How to Install FreeOffice on Debian 11/10

FreeOffice is a free, open-source office suite with a word processor, spreadsheet application, and presentation program. The suite is compatible with Microsoft Office, making it an ideal choice for users who want an alternative to expensive proprietary software. FreeOffice offers all the features of a mainstream office suite, including support for complex documents, multimedia elements, and more.

The following tutorial will teach you how to easily install the office suite using the command line terminal on Debian Bullseye, Buster, and Sid with the SoftMaker repository for users seeking an alternative suite to other well-known suites such as LibreOffice that is well featured on many Linux distributions.

Important Notice

The following tutorial was done with a Debian 11 Bullseye release and example images taken, but it was tested on Debian Buster and Sid. In the future, if Debian makes any changes to break the tutorial for one of the distribution versions, please place a comment for me to investigate so I can update the tutorial.

Recommended Steps Before Installation

Before proceeding with the tutorial, ensuring your system is up-to-date with all existing packages is good.

sudo apt update

Optionally, you can list the updates for users who require review or are curious.

sudo apt --list upgradable

Proceed to upgrade any outdated packages using the following command.

sudo apt upgrade

Installing FreeOffice Suite

The first and easiest method is to install FreeOffice using the source APT repository.

First, install the required packages.

sudo apt install dirmngr ca-certificates software-properties-common gnupg gnupg2 apt-transport-https curl -y

Next, import the GPG key required to verify the authenticity of the packages as follows.

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

Now import the APT repository using the following command.

echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/softmaker.gpg] stable non-free' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/softmaker.list

Run a quick APT update to reflect the newly added APT source.

sudo apt update

Lastly, install FreeOffice using the following command.

sudo apt install softmaker-freeoffice-2021 -y

How to Launch FreeOffice

Now, the best method to launch FreeOffice is using the application icon.

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


Alternatively, you may want to use it for applications quite frequently. Right-click the icon and add it to favorites, making the icons appear on the taskbar.

The first time you open any FreeOffice applications, you will be prompted to select a theme. This user choice has multiple light and dark theme options with icons.


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

Example FreeOffice Text Maker:

Example FreeOffice Presentations:

Example FreeOffice PlanMaker:

How to Update FreeOffice

Next are the commands to run in your terminal to check for updates. These commands will blanket-check all installed packages on your system that match the installation package manager. Ideally, you should run this regardless, even if auto-updates are set up to ensure your system is up-to-date, and no update errors occur for newer users.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

How to Remove FreeOffice

First, remove the office suite using the following command for users who no longer wish to install FreeOffice.

sudo apt autoremove softmaker-freeoffice-2021 --purge

Users that will no longer require the APT import repository since you will not use it again can safely remove it, which is good housekeeping and security best practices.

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

Optionally, you can remove the GPG as well with the following command.

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

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