How to Use Microsoft Office on Linux 2022
For many users, not having native support for Microsoft Office is the only reason why they do not switch to Linux.
Yes, Microsoft Office is not available to install on Linux.
For some existing users, not having Microsoft Office on Linux creates additional pain.
Sure, there are several good open source office suites available and they are sufficient for most users.
But there are situations when you are compelled to use MS Office.
If other people at work send you Office documents with complex macros, it may not work well with LibreOffice.
Similarly, if your university or workplace requires you to write in .docx or .xlsx and you use LibreOffice, there might be compatibility issues if tables, macros and other elements are involved.
These are practical difficulties that are encountered by people who have to collaborate with MS office users.
If you are in a situation where you must use Microsoft Office, you don’t need to ditch Linux altogether.
Here are a few suggestions on how you could use Microsoft Office on the Linux desktop.
Your options for using Microsoft Office on Linux
There are various alternative methods you can use to access Microsoft’s Office on Linux.
Sure, it’s not the same using MS Office on Windows, but at least it allows you to work with Office documents.
1. Use Microsoft Office 365 Online
Yes, you can use Microsoft Office applications in your web browser. And this works on any operating system. That includes Linux, of course.
This is the best way to access Microsoft Office apps if you have a stable internet connection.
Do note that the online Office version doesn’t have all the features you get in the desktop version. Still, it’s a good enough choice in many cases.
If you have a Microsoft account, you can sign in to Microsoft 365 directly. If you don’t have one, you must create a Microsoft account.
Without any paid subscription, you can use a lite version of all the essential office tools like Microsoft Word, Excel, and more, right on your web browser.
Sounds good, right?
The best part of this service is you can utilize free 5 GB of OneDrive storage to keep your documents online, and it integrates well will all the apps available in the suit. Not to forget, you can also use the mobile app on the go.
Note that there are some feature differences between Office Online and its native desktop applications. You can know more about it in its official documentation.
Moreover, if you want to make the most out of it, with more cloud storage, and some premium features, you may opt for the Microsoft 365 subscription as well.
- Comes free with Microsoft account
- Documents are saved in the cloud and can be accessed from any device
- 5 GB of free storage with OneDrive
- Can be used on any operating system without installing the software
- You must create a Microsoft account
- Free version lacks features
- You can only store documents up to 5 GB for free
- Needs internet connection to access and edit files
2. Using a Windows compatibility program
What if you would like to experience the desktop app of Microsoft Office from within your Linux system?
You can use a virtual machine to install Windows, but we discuss that next, considering it is time-consuming.
Instead, you can use Windows compatibility layers for specific software, by which you can run them on Linux machines.
I’ll suggest two ways to install Microsoft Office desktop application on Linux
- Using PlayOnLinux (free but provides older versions of MS office)
- Using CrossOver (paid and comes with proper support)
Let me give you a brief overview of how to use them
PlayOnLinux is one of the best ways to run Windows applications on Linux.
On Ubuntu, you can install it using a command through the terminal as follows:
sudo apt install winbind playonlinux winetricks -y
After installation, launch the program and click on the Install button which will sync available packages and will allow us to install MS Office (desired version).
Now, you’ll be given a prompt where we will be searching for our desired software.
If you already purchased Microsoft Office earlier, you can have the installation media or the ISO file ready from their official download page.
Enable the option labeled as “No-cd needed” if you do not plan to use your installer, and search “Office”.
It will list all compatible Microsoft Office programs. Select your desired version and click on the Install button to download/install it automatically.
It will automatically create a virtual space for MS Office and will install Wine through the installer. Once you are done with the basic steps, it will show you a prompt where you have to choose the installation method between the setup file and DVD.
We’ll be going with the first option for convenience. After selecting the first option, locate the setup file and all the other processes will be handled automatically.