OpenOffice Writer

OpenOffice Writer is a free word processor available as part of OpenOffice. This free, open-source office suite boasts several other free offerings, including programs designed to create and manage spreadsheets, presentations, and databases. However, when compared to expensive and professional word processors like Microsoft Word, OpenOffice Writer holds its own.

Writer includes basic word processor functions such as spell check and custom font styles, but it also includes some more advanced tools like bookmarks, macros, keyboard shortcuts, math functions, and a built-in image gallery. If you’re new to using word processors in general, it may be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the basics of writing with a word processor.

If you’d rather not install it on your device, Writer is also available as a portable version to use with a disc or flash drive.

Pros and Cons of OpenOffice Writer

Here are some pros and cons of OpenOffice Writer:


  • It has support for many different file formats.
  • Extensions and templates are available.
  • It includes both basic and advanced formatting functions.
  • It features live spell check, so you can correct mistakes quickly while typing.
  • It is available as a portable version.


  • The menus can get cluttered and difficult to decipher.
  • Its program interface is dated and dull.
  • Even if you just want Writer, you’re forced to download the entire OpenOffice suite.
  • It may take a while to download due to its large setup file.

Download and Installation

OpenOffice Writer is officially compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP; macOS 10.7 or higher; and Linux operating systems.

When installing, you can choose the Custom option to choose which parts of OpenOffice you want or don’t want, to install. If you only want to install Writer and not any other OpenOffice programs, this is your opportunity to do so. To only download Writer, select the programs that you do not want to download and choose the “this feature will not be available” option.

Unfortunately, if you want the portable option of Writer, you must download and install the entire OpenOffice suite. There’s no option to only install Writer. Because of this, you’ll also get Impress, Calc, Base, Math, and Draw.

OpenOffice Writer Features

Here are some of Writer’s features:

  • You can make formatting adjustments like changing the font, size, text style, alignment, line spacing, and more.
  • You can open Microsoft Word files, like DOC and DOCX files, without having Microsoft Word installed on your device.
  • If you need more room to work, menu panes can be freely moved around the screen.
  • Writer includes a handy navigator to find indexes, tables, bookmarks, comments, sections, graphics, and more in your document.
  • Writer supports advanced features like changing the case of text and converting text into a table.
  • You can record macros to automate tasks.
  • It contains built-in wizards to easily create faxes, agendas, and letters.
  • A wizard is available for converting documents in batch from the OpenOffice and Microsoft Office formats to the OpenDocument format.
  • You can import formulas and math functions from spreadsheet software like into Writer. A thesaurus is built in with easy access from the right-click context menu.
  • It includes several zoom options, like a book mode or single-page layout, so you can position your document exactly how you want.
  • Writers includes a large gallery so you can add images like backgrounds, arrows, bullets, and diagrams directly into your document.
  • You can customise keyboard shortcuts as well as every menu and toolbar’s name and placement.
  • You can add OpenOffice extensions to add new features to Witer.
  • Writer features a built-in media player so you can play video and music files.

Some things to be aware of when using OpenOffice Writer

  • Even though it contains some great tools, using Writer can be a bit overwhelming due to its complex menus.
  • You can edit documents in DOCX format, but you can’t save back to DOCX format. You can save a DOCX file you’re working on as a DOC, TXT, RTF, HTML, ODT, XML, OTT, STW, SXW, or UOT file. Writer also allows you to open a lot of Microsoft Word file types, including DOC, DOCX, DOCM, DOT, DOTM, DOTX, and XML.
  • As previously noted, if you download the portable version, you also must install the entire OpenOffice suite. It may be too big for some flash drives, as it’s around 700MB unzipped.

OpenOffice Alternatives

There are more free office suites out there other than OpenOffice. Libre Office is another free office suite and similar to Open Office, contains equivalents to Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access.

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