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Can Microsoft Office apps run on Linux?

Can Microsoft Office apps run on Linux? In this article, we will try to answer this question. Keep on reading if you want to learn more.

Can Microsoft Office apps run on Linux? 

Microsoft Office on Linux: How to Use It

Microsoft Office support is the only reason why many users don’t switch to Linux. Microsoft Office cannot be installed on Linux.

For some existing Linux users, the absence of Microsoft Office creates additional pain.

For most users, there are several good open-source office suites available. However, there are times when MS Office is required. LibreOffice may not work well with Office documents with complex macros.

As an example, if your university or workplace requires you to write in .docx or .xlsx and you use LibreOffice, tables, macros, and other elements might be incompatible.

People who have to collaborate with MS Office users encounter these difficulties.

Your options for using Microsoft Office on Linux

1. Take advantage of Microsoft Office 365 Online

If you have a stable internet connection, you can access Microsoft Office applications in your web browser. This works on any operating system, including Linux.

The online version of Office does not have all the features of the desktop version. However, it’s a good choice for most people. You can sign in directly to Microsoft 365 if you have a Microsoft account. If not, you must create one.

A lite version of all essential office tools, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and more, is available right on your web browser.

You can also use the mobile app to keep your documents on the go, and you can use the free 5 GB of OneDrive storage to keep your documents online.

It is important to note that Office Online differs from its native desktop applications in some ways. In addition, you may want to consider purchasing Microsoft 365, which offers more cloud storage and some premium features. You can find out more about it in its official documentation.

The pros

  • With a Microsoft account, it’s free
  • All documents are stored in the cloud and can be accessed from any device
  • OneDrive offers 5 GB of free storage
  • The software does not need to be installed on any operating system


  • Access and editing files require an internet connection
  • Free storage is limited to 5 GB
  • There are no features in the free version
  • A Microsoft account is required

2. Installing a Windows compatibility program

If you want to experience Microsoft Office from within your Linux system, you can install Windows through a virtual machine. We discuss virtual machines next since they are time-consuming.

Alternatively, you can use Windows compatibility layers to run specific software on Linux machines. Here are two ways to install Microsoft Office for Linux.

  • PlayOnLinux (free, but provides older versions of Microsoft Office)
  • CrossOver (paid and with proper support)

3. Play On Linux: Using it

Running Windows applications on Linux is easy with PlayOnLinux.

Using the terminal, you can install it on Ubuntu as follows:

Launch the program and click on the Install button to sync available packages and install the desired version of MS Office.

After that, you’ll be requested to search for our desired software. If you have already purchased Microsoft Office, you can download the installation media or ISO file from their official website.

If you do not intend to use your installer, enable “No-cd needed” and search “Office”. It will display a list of all compatible Microsoft Office programs. Click on the Install button to download/install it automatically.

4. Make use of alternative office suites that are compatible with MS Office files

If you have been using Linux for a while, your distro may come with LibreOffice installed. However, LibreOffice is not always compatible with MS Office documents.

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