRT graphics.

Here is what part of Draw looks like when you are accessing the Gallery.

SmART Gallery

If you want to create diagrams more easily, consider the extension SmART Gallery found here. In Draw, select Insert, SmART gallery. This allows you create Venn diagrams, for example.

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