Make OpenOffice Writer Look and Function More Like Microsoft Word

580060 Make OpenOffice Writer Look and Function More Like Microsoft Word

OpenOffice Writer and Microsoft Word are two of the most popular word processing software. While they share many similarities, there are some key differences in features and functionality. Here are tips to make OpenOffice Writer look and work more like Microsoft Word.

Customize the User Interface

The default user interface (UI) in OpenOffice Writer is different from Microsoft Word. Here’s how to customize it:

Enable the Ribbon UI

Microsoft Word uses a Ribbon UI with tabs for Home, Insert, Layout, References etc. To enable this in OpenOffice Writer:

  1. Go to View > User Interface
  2. Select Tabbed UI

This will display a Ribbon-style UI with familiar tabs.

Show the Ruler Bar

The ruler bar in Microsoft Word shows tabs, indents and other paragraph formatting. To enable this in Writer:

  1. Go to View > Ruler

Display the Sidebar

The Microsoft Word sidebar shows document properties, styles, gallery etc. To enable this in Writer:

  1. Go to View > Sidebar

Set Keyboard Shortcuts

The default keyboard shortcuts are different in both software. Here’s how to set Microsoft Word shortcuts in OpenOffice Writer:

  1. Go to Tools > Customize
  2. Switch to the Keyboard tab
  3. Select Microsoft Word from the Load/Save dropdown
  4. Click Load to apply the keyboard scheme

Some common shortcuts like Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V for copy/paste will now work.

Enable Compatibility Features

OpenOffice Writer supports Microsoft Word formats but may lack full compatibility. Enable these options for better compatibility:

  1. Go to Tools > Options > Load/Save > Microsoft Office
  2. Check Use Microsoft Word
  3. Select all options under Microsoft Word Compatibility Mode

This will improve compatibility when opening/saving .doc/.docx files.

Install Additional Templates

Microsoft Word has more templates available than OpenOffice Writer. You can install free templates to add more options:

  1. Download template packs from sites like OpenOfficeTemplates
  2. Double click on the .OXT files to install them

Use the Styles and Formatting Pane

Microsoft Word allows applying styles through the Styles pane. To enable this in Writer:

  1. Go to Format > Styles and Formatting or press F11
  2. Start typing text and double click on styles to apply them

Set Default Font and Paragraph Styles

The default fonts and spacing may be different in both software. To match Microsoft Word’s defaults:

  1. Go to Tools > Options > OpenOffice Writer > Basic Fonts
  2. Set font to Calibri 11 pt
  3. Set default paragraph style spacing to single, 0 pt before/after


With some customization and add-ons, OpenOffice Writer can be made to look and work a lot more similar to Microsoft Word. The tips mentioned above help you change the interface, keyboard shortcuts, templates and styles to provide a more familiar user experience. While some advanced features may still be lacking, OpenOffice Writer becomes highly usable for basic documents.

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