How to Install FreeOffice on Linux Mint 21/20

When it comes to productivity software suites, you may think of giants like Microsoft Office or open-source champions such as LibreOffice. However, for Linux Mint users, there’s a compelling alternative that’s free, feature-packed, and fully compatible with both of the aforementioned suites: FreeOffice.

FreeOffice is a versatile office suite from SoftMaker that gives you the freedom to create, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with ease. It’s a robust alternative to other popular software, and here’s why it may be the best choice for Linux Mint users:

Compatibility and Ease of Use

  • Document Compatibility: FreeOffice ensures seamless compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats. You can open, edit, and save .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx files without worrying about formatting issues.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The FreeOffice suite offers a familiar, intuitive interface, making it easy for users migrating from other popular office suites.
  • Customizable Appearance: You can switch between classic menus and modern ribbon interfaces according to your comfort and preference.

Performance and Flexibility

  • Lightweight and Fast: Unlike some of the heavyweight alternatives, FreeOffice is lightweight and fast. It won’t slow down your Linux Mint machine, ensuring smooth and efficient performance.
  • Language Support: FreeOffice supports a vast array of languages, making it an excellent choice for international users.
  • Cross-platform Availability: FreeOffice isn’t limited to Linux; it’s available for Windows and MacOS as well. This makes it a great choice for users who work across multiple platforms.

Moreover, FreeOffice is committed to keeping your data secure and private. It doesn’t rely on the cloud unless you want it to, allowing you to maintain control over your sensitive documents.

Given these compelling reasons, Linux Mint users have a strong incentive to choose FreeOffice over other alternatives. It combines compatibility, ease of use, and performance, all while respecting your privacy and providing the flexibility that modern users need.

To help you experience these benefits firsthand, the following guide will demonstrate how to install FreeOffice on Linux Mint 21 or Linux Mint 20.

Section 1: Install FreeOffice with SoftMaker Repository

Before we dive into the installation of FreeOffice on your Linux Mint system, it’s essential to understand that we’ll be using the APT repository method for this process. This method ensures that your installed version of FreeOffice is up-to-date. Alternatively, you could use Flatpak or Snapcraft versions if you prefer working with the absolute latest releases. Now, let’s get started!

Step 1: Updating Your Linux Mint System

To ensure a smooth and successful installation of FreeOffice, it’s crucial to start with an up-to-date system. This ensures all the existing software packages on your system are the latest versions, reducing the chances of software conflicts or compatibility issues. Here’s how you can update your system:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

The sudo apt update command fetches the package lists from the repositories and “updates” them to get information on the newest versions of packages and their dependencies. Following this, sudo apt upgrade will then upgrade all the packages on your Linux Mint system to their latest versions.

Step 2: Preparing for FreeOffice Repository Import

In this step, we are going to prepare our system to import the FreeOffice repository. This includes installing some necessary packages and importing the GPG key needed to verify the authenticity of the packages we’ll install from the FreeOffice repository.

First, let’s install the required packages. Here’s the command:

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

This command installs several packages that are required for managing repositories and secure package downloads. The -y option is used to automatically answer ‘yes’ to the prompts and run non-interactively.

Next, we’ll import the GPG key. The GPG key is essential because it ensures that the packages we are installing are authentic and not tampered with. You can do this with the following command:

curl -fsSL | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/softmaker.gpg > /dev/null

After we’ve securely obtained the key, we can add the FreeOffice APT repository to our system. We’ll do this with the following command:

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

With this command, we’re telling our system where to find the FreeOffice software and ensuring that any packages we install from this repository are signed with the key we just imported.

Step 3: Updating the Package Index

Now that we’ve added the FreeOffice repository to our system, we need to update our package lists again. This ensures that our system knows about the new packages that are available from the repository we just added. Here’s the command to do this:

sudo apt update

Step 4: Installing FreeOffice

We’re now ready to install FreeOffice! After the careful preparation steps, this is straightforward. Here’s the command to install FreeOffice:

sudo apt install softmaker-freeoffice-2021

Section 2: Exploring Ways to Launch FreeOffice

Having successfully installed FreeOffice on your Linux Mint system, you’re now ready to start using this powerful productivity suite. There are two main methods to launch FreeOffice: via the Command-Line Interface (CLI) or the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Both methods are effective; the choice between them primarily depends on your comfort level and preferences.

Method 1: Launching FreeOffice via the Command-Line Interface (CLI)

Launching FreeOffice via the CLI can be a quick and efficient method, especially if you’re already working in a terminal. Each component of the FreeOffice suite has a specific command to start it. Here are the respective commands:

To start TextMaker (the word processing component), use the following:


For PlanMaker (the spreadsheet component), the command is:


And to launch Presentations (the presentation component), use:


Please note that these commands assume that FreeOffice 2018 is the version you’ve installed. If you’ve installed a different version, replace ‘2018’ in the command with the year of your installed version.

Method 2: Launching FreeOffice via the Graphical User Interface (GUI)

If you prefer using a graphical interface, you can launch FreeOffice using its application icon. This method might be more familiar if you’ve previously used other desktop environments or operating systems.

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

Taskbar > Office > FreeOffice {TextMaker, Presentations, PlanMaker}

This path takes you to the ‘Office’ category, where you’ll see separate icons for TextMaker, PlanMaker, and Presentations under the FreeOffice suite. Click the desired component to launch it.

Example of FreeOffice application icons on the Linux Mint taskbar:

Section 3: Getting Started Tips for FreeOffice with Linux Mint

Congratulations on successfully installing FreeOffice on your Linux Mint system! To help you get the most out of this productivity suite, here are some tips and tricks to enhance your experience. We’ll focus on general tips and customization options and then delve into specific tips for the different components: TextMaker, Presentations, and PlanMaker.

General Tips and Customizations

  • Explore the Interface: The first step in getting comfortable with FreeOffice is to explore its user interface. You’ll find it remarkably similar to other popular office suites, which is by design to facilitate a smooth transition for users.
  • Customize the Ribbon: The ribbon, located at the top of the FreeOffice applications, provides quick access to various features and commands. You can customize it to suit your work style. Right-click on the ribbon and select Customize Ribbon to add, remove, or rearrange commands.
  • Set Default File Format: If you’re collaborating with users of other office suites (like Microsoft Office), it can be useful to set your default file format to .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx. You can do this via File > Options > Files > Default File Formats.

Tips for TextMaker

  • Use Templates: TextMaker offers a variety of pre-designed templates for different kinds of documents. Using templates can save you time and provide a professional look to your documents. You can access these via File > New > New from template.
  • Master Styles: Styles in TextMaker allow you to quickly format your text. Master the use of styles to increase your efficiency and ensure consistency across your document. You can manage styles via the Styles pane on the right.
  • Utilize the Sidebar: The Sidebar in TextMaker provides quick access to several features like formatting options, navigation, and more. You can show or hide it via View > Sidebar.

Example FreeOffice Text Maker on Linux Mint:

Tips for Presentations

  • Leverage Master Slides: Master slides determine the look of your entire presentation. Customize your master slides to maintain a consistent design throughout your presentation. Access these via View > Master > Slide Master.
  • Use Slide Layouts: Slide layouts provide a predefined structure for your slides. Utilize them to quickly create professional-looking slides. You can select slide layouts from the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  • Animate Objects: Presentations allows you to animate objects (like text boxes and images) to make your presentation more engaging. You can do this via Animations > Add Animation.

Example FreeOffice Presentations on Linux Mint:

Tips for PlanMaker

  • Apply Cell Styles: Cell styles can give your spreadsheet a consistent and professional look. Use the Format > Cell Style command to apply predefined styles.
  • Use Conditional Formatting: Conditional formatting can highlight important data in your spreadsheet. You can access this feature via Format > Conditional Formatting.
  • Work with Functions: Functions can perform calculations, manipulate text, and more. Mastering functions can significantly enhance your productivity. Use the Insert > Function command to explore available functions.

Example FreeOffice PlanMaker on Linux Mint:

Section 4: Managing FreeOffice on Linux Mint

Getting comfortable with any new software involves understanding not just how to use it, but also how to manage it effectively. In this section, we’ll walk you through the essential management tasks related to FreeOffice on Linux Mint, including updating the software, and if necessary, uninstalling it.

Updating FreeOffice

Ensuring you’re running the latest version of FreeOffice is critical for enjoying new features, improvements, and essential security patches. Linux Mint, like most Linux distributions, uses package managers to manage installed software, including updates.

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

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

The first command, sudo apt update, updates your system’s package list by fetching information about available packages and their versions from the configured repositories. Remember, sudo is used to run commands with administrative privileges, which is necessary for managing system-wide software.

The second command, sudo apt upgrade, upgrades all upgradable packages on your system. If a newer version of FreeOffice is available in the repositories, this command will upgrade it.

Uninstalling FreeOffice

If for any reason you wish to uninstall FreeOffice, Linux Mint makes it straightforward. You can remove the FreeOffice suite using the following command:

sudo apt remove softmaker-freeoffice-2021

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

After removing FreeOffice, you might also want to remove the repository from which it was installed. This is good housekeeping practice and ensures your system’s repository list remains clean and manageable. To remove the FreeOffice repository, run the following command:

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

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

If you no longer need the GPG key used for verifying the integrity of the packages from this repository, you can safely remove it too. Here’s the command to do that:

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

This action removes the softmaker.gpg keyring from the /usr/share/keyrings/ directory, which houses keyrings for package verification.

Final Thoughts on Installing FreeOffice on Linux Mint

Our journey through the process of installing and managing FreeOffice on Linux Mint has been quite comprehensive. We started with a thorough introduction to FreeOffice, its unique features, and its advantages for Linux Mint users. We then delved into the installation process, ensuring that every step was well-explained, from updating your system, importing the FreeOffice repository, and installing the software. We discussed various ways to launch FreeOffice and shared valuable tips for starting with TextMaker, PlanMaker, and Presentations. Finally, we covered essential management tasks, including updating and uninstalling FreeOffice. We hope you found this guide instructive and that it will assist you in making the most out of FreeOffice on your Linux Mint system.

Additional Resources and Links

To further expand your understanding and to assist in troubleshooting any potential issues, we’ve gathered some official resources related to FreeOffice and Linux Mint:

  • FreeOffice Official Website: This is the official website of FreeOffice. It’s a treasure trove of information, offering details about features, updates, and more.
  • Linux Mint Documentation: The official Linux Mint documentation provides a wealth of information about managing your Linux Mint system, including software management.

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