The way to Set up Microsoft Workplace on Linux

Getting Microsoft Office on Linux is easy. This article covers three methods of running Microsoft Office software in a Linux environment.

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. You are probably using Microsoft Office. If you are not, you have a colleague who is.

However, Linux is running on your PC. How on earth are you going to install and use Microsoft Office without encountering any problems?

How to install Microsoft Office on Linux

There are three ways you can run Microsoft's industry-defining Office software on a Linux computer:

  1. Use Microsoft Office on the web in a Linux browser.

  2. Install Microsoft Office with PlayOnLinux.

  3. Use Microsoft Office in a Windows virtual machine.

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a closer look at how Office runs on Linux.

Option 1: Use Microsoft Office Online in a browser

It may not be the full Microsoft Office, but what is exposed through your browser is certainly good enough for a large portion of Office-based tasks. It's an easy way to do it without paying for the entire Microsoft Office suite.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook can be accessed through your browser and Microsoft account.

Does your copy of Microsoft Office have a monthly subscription to Office 365? In this case you also have access to the browser-based tools. This is a simple option that offers productivity advantages over competing Google Docs.

Because the 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 it is, this isn't the full Microsoft Office. It's just a browser-based alternative with a reduced collection of features. While useful in a pinch, it doesn't do what you'd expect.

Option 2: Install Microsoft Office with PlayOnLinux

Do you need the full Microsoft Office on Linux? You need to install it. You are probably thinking that installing Windows software on Linux is not possible, and to some extent it is. Fortunately, there are other tools available to help you install Windows software like Microsoft Word on Linux, as well as the rest of the Office suite.

The easiest way to install Microsoft Office is to use PlayOnLinux. The following instructions are for Ubuntu. However, you can adapt these for distributions that use different package managers.

Install PlayOnLinux

First, open a terminal window and install winbind:

sudo apt install winbind

This is a tool that ensures that PlayOnLinux correctly links the Windows logon in the software you are trying to install. You may also need to install cUrl and p7zip-full if they are not already installed.

Next, install PlayOnLinux.

sudo apt install playonlinux

Alternatively, you can open your distribution's app installer. On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, use Ubuntu software to search for PlayOnLinux and click on To install. Wait for the installation to finish.

Now all you have to do is start PlayOnLinux from Menu> Applications. To install Microsoft Office, click the Office tab, then either use the search box or browse the list. Note that you'll need to install the entire suite as no individual apps (other than Project 2010 and Word Viewer and Excel Viewer) are available.

You will find that with each app you select in PlayOnLinux, a compatibility summary is displayed on the right. Click the link for more details. A browser window will take you to WineHQ where you can learn more.

On Linux, you're limited to Microsoft Office 2016 as the latest version (32-bit version at best). Use for the best, most stable results Microsoft Office 2016 (Method B). To do this, you need the installation medium (or the ISO file) or the setup file as well as an original product key.

Install Microsoft Office on Ubuntu with PlayOnLinux

With the ISO file ready, click on To install.

The PlayOnLinux wizard will start and ask you to select a DVD-ROM or a setup file. Then select the appropriate option Next. If you're using a setup file, you'll need to look for the location on your Linux system.

click Next to continue with the installation. After the process is complete, Microsoft Office can be run on Linux.

You can run Microsoft Office from the desktop without loading PlayOnLinux separately, which is running in the background.

Do you need a feature that is only available in the latest version of Microsoft Office? Consider CrossOver, a paid tool with a free trial that can run newer versions of Microsoft Office.

Installing CrossOver is easier than installing PlayOnLinux, while installing Office is similar (there is a development link between the two tools).

And yes, it's really amazing that Windows software runs effortlessly on your Linux PC, isn't it? You will find that PlayOnLinux can support several other applications as well as many Windows games.

Option 3: Install Microsoft Office 365 in a VM

There is one more option for anyone looking 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.

Related Topics: Setting Up a Windows Virtual Machine on Linux

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

Get Microsoft Office on Linux today!

Microsoft Office is not the ideal option for performing Office tasks on Linux systems. However, when you need to get the job done, you have four great ways to install MS Office on Linux.

Yes, open source alternatives are best for most Linux Office productivity tasks. However, installing Microsoft Office fixes document compatibility issues. This can prove important in meeting deadlines or accessing complex spreadsheets and databases.

Once you've finished installing Microsoft Office on Linux, don't stop here. So much more Windows software can be installed on Linux, often without virtualization.

Can you run it on Linux? 11 Windows apps that work on Linux

Do you want to switch to Linux but are afraid of losing your favorite apps? Check out these Windows apps that still work on Linux!

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About the author

Christian Cawley
(1463 articles published)

Deputy Editor for Security, Linux, DIY, Programming and Technology explains. He also produces The Really Useful Podcast and has extensive desktop and software support experience.

Christian is a contributor to Linux Format Magazine. He's a Raspberry Pi hobbyist, Lego lover, and retro gaming fan.

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By Christian Cawley

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