There is no doubt that the Microsoft Office is one of the most used office-suites out there. It does almost every necessary task that one expects from an office suite. Over 1 billion people including businesses use Microsoft Office (Word, Excel & PowerPoint) which is 1 out of every 7 people on the planet. MS Office is known for its highly useful and professional functionalities as well as very high price. Yes, it’s very costly for an individual to buy.
I have found few free alternatives to this awesome software. These alternative office suites are less known yet provide tough competition to the Microsoft Office Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Each of the Microsoft alternatives mentioned here can open, edit and save to the MS Office 2007, 2010, 2013 & 2016 file formats.
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Top 5 Free Alternatives to MicroSoft Office
To write this article, I have tried many office software; some worked out well and some didn’t. I am listing out top 5 free and open-source office suites that worked for me as per my expectations.
I will rank LibreOffice on the top of the list. Its feature-rich and easy-to-use interface tosses it away from the crowd.
LibreOffice is completely free, works offline unlike Google Docs and available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. When you install the LibreOffice, it gets installed with the 6 separate office programs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Base, Math and Draw. Writer is similar to MS Word, Calc is similar to MS Excel, Impress is similar to MS Powerpoint and Base is similar to MS Access which is used for creating and managing databases. Math is used for creating mathematical formulas & expressions while Draw is used as a vector drawing application.
LibreOffice includes all the basic features that one seeks in an office suite. It includes some advanced features like tabbed document editing, inbuilt PDF & ePub conversion, hundreds of fonts and document signature & encryption.
Available Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Download Size: 250 MB (Approx.)
|Download LibreOffice (FREE)|
As part of Microsoft Office alternative tool, OpenOffice has a spreadsheet, word processor, presentation, database and a graphics program.
OpenOffice supports Windows (Vista, XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10), Linux and Mac as well. It lets you open, edit and save files in the popular formats like DOC, DOCX, ODT, XML, PPT, PPTX, PPS, XLS, XLW, DBF, CSV etc. While you install the office, it gives you an option to decide to install some or all of the OpenOffice programs.
Using this also you can convert your documents to PDF directly without any third party software unlike earlier versions of Microsoft office.
OpenOffice offers a portable version which you can use without even installing to your system. This portable version is 40MB larger than the regular version.
Supported Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Download Size: 150 MB (Approx.)
|Download OpenOffice (FREE)|
3. WPS Office
WPS stands for Writer Spreadsheets & Presentation which are similar to MS Word, Excel & Powerpoint respectively.
WPS Office suite is offered by Kingsoft Office which is a HongKong based software company. It comes with the almost every feature that you need in an office suite. There are some really useful features like inbuilt PDF conversion unlike earlier versions of MS Office, document encryption, signature and tabbed document editing. It supports Android mobile devices too.
WPS Office can open almost all the different document file formats including Microsoft standard file formats. The only con I see in the WPS Office suite is that the free version is ad-supported and shows some ads which you can remove for 30 minutes by watching an ad video.
WPS offers another non-free version of the Office suite which does not show ads but you have to pay few bucks in order to get that downloaded.
Supported Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
Download Size: 80 MB (Approx.)
4. Google Docs
Google Docs is one of the best free alternatives of MS suite. Although Google offers hundreds of services; there are 3 main services in comparison with the Microsoft office suite & which are Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Google Docs is completely free, it does not charge you a single penny in any form. It comes second in popularity after Microsoft Office. Generally, Google Docs refers to the suite of all three office apps (Docs, Sheets & Slides) but Google Docs is also the name of the Word processing app in the suite.
In order to use Google Docs, you don’t need to install any software on your computer. It works in the internet browser itself and supports voice typing too. Yes, it does. The only downside I see is that you have to be online in order to use Google Docs.
You can even create collaborative documents having editors from remote locations using Google Docs but all the editors need to be online in order to create the document. Editors can make comment to any part of the document which other editors can see easily and editors can have chat within the app itself.
It is fully compatible with the Microsoft office too, you can import and export the MS Office file formats like DOCX, XLSX & PPTX. Google Docs has hundreds of free fonts that you can use from Google Web Fonts.
Created documents can be saved in the Google Drive which offers 15 GB of free cloud storage. Surprisingly, up to 50 users can collaborate on a document simultaneously. You need not worry about losing the data if suddenly internet goes down, it automatically syncs up as soon you reconnect to the internet and come online.
Supported Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac, Android
Download Size: No Download Needed
|Use Google Docs Online (FREE)|
5. Zoho Office
Zoho Office is another online office suite which includes a word processor, presentation maker and spreadsheet program very much feels like Microsoft office.
You can sync your documents from your Windows, Mac and Linux computers to the cloud and vice-versa without any kind of difficulty. The free version is for teams up to 25 members and it offers 5GB cloud storage per user. You don’t need to worry about saving your file while working, it automatically saves and syncs files with the cloud.
All the common text formatting tools are available in this office suite. You can upload different documents of different file formats to Zoho cloud from your computer as well as you can imports files from your Google Drive too.
Supported Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac
Download Size: 80 MB (Approx.)
|Download Zoho Office (FREE)|
Which one is good for you?
I personally use LibreOffice on a regular basis as desktop office client and Google Docs for creating online collaborative documents. I’m a huge fan of Google Sheets.
After these being said, what works brilliantly for me may not work for you. So, choose your office suite as per your needs.
For any further queries, leave a comment.