How to Run Microsoft Word on Linux


In the great operating system competition, Microsoft holds the lead, not only in operating systems but in office software -- specifically, with Microsoft Word. However, alternatives to both are available -- Linux is a free operating system that runs on almost any architecture, and Open Office is an alternative to Microsoft Office.

Many users might switch to Linux but still want to use Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word does not run natively on Linux; however, you can do a few things to have it run on your Linux system.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Office installation CD
  • Microsoft Windows installation CD (if using VirtualBox)

Using Wine

  • Download and install Wine ( Wine is a free, open-source application that enables you to run Windows applications on Linux. From the "Downloads" page, choose your particular Linux distribution and follow the instructions to install Wine. For example, in Ubuntu, you can install Wine by typing in a terminal:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa

    followed by:

    sudo apt-get update

    You can then type the following to install Wine:

    sudo apt-get install wine1.3

  • Install Word just as you would an application in Windows -- insert the installation disc, and double-click the "setup.exe" file. Alternatively, you can run it from the terminal. Navigate to the disc directory, and type:

    wine setup.exe

  • Follow the installer's on-screen instructions to install Word as you normally would. Word will now run within Wine in your Linux installation, just by double-clicking the file icon.

Using VirtualBox

  • Download and install VirtualBox ( VirtualBox is a free application that installs a "virtual computer" inside your operating system. Installation is pretty straightforward; download the version/package appropriate to your operating system, and install according to your distribution's normal procedures.

  • Install Windows onto your virtual computer just as you would onto a regular machine. Insert the Windows installation disc into your drive, and start the virtual machine. The virtual machine will recognize your drive and install Windows onto the virtual drive just as it would onto an actual drive. You now have a working copy of Windows running inside of your Linux installation.

  • Insert the Microsoft Office installation CD into your drive while the Windows virtual machine is running. Double-click setup.exe in the CD directory, and install Microsoft Word as normal. It will now be installed on your virtual machine and can be run and executed normally.


  • VirtualBox User Manual; Oracle Corp; 2011
  • Wine Wiki
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