Free alternatives to Microsoft Office
If you want to buy the Office suite, it will cost you Rs4,500. But, there are many applications that are better rated, simpler to use and do the same job as MS Office, for free.
It’s not very well known to those not in tech-friendly circles, but MS Office has competitors, too. Not only are these free, you may even find them better than the Microsoft programs you’ve grown up using. The following five alternatives give you all the features and tools essential for creating documents, presentations and spreadsheets. They are extremely well-rated and usually more intuitive than MS Office, which, by the way, costs between Rs3,500 and Rs4,500.
Apache Open Office has been available as a freeware for well over a decade now. This open source application provides you with options to make documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings. Very similar to MS office, this suite will be easy to work with if you are accustomed to Microsoft’s layouts and options. Open Office can also open and edit MS Office files, and has key features like exporting files as PDFs. The software was criticised initially for not having a user-friendly interface, but this has since been improved upon.
Cnet rating 4/5
Pick it if You want to switch to open source, but want a layout similar to MS Office
A free office suite, designed as an alternative to MS Office, Libre Office scores well on its functionality. This application, too, offers a word processor, spreadsheet maker, drawings and a presentation application. Extremely similar to Open Office, perhaps because Libre Office was created by former Apache’s developers, Libre Office opens MS Office files and even Open Office documents. The application also updates itself every six months giving you new features and fixing any bugs. Libre Office matches up to MS office in almost every way.
Cnet rating 4/5
Pick it if You want exactly the same experience as MS Office for free
The Drive feature of Google offers an office application of its own. Formerly known as Google Docs, Drive gives you the ability to create word documents, spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, forms and drawings. The files created are saved on the server, helping you access them from any internet device. Some features available in MS Office aren’t yet completely integrated in Google Drive, but its convenience to access files from any device makes it worth it. As an add on, you can also edit MS Office documents on Google Drive.
Cost Free, comes with Gmail account
Cnet rating 4.5/5
Pick it if You want access to your work from any machine at all times
Office Web App
Built by Microsoft itself, this web application is a great alternative to having MS Office installed on your computer. The suite includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote. After registering for the application online, you are given 7GB space on SkyDrive for free, where you can store important documents and files. Although, this application is a basic version of Office, the Office Web App does cover all your needs. The SkyDrive feature, much like Google Drive, also enables you to share files and access them instantly with ease.
Cnet rating NA
Pick it if You want to stick with a Windows-based application
Kingston Office Suite
The software, compatible with Windows XP to Windows 8, comes with a word processor, spreadsheet maker and a presentation application. The suite has a similar look and feel as MS Office 2010 and even supports documents from it. Kingston has its own format as well, but exporting them in .doc files cannot get easier. If you like to have the look and feel of MS Office, choose the classic template. Although other themes included in the Suite are good as well. Some features are missing which you would get in MS Office; however this suite does a great job in all departments.
Cnet rating 5/5
Pick it if You want a software which offers better compatibility with all MS Office files