Getting Microsoft Office on Linux is easy. This article covers three methods for running Microsoft’s Office software in a Linux environment.
The most widely used office productivity suite in the world is Microsoft Office. It doesn’t matter if your PC runs Windows 10 or macOS, it’s likely that you’re using Microsoft Office. If you’re not, you have a colleague who is.
But your PC runs Linux. How on earth are you going to install Microsoft Office on Linux, and use it without running into problems?
How to Install Microsoft Office on Linux
You have three ways to run Microsoft’s industry-defining office software on a Linux computer:
- Use Microsoft Office on the web in a Linux browser.
- Install Microsoft Office using PlayOnLinux.
- Use Microsoft Office in a Windows virtual machine.
Note that there is no Microsoft Office 365 for Linux. There is also no MS Office for Linux, but these methods let you run Microsoft Office on Linux, without the enhancements Office 365 brings.
Option 1: Use Microsoft Office in a Browser
It might not be the full Microsoft Office, but what is made available via your browser is certainly good enough for a big chunk of office-based tasks. It’s an easy way to get started without paying for the full Microsoft Office suite.
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook can all be accessed via your browser and Microsoft account.
Is your copy of Microsoft Office via monthly subscription to Office 365? Linux users can take advantage of the advanced browser-based tools that make this version of Office almost as complete as the Windows, Mac, and mobile versions.
As the suite is browser based, it’s not going to be available offline. However, you can make things smoother by setting office.live.com as a desktop shortcut. Files will be saved to the cloud, and the best way to manage this is with a Microsoft OneDrive account.
Without Office 365, you’ll get a stripped-back collection of features. Though useful in a pinch, it doesn’t do everything you expect.
Option 2: Install Microsoft Office Using PlayOnLinux
Need the full Microsoft Office on Linux? You’ll need to install it. Now, you probably think that it isn’t possible to install Windows software on Linux, and to a certain degree that is true. Fortunately, other tools are available to help you install Windows software like Microsoft Word on Linux, along with the rest of the office suite.
The simplest way to install Microsoft Office is using PlayOnLinux. The following instructions are for installing Office 365 on Ubuntu, but you’ll be able to customize this for distros that use different package managers.
Begin by opening a terminal window and installing winbind:
sudo apt install winbind
This is a tool that ensures that PlayOnLinux correctly links the Windows login on the software you’re attempting to install. You may also need to install cUrl and p7zip-full if they’re not already installed.
Next, install PlayOnLinux.
sudo apt install playonlinux
Alternatively, you can open your distro’s app installer. On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, use Ubuntu Software to search for PlayOnLinux and click Install. Wait for installation to complete.
Now, all you need to do is launch PlayOnLinux from Menu > Applications. To install Microsoft Office, click the Office tab, then either use the search field or browse the list. Note that you’ll need to install the full suite, as no individual apps (aside from Project 2010, and Word Viewer and Excel Viewer) are available.
You’ll notice that with each app you select in PlayOnLinux, a summary of compatibility is displayed on the right. For further details about this, click the link. A browser window will take you to WineHQ, where you can find out more.
On Linux you’re limited to Microsoft Office 2016 as the latest version (the 32-bit version, at best). For the best, most stable results, use Microsoft Office 2016 (method B). For this, you’ll need the installation media (or ISO file) or setup file, along with a genuine product key.
Install Microsoft Office on Ubuntu With PlayOnLinux
With the ISO file ready, click Install.
The PlayOnLinux Wizard will start and prompt you to select a DVD-ROM or a setup file. Choose the appropriate option, then Next. If you’re using a setup file, you’ll need to browse to where this is stored on your Linux system.
Click Next to proceed with the installation. Once complete, Microsoft Office will be ready to run on Linux.
You’ll be able to run Microsoft Office from the desktop without separately loading PlayOnLinux, which will run in the background.
Need a feature that is only available in the latest version of Microsoft Office? Consider CrossOver, a paid tool with a free trial that can run more recent versions of Microsoft Office.
Installation of CrossOver is more straightforward than PlayOnLinux, while installation of Office is along similar lines (there is a developmental connection between the two tools).
And yes, having Windows software running effortlessly on your Linux PC really is amazing, isn’t it? You’ll find that PlayOnLinux can support several other applications, as well as many Windows games.
Option 3: Install Microsoft Office 365 on Linux in a Windows VM
There is another option for anyone wishing to install Microsoft Office on their Linux computer. This isn’t as easy as the others, however, unless you’re already running a Windows virtual machine.
In this case, all you need to do is boot your virtual machine, sign into Windows, and install Microsoft Office. Linux users can install any version of Office this way, unlike using Wine/PlayOnLinux, which can be useful for file compatibility.
Get Microsoft Office for Linux Today!
Microsoft Office is not the most ideal option for running office tasks on Linux systems. However, if it’s what you need to get the job done, you have four good options to install MS Office on Linux.
Yes, open-source alternatives are best for most Linux office productivity tasks but installing Microsoft Office overcomes document compatibility problems. This can prove vital in meeting deadlines or accessing complex spreadsheets and databases.
Once you’ve sorted out installing Microsoft Office on Linux, don’t stop there. So much more Windows software can be installed on Linux, often without virtualization.
Want to switch to Linux but worried about losing your favorite apps? Check these Windows apps that still work on Linux!
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