So there was a lot of confusion and some complaints about my previous faceoff OpenOffice vs LibreOffice, some stuff was deserved (not providing the test files was silly, but i did use office documents so i couldn’t without messing with them), making a strange graph with strange values, not including the other operating systems even though the results were close, so I’m fixing all of this on this review, it will be simple and similar in point (comparison of performance for a small business office), because im doing this review as much for me as anyone else, in an office setting, were performance is the most important thing followed by a responsive layout and good formatting (stuff like compatibility or features are not as important since all of the software here has the features we want and used for years!).

This is the setup i will be using (and yes i wont be using my ssd powered hardware, because i dont have any at the office):

  • Windows 7 – Intel T3200 2Ghz (2 Cores) – 3GB – HD 7200RPM.
  • Ubuntu 12.04 – (with gnome classic of course, unity?… please…) Same specs as Win7, its dual boot.
  • Mac OSX 10.6.8 – Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz (2 Cores) – 4GB – HD 7200RPM.

The files i will be using are (you can get them here):

  • Small Excel File – 44KB
  • Large Excel File – 3.3MB
  • Small Doc File – 80KB
  • Large Doc File – 22MB

Why no OpenDocument (.odf or .od) or Office Open XML (.docx or .xlsx)? Well cause 90% of our files are .xls or .doc and normally when we receive in any other format, we convert it to .xls or .doc (Office 2003 format), as well as LibreOffice 3.5 (what we are using now) can pretty much open any file-type, so i’m aiming to what we normally use.

For the software, all operating systems are up to date, i’ve disabled as much software as i can from all of them prior to the tests (that means, anti-virus, dropbox, etc), also on windows 7 im using Ms Office 2003 and on Mac im using Office 2008 and iWork 09, the reason being these are the only ones i own and its mostly for comparison purposes, all installations were on the typical settings and on Mac i did close the software every-time, so hot start was with the program fully closed.

Libreoffice and Openoffice need to do some tweaks on first run, so i did first runs with no files just to finish that, also for each cold start, the measurement is the time of the first run of the file (this time around, no averages!), time is as follows 1:15:30.45 (1 hour, 15 minutes, 30 seconds and 45 centiseconds), also only added the CPU on the large .doc because that was the only one that freaked out the Office’s, on all the other files CPU dropped to 0 or very near it after loading.

Windows 7

Small .xls Large .xls Small .doc Large .doc
cold hot mem cold hot mem cold hot mem cold hot mem CPU%
LibreOffice 3.6 21.0 5.12 46.3MB 7.38 6.30 50.7MB 6.67 3.85 44.6MB 1:18.88 1:18.71 124.7MB 50
OpenOffice 3.4 9.64 4.60 36.7MB 5.57 4.89 39.2MB 5.99 3.53 32.5MB 2:13.42 2:14.91 114.3MB 20/30
MsOffice 2003 1.83 0.72 3MB 1.71 1.05 8.6MB 2.40 0.79 9.9MB 6.36 5.45 25.2MB 15

Clear winner here is MsOffice 2003 blazes past LibreOffice 3.6 and OpenOffice 3.4, still its kinda weird that altough nitpicking, its OpenOffice that still nudges past LibreOffice and takes second place, and even on the large .doc where it took almost 1 more minute to load than LibreOffice it still was way more responsive after loading, while LibreOffice was hanging and lagging hard (using a full core) and it also crashed on shutting down.

Mac OSX 10.6.8

Small .xls Large .xls Small .doc Large .doc
cold hot mem cold hot mem cold hot mem cold hot mem CPU%
LibreOffice 3.6 14.11 10.94 124 11.94 11.58 133 12.71 10.83 131 39.71 39.44 222 100
OpenOffice 3.4 15.40 11.96 125 12.81 12.55 133 12.81 11.56 125 3:03.75 3:04.01 204 2
MsOffice 2008 40.60 15.38 151 19.55 18.80 171 19.90 17.31 177 18.57 17.76 183 6
iWork 09 1:55.53 10.1 199 15.61 15.63 188 8.66 6.21 171 4:31.28 3:28.0 479 45

First things first, the winner here is pretty much LibreOffice 3.6, still it seems to struggle hard on the large .doc, it hangs hard and has a hard time with it (although it opened the file surprisingly fast) the biggest loser here is iWork, since not only does it struggle to open files but between all the Office’s it was the only one that had bad formatting, MsOffice 2008 was good enough on everything.

Ubuntu 12.04

Small .xls Large .xls Small .doc Large .doc
cold hot mem cold hot mem cold hot mem cold hot mem CPU%
LibreOffice 5.16 2.82 36 5.03 4.04 42 5.06 3.11 30 1:13.32 1:14.02 46 6
LibreOffice 3.6 6.86 4.13 38 6.47 5.43 43 5.28 4.06 34 41.89 41.73 90 108
10.19 4.37 35 6.11 5.82 44 5.16 4.29 27 2:58.73 2:53.53 80 110

WTF! All 3 Offices performed really great, the winner here is LibreOffice 3.5, but not by a wide margin, and on the large .doc all of them suffered on one thing or another, LibreOffice 3.5 had bad formatting on the large .doc, but was pretty responsive after loading, LibreOffice 3.6 and OpenOffice 3.4 were both lagging hard and made it almost impossible to view or edit the large .doc.


Here is a quick chart of best performance (with whatever operating system works best) for the small .xls and .doc, what we get here is that if you want best performance it depends a lot on the operating system, for Windows 7, MsOffice 2003 blows past the competition, its by far the best, i actually even enjoy the “lazy loading” that it does with the large .doc where it doesn’t load it all at once but opens pretty fast, besides that OpenOffice 3.4 kinda still works best than LibreOffice 3.6.
For Mac your choice is LibreOffice 3.6, it works like a charm, next up would probably be MSOffice 2008 just cause it has good compatibility and kinda treats all files equaly, but overall Mac OSX 10.6 is pretty disappointing for Office Performance with nothing loading faster than 10 seconds.
For Linux (Ubuntu 12.04), apparently LibreOffice 3.5 is freaking king, still OpenOffice 3.4 and LibreOffice 3.6 run pretty good too, they feel native and run almost like MSOffice 2003 on Windows 7, super fast and slick i barely see the annoying splash screen (ie any application that has a splash screen just means its going to be slow)!!!, i also like to point out that I’m using the same computer for Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04, so yeah great performance for all.
As a side note, in my office its all Win7 machines, mostly cause some of the software, like accounting software is windows only and there are no alternatives, so using another operating system would be troublesome even if doable (virtual machines and such), but this performance on Linux does give me pause, especially with how Linux nowadays does play fairly well with windows networks and windows computers, and with LibreOffice and OpenOffice seem to fairly stagnated in performance on Windows, going for Linux might just do the trick.
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  1. Michael Meeks May 18, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks for re-running the tests 🙂 the sample documents are great to have for private testing too. Still plenty of room for improvement – I wonder what is happening on Windows.

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 3:56 pm

      No prob ^_^ and im sure some of the issues of LibreOffice 3.6 are probably due to new code and just needs some tweaks to at least get back to LibreOffice 3.5 performance, although they all seem to suffer a lot with large documents, if someone is writing a book they wont get such good performance or stability (not a big issue with me, since i don’t have such huge documents)…

  2. Cyber Coder May 18, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    MsOffice 2003 really ? And you stack them against latest versions of other softwares?

    This article is nothing but a link bait 🙂 Good job getting me to click it!

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      @cybercoder, like i said above, that’s the MS Office i own, so why not include it… and i know all MS Office should be considered native software while running on windows, they hide memory usage and they use parts of the windows routine that no other software can to achieve better performance.

      But still its a good comparison on a gold standard, how a almost 10 year program can beat in performance latest version software (cause of course it cant beat on features or compatibility, LibreOffice and OpenOffice smoke MSOffice 2003, hands down!), ohh and what link bait? I’m not selling anything…

  3. KnownOne May 18, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    Is LibreOffice able to handle 8 cores at the same time?
    It would be needed for large tables with complicated functions.
    Thanks for the reply!

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      im sorry to say but no! it uses a single core, although you can do some tricks like running multiple instances of libreoffice with different users, but every instance will only use 1 core.

      Still note that this is not a big deal, multiple cores are nice because every computer runs lots of software at the same time, so having lots of cores will still boost your produtivity with libreoffice or openoffice ^_^

  4. jantje May 18, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    You should have a multiplier concerning the price included. Which was for office2003 about $500?

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 3:58 pm

      @jantje true that, and mine is office 2003 for small business, i think it cost like 250 euros (300 dollars) 11 years ago, still its not a big issue, i dont mind paying for added performance and people that dont want to pay have little choice, so i never put money into the equation!

      besides I didnt move all the office software in the office to libreoffice because of a price point, i did it because i wanted to use as much free software as i could and if the accounting and management software wasn’t so built-in windows i would have moved everything to linux a long time ago! ^_^

  5. HMagalhaes May 18, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    You must try the same in other form:

    .xls and .doc in all programs;
    .ods and .odt in all programs.
    Them You can compare all the results! Until there, it’s not very honest to have conclusions!
    H.Magalhães, Portugal

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

      well like i said above i used the most common files on my office (and probably most offices in Portugal hehehe) ^_^ also i tried with .ods and .odt and I got pretty much the same results, and I think that’s a really good sign that Libreoffice and Openoffice can use so easily .xls and .doc files!

  6. Get Bent May 18, 2023 at 4:02 pm

    how exactly is this a review?

    Do you understand the difference between OVERview and REview?


    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 4:02 pm

      hum? what?… overview means a summary, review means a critical evaluation, so your twist of words kinda backfired, cause i didn’t make a summary of anything…

      but i understand, you didn’t like it, well my first review was beneficial to find and fix a bug on LibreOffice and this one showed a nice comparison of performance of some of the most popular office software’s, not too sure whats your problem with it? Especially cause you didn’t give any reason…

      Anyways… You think you can make a better review? Then do it! Ill be more than happy to post it here!

  7. organicmom May 18, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    So I should use LibreOffice to open word docs on my mac? How

  8. Bio Ship May 18, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks for your post. Exactly what I was looking for. At my XP system at work I’ve tried openoffice and libreoffice few times in the past. But they couldn’t compete with M$ office for my use cases. I’m hoping for the future.
    At Ubuntu for extended home use I’m really satisfied with libreoffice. But there I avoid working with doc/xls.

    For me a comparison with the xlsx/docx format would be more helpful. But you explained very well (and often) why you have chosen doc/xls.
    For your office I would recommend to switch to the new Office formats. They should be implemented already in all office suites and
    aren’t getting corrupt so easily like files in the old formats.

    I’m sorry about most of the other comments.
    Strange guys out there. You owe them nothing.

  9. Justin May 18, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    Very helpful. Thanks! I lost my MS Office 2010 in a mega-BSOD debacle, didn’t have disks and have no money. So I’ve got to go to open source and this performance comparison helps my decision to go with Apache Open Office.

  10. Hikari May 18, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    @jantje think about it. If it costed 300 dollars 11 years ago, it’s $2,27/month now. Many online services cost more than that, and the software licence is his to use it for another 11 years, he just will be stuck out of ODF, which doesn’t bother him at all.

    Also, you must count hardware price there. How much more expensive would need to be the hardware to handle large files (which is more important to him than features and ODF)?

    Based on this comparison and his needs, I’d choose LO + Ubuntu. Cheap, good performance and best compatibility with all sorts of formats.

    I myself stick with LibreOffice. Writer 3.6 is way better than Word 2010, and it supports ODT 1.2! I have a very nice template with everything I need and it works perfectly in Writer.

    LO’s leaders have huge huge ego and aren’t worrying with performance but it’s getting enhanced qhickly. AOO is more of a subproduct to be used by IBM and other companies to build cheap proprietary software, these companies want AOO fast and with few features.

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 4:06 pm

      @Hikari Shidou yep i agree, i would put performance and compatibility as the top priorities for Libreoffice, cause this is what MS Office always wins, very few need all the bells and whistles, the basic feature set of say Google Docs is enough for most people, so i would really focus on those 2 issues!

      @Bio Ship i didnt! i just dont own a copy of MS Office 2013… sorry, if i had i would have used it! ^_^

  11. Foreign May 18, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    You forgot to test Office 2013..

    1. hugo - Site Author May 18, 2023 at 4:07 pm

      I was looking more for cross-platform office software, than paid…


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