If you’re not aware. Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer with ARM on a chip, which is roughly the same size as a credit card. It runs Linux (Raspbian) – a free operating system based on Debian – and has access to a large range of online resources.
Everyone’s heard of the Raspberry Pi, a computer board that costs just $25 and has 40 GPIO pins, a microSD card slot, two PS/2 ports, and a micro HDMI port. You may even have used one without knowing, since the board is used to control PiP products, such as talking lights or sensors. But what can you do with this little device? Well, you can use it to run a terminal, of course!
If you decide to use the Raspberry Pi as your primary desktop computer, one of the first things you’ll need is a decent desktop solution. Will Microsoft Office work on my Raspberry Pi? That is exactly what we are going to talk about in this article.
Microsoft Word does not run on the Raspberry Pi because it is designed for the x86 architecture (AMD and Intel processors), while the Raspberry Pi is ARM-based. Similarly, Microsoft Office exists on Windows and macOS, but there is no Linux version.
All is not lost, however, as I researched, tested and selected alternative options. I will inform you about these possibilities in this article.
Can I install Microsoft Word on my Raspberry Pi?
Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office in general cannot run on the Raspberry Pi because it runs on Linux with an ARM architecture. Microsoft software is not compiled to run on this device.
Problem with control system
The first problem is that Microsoft Office is a commercial product released for Windows and macOS. Since Raspberry Pi devices run 99% Linux, there is no way to buy it from Microsoft and install it on your Raspberry Pi.
Even if you have a Linux PC, there is no official way to run the program on Linux. Unfortunately, it’s the same problem for the Raspberry Pi operating system.
You can run Windows 10 on your Raspberry Pi (as described here), but the system runs slowly without doing anything. I don’t recommend adding heavy applications like Microsoft Office, even if it works (I haven’t tested it). Maybe new Raspberry Pi models and better optimization of Windows 10 for ARM will fix the situation, but we’re not there yet.
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The biggest problem is the architecture. If there was even one ingenious solution to installing Microsoft Word on a Raspberry Pi, I’d explain it to you. However, Microsoft Word (and Office in general) is designed to run on specific architectures, such as x86 and x64. Raspberry Pi devices have ARM processors, so this will not work.
When developers create large applications like Microsoft Office, they compile a lot of code to create a file that can run on most systems. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Raspberry Pi users in general. The code is often only compiled for Windows on Intel and AMD processors, and sometimes for Mac users.
As Apple builds new ARM-based products, we can expect better compatibility with the Raspberry Pi in the future, but it won’t be magic. It will always be difficult to run applications that developers have not created for the Raspberry Pi.
Can you run x86 programs on the Raspberry Pi?
I know what you’re thinking. There are ways to run some x86 programs on the Raspberry Pi. Wine, for example, is a tool that allows you to run Windows applications on Linux. It can be installed on a Raspberry Pi (Pi applications are the easiest way to do this) and can provide a solution to run some x86 programs on the Raspberry Pi operating system.
However, this tool has many limitations. Some small applications may work fine, but in general they tend to be much slower because the applications were not created with the Raspberry Pi’s specifications in mind. Also, large programs like Microsoft Office rarely work well with Wine. Even if an application seems to work fine, once you start using its features, you usually find a lot of errors.
Microsoft Office is a pretty heavy office package, and even if you find a version that works on the Raspberry Pi operating system, I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to work with it properly.
Alternative Word applications on the Raspberry Pi
The latest version of the Raspberry Pi operating system includes LibreOffice for free. No installation is required. This is one of only two word processing alternatives I’ve found that actually work on a Raspberry Pi computer.
If you currently use MS Word, you won’t have any problems with LibreOffice because they are very similar: the menu at the top of the screen and the icons that perform different actions below it. I have been using LibreOffice and its two predecessors OpenOffice and StarOffice for years. So it’s a solid alternative to Microsoft Word (on the Raspberry Pi, but also on PCs).
LibreOffice saves files in Open Document format (ODT for Writer files) or in MS Word DOCX format. It also saves PDF files via the button or menu item and EPUB files via the menu item.
You can find the full documentation here if you need tips on how to change your habits with Word.
Abiword is available in the Raspberry Pi repository and can be installed using the Add/Remove Software tool or with the command:
sudo apt install abiword
This will download and install Abiword on your Raspberry Pi computer. This creates a new option in the Start menu called Office. When you click on this option, another option called Abiword appears.
A click on it launches the application :
This program downloads your files and saves them in different formats like DOCX, ODT and others.
In addition to the word processor Abiword, there is also a spreadsheet program that is installed with the command:
sudo apt install gnumeric
This creates two new options in the Office menu:
- Gnumeric is a spreadsheet that can be used as an alternative to Microsoft Excel on the Raspberry Pi.
- Document Viewer can open many types of documents, including PDFs.
Documentation is available here if needed.
Online alternatives for Word that you can use on your Raspberry Pi
But there are other options on the Internet today that may be a better choice, especially if you need to collaborate with other people who use Windows.
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Office 365 is a cloud-based office suite created by Microsoft and accessed online through a browser at Office.com. You will need to create an account, after which you will have access to the full equivalent of Microsoft Office online.
Note that Office 365 is not a free product like the previous two options. At the time of writing, the family version (for 2-6 people) costs about $100 per year and the personal version (for 1 person) costs $70 per year.
So this is the best option if you are used to Microsoft Word and cannot switch to another application but have to pay for it. It’s not very expensive, but all other options are free.
Finally, Google Doc is a free online editing tool that allows you to create and share documents. On this page you will find several templates to help you create your documents. The format is very different from Word, but you can do the same things as in Microsoft Office :
- Google Doc replaces Microsoft Word.
- Google Spreadsheet for Excel documents.
- Google Slides for PowerPoint presentations.
If you have a Gmail account, you can try this solution for free. Just go to your Google Drive folder and create new documents. You get 15GB of storage for free, and if you need more, you can use premium plans (for a few dollars a month, you can expand your storage).
By the way, you can even connect your Google Drive to your Raspberry Pi using a tool like RClone. It will be like working with local files :).
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use Microsoft Word on Raspberry Pi?
Yes, Microsoft Word is available for Raspberry Pi.
How do I install Word on Raspberry Pi?
There are two ways to install Word on Raspberry Pi: 1. Download the Word installer from the Microsoft website 2. Download the Word installer from the Raspberry Pi website 1. Download the Word installer from the Microsoft website a) Download the Word installer from the Microsoft website b) Open the zip file and extract the Word installer to a folder on your computer c) Open the extracted folder and run the Word installer d) Follow the on-screen instructions to install Word on your Raspberry Pi 2. Download the Word installer from the Raspberry Pi website a) Download the Word installer from the Raspberry Pi website b) Open the zip file and extract the Word installer to a folder on your computer c) Open the extracted folder and run the Word installer d) Follow the on-screen instructions to install Word on your Raspberry Pi
Can we use MS Office in Raspberry Pi 4?
Yes, you can use MS Office in Raspberry Pi 4. Can I use MS Office in Raspberry Pi 4? Yes, you can use MS Office in Raspberry Pi 4. Can I use MS Office in Raspberry Pi
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