Getting LibreOffice To Look Like Microsoft Office

Now that some of you have made the more environmentally correct decision to switch to a used computer and moving over to a Linux operating system like Linux Mint, as explained in an earlier newsletter, the next step is to help you switch the office program (LibreOffice) to look similar to Windows Office software.

At first glance of opening up LibreOffice Writer, you might think that you are looking at a Windows Word program from the days of Windows XP. Yes, it looks rather outdated. Still, it is completely functional as it is, but most people are more familiar with the “ribbon” style of the template. Changing the look of LibreOffice Writer is quite easy.

Go to the view tab and click.

You will see “”interface”. Now scroll down and click”tabbed”. The “ribbon” style will now appear that is very similar to Microsoft Word.

The next thing that you should know is that LibreOffice Writer saves your documents in a file format called ODF, which is a universal format. However, Microsoft, in its wisdom to be different, saves documents in DOCX. You can easily change the format, by going to the 3 bars (the hamburger) at the right hand corner of the “ribbon” and click to find “options”.

Click on “load/save” and “general”. You will see a section “always save as” . Click it until you find “Word 2007-365 .docx. Apply this format and everything will be now saved in the Microsoft format.

The third thing that you need to do is to look at the “font” that you will be using. Microsoft, again, uses fonts that are their own. Calibri is that latest one. Now every font is slightly different, and if you open up a document in the wrong font, it might not be reproduced correctly. LibreOffice uses universal “open source” fonts that try to come as close as possible to the Microsoft fonts, but sometimes it might not reproduce someone’s document faithfully.

Therefore, you need to come up with the best choice possible. In Linux Mint’s software manager, you will find a program that will give you some free Microsoft fonts like Arial and Times New Roman. Type in “fonts” in the search of the software manager and look for “Ttf mscorefonts installer”. Download this file and those fonts are now available to you in LibreOffice Writer. Unfortunately, “Calibri” is not there!

So, go back to the software manager and search “fonts” again until you find “Fonts-crosextra-carlito”. Download this file and you will have a font that is a clone (Carlito) of Microsoft’s “Calibri”. Of course you could use Arial or Times New Roman, and they will work too. Now you are good to go!

By the way, if you have a Microsoft account (e.g. hotmail or outlook, Skype, etc) you can just go online in your Internet Browser and type in a search for “”. From there you can log in and use Microsoft Office online for free!

If you are using a Windows 10 or 11 operating system, you can still use LibreOffice instead of paying for the Microsoft 365 subscription or download fee. The process of making it compatible with Microsoft Office is illustrated in the following YouTube video, which can also assist you if you are doing the same within a Linux operating system. Enjoy the freedom of “open source software”.

Rev. Martin Dawson, (retired in Cornwall PEI)