So I’ve been using LibreOffice on multiple computers on the office, as an obvious alternative to Microsoft’s Office, now the reason for moving from OpenOffice to LibreOffice was purely because Oracle is probably the most untrustworthy company in the world (i joke, i joke, but they surely seem a very anti-opensource company), so with the spin-off LibreOffice and especially because they were joining with Go-oo, i thought the move to LibreOffice was the right one!

See my main concerns (and probably like most other users) with Office software are:

  • I need basic Office Functions (Writer/Calc/Presentation);
  • I need compatibility with Microsoft Office documents;
  • I need Performance (Opening fast, closing fast, editing fast, if possible low memory and low cpu)!

What i noticed first with my change to Libreoffice is that it was slightly slower than OpenOffice, i thought it was a bit strange since Go-oo was a bit faster than OpenOffice, still the difference dint seem much at the time and i put if off as the excuse from the LibreOffice camp that the focus right then was on code clean up.

So now that OpenOffice practically died off at the hands of Oracle and was handed down to the Apache foundation to try and become a more open source project again, i kinda would like to give it a go, at least to see how the performance is, so with OpenOffice 3.4 just coming out, lets make a comparison!

Basic Office Functions between OpenOffice 3.4 and LibreOffice 3.5.3

Well there are already a lot, especially on the LibreOffice side of things, but not all are for the better, sure LibreOffice has more tricks and features, but most are to my view (the view of someone that wants a basic office software for a business) mostly irrelevant, also Libreoffice color change is kinda obnoxious, who wants fluorescent green/blue/yellow documents icons? Besides that, i would say in basic office functions OpenOffice and LibreOffice are on par.

Office Compatibility between OpenOffice 3.4 and LibreOffice 3.5.3

Well almost the same, even tough here i kinda have to give a nudge to LibreOffice, since it has way less warnings and quiz options while opening Microsoft Office Documents, the OpenOffice “oh jesus christ i see a macro” warnings are a bit of a overkill and annoying, but yeah they both work pretty good with Microsoft Office documents.

Performance between OpenOffice 3.4 and LibreOffice 3.5.3

I’m using pretty modern computers (multiple core cpus, 4GB ram, fast 7200rpm hard drives), one with Windows XP the other with Windows 7, yes 
I’m  not going to compare on the Mac or Linux cause 
I’m  not using them on the business side, also although this isn’t all that scientific, 
I’m  going to take some precautions, my scheme will be installing/rebooting, running cold/running hot, also 
I’m  not tweaking any of them for performance, this is out of the box performance, on both 
I’m  only installing the writer/spreadsheet/presentation programs, on both 
I’m  disabling quick start.

The small.doc is 40KB, the large.doc is 25MB with plenty of formatting and embedded images and graphs, the small.xls is 45KB and the large.xls is 4MB with 20 sheets lots of calculations and graphs.

Note: I’ve removed the cold start, since they both acted pretty much the same, if starting cold, it adds around 16 seconds whatever the document and whatever the software (that sucks on both software’s). I also removed the Windows XP graphic cause it was kinda the same, although all a bit slower than on Windows 7, but that computer is also a bit slower than the Windows 7.

So as we can see, OpenOffice has better performance once warmed up, especially on the large.doc, the difference in opening is huge! Almost half the time to open, and with smaller files it also consistently outperformed LibreOffice, also OpenOffice was very responsive on the Large.doc, while LibreOffice kept hanging while i was scrolling or editing, also for the same document Libreoffice used 43MB of RAM, while OpenOffice used 35MB of RAM.

So now i’m not sure if i should move all my computers back to OpenOffice or if i should wait for LibreOffice 3.6 in a month’s time, but i do hope that both distributions start focusing on performance, i think if OpenOffice keeps improving its performance like this, that it really doesn’t matter the clean code and all the nice bells and whistles of LibreOffice, most business will make the decision on performance (literally the biggest reason to buy Microsoft Office is performance) to stay with OpenOffice or go back to it, just like me.

Note 1: Seems i should have published the documents i used in this comparison, sorry about that, my fault! but like i said in the comments they were random office documents, i promisse ill make a better comparison when LibreOffice 3.6 comes out!

Note 2: Also the Windows XP computer has Microsoft Office 2003 (the only office i have ever bought) and all of the files i tested open INSTANTLY! and in COLD START! even the huge 25MB file, although it seems in that one it only loads the first 6 pages, but scrolling down it keeps showing the rest pretty quickly and smoothly, soo i would add that in the performance department LibreOffice and OpenOffice have still a long Long LONG way to go, even in 2012 they are no comparison in performance to a 2003 software.


  1. leelitw May 18, 2023 at 11:12 am

    I’d appreciate Apache OpenOffice 3.4 very much !

  2. Michael Meeks May 18, 2023 at 11:12 am

    Where are the documents ? Clearly it is possible to construct documents for which the opposite is true – if you publish them; we’ll profile & work out what is going on. For example, LibreOffice disabled a known-broken font-cache that busts complex text in several cases that has a performance impact; but until it is profiled who can say. Anyhow – thanks for the comparison !

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 11:12 am

      Humm, good point Michael, im sorry but i cant post the documents cause they were just randomly picked (by file size) from the office folder, still i do understand your point and next time ill for sure create some random test documents, ill also add a note on the post just to make it clear, ill do a better job next time ^_^

      1. Michael Meeks May 18, 2023 at 11:13 am

        Without your documents to profile – the situation is pretty hopeless wrt. improving performance for them. If you could mail them to me I’ll keep the confidential, and generate the raw data to isolate what is happening here. We have already done significant work to improve calc import and recalculation performance from XLS, so either something really stupid regression happened (possible), or you are hitting some deep corner case. Is complex-text involved ? Do you have lots of embedded objects ? in short – without the documents this is pure frustration for a developer.

        In addition your raw data would be appreciated – what methodology are you using to generate the timings ? for 136 seconds – wall-clock time is good enough 😉 but 4.3 vs. 4.6 ? 🙂 Clearly I’d want to use the same methodology.

        Anyhow – thanks for focusing some attention on this.

        1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 11:13 am

          Its not hopeless, i can (if i have time today) make the tests again with new files and see if i get similar results (if i do, ill be sure to send the files to you, if not ill be sure to update the post), imo you could try it yourself with your own files and see if you get similar results as well…

          my methodology was put the files on the desktop, change windows settings to “1 click to open” and used a sports timer and when the document shows up i click on stop, the number i get is rounded up or down to the second, being 0.6 a sixth of a second, i know i know, but its just a reference point and for me its easier to graph and compare with a base 10 than a base 60…

          the important question here is not that one takes 3 seconds and the other takes 10 seconds to open (although very relevant), the point here is that both should take way less time than that!!! their overall performance is not good (the fact that both have startup splash screens is miserable), a 9 year old microsoft office takes less than 1 second to open those files, and for me or any business, waiting 3 seconds is an eternity.

          And yes i know that they open way faster with quick start (although on windows you need to open the files through quick start, if you open them directly they wont come up fast at all, it just bipasses quickstart) and i know if i tested on my ssd powered computer that they would be blazing and i know that a bit of tweaking would shave some seconds (like disable dictionaries and changing settings), but these are the normal conditions in my office and i wanted to compare out of the box performance.

          1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 11:14 am

            Thats awesome! it might not seem from the post, but im terribly biased towards LibreOffice, i want it to succeed, that’s why i moved all the computers in the office to LibreOffice and all of them still have LibreOffice installed, but every week i have someone from the office complain about the speed, everything opens fast, except LibreOffice, hell some even started using Google Docs for quick documents, just cause its faster (Google Chrome>Google Docs) than opening LibreOffice!

            This is a issue, and its the main reason why i tried OpenOffice, as an outsider, it just seems that LibreOffice devs suffer from the same thing as Firefox devs, that everything is mostly all right with performance, when its clearly not! and these issues just drag on! Just search on Google “OpenOffice Slow” or “LibreOffice Slow”…

            Google Chrome showed that you can have a modern browser with all the trimmings and brilliant performance (it opens almost instantly and is super responsive), unlike Firefox that still to this day takes 4 times longer to open and hangs on several different things (javascript/opening bookmarks/starting some plugin…), and i only hear excuses and new features, but no real noticeable performance benefits, oh its the bookmarks, its the extensions, its the database, its the history… whatever…

            Same thing with LibreOffice, oh its the old bad code, its java, its the dictionaries, its the default settings… come on! no one cares why or how! we all just want a good office software and i do hope LibreOffice grows to become that!

            And yeah ill probably do another comparison soon enough, maybe expand with tweaked settings to see how can i squeeze more performance from both OpenOffice and LibreOffice!

            ps: sorry about the rant, just felt like it heheheh

          2. Michael Meeks May 18, 2023 at 11:15 am

            Hey – so, you’re right there’s no excuse for undue slowness – and we’ve done quite a bit of (scattered) work on performance; one of our problems is building an infrastructure to run automated performance regression tests that are deterministic – ie. not relying on random CPU load / memory conditions and reproducible – eg. running some tests under valgrind. Currently we rely on user testing, and feedback such as your own.

            So – (I think) we got the .doc problem fixed, and accelerated all OLE2 structured storage operations while doing it; but I’d still like to dig at your .xls performance issues – they are the most surprising in some ways. Any chance of some sample documents there ? [ just the large one would be fine ]

            Thanks for supporting LibreOffice ! 🙂

          3. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 11:16 am

            michael thats cool, and sorry but no, i know it was stupid of me, but no point on me giving you something, the files (are part of the monthly client tracking) are filed with private data, not even from my business also from some of our clients, sorry…. i can say that its like one of those files that gets cloned a lot (one per month), probably was originally created 10 years ago in microsoft office, it has a bunch of macros going through several tabs, thats why its so big.

            and jpxsat Its probably through , but well no big fan of bugzilla here, the land of duplicates and incomprehensible… as a sidenote i wished there was a easier way to report small issues, or something like what michael is doing, cause bugzilla… gives me chills… its absolutely not user friendly, its for developers to report bugs to developers!

  3. jpxsat May 18, 2023 at 11:15 am

    I’ve readed that a new OpenOffice was out and almost instantly tried it… I did come to the same performance conclusions than you!.
    Though I’ll support LibreOffice FOREVER, I find it way too slow both on Linux and Windows… and well, if there’s anything I can do to help, this file ( ) has some problems: it opens extremely slow and has some things are showed wrongly (I don’t remember what ones since I saw it in class with MSOFF 2007 and then in my house and all I can remember is that I thought “it looks weird”), but mostly, it’s way too slow.
    What’s the official way to send “slow” documents or documents shown wrongly?
    Hoping to help!!

  4. jpxsat May 18, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Just to say that today I tried calligra, it opens instantly… and the file I posted in my previous post is openned almost instantly too (it’s showed awfully, but that’s another story).

    Has any one any answer to ‘why’ there’s calligra + openoffice where’s libreoffice? Could not be better if everybody joins and work together to make the best piece of software there is?
    — Sorry, I just can’t understand…

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 11:17 am

      You mean kde’s calligra? i heard good things about it…. but well thats just for kde! (although im sure it could also run in pretty much any linux, maybe even mac’s with the kde libraries)…

      still i think the issue with libreoffice is that they have a lot of legacy code, its like building a new house on top of another, but i still wished they would make it faster and more responsive, especially writer and calc, if those open fast -1sec on average modern hardware, i would have no gripes with Libreoffice!

      1. jpxsat May 18, 2023 at 11:18 am

        I’m trying 3.5.4 rc2 now… my .ppt uploaded here as an example now open FAAAAAAAAST!! I’m soo happy 🙂

        Keep getting better LibreOffice!

        1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 11:18 am

          yep jpxsat, i tried the new rc2 as well and its working way faster, ill make a proper review when it comes out!

  5. Michael Meeks May 18, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Hi again. Any chance you could test the 3.5.4rc1 pre-release available at: with your documents ? It’d be great if you could drop me an E-mail too – it’s an easier way for me (at least) to communicate 🙂

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 11:17 am

      yeah sorry about that michael, been pretty busy, ill send you a e-mail now and check the software out…

  6. mschipperheyn May 18, 2023 at 11:19 am

    I work with very large tables of text/strings in Calc. Since LibreOffice 3.5.x I’m getting crashes in Calc all the time (several times a day). It’s freakishly annoying even though the backup/restore is generally good. Never happened in the old OpenOffice as I recall. I’m prob going to switch to OpenOffice again in the hope that the issue will go away.

  7. Alexander Mardari May 18, 2023 at 11:20 am

    Thank you very much for this comparison, it was very useful 🙂

  8. Unknown May 18, 2023 at 11:21 am

    seconds to load doesnt mean much

  9. Ryan Flanders May 18, 2023 at 11:23 am

    LibreOffice 3.5.5 has been released… I request an updated performance graph!

    Apache Open Office 3.4 is out now, too. It’d be great to see a fresh head-to-head with these new versions!

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 11:24 am

      @nande! it means a lot if you are in a office environment, where a lot of time is spent opening and closing the office software…

      @ryan flanders, yep but im waiting for libreoffice 3.6 for another face-off, and a better made one heheh

      1. Ryan Flanders May 18, 2023 at 11:24 am

        Great, I look forward to the comparison!

  10. Plus1 May 18, 2023 at 3:53 pm

    @Michael, I’ve a large sample calc documents (10Mb), in libre office needs time to work with, it’s contain sumif formula. I work in Ubuntu 12.04 with default jre using sunjava.

  11. Xiphos May 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    I have to disagree with your Assessment as far “Office Compatibility”. True Open office is annoying with it’s warnings, bad enough, but more importantly is the fact that you are not able to save a document as a DOCX or XLSX in Open Office (Also Apache) which you can in Libre Office. With most MS Office users now using Office 2007 and 2010. The lack of this compatibility virtually makes Open Office obsolete. This feature used to be in Open Office and was removed at some point which made no sense at all. I have been using Libre ever since.

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

      i agree with you libreoffice support for the latest ms office formats is much better than openoffice, still openoffice does support most and in my case and for my office, we dont have docx or xlsx mostbly because we create the documents for our own use and because we use a separate software to convert if need be ^_^

  12. ace May 18, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    I ran some very quick non-formal comparison tests on Libre Office v 3.4.4 build 402 (which I considered slow) on my Macbook Pro OSX 10.7.4 then upgraded today to Libre Office Version (Build ID: e29a214)

    open 3.4.3 = 6 sec | = 18s
    open 37KB .doc 3.4.3 = 28s | = 10s
    open 11.4MB .doc with 3 photos in it 3.4.2 = 13s = 3s

    second time opening after (closing then opening) time = 2 seconds.

    It feels like it takes slightly longer to open the app, but then the files load about 2 times faster. So I’m happier.

    Note the first time you open the app it takes 1 minute, presumably because it is doing some initial housekeeping from the upgrade from 3.4 to 3.6.


  13. talh8787 May 18, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    I assume that the files you tested in LibreOffice and OpenOffice, in comparison to MS-OFFICE2003 were “.doc” files.
    So, if this is the situation, please don’t forget that “.doc” is not the OpenOffice/LibreOffice naive format. Probably, some convertions have to be done when the file is loaded.
    I think the better way to compare to MS-OFFICE is to save files with the same content, once in MS-OFFICE in “.doc” format, and once with LibreOffice/OpenOffice in their native format, and then to compare not only the loading time, but maybe also the saving time and maybe even the file size…

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 4:01 pm

      Did you read everything? Cause i already explain why i did it like that, besides i did test it with .odt and .ods and the performance was almost identical, still like i said above 90% of the files in my office are .doc and .xls and im not going to convert everything to .odt and .ods and risk losing stuff, better to just stick with what i have and work around it!


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