LibreOffice has long since moved on from being an offshoot of the OpenOffice project. It's now the go-to alternative to Microsoft Office, enjoying regular development and a constant tweaking to keep it up to date, stable and secure.

While LibreOffice lacks the slick presentation of rival Windows freebie Kingsoft Office Suite Free and its Office-inspired ribbon interface, it has the major advantage of offering a full set of office applications, including database, drawing package and mathematical tool on top of the requisite word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tool found in most free office suites.

While it’s definitely more navigable than before thanks to better placement of tools and visual previews of styles direct from the main toolbar, it still looks a little dated, despite the refreshed icon sets. Nevertheless, this is still a powerful suite capable of meeting most people's needs, making this zero-cost alternative to Office a valuable tool to have in your armoury.

Ever-improving support for third-party file types (including both new and classic Office formats) means you're not cutting yourself off from industry standards while cross-platform support means you can run LibreOffice on Windows, Mac or Linux without having to retrain yourself to a new way of working each time.

What else is new in LibreOffice 6.2 (see changelog for more info)?

- The help system offers faster filtering of index keywords, highlighting search terms as they are typed and displaying results based on the selected module.
- Context menus have been tidied up, to be more consistent across the different components in the suite.
- Change tracking performances have been dramatically improved, especially in large documents.
- In Writer, it is now possible to copy spreadsheet data into tables instead of just inserting them as objects.
- In Calc, it is now possible to do multivariate regression analysis using the regression tool. In addition, many more statistical measures are now available in the analysis output, and the new REGEX function has been added, to match text against a regular expression and optionally replace it.
- In Impress & Draw, the motion path of animations can now be modified by dragging its control points. In addition, a couple of text-related drawing styles have been added, as well as a Format Table submenu in Draw.
- LibreOffice Online, the cloud-based version of the suite, includes many improvements too. On mobile devices, the user interface has been simplified, with better responsiveness and updates to the on-screen keyboard.

Verdict

Don’t be put off by the dated user interface – LibreOffice is a powerful tool that includes all the core functionality most people will ever need.