WPS Office vs LibreOffice. Two Great Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office

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WPS Office vs LibreOffice. Two Great Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office

Those who are looking for a free office suite to replace Microsoft Office will commonly think of LibreOffice. Many people recommend LibreOffice since it has a compatibility with Microsoft Office so you will keep be able to be working on the documents you created with Microsoft Office. Is LibreOffice the only free office suite out there? Of course not. There are other alternatives you can use as well in case LibreOffice doesn’t suit you. Meet one of the LibreOffice competitors, WPS Office.

Same as LibreOffice, WPS Office has also a compatibility with Microsoft Office. This office suite even uses Microsoft Office standard file formats; DOCX, PPTX and XLSX.

WPS Office is a Kingsoft’s product. It is actually has been around for long. The software was released publicly in 1988. Before renamed into WPS Office, the software formerly known as Kingsoft Office. Meanwhile, LibreOffice — as you have probably known — is developed by The Document Foundation and firstly released in 2011.

Despite free, WPS Office is not an open source software. It is a proprietary software that uses freemium business model. Yes, in addition to free version, the paid version of WPS Office is also available. Be it WPS Office or LibreOffice is a cross-platform software. They both are available for major platforms like Linux, Windows and macOS. In addition, they are also available for mobile platforms (Android and iOS).

The question then is, which is the better between the two?. Let’s have an in-deep investigation.

User interface

Packaging still the thing most people consider the most when choosing a product. When it comes to software, user interface is one of the most considered things, other than features. The more user friendly the interface of a software, the bigger the chance it will gain its success.

To Microsoft Office users who want to make a switch to another office suite, WPS Office may is better suited than LibreOffice in terms of user interface. You won’t have to make too many adaptations. The user interface of WPS Office is “very Microsoft Office”. The layout of menu and toolbar of WPS Office is extremely similar to Microsoft Office. Just take a look at the screen capture below.

User interface of WPS Writer on Ubuntu

As you can see from the screen capture above, there are almost no differences between WPS Office and Microsoft Office in terms of interface. They are very similar. Thus, it takes lesser time to learn how to use WPS Office if you want to switch away from Microsoft Office. WPS Office itself offers 5 different themes. In addition to the default theme (pictured above), you can also change the look to dark and water blue. If you want to reminisce older version of Microsoft Office, there is also classic style theme you can apply.

In addition, WPS Office also comes with a tabbed interface to allow you handle multiple documents at once without having to switch to another window. There are also tens of document templates you can choose from, although you have to download them first to use one. Most templates also require you to pay before being able to use.

Meanwhile, LibreOffice still retaining its classic interface which may takes longer for former Microsoft Office users to learn how to use it. The big enough difference of menu layout and toolbar layout requires you to invest more times to learn.

User interface of LibreOffice Writer on Ubuntu

You can also change the default look of LibreOffice, but you need to install LibreOffice themes manually. LibreOffice doesn’t offer ready-to-use themes like WPS Office. Unlike WPS Office, LibreOffice doesn’t support multiple tab. If you want to work on multiple documents, you have to open a new window.

Winner: WPS Office

Bundled applications

LibreOffice is a superior office suite to replace Microsoft Office since it comes with many applications. In addition to three main applications for creating as well as editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations, the bundled applications of LibreOffice also include Draw to work on graphics, Base to work on databases and Math to work on mathematical formulas. Here is the list of the LibreOffice applications:

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

On the other hand, WPS Office consists only three applications to work on documents, presentations and spreadsheets. WPS itself stands for Writer, Presentation and Spreadsheet.

Winner: LibreOffice

Supported file formats

Other advantage of adopting LibreOffice as your office suite is it supports many file formats, including Microsoft Office file formats. LibreOffice uses Open Document Format (ODF) as the default file formats. Your files will saved with the extensions of .ODxwith “x” is tailored with the type of your file. For instance, if you are creating a document using LibreOffice Writer and want to save your document using standard file format of LibreOffice, your file document will be saved with the extension of .ODT. Or, if you want to save a spreadsheet, your spreadsheet file will saved with the extension of .ODS.

You can also save your document in the Microsoft Office formats like DOCX, PPTX and XLSX. In addition, you can also convert your document in a PDF format without needing to install additional add-on. There are about 14 different file formats supported by LibreOffice in total.

Meanwhile, WPS Office uses the Microsoft Office file formats as the default file format although it also actually has its own file formats. This office suite seems targets Microsoft Office users. WPS Office also supports about 14 different file formats, but there is no Open Document Formats on its list.

Winner: draw


If you are a huge fan of open source then there is no question about the office suite you have to choose. Conversely, if you are objective enough then WPS Office is probably a better suited option if you really need an office suite with a Microsoft Office-like interface. In general, the features and capability of LibreOffice and WPS Office are not much different. LibreOffice is developed by The Document Foundation and there is a warranty that this software will always be free.

Meanwhile, WPS Office is owned by Kingsoft and it is basically a proprietary software. Although the software is currently available for free, there will be a chance that Kingsoft will change its mind and doesn’t provide the free version of WPS Office anymore. Or at least stopping the support for free version. In general, they both are great free office suite to replace Microsoft Office.

Overall winner: Draw

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  1. WPS Office takes over your PC. It adds running processes even though you’ve been long exited out of any of their apps. It adds a service that’s always running in the background. It adds items to the Task Scheduler that are ALWAYS enabled which are impossible to delete because they come back. It always seems to be looking for updates even though I have updates disabled. When you launch the app, the first thing you see is WPS Cloud service. It adds context menu items which you cannot remove unless you tweak the registry. The interface has potential, but this is a program I do not trust. When it takes 5 minutes to install and 4 hours to uninstall along with manually removing orphaned files and registry items, there is NOTHING to trust.

  2. Not surprised by the above. LibreOffice only gets better and better. The first thing I do when I reinstall Windows or get a new PC is to remove any last trace of MS Office and install Libre. Used it for years and never look back.

  3. Kingsoft WPS is basically a rip off of Apache Open Office with a commercial model slapped on it. Nothing more really, I still prefer LibreOffice and Microsoft Office.


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