Tips, tricks and tutorials for the technology you use everyday

4 Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office

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 AppsOpenOffice, 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

google_docs

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:

Google Documents
Google Spreadsheets

Office Web Apps

skydrive

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

openoffice

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

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Categorised in: Microsoft Office, New Technology

14 Responses »

  1. Best Tutorial Site for sure. I was searching for adds to click so that it will generate an income to you, but I do not see any. How are you survive without funding ?

  2. Check out Teamlab Personal. It a free cloud office suite that works with Microsoft formats perfectly.

  3. I recently used a free text editor from Nevron Software. There is also a free cloud version.

  4. One of the best data collection tools I have used is collatebox . extremely useful for online collaboration and mobile workforce management , besides google docs and microsoft office

  5. Very good review of the Microsoft Excel alternatives.
    In my personal opinion, the Microsoft Excel (Office suit) is the best one and if you want to perform professional analysis you should buy this one. But just for personal use both Google Docs and Office Web Apps are very good. There are some limitations like the number of cells that can exist in Google Spreadsheet but still those packages are very good.
    On the other hand, I do not recommend OpenOffice and LibreOffice because they are really not intuitive.

  6. Don’t forget Zoho Docs. It’s just like Google Docs, and it’s a great alternative to MS Office.

  7. Bronwen, check out Teamlab, it’s free for personal use and provides the closest formatting quality to MS Office with co-editing capabilities while working in browser.

  8. Thank you for the advice! As a university student, it is great to know about the alternatives to Word!

  9. I always use google docs instead of MS Office as I feel it very slow.

  10. Thanks , this will be a great help.

  11. I have used OpenOffice, and now LibreOffice, for years – and recommend them. A bit light on documentation, but most of what works in other office suites is directly transferable.

  12. Thank you….great wisdom

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