How to Install FreeOffice on Ubuntu 24.04/22.04/20.04

FreeOffice is a comprehensive, free office suite that provides all the tools for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. It is compatible with Microsoft Office formats and ensures seamless document sharing and collaboration. With its intuitive interface, FreeOffice makes it easy to switch from other office suites or start fresh.

Here’s why FreeOffice stands out:

  • User-Friendly: Offers an intuitive interface, making switching from other office suites easy.
  • Feature-Rich: Includes a full range of tools for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • Compatibility: Seamlessly open and save documents in Microsoft Office formats.
  • Free and Reliable: Provides a cost-free solution without sacrificing performance or functionality.

FreeOffice is ideal for those seeking a reliable, user-friendly office suite that integrates smoothly with Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, and 20.04 LTS. This guide will show you how to install FreeOffice using the command-line terminal and the FreeOffice PPA to ensure you get the latest version.

Updating the Ubuntu System Before FreeOffice Installation

As a necessary preliminary measure, we need to update the Ubuntu system with the most recent versions of its packages. This will help eliminate potential incompatibility issues, maintain system stability, and ensure the smooth operation of FreeOffice post-installation.

Execute the command below to fetch the latest information about package versions from all configured sources:

sudo apt update

Subsequently, proceed to upgrade all packages that have newer versions available using the command below:

sudo apt upgrade

Import SoftMaker FreeOffice APT Repository

Our primary method of installing FreeOffice utilizes the source APT repository. This version remains generally up-to-date without the need to use third-party installation managers.

Initially, we must install the necessary packages with the command below:

sudo apt install dirmngr ca-certificates software-properties-common apt-transport-https curl -y

Subsequently, we will import the GPG key, which is crucial for verifying the authenticity of the packages. This step is a safety measure that ensures the packages you receive are the genuine ones intended by SoftMaker FreeOffice.

curl -fsSL https://shop.softmaker.com/repo/linux-repo-public.key | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/softmaker.gpg > /dev/null

Next, we will incorporate the APT repository with the command below:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/softmaker.gpg] https://shop.softmaker.com/repo/apt stable non-free' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/softmaker.list"

Update the APT Packages Index After SoftMaker PPA Import

Now that we’ve integrated a new APT source, we need to refresh the APT package index. This process enables the system to recognize the newly added source and register the FreeOffice packages available for installation.

To do this, execute the command below:

sudo apt update

Finalize FreeOffice Installation via APT Command

We are now ready to install FreeOffice. At this stage, the necessary preparations have been made, and the APT packages index has been updated with the information about the FreeOffice package. We can now move forward with the final software download office package installation.

To install FreeOffice, execute the following command:

sudo apt install softmaker-freeoffice-2021 -y

Upon completing this command, FreeOffice will be installed on your Ubuntu system, offering you the benefits of a powerful software office solution without the associated costs.

Launching FreeOffice on Ubuntu via CLI or GUI

Once the FreeOffice installation process is complete, it’s time to experience the power of this versatile productivity suite on your Ubuntu system. Two primary ways to open FreeOffice are the Command-Line Interface (CLI) or the Graphical User Interface (GUI).

CLI Methods to Launch FreeOffice

For those who are comfortable working within a terminal or prefer a quick and efficient method, launching FreeOffice via the CLI is an excellent option. Each component of the FreeOffice suite has its distinct command for initiating it. Here are the respective commands:

To begin with TextMaker (the word processing component), execute the following command:

freeoffice2021-textmaker

If you intend to work with PlanMaker (the spreadsheet component), use the command below:

freeoffice2021-planmaker

Lastly, to start Presentations (the presentation component), utilize the following command:

freeoffice2021-presentations

Please note that these commands are based on the assumption that you have installed FreeOffice 2021. If your installed version differs, replace ‘2021’ in the commands with the year of your installed version.

GUI Method to Launch FreeOffice

For those who find graphical interfaces more intuitive or have previous experience with other desktop environments or operating systems, FreeOffice can be launched using its application icon.

To launch any component of the FreeOffice suite, navigate to the ‘Office’ category in your system’s application menu via the following path:

Activities > Show Applications > FreeOffice {Text Maker, Presentations, PlanMaker}

First-Time Tips with FreeOffice on Ubuntu

Having successfully installed FreeOffice on your Ubuntu system, it’s time to utilize it efficiently. To help you maximize this productivity suite’s benefits, let’s look at some valuable tips and tricks.

Tips and Customizations for FreeOffice

Familiarizing with the Interface

One of the preliminary steps to becoming proficient in FreeOffice is to become comfortable with its user interface. If you have experience with other popular office suites, you’ll appreciate the similarities. This design similarity is intentional and aimed at facilitating a smooth transition for users.

Customize the Ribbon

The ribbon, strategically positioned at the top of the FreeOffice applications, is a shortcut to various features and commands. Customizing this ribbon to mirror your working style can optimize your experience. Right-click on the ribbon and select Customize Ribbon to add, remove, or rearrange commands as per your needs.

Determining Default File Format

When collaborating with users who utilize other office suites (like Microsoft Office), setting your default file format to .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx could be beneficial. This can be done by navigating to File > Options > Files > Default File Formats.

Specific Tips for FreeOffice TextMaker

Utilizing Templates

TextMaker provides a range of pre-designed templates suited to various types of documents. Utilizing these templates can save you considerable time while also conferring a professional look to your documents. These templates can be accessed by navigating to File > New > New from template.

Understanding TextMaker Styles

Styles in TextMaker serve as a swift method to format your text. Acquiring style proficiency can boost your efficiency while maintaining consistency throughout your document. Styles can be managed via the Styles pane on the right side of the interface.

Configure Sidebar

The sidebar in TextMaker provides instant access to an array of features, such as formatting options, navigation, and more. You can toggle its visibility by navigating to View > Sidebar.

Once configured, you can use the FreeOffice version of the application you launched; they look similar to the one below.

Specific Tips for FreeOffice Presentations

Leveraging Presentation Templates

Presentations in FreeOffice provide a variety of ready-to-use templates that can save you time and ensure a polished and professional appearance for your slideshows. To access these templates, navigate to File > New > New from template.

Utilizing Master Slides

Master slides in Presentations act as a blueprint for the slide layout and enable you to apply consistent formatting to your slides. This feature not only saves time but also ensures uniformity throughout your presentation. Master slides can be accessed and customized via the Slide Master view in the View tab.

Embracing Slide Transitions

Slide transitions add a visual flair to your presentations, making them more engaging for your audience. You can apply unique transitions to each slide or use the same transition across all slides for a consistent experience. This feature can be found in the Transitions tab.

Specific Tips for FreeOffice PlanMaker on Ubuntu

Implementing Cell Styles

Implementing cell styles in your spreadsheets can create a consistent and professional look. You can apply predefined styles by navigating to Format > Cell Style.

Applying Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting serves as a tool to emphasize crucial data in your spreadsheet. This feature can be accessed by navigating to Format > Conditional Formatting.

Exploring Functions

Functions in PlanMaker are versatile tools that can execute calculations, manipulate text, and carry out other tasks. Gaining proficiency in functions can markedly enhance your productivity. You can explore the available functions by navigating to Insert > Function.

Additional FreeOffice Commands

Update FreeOffice

Staying updated with the latest version of FreeOffice is crucial as it introduces you to newly added features, enhancements, and, importantly, essential security updates. Like most Linux distributions, Ubuntu employs package managers to manage installed software, encompassing updates.

You can examine for updates for all installed packages, including FreeOffice, by executing the following commands in your terminal:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

The first command, sudo apt update, refreshes your system’s package list by gathering details about available packages and their corresponding versions from the defined repositories. Please note that sudo is required to execute commands with administrative rights, essential for managing software across the system.

The subsequent command, sudo apt upgrade, upgrades all upgradeable packages on your system. If an updated version of FreeOffice is available in the repositories, this command will handle the upgrade process.

Remove FreeOffice

If you remove FreeOffice from your system, Ubuntu makes this process straightforward. The following command will remove the FreeOffice suite:

sudo apt remove softmaker-freeoffice-2021

This command instructs the package manager (apt) to eliminate the softmaker-freeoffice-2021 package from your system. Be sure to replace 2021 with the specific version number if you’ve installed a different version.

Remove FreeOffice PPA (Optional)

After removing FreeOffice, you might consider removing the repository from which it was initially installed. This is a good practice for system maintenance and ensures your system’s repository list stays clean and manageable. To remove the FreeOffice repository, you can run the following command:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/softmaker.list

This command eradicates the file softmaker.list from the directory /etc/apt/sources.list.d/, which holds files for each added repository.

If the GPG key utilized to verify the integrity of the packages from this repository is no longer necessary, it can also be safely removed. Here’s the command to do that:

sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/softmaker.gpg

Executing this command will eliminate the softmaker.gpg keyring from the /usr/share/keyrings/ directory, which contains keyrings for package verification.

Conclusion

In this guide, we covered the steps to install FreeOffice on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, and 20.04 LTS. FreeOffice is a reliable and user-friendly office suite that integrates well with Ubuntu, offering a free alternative for your productivity needs. We recommend giving it a try, customizing it to your preferences, and exploring its features for drafting documents, managing spreadsheets, and creating presentations.

Joshua James
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