Using the LibreOffice free Office Suite

Word Processor

© Lead Image © Oksana Alekseeva,

© Lead Image © Oksana Alekseeva,


The LibreOffice Writer word processing tool offers all the basic functionality you expect, along with a couple of features that really make it stand out. We also look at the other LibreOffice components: Calc, Impress, and Base.

For many users, daily computing means writing and editing documents in one form or another, so a decent word processor is an essential tool. Although other word processors are available for Linux, such as AbiWord and KWord, they are no match for LibreOffice Writer. It's a real heavy-duty word processor that you can use for pretty much anything: from simple letters and invoices to books and mail merge documents – Writer handles these tasks equally well.

Users familiar with other word processors will feel at home with Writer: It sports a rather conventional interface, and all its basic features are immediately available via the main toolbar. The Formatting toolbar gives you quick access to the formatting options, such as font, font size, alignment, numbered and bulleted lists, etc. In other words, even if you are completely new to LibreOffice Writer, you can start using it right away. However, behind Writer's simple interface hides a rather powerful application containing a slew of clever features.

Writer, for example, includes a built-in PDF export feature, which lets you generate a PDF version of your document in just a few clicks (Figure 1). To do this, choose File | Export as PDF. This opens the PDF Options dialog window that allows you to tweak the available export options. Besides PDF, LibreOffice supports a number of other formats, including Rich Text Format (RTF) and Microsoft Word 2003. The latter can be particularly useful for people who need to exchange documents with Microsoft Office users. Keep in mind, however, that although LibreOffice Writer usually does a commendable job of handling the Word format, it can occasionally stumble on some complex documents containing a lot of formatting. Using LibreOffice's export feature, you can also save Writer documents as MediaWiki-formatted text files – a boon for users using wikis for web publishing.


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