Pros/Cons of LibreOffice and Scrivener as alternative to Word?

It’s time to cut the apron strings from MSOffice Suite for good.

I’d love to hear about your experience(s) with LibreOffice v.7.6.5 or v.24.2.1 and if you’ve found the LibreOffice Suite to be a good fit with Scrivener. If you’d suggest something else that would better accommodate my needs instead, I’d love to know that too!

The LibreOffice download page with release notes states that v.7 has been more thoroughly tested, but the added functionality of v.24 are things I’d be interested in. Does anyone have experience with v.24?


  • Ditch MSOffice entirely to the point of uninstalling Office365 from the new computer.
  • No subscription models nor online substitutes


  • Word processor that plays well with Scrivener 3.1.5 on Windows 11 is #1 - I am also interested in hearing about the entire Libre Office Suite too.
  • Can accommodate some clean-up of charts, figures and images (all non text) Either pre or post compile. For the foreseeable future, these will mostly be in back matter, otherwise inserted with placeholders.
  • Will handle a TOC if Scrivener can’t
  • Capable of converting and/or opening old MS documents
  • most are from Win7/Office 2003 - some may even go back to Win3.1 :face_with_spiral_eyes: These include docs and excel, and some misc. things created with MS Office Pro (2000?). I do understand that full conversion is not likely with everything, but a text version of the content would suffice since most of it will be dropped into Scrivener anyway. If I have to use other software for a few trouble files that are really old, I’m ok with that and will welcome suggestions and heads-ups for known problem areas.


  • My WIP is non-fiction and massive but it will never be compiled as a single item.
  • It is not scientific or legal, but requires extensive footnotes with supporting documents. My research folder contains over a thousand items already.
  • The current structure is series-book-part-chapter-section with multiple “series” within the root draft folder. Consider the project a multi-volume set of tomes, with some magazine articles, short stories, and shorter focused books that are all pieces of the larger work.
    • I do anticipate that I will need a comprehensive post-compile option eventually, but that’s at least a year or two away. Until then, I will only need to compile small portions to RTF or docx and submit the visuals under separate cover.
  • IF Libre is NOT compatible with a post-processing software that you would recommend for my circumstances - Please elaborate!)
  • I use spreadsheets extensively.

I do not expect to import any spreadsheets into my project as is, but will need to extract data from them into tables and/or charts. I use them solely to analyze large text-based datasets or to create citations (Evidence Explained formatting).


  • New Win11 desktop with admin installed Scrivener 3.1.5 & Adobe Reader, used exclusively for my Scrivener Projects.

  • Compatibility - the old computers are all Windows - 7, 8, Vista, and maybe even an ME :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth: I will be keeping one of the Win7’s active and offline just in case there are any problems accessing the older files.

Methinks I should have just bought a Mac - it would have been easier than jumping from Win 7 to 11 - but its too late for that now… (dammit Janet!. :person_facepalming: )

So, what say you all, ye gurus of Scrivener?
[editedfor clarity]

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What output format do you ultimately want? You could go from Scrivener to LaTeX and from there to print without involving a Word-equivalent at any point. But that might not be the best approach if you’re going to need Word documents.

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Me, I’d simply try 7.6.5 as I have preference not to debug anything. If issues, try 24.2.1** to see if those issues disappear. Not much bad can happen if try approach used. Put emphasis on trying and using more than evaluating.

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Thank you kewms. I will say I have been intrigued by the LaTex discussions. The technological aspects of it are over my head at the moment, but its functionality does seem like it’s flexible enough to fit the bill.

As far as a Word equivalent, I need something to open all my old research docs so I can get them into Scrivener. It looks like Libre can also convert old formats to more current versions as well, though I would like to hear more about that.

The short answer is I don’t know what output format I’d need. but I do want the option(s) for an e-book and/or pdf and some sort of hard copy. What that entails, I do not know yet.

I’ve set up my project for multiple purposes. The main body of work is rather technical, and includes extensive footnotes, proof arguments, and supporting documentation in charts, diagrams, maps, and key document images. The end product would be a reference book for a library shelf or Historical Society. Some books in the project that contain narratives are biographies, others are local histories. An edition heavy with photos & images with the underlying narrative story would compile like a coffee table book.

The short stories/excerpts are suited to periodicals, and the publishers of the genre have so far requested a digital Word format that is based on the Normal template.

I don’t let Microsoft anywhere near my Macs unless I have to (and that only because my political party uses Teams).

On the rare occasion that I need a traditional word processor then my choice is eother Apple Pages or more likely LibreOffice. That rare occasion being submitting a draft to a publisher that insists of Word format.

On the even more rare occasion that I need high quality typesetting I compile my project to LaTeX.


Thank you reepicheep. The more I look around, the more LaTex looks like the ultimate option when I get to that point.

I find Pages excellent, possibly because I was trained on it and my teams supported it during my Apple days :grinning: . I’ve not tried LibreOffice, just not found a need to this point. I should have a play one day just to see what the hype’s about.

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You might like to look at the various threads on Pandoc/Quarto/Typst as alternatives to LaTeX if you’re not already into LaTeX… less of a learning curve!



I too have tried to be a Microsoft-free zone; the only MS app I have is Skype because that was what developers involved in the Website wished to use for consultations.

I have used Nisus Writer (Pro) since it was launched in the early noughties. I have Pages and Mellel and keep them up to date, so if Nisus were to disappear, I’d use Mellel. But both Mellel and Pages use proprietary formats. The only times I’ve really needed Pages have been when I’ve been sent a DOCX with complicated tables to edit. Pages is also probably better at layouts involving a lot of images, but if/when I am going to create such a document, no question… Affinity Publisher.

Apart from NWP’s very powerful Search and Replace (using Oniguruma RegEx which is more powerful than ICU), and macro language, and its implementation of multi-letter shortcuts, what makes it an ace partner to Scrivener is that its native format is RTF/RTFD. Also, in NWP you import a stylesheet into your compiled document, rather than having to shoehorn your compiled document into a pre-existing template.


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I use LibreOffice as a spreadsheet replacement. It’s been able to beat up on any .xlsx file I’ve ever sicced it on. I’ve switched from LibreOffice to NWP as my word processor on Mac because NWP plays better with Mac Scrivener, but that is hardly helpful to someone committed to Windows 11.

In general I’ve always been able to do anything with LibreOffice that I could do with MicroSloth Office, but there are differences in commands and an unfamiliar menu structure to contend with. It’s open source which means that both LO and its help system are maintained by volunteers. It can be frustrating to deal with the help system. And of course, while you can import almost anything into LO, like any other app it’s happiest when dealing with its own file formats.

So be prepared for a learning curve. It’s been a while since I used its word processor so I can’t be more specific. Hope this helps!

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Thank you Mark for this suggestion! I haven’t seen much in the forum yet about Affinity Publisher. I’m rather clueless about all the options out there re: self-publishing and/or typesetting and copysetting (is this even a term? lol.)

I have read numerous threads re: Pandoc/Quarto/Typst along with LaTex, but quite frankly, it’s still all Greek to me. I need a chart that compares their abilities to my needs. I only said LaTex because in all the discussions relative to my potential needs, it seemed to be the most common solution all around. I am concerned about the learning curve though. I’m currently learning the idiosyncrasies of Win 11, Scrivener 3. Libre’s Writer, Calc, Draw, and to a lesser degree Base and Impress. I don’t really want to add another learning curve till these are worked out.

That said, I did check out Affinity’s website; it sure looks like it’s capable of handling all of my “what if” situations, as well as being compatible with Windows which is a bonus; add to that its reasonable price at about $50 (with discount) with no subscription pricing, it looks even better!

I will keep your other suggestions in mind for if/when I finally do cross over into the light of of a MACOS!. :grin:

Thank you Silverdragon! I am VERY glad to hear this. I use spreadsheets extensively to analyze large data-sets (mostly text). {Happy dancing}

I was aware of the open source, volunteer situation. While not ideal, I guess you could say you get what you pay for? If I may ask, what sort of ‘help’ (or lack thereof) was at issue, and was it their Writer or something else? As in was it crashing or freezing? Or a usability aspect?

Understand. If it’s happy enough to open up my old files and spit them back out into Scrivener (even if it’s only the text) I’ll be a happy camper! (And manage TOC’s and indexes if/when necessary.)

Thank you again!

It seems you’re going to face a learning curve whatever software you go for.

Affinity Publisher, like InDesign, comes with a learning curve if you want to use it fully professionally, but can be used pretty simply once you’ve got the basics of how page-design software works.

As for the LaTeX/Pandoc/Quarto/Typst question, there is a learning curve. I started using LaTeX back in the late 80s, but before I’d got very far with it, I got my first Mac and never went back. Recently, I realised that with Scrivener and Nisus Writer Pro, I was basically using Scrivener as a markup engine compiling to a standard RTF which I was then formatting fully via a macro in NWP. As an intellectual exercise, I first thought of trying to pursue the Latex route, but found it too daunting. So I decided to investigate Markdown and Pandoc, and following the threads here, quickly realised that the templates created by @nontroppo for Quarto and Typst would be a great starting point.

I settled on Typst, which although it is still in its infancy was very approachable, so I worked on that. I found the Typst website extremely useful, not just for the documentation, but also for being able to use their online editor to be able to trial documents and blocks before trying to replicate them in Scrivener.

Sadly, I haven’t had time to continue working on it all since before Christmas, as family visits and then having to migrate the Talking of Food website to a new server, with a huge amount of sorting out still to do, has taken up all my time.

To put all of this in perspective, I am a long-retired lecturer in Linguistics and Chinese translation, fairly computer-savvy but not a real geek and have never done any programming. My personal NWP macros have all been constructed with help from others; I could never have created them on my own.

In the meantime, as you’re on Windows, in your place I’d use Libre Office to turn all your old material into RTF (one less step to potentially cause issues on importing into Scrivener) and get your Scrivener project organised, and again compiling to RTF as no file-translators involved. When you’re well on the way with that, that will be the time to explore Latex/Quarto/Typst/Affinity Publisher.


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If you really want to do something with LaTeX, then do as I do and use the built-in “General Non-Fiction (LaTeX)” template Scrivener provides. Full (and excellent) instructions inside the template. I’ve never stopped using it, but of course there are other ways (Pandoc, etc.) to go subsequently but those methods are surely more journeys of self-discovery. But nothing stops you going there. Just go later.

You seem to have enough on your plate picking tools. Perhaps time to start writing?


To me, using the LaTex template was going to be even more a journey of “self discovery” assuming that is an acceptable description. I haven’t discovered anything about myself, though I have learnt more about semantic structuring of text.


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Well, the instructions that Scrivener provided how to do it are very clear, concise, correct, and the template has done some cleaver things which one who uses the template does not have to do nor discover how to do it. It’s a really world-class template and requires little self-discovery other than reading and following the instructions that are presented at the top of the document created from the template. I’ve only made minor tweaks to Scrivener compile settings over the years and have had no need to move to other methods. My documents have title sheets, table of contents, terrific formatting of chapters and sections, and even an index (if i can be bothered marking words to be in the index). Customers love it and always ask “How the heck did you do that? I didn’t know Word can do that!”.

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True, I’m sure, but then the same is true of @nontroppo’s Typst and Quarto templates. For anyone starting out, any one of them might suit; I simply found Typst was likely to suit me better as I could understand the markup more easily… that’s all.


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I get that, but as I use Scrivener and that template, I avoid any use of Markdown. Just Scrivener. I know the cool kids use Markdown, but I don’t need to. :wink:

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Isn’t that the truth! All my ‘plate picking’ has been because my current “project” is to integrate all my old writing into the new. This includes everything new - the computer, the WIP, the OS, Scriv.3, etc.

In the past I used some (conventions?) that I realize I now need to change/update/revise as they are wrenches in the works for where I see this WIP going in the future. (It started as a hobby, for fun, with no goals of publishing, then I took classes, and devoured other resources, and here I am.)

My current goal is to bring everything together in a cohesive whole that is set-up in the most optimum form/format within Scrivener to move into the next phase of publish-ready. But, as I’ve said, I’m over my head when it comes to compile options. What I have learned through the forum, is that I need to be very careful with sections and styles (which is a big part of the work I am doing now).

In the meantime, all my plate picking helps me to wrap my head around all the options, pros, and cons ahead in much smaller bites as I learn the terminology and everything else involved. It helps me to digest where I should ultimately strive to be when I get to the “final draft” and ready to compile the big one. :blush:

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That is on my ‘to explore’ to do list! Thank you. When I DO get to it, my intention is to try it out with a small subset of my current works (a few pages in multiple sections and styles) using a “Part” that is my main concern as far as final output - it will be part of a portfolio for certification.

The Part that I will play with is more technical and will need more complicated formatting than I can output from Scrivener alone (as near as I can determine.) I will be posting a new topic in the near future for suggestions on how best to handle the styles and sections within Scrivener so that I have a solid base going forward, regardless of which template I end up using.