Of all the software applications considered as “must-have” for a PC user, an office suite is undoubtedly indispensable. From students needing to submit their assignments to office-goers who have to create business presentations, everyone needs an office suite. With a wide range of tools, MS Office stands out as the go-to tool for those who want a complete office suite. That said, Microsoft’s offering is not perfect as the office suite has its own share of flaws. If you no longer want to live those shortcomings, look no further than these 10 best Microsoft Office alternatives.
Best Microsoft Office Alternatives in 2020
- So, What are the Major Shortcomings in Microsoft Office?
- Why Should You Choose Microsoft Alternatives?
- Polaris Office
- Apache OpenOffice
- WPS Office
- Softmaker FreeOffice
- G Suite
- Zoho Office Suite
- Frequently Asked Questions
So, What are the Major Shortcomings in Microsoft Office?
One of the pain points of MS Office has been the comparatively high price tag Office Professional is priced at $439. While the personal Office 365 plan is set for $5.99/user/month, the business standard plan comes for $12.50/user/month.
Beyond the high price tag, MS Office is considered to be too resource-intensive to run smoothly on low-end computers. Besides, the limitations on the archiving and eDiscovery tools, limitation on how many emails you can send/receive, as well as the restriction on SharePoint which requires third-party integration are also major drawbacks.
Not to mention, the non-availability of MS Office on Linux seems baffling – to say the least.
Why Should You Choose Microsoft Alternatives?
There could be multiple reasons why may want to choose Microsoft substitutes. Maybe you find the pricing too much for your budget or maybe you are looking for a slightly less resource-intensive and easy to master office suite.
Keeping in mind various needs, we have included both free and paid MS Office alternatives. So, choosing the office suite that can fit into your needs shouldn’t be a big deal.
1. Polaris Office
One of my favorite Microsoft Office alternatives is the Polaris Office Which brings a really good experience. The best part about Polaris Office is that the company offers a limited free version which brings enough features to suit the needs of most individual users, thereby allowing us to do our work without needing to pay a high subscription fee.
For enterprise users and users who want add-on features, there’s also a relatively cheaper paid plan. When it comes to features, Polaris Office offers all the features that one might expect from a capable MS Office alternative software.
Users will be able to edit MS Office documents and text files, get access to both local and cloud storage, connect external cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive for extra free storage, manage document versions, and more. In fact, there’s even real-time collaboration where two and more people can work on the same document simultaneously.
If you subscribe to their paid plans you will also be able to access features such as PDF annotations, comments, animation editing, document security, and more. I have been using Polaris Office for quite a while now and definitely consider it to be one of the best MS Office alternatives on the market.
Platform Availability: Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
Price: Free, premium version starts at $3.99/month
OnlyOffice is yet another good Microsoft Office alternative that one can use. The software not only offers native apps for all the major desktop and mobile platforms but it also has a web version that works really well. One of the USPs of OnlyOffice is that it can integrate with various third-party services including mail, CRM, calendars, and much more to give users extra control and power.
The only drawback of OnlyOffice is that it is made primarily for businesses and enterprises and not meant for individual users. If you want an MS Office alternative for personal use, check out the other options on this list.
Since it’s made for businesses, the benefits of using OnlyOffice is that it can be configured to meet the requirements of different businesses. For example, businesses can host OnlyOffice on their own servers so that their data is totally private.
OnlyOffice also brings enhanced security features that are not found on most other office alternatives. If you are a business who is looking for a complete in-house office like document creation, management and organization took, this is one of the best options on the market.
Platform Availability: Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and Web
Price: Home server comes for $99, while the single server is available for $1100
3. Apache OpenOffice
Probably the most popular alternative to MS Office out there, Apache OpenOffice is loaded with features. It’s completely free and open-source and includes the standard trio of office applications (word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation software), in addition to a graphics editor and a DBMS application.
Apart from being compatible with MS Office file formats, OpenOffice also supports a huge number of other formats (e.g. SWF, PPT). It can also be extended with a variety of downloadable extensions, and its constituent sub-modules include all standard features like diagramming tools, autocomplete, and natural language formula.
Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, and Linux
Although it’s essentially a fork of the previously discussed OpenOffice, LibreOffice has enough features to hold its own as one of the best MS Office alternatives you can find. It includes applications for everything from editing documents to creating presentations, and aside from UI differences, has a feature set identical to OpenOffice.
However, what gives LibreOffice the edge is that its code is much better optimized, thus making it a bit faster. Also, LibreOffice is more actively developed and is the default office suite included with majority of Linux distros. It even lets you embed fonts in your documents, and has a file viewer app for Android.
Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, and Linux
5. WPS Office
If your requirements are basic and you don’t need a full office suite, WPS Office is exactly what you need. Packing just the three standard applications (word processor, presentation software, and spreadsheet program), it’s lightweight (under 100 MB) yet feature-rich.
In addition to having all the essential document creation/editing abilities, WPS Office includes hundreds of free templates and fonts. The free version lets you create and edit documents in MS Office compatible formats. However, for saving in MS Office formats, you need to upgrade to the paid version, which also adds in other features like VBA/Macro support.
Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android
Price: Free, WPS Premium for business is available for $39.95/year
6. Softmaker FreeOffice
It may not be the best-looking office suite out there, but as a lightweight MS Office alternative, Softmaker FreeOffice works surprisingly well. It includes the three standard office programs, and among themselves, these provide a host of features such as smart text replacement, granular cell formatting, and automated presentations.
Softmaker FreeOffice has robust support for MS Office file formats, and better Office XML compatibility. That said, there’s also a paid version that includes extras such as multiple language dictionaries for more efficient spellchecking.
Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android
Price: Free, the paid version starts from $29.90/year
If you’re looking for a solid Microsoft Office alternative specifically for your Mac, NeoOffice is going to serve you just fine. It’s a commercial fork of the previously mentioned OpenOffice, although the source code is still available for free. As such, NeoOffice packs in all standard features of OpenOffice, and comes with a word processor, spreadsheet program, and presentation software, along with a graphics program.
Other than that, it also adds some macOS native extras, such as grammar checking, text highlighting, and integration with macOS’ drag and drops functions, to the mix. However, it’s not compatible with newer MS Office formats, which is a bit of a bummer.
Platform Availability: macOS
Price: Free, Paid version is available for $29.99
8. G Suite
While G Suite may not be as feature-packed as MS Office, Google’s offering has got you fully covered when it comes to seamless experience and versatility. From the most powerful voice/video conferencing to the smartest search engine to a productivity-centric email client, G Suite has got everything covered to let you work and collaborate with your colleagues.
Probably the biggest highlight of G Suite is the whopping 15GB cloud storage for free as compared to just 5GB of free storage offered by Microsoft. So, just in case you don’t want to spend money on cloud storage, Google’s offering should be a better choice.
Unlike MS Office, G Suite uses web fonts which put Google’s offering at disadvantage as opening files created using other office software is a pain point. Another downside of G Suite is the flawed file formatting, especially when you have to convert files created by other office software. However, if your work heavily depends on web tools, you will find G-Suite pretty good.
Did I say that Google’s offering is available for free and works across devices which make it a super handy tool for both pros and normal joes?
Platform Availability: Cross-platform
Price: Free, the premium version starts at $6/month
If you are hunting for a Microsoft Office alternative that can work perfectly with your iDevices including Mac, iPad, and iPhone, look no further than iWork. Yes, you got that right!
Apple’s offering has got all sorts of tools to let you work with the needed peace of mind. Whether it’s the feature-rich Keynote (a solid alternative to PowerPoint) or the robust Numbers or the fully-equipped Pages, iWork is second to none when it comes to features.
Backed by iCloud that offers 5GB of cloud storage (pretty much in line with what Microsoft’s OneDrive has to offer), iWork automatically syncs your entire data across iDevices to keep it not only secure but also easily accessible.
Even on the privacy and security front, iWork has a clear edge over MS Office. And that too by some distance. So, if the security of your data matters more, iWork has to be your go-to pick.
Platform Availability: macOS, iPadOS and iOS
10. Zoho Office Suite
Zoho Office Suite has always been a top-notch alternative to Microsft Office. And guess what, I’m not going to miss out on this one for more than one reason.
For starters, Zoho Office Suite has got a wide range of tools that can make a match with what Microsoft’s offering has to deliver. Be it a powerful email client or a robust CRM or a highly-rated presentation tool, it has checked off all the essential boxes.
Even on the collaboration front, Zoho Office Suite is up to the mark. So, you can collaborate with your colleague and work seamlessly. Another feature worth noting is the full support for MS Office formats – from documents to presentations to spreadsheets.
When you sign up for Zoho Office Suite, you get 5 GB of cloud storage – the same as offered by 5 GB OneDrive. Besides, it’s also quite reliable when it comes to offering the needed security to your data. So, you can count on it to keep your data safe. Not just that, it’s also affordable, which means you don’t have to spend a lot of bucks. All things considered, Zoho Office Suite is one of the top alternatives for MS Office.
Platform Availability: Cross-platform
Price: Free, $1/user/month
Last but not least, WordPerfect is another solid substitute for Microsoft Office. For those unfamiliar, WordPerfect first came into being way back in the late 1970s and it was very popular in the 1980s. However, it lost quite a lot of popularity post the arrival of MS Office.
As has always been the case, WordPerfect is an all-in-one office suite. Featuring a capable word processor, a versatile spreadsheet program, and a feature-rich slideshow creator, it ensures you have all the essential tools to carry out your task with precision.
WordPerfect supports several file formats including DOCX, PDF, and HTML and its common file extensions is WPD. Both on the compatibility and collaboration fronts, it’s in line with MS Office.
Besides, it also provides ebooks publishing and macro-management. The native PDF editor enables you to edit and fill forms with ease. With these notable features, WordPerfect warrants a high price tag starting at $432 for the standard edition. If you don’t mind paying extra in favor of powerful tools, it could be a perfect alternative to MS Office for you.
Platform Availability: Windows
Price: $432 for the standard edition
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Use Instead of Microsoft Office?
As to which office suite should you use instead of MS Office, it all comes down to your requirements and budget. We have mentioned a number of free and paid options in this article. Check them out and select the one that meets your needs.
What is the Free Equivalent of Microsoft Office?
LibreOffice is probably the most competent free and cross-platform equivalent of MS Office, thanks largely to the availability of all the basic tools.
What is the Best Alternative to Microsoft Word?
Taking everything into account including offline functionality, Apache OpenOffice Writer, and LibreOffice Writer are the best alternatives to Microsoft Word.
Is Google Docs a Good Replacement for Microsoft Office?
Google Docks is a pretty good replacement for MS Office. It is especially great for people who want to collaborate with other team members in real-time. Barring a few issues like formatting, it’s got most of the bases covered.
Where Can I Get Word for Free?
So long as you don’t mind working online, you can get MS Word for free without any restrictions whatsoever. Yes, you are not getting all the features, but the free features are more than enough for most individual users.
Which are Your Favorite Microsoft Office Alternatives
There’s little doubting the fact that Microsoft Office is the standard-bearer of office productivity suites, having a truckload of impressive features. But as discussed above, if your needs are limited and you don’t really want to spend a ton of cash, there are quite a few Microsoft Office alternatives (both desktop and web-based) that you can use. So try them all, and let us know your favorites in the comments below.
GREAT ARTICLE – Very informative, a quick read, and to the point. Like a bullet point report. Loved it. THANK YOU for sharing the knowledge. Rajat, you are a definite asset to Beebom. Looking forward to read your other articles.
Fantastic article. Learned a lot. Have used MS Office for years. Retired over 75 years of age was looking for a good alternative, this provides me with many options. Thank you.