How to Install and Use Microsoft Office on Linux

By | March 1, 2022

The most widely used office productivity suite in the world is Microsoft Office. It doesn’t matter if your PC is running Windows 10 or macOS, chances are you’re using Microsoft Office.

But your PC is running Linux. How do you install Microsoft Office, and use it without any problems?

You have three immediate options, which we will look at in turn.

How to Install Microsoft Office on Linux

You have three ways to run Microsoft’s industry-defining office software on a Linux computer:

  • Use Office Online in a browser.
  • Install Microsoft Office using PlayOnLinux.
  • Use Microsoft Office in a Windows virtual machine.

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see one by one.

1: Use Microsoft Office Online in the Browser

It may not be full Microsoft Office, but what it provides through your browser is certainly good enough for most office-based tasks. It’s an easy way to get started without paying for the full Microsoft Office suite.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook are all accessible through your browser and Microsoft account.

Is your copy of Microsoft Office through a monthly subscription to Office 365? If so, you’ll also have access to browser-based tools. It’s an easy option that provides some productivity benefits that rival Google Docs or Sheets.

Since this suite is browser based, it will not be available offline. However, you can make things smoother by setting office.live.com as your desktop shortcut.

As useful as this is, it’s not a full-fledged Microsoft Office. It’s just a browser-based alternative with a stripped-down feature collection. While useful in a pinch, it doesn’t do everything you might expect.

2: Install Microsoft Office Using PlayOnLinux

You can install Microsoft Office using Wine and PlayOnLinux. The following instructions are for Ubuntu, but you will be able to adapt these for distros that use different package managers.

Installing Wine and PlayOnLinux

Start by opening a terminal window and entering:

sudo apt install wine

Next, add the public key for the PlayOnLinux software running with Wine:

wget -q “http://deb.playonlinux.com/public.gpg” -O- | sudo apt-key add –

Follow this by adding the PPA information to the package manager:

sudo wget http://deb.playonlinux.com/playonlinux_precise.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list

Next, update and then install PlayOnLinux:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install playonlinux

Notes: If you want “easy” you can install Wine and PlayOnLinux through the software center.
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Now, all you need to do is launch PlayOnLinux from Menu > Applications. Here, click on the Office tab, then select the appropriate Microsoft Office option.

However, with PlayOnLinux, you are limited to Microsoft Office 2013 as the latest version (32-bit version, at best). For best, most stable results, use Microsoft Office 2010. For this, you will need a disc (or ISO file) and an original key.

You’ll find the official download at microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/office, where you’ll need to enter your product key before you can download the suite.

Installing Microsoft Office on Ubuntu with PlayOnLinux

So, PlayOnLinux is ready. You have the right version of Microsoft Office. All that is required now is to install Microsoft Office.

PlayOnLinux will ask you to select a DVD-ROM or setup file. Select the appropriate option, then Next. If you are using setup files, you should explore them.

Clicking Next will continue with the installation, and once this is done, you will be ready to use Microsoft Office 2010. This is the latest version that can be installed without any issues, although there are beta scripts for Microsoft Office 2013 and 2016 .

Microsoft Office will run from the desktop without loading PlayOnLinux separately (though it will run in the background).

If for some reason PlayOnLinux isn’t working for you, you might as well consider CrossOver. It is a paid tool with a free trial and can run newer versions of Microsoft Office. At the time of writing Office 2016 is not fully supported by PlayOnLinux/Wine but runs on CrossOver.

CrossOver installation is easier than PlayOnLinux, while Office installation is in line that way (there is a development connection between the two tools.

And yes, running Windows software effortlessly on your Linux PC is really awesome, isn’t it? You will find that PlayOnLinux can support several other applications, as well as many Windows games.

3: Install Microsoft Office 365 on a Virtual Machine

There is another option for anyone who wants to install Microsoft Office on their Linux computer. However, this is not as easy as the others, unless you are already running a Windows virtual machine.

In this case, all you need to do is boot your virtual machine, log into Windows, and install Microsoft Office. This will prove very useful if you want to install Office 365, as it cannot be installed on Linux.

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