Word Processing software have been available since the very early days of the computers and are a great way to create, edit and manage digital documents. As we move on to the modern digital era, everything is going digital and so is the case with documents. When it comes to creating and managing digital documents, Microsoft has pretty much dominated the entire industry through its Office programs. Microsoft Word is pretty much an industry standard everywhere and is also one of the most widely used word processing software across educational and legal organizations.
Be it writers, educational institutions, workplace environments, non-profit organizations, students or almost anyone; Word Processing is one of the most essential and rudimentary element to their operations. While many users are pretty much inclined to Microsoft Word, some users don’t find the tool easy-to-use and for some the pricing issue is a big constraint. There are definitely better free alternatives to Microsoft Word or any other premium Word processing software for that matter and we will be taking a look at the best of them.
7 Best Free Word Processors (Alternatives to Microsoft Word)
Whatever maybe your purpose with a Word Processing software, there are powerful and equally capable free tools that demand your attention and save a few bucks off in the process. Below are 7 of the Best Free Word Processors for 2015, that you can make the most of.
1. Open Office
Apache’s Open Office is clearly one of the oldest open-source Word processing tool that has been in development for more than 20 years by now. Downloaded over 100 Million times, It is the most extensive open-source Office Suite that you’ll ever come across. Open Office comes as a single download comprised of 6 tools within it. The entire Office Suite covers Word processing, Spreadsheets, Image editing, Presentations and Databases within its single download. Once you download and install the tool which comes in at around 130 MB file, you will have unlimited access to all of the Open Office’s tools that comes packed with it. The given names to the tools within Open Office are: Writer (For Word Processing), Impress (for Presentations), Calc (For Spreadsheets), Base (For Databases) and Draw (for Graphics).
What makes Open Office a great tool?
We will be only talking about Open Office Writer, and as being a Word Processing tool, Writer is one of the best open-source word processors that you will ever come across. Not only the interface would be familiar to Microsoft Word users, this tool goes a little beyond of what the former could do. Writer allows users to even import and edit PDF files within itself, which is impossible in Microsoft Word without any kind of add-ons thrown in the mix. All the basic text formatting tools like Italics/Underline/Bold/Font face, etc., are available in Open Office’s Writer tool. Its multi-language support is something that you must be quite familiar with in Microsoft Word and it helps eliminate language barriers and lets you choose your own language of interest to chalk out words. The International open standard format of Open Office allows users to exchange digital documents in different range of formats including .rtf , .doc, .docx and many more.
It is available for all major platforms including Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Another key factor that tips in favor of Open Office is the tremendous support it receives from developers worldwide, being one of the most active communities in this regards.
Key Features: 6 Tools that make up an Office Suite, Edit and Create PDF files, Multi-language support, Basic formatting, Different range of formats supported and more.
Platforms Supported: Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
2. Libre Office
LibreOffice comes a pretty close second to Open Office when it comes to open-source Word Processing software. Users initially might find LibreOffice to be a lot similar to Open Office in many of its features, given that It is actually an extension created on the former open-source tool. Based on Open Office and NeoOffice, LibreOffice became an amalgam of them on a mission to build a better open-source word formatting tool. Similar to Open Office, LibreOffice too comes with six built-in tools: Writer (For Word Processing), Impress (for Presentations), Calc (For Spreadsheets), Base (For Databases) Draw (for Graphics) and Math (for editing mathematical formulae). With over 55 Million downloads, Support for 110 languages and readily available for all major platforms, LibreOffice is one of the most comprehensive Open-source Word Processor.
What makes LibreOffice a great tool?
Again, We will be only talking about LibreOffice Writer, as it is the primary tool meant for Word Processing. LibreOffice Writer comes with templates that make it easy to get started on a writing task, be it creating a memo, resume or an index content for a book! While you work along the templates, additional features like auto-complete makes predictions based on common phrases and helps you save your time. Complete with a Dictionary, Spell-checking, all basic font formatting tools and such, LibreOffice makes a great case for a full-fledged Office Suite. With an interface that is strikingly similar to that of Microsoft Word, users must find LibreOffice pretty easy to chime in quickly. LibreOffice is also capable of handling different types of file formats, including Microsoft Word supporting .Doc and .Docx.
LibreOffice too supports all major platforms including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The only put off to this tool would be the lack of a word count at the end of the tool, which you must be aware of while using Microsoft Word. Apart from that minor drawback, LibreOffice is a great free Word processing tool.
Key Features: Document templates available, Auto-complete, Spell-checker, Dictionary, 110 Languages supported, All major platforms supported, Interface similar to Microsoft Word and more.
Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. LibreOffice Viewer also available for Android.
3. Google Docs
Google’s very own free online digital document handling tool is Google Docs. It is an online, cloud-based solution to all of your word processing needs. Google Docs will require you to be online every time and offline editing is something that is not possible with it. Google Documents or Docs, is one of the three tools that Google offers to its users, the other Two being Spreadsheets and Slides. It lets you create, edit and manage .Doc files right from the comfort of your own web browser. The tool is a full-fledged word processor that saves automatically as you type on and can be retrieved later from your Google Docs account.
What makes Google Docs a great tool?
The entire concept of creating, editing and managing Word documents for free from the comfort of your web browser, make Google Docs a viable free alternative for Document editing. The tool doesn’t even need a software to be installed locally and also all your documents are easily retrievable from a single location without any hassles. Google Docs makes the most of cloud computing and features everything from basic font formatting tools to spell-checking and editing tools. The editing tool of Google Docs is a powerful feature for Editors who have to report on articles and documents submitted to them. The Editing mode allows you to add comments to a document about possible errors and typos for forwarding the process. Documents could also be shared with other users on a view-only or view-and-edit basis. Never ever lose your documents again with Google Docs!
Key Features: Web-browser based full-fledged word processor, All basic font formatting tools, Automatically save to the cloud, Editing tool, Share with other users and more.
Platforms Supported: All major web browsers including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.
Although primarily designed as a team collaboration tool, Quip is a great free online tool for creating, editing and managing your digital documents. Quip offers creation and management of Documents and Spreadsheets through its interface. It also allows users to collaborate with other people on the created documents with comments. When you create a new document, Quip presents a minimalistic view and presents all basic formatting tools, in addition to creation of a check-list, insertion of images/spreadsheets and more. These documents could be grouped in Private and Public folders respectively according to the content of the docs.
What makes Quip a great tool?
The simplicity and robustness of Quip make it a great tool for Word processing online. With mobile apps also available to it, you can also create/edit documents and stay in touch with your members on the go. Quip’s document editor allows users to export the file as a Word Document, a PDF or as HTML. Check-lists could also be created easily with Quip and insertion of images and spreadsheets is also possible. Sharing it with other people makes it easy to collaborate on documents through its commenting system. These documents are stored on the cloud in your Quip account and could be easily retrieved later through your web browser or Quip’s mobile applications.
You can forget about losing your digital documents and foster better relationship with other members using Quip.
Key Features: All basic Font-formatting tools, Create Check-lists, Insert Images/Spreadsheets, Export to PDF/Word/HTML, Share with other users and more.
Platforms Supported: All major web browsers including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc., Android and iPhone mobile applications.
LyX is another great free Word processing tool that lets users write their content without worrying about the formatting and structuring while doing so. LyX is based on the WYSIWYM (What you see is what you mean), which is a complimentary of the popular WYSIWIG. LyX’s approach to word processing is the one where content development and formatting are entirely separated out, making it easier for users to concentrate on writing while writing and focus on the structure part before it or later.
What makes LyX a great tool?
Just as mentioned before, LyX follows WYSIWYM flow to word processing and it is great for many users who don’t like formatting documents in the writing process. Structured articles like Thesis and academic articles and books are a great fit with LyX editor since it also includes a powerful mathematical equation inserter. Handing powerful mathematical equations is child’s play with LyX and would be a great fit for you if you handle documents of such kind regularly. Also pre-defined templates for IEEE formats and such are also readily available on LyX. Graphics and Tables add to the document’s quality. Files could be imported out in the form of HTML, RTF, PDF or Microsoft Word document. A powerful structured document creation and management is what makes LyX the best fit for some people.
The tool also supports multi-language and is available for all major platforms including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Key Features: Powerful handling of mathematical equations, pre built-in IEEE and other scientific journal formats, all basic font formatting tools, Export to HTML/RTF/DOC/PDF, etc.
Platforms Supported: Windows, Mac and Linux
AbiWord is another free alternative to the Microsoft Word. Almost similar in its approach to word processing as Microsoft Word, AbiWord perfectly blends the simplicity of a word processing tool with powerful built-in features that extend its capabilities. With support for all major platforms, Multi-language, basic font formatting tools and all major file formats supported, AbiWord makes a great case to be your to-go Word processing tool.
What makes AbiWord a great tool?
AbiWord is similar in its operation to Microsoft Word and nothing about it that is out of the world. But the simplicity and powerful built-in features make it a liable perfect free alternative to Microsoft Word and other premium word processing tools. AbiWords comes with multi-language support and with support for different file formats, including RTF, Doc, OpenOffice file format and more. AbiWord’s document layout feature makes it easy for users to choose their own basic layout, for e.g, Scientific papers, Journal articles and more. The basic groundwork is done by AbiWord and you can take it on from there. Data entry is another key aspect of AbiWord, as it automates the entire process through its Mail Merge feature, which swaps incoming data into their respective fields of entry. AbiWord is also extensible, thanks to the plugins and add-ons readily available for it.
Key Features: Multi-language support, Support for different operating systems, Document layouts, Mail Merge, Support for different file formats and more.
Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
7. WPS Office
WPS Office is another popular Word Processing tool on the web with over 890 Million registered users to its name across all of its platforms. WPS Office offer both free and premium Word Processing tools. WPS Office comes built-in with three key sets of tools – Writer (For Word Processing), Presentations and Spreadsheets, that form the entire WPS Office Suite. Users with familiarity on Microsoft Word will find it easy to adapt with this tool, as it is strikingly similar in its interface to Word. With hundreds of templates and fonts readily available with the tool, WPS Office makes a great free Word Processing tool.
What makes WPS Office a great tool?
WPS Office comes with free tools for Windows, Linux and also Android and iOS based mobile devices. The entire office suite offers services that are similar to what you would be getting with Microsoft Word and that in itself is a great thing to have. All major formatting tools and spell-checking tools are included with WPS office. The documents could also be exported to PDF, in addition to support for all major file formats including Microsoft Word’s .Doc file. The mobile applications themselves have 400 Million registered users and that makes the case for the tools powerful mobile application. Wireless printing, Wireless presentations, On-the-go editing, Collaboration and Document security are some of the key features of WPS Office’s mobile applications that make it a great Word processing tool in all.
The only drawback that the free tool would have its that leaves behind a watermark on your printed or exported PDF documents and requires a paid subscription to get rid of it.
Key Features: Export to PDF, Desktop and Mobile applications, Wireless printing/presentations, Document security, Collaborations and more.
Platforms Supported: Windows, Linux; Android and iOS mobile applications.
SEE ALSO: 5 Best Free PDF To Word Converters
What do you think of these free Word Processors? Share your thoughts and experiences with these tools below.