Microsoft Office is one of the most popular programs on the market, with over 1 billion users worldwide. But at $139.99 for just the basic package (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote only), it’s also a little expensive. What if you can’t afford it?
That’s certainly the case with me. I use Microsoft Office at work every day, but at home, I have a hard time justifying the expense. I don’t need anything fancy—just something that’ll let me create documents and spreadsheets from time to time.
That’s why I use programs like Google Docs, Office Web Apps, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice instead. They don’t have as many features as Microsoft Office (think of them as “Office lite”), but they’re free, easy to use, and readily available online. They’re a great alternative if you’re looking for something simple, or if you can’t stomach the price of Microsoft Office.
I wanted to share these programs with you just in case you hadn’t heard of them before. Hopefully you find them useful at home, at work, or at school!
Google Docs is a web-based program that you can access directly from your browser. That means there’s nothing to download or install—all you have to do is sign into your Google account, navigate to Google Drive (where Google Docs is housed), and you can create and store files online.
Google Docs comes with all kinds of useful features, like the ability to share your files with other people, so you can work on them at the same time. You can also access your files on any device, including your phone, tablet, or a different computer.
To learn more, visit our two Google Docs tutorials:
Office Web Apps
SkyDrive’s Office Web Apps is also a web-based program. All you need is a free account—this time, a Microsoft account—and you can access your files almost anywhere. You can also share your files online and collaborate with other people.
The coolest thing about Office Web Apps is how similar it is to Microsoft Office (after all, both products are made by Microsoft). It offers many of the same tools and features, just in a simpler, more web-friendly package. The interface should be a breeze if you have any experience with the desktop version of Office.
Learn more about it with our tutorial:
SkyDrive and Office Web Apps
OpenOffice and LibreOffice
Looking for a more traditional alternative to Microsoft Office? Something that you can actually download and install on your computer? You might want to check out OpenOffice or LibreOffice.
These programs may not be as slick as Google Docs or Office Web Apps, but they come with a few extra features, including a tool for creating and managing databases. You can use them for almost all of your home and office needs, and the environment is remarkably similar to older versions of Microsoft Office.
We don’t have any current tutorials on these programs, but you can learn more at these links:
OpenOffice User Guides
LibreOffice User Guides