Writing Apps on a Budget – OpenOffice and LibreOffice
By: P. J. Mayhair

The first installment in our series  “Writing Apps on a Budget” will explore OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

For the sake of this article, we will group these two programs together because they are similar. In fact, they used to be the same program called “OpenOffice.” However, they split and updated separately while still maintaining their similar functions and layouts.

If you have used Microsoft Word before, then you will feel right at home with these programs. The layouts are very similar to Word so transitioning over should be easy. If this is your first try at a computer word processor, the options can be daunting; however, there is a plethora of video tutorials online.

Both products are open source programs, meaning you could look at the source code, if you were so inclined. For those of you that enjoy having full access to your programs, you would appreciate this accessibility. This also means that if there are any needed patches, users can see them on their own and even suggest the fixes to the problems directly to developers. Because of this, security patches often come more frequent keeping your program up-to-date.

The mark-up system leaves a little to be desired. Your Alpha and Beta readers, and your editor can all make comments on your files from their MS Word program. However, once you get it, the comments are compressed on the side allowing for only a few words per line. Though this doesn’t stop it from being useful, it can get hard to read if your draft is long, or if your editor left many comments.

If you want to customize the look or color scheme of your program, you may wish to use OpenOffice over LibreOffice. OpenOffice has color schemes that can be downloaded and even allows the user to change individual colors of all the different components of the program interface. LibreOffice, however, uses the themes from the internet browser FireFox to change its user interface.

LibreOffice and OpenOffice are both available on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. As of this article, there was no mobile iOS version.


This guest post is by P. J. Mayhair. He writes horror and suspense novels and short stories. He enjoys jelly beans, bourbon, and talking about all things writing. You can see his blog at PJMayhair.com and follow him on Facebook.

P. J. Mayhair

Author P. J. Mayhair

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