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Date: Jan 08, 2020

Open-Source-Office programs Here we present several free Open-Source-Office programs to you.

No matter which field of study, be it Physics, Geography, History or Media Studies; in all of them, written papers are and must be submitted during the course of study. Microsoft Office is frequently used for writing these papers. However, since it is not free of charge and the univserity doesn't have a license agreement for students with Microsoft that would allow them to get Office for free or at a lower price, we here present free Open-Source-Office programs that are freely available for download on the Internet. The presented programs can be used in the humanities as well as in the natural sciences.



LibreOffice is probably one of the currently most well-known Open-Source word processing programs. The program, which split from from at the end of 2010, has been independently developed since then and offers like OpenOffice programs for text documents (Writer), spreadsheets (Calc), drawings (Draw) as well as a formula editor (Math) and presentations (Impress). In addition, there is also a database management system under the name Base. Like OpenOffice, LibreOffice is also available for the operating systems Windows, macOS, and Linux (the download can be found under A clear advanatge of the LibreOffice programs is that they can be installed in multiple languages.

However, a disadvantage of the program arises for users of the operating system macOS. They are offered the possibility to download the package via the browser as well as the App Store, but in both cases there are certain disadvantages. Those who decide to install LibreOffice via the browser will have to accept that the program will take much longer to open the individual applications. Users who want to avoid this waiting period and, therefore, decide to install the package via the App Store will not find the latest version (currently 6.1.3.) there. As you can see from the reviews in the App Store, users have to wait half a year for each version before they receive the latest one of them. Additionally, when opening and saving Microsoft Office douments in LibreOffice, there may be shifts within the documents layout (this affects all operating systems).


Tip for users of MS Office: Although the programs are similar, those who approach LibreOffice with a MS Office's way of thinking will have to rethink. A contact person at the HRz is also available for questions and support.



LaTeX is not a word processing program, but a text typesetting system which derives from book printing. This function enables the writer to concentrate on writing the document instead of having to worry about the layout, as it is done by the program itself, which can display the written document as a PDF at the push of a button and save it directly from there. To use the program it is recommende to install TeXmaker or TeXstudio as well to make the operation easier. In addition, presentations can also be created via LaTeX.

This program is particularly useful for science students as it is suitable for creating text documents containing formulas, tables and/or diagrams. Both chemists an physicists will enjoy the program as there are additionial packages available for them (e.g. chemfig, ochem or streetex) that allow and simpify working with equations and structural formulas (a complete overview and explanation of the packages can be found here.)

The program can be installed in multiple languages and is available for the operating systems Windows, Linux, and macOS.


Tip: There is also an online version called Overleaf which allows you to create, share, and edit documents online.



This program is a word processing program which can be used as an editor for LaTeX. Its features include various scientific functions (e.g. displaying equations, algorithms, matrices, etc.), structured document display, table and illustration display (supports multiple graphic formats), language support (allows creation of multilingual documents documents, right-to-left writing), and document management (change tracking, editing notes). As with LaTeX, LyX focuses on wrting the document rather than its layout, as the program takes care of it again. LyX can also be downloaded and installed in several languages and is also available for the Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.



Surely more than one of you has alredy discovered the Campuscloud Sciebo, which is administered by the University of Münster. In addition to its function as a cloud service, Sciebo also offers the possibility to upload, create and/or edit Office documents. When it comes to creating documents, as with the other programs presented here, a writer, a spreadsheet for creating tables and an option to create presentations are provided (all this is hidden behind the plus sign in the upper left half of the screen). It is also possible to upload images to the Sciebo Gallery (more Sciebo features can be found here (only available in German!)). Since Sciebo is a cloud service administered by universities, both employees and students of the University of Bonn can use it. For the registration (and extension) of the service only the Uni-ID and the corresponding password are required.

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