While Microsoft Office is still the ubiquitous choice for word processing, slideshow presentations, spreadsheet calculations and many more digital tasks, there are still plenty of free alternatives. Avoid freeware full of advertisements and check out these free productivity suites.
Microsoft Office mainly consists of Microsoft Word for documents, Microsoft PowerPoint for presentations and Microsoft Excel for spreadsheets. Microsoft Office is available through a Microsoft 365 subscription that costs $ 69.99 / year, or $ 6.99 / month for a single account. Family accounts with up to six users run slightly higher at $ 99.99 / year or $ 9.99 / month. You can also just download one of these beautiful suites for free and get productive right away.
LibreOffice: Open-Source Desktop Apps
Like the best free software, LibreOffice is an open source project from The Document Foundation that was originally part of another Office -Alternatively, OpenOffice. LibreOffice can be downloaded for free for personal use on Windows, Mac and Linux. Please note that LibreOffice, as an open source application, does not provide its own support or assistance.
Larger companies seeking to use this alternative may wish to investigate professional support from approved third parties before engaging LibreOffice at the enterprise level. While companies can save by paying for reliable solutions, many governments around the world choose LibreOffice to escape Microsoft's expensive business deals.
LibreOffice Writer, Calc and Impress are the main offering corresponding to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint respectively. These tools are also available online through web-based versions called LibreOffice Online. As above, these tools are largely intended for personal use, although companies can enable them with appropriate support. LibreOffice also offers open source applications for image editing (Draw), formulas (Math) and database management (Base). You can get started by downloading the LibreOffice suite for free from the website.
Google Drive: Google web-based work apps
Google Drive is one of the most popular free alternatives to Microsoft Office because it comes from one of Microsoft's biggest competitors. Google offers completely free service and support for a wide variety of applications similar to those in Microsoft Office. Popular easy-to-use apps like Google Docs, Slides, Spreadsheets, and Drawings are all available for free.
All of these apps use Google's cloud storage service, Google Drive. In addition to these primary G Suite apps, Google offers apps such as Forms and Classroom that can meet unique needs such as those of educators. A host of third-party tools, such as Zoho, LucidChart, Slack and more, offer native integration with Google's many apps.
If your productivity suite is completely cloud-based, it provides additional security because it is more difficult to store your files. While companies may have to pay Google a modest amount for enterprise-level support, Google's productivity suite is an excellent free choice for any personal endeavor. Get started today by creating a free Google account. If you want to upgrade your apps or use them professionally, you can explore Google's G Suite service, which comes with more storage space, features and support.
iWork: Not Just for Mac Users More
If you own a Mac, you may already be familiar with Apple's own productivity suite, iWork. It offers alternatives to the major Microsoft Office apps: Pages (Word), Numbers (Excel) and Keynote (PowerPoint).
While these apps were previously exclusive to Macs, now everyone can access them for free via iCloud and on iPad and iPhone. If you are most familiar with Microsoft Office, there may be a learning curve. However, frequent Mac users may find that the interface is more like other Apple apps. To get started, navigate to the iCloud website with any browser and sign up for a free account.
Unlike other free Microsoft Office alternatives that do their best to mimic the experience, iWork will not be immediately known if you have used Microsoft's productivity suite. iWork uses iCloud to securely share documents. All Microsoft file types are finally also compatible with iWork.
WPS Office: Familiar interfaces on all platforms
One of the more recently developed free productivity suites built to compete with Microsoft Office, WPS Office comes from the Chinese developer Kingsoft and provides software that most Microsoft Office users will know immediately. WPS stands for Writer, Presentation, Spreadsheets, the names of the suite's primary offering. The suite is fully compatible with all programs, file types and even some extensions from Microsoft.
WPS Office also offers free versions of their apps for both desktop and mobile devices. While not every app is available on every platform, the core WPS apps are available on Windows, Linux, Android and all modern Apple devices. You will come across some ads when using WPS, but they rarely interfere with productivity. The features provide secure cloud support with a 200 MB upload limit and 1 GB of free space, in addition to accessible web apps and easy-to-use PDF tools.
FreeOffice: Versatile Productivity on Most Devices
Whether you're using Windows, Mac or Linux, SoftMaker's FreeOffice is just what the name suggests: a free Office alternative. The layout will be immediately known to Microsoft Office users, especially as it can switch between modern and classic layouts that will be useful to both new users and veterans. These easy-to-configure layouts also include a touch mode that makes it easier to use on tablets and mobile devices.
FreeOffice is fully compatible with Microsoft Office files and includes the same types of tools you would expect from a modern productivity suite. SoftMaker offers TextMaker (Word), PlanMaker (Excel) and Presentations (PowerPoint), as well as a developer programming environment and scripting language called BasicMaker. There are also premium versions of these apps, with more features like file management and script support, for a one-time cost of $ 79.95 or a subscription service starting at just $ 2.99 / month. This is in addition to fully functional productivity apps for Android.
Microsoft Office Online: Less Features, but No Costs
If none of these options meet your unique needs, or you just want or should stick with Microsoft products, basic versions of the ubiquitous productivity apps are available for free through any web browser. From any desktop or mobile device, you can sign up for a free Microsoft account and start with somewhat limited versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can get started by navigating to Office.com in any browser and signing in or signing up for a free Microsoft account.
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There are tons of other productivity apps out there, but these six are the best of the best when it comes to fast, reliable, and most importantly do your work for free.