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Best Microsoft Office free alternative

Get the Microsoft Office experience for a fraction of the cost
Last Updated on April 15, 2024
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For those wanting to get stuck into an office suite without the hefty subscription price, we’re taking a look at some of the best Microsoft Office free alternatives. Microsoft Office remains the dominant productivity suite for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. However, in this day and age, subscription-based models don’t work for everyone’s budget. Thankfully, there are several capable free office suites to meet most daily needs for personal or student use. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 5 top options to consider as free Microsoft Office alternatives.

How we picked the best Microsoft Office free alternative

We know how challenging it can be to select the right Microsoft Office free alternatives, and that is why we have curated the best options for your convenience. On the whole, you need your software to make be a simple and easy-to-use office program that doesn’t require a Microsoft subscription. However, a few extra factors do come into play when trying to find software that takes on a similar full functionality to Microsoft 365. Therefore, in selecting the premium Microsoft Office alternative, some of the factors we considered were as follows:

File compatibility

Compatibility with Microsoft Office formats like .docx, .xlsx and .pptx is very important when choosing a Microsoft Office. We considered tools that can flawlessly open, convert, edit, and save Office files without formatting or data loss. Additionally, we also cweighed in on whether or not the suite accurately retains tables, images, charts, and other elements when importing complex Office documents.


Moving on, we checked if the word processor, spreadsheet and presentation apps have the requisite features for users’ needs. Do they provide standard tools for formatting text, building spreadsheets, or creating slides like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Exel? Are features like mail merge, pivot tables, and macros available? These were essential considerations for the best Microsoft Office alternatives.

Working with large files

We also considered each softwares performance under heavy usage. We evaluated tools with desktop offerings that can handle large complex documents, extensive data sets and big presentations better than browser-based suites.

Platform Support

Another thing we took into consideration when picking these tools is platform support. So, we selected those that can work on different platforms like Windows, Mac, Linux, the web, and mobile devices.

User Interface

Many free office suites emulate Microsoft Office’s ribbon interface for familiarity. However, unfortunately not all of them are quite so easy to use. Therefore, when evaluating the available options, we made sure to select those with a simple and user-friendly interface.

Resource Usage

Some desktop suites offer good performance but consume more memory and storage than lightweight web apps. We evaluated the speed, launch times, and memory consumption of the free suites to ensure they meet the performance needs of users.

Constant Innovation

Another factor we considered when picking these Microsoft Office free alternatives is their levels of constant innovation. We checked out the suites to see whether they receive regular security updates and new features, to ensure that you won’t be downloading a suite that will become quickly outdated.

Now that we have shared the key factors we considered when picking these tools, let’s have a look at them one after the other.

Best Microsoft Office free alternative – Google Workspace

Google Workspace, formerly G Suite, provides a robust web-based office suite accessible through any modern browser. For individuals and small businesses looking for free office software, Google Suite provides a compelling set of applications that make an excellent free alternative to Microsoft Office. Google workspace includes a variety of collaborative apps including Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Like Office, Google Suite allows real-time collaboration on documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more, except Google Suite is entirely free. Furthermore, its addition of software such as Gmail, Calender, Meet, and access to Google’s cloud service Google Drive make Google Workspace a viable alternative to the entire Microsoft Teams setup.

While Microsoft Office is the gold standard in enterprise software, the subscription cost can be prohibitive for smaller users, and what Google Suite provides is the essential communication and collaboration tools at no extra cost. With its simplicity and collaboration abilities, Google Workspace works great for personal use or teams with basic documentation needs. Google’s set of apps have an intuitive, web-based interface that allows easy sharing and accessibility from any device with an internet connection, but the fact that an internet connection is constantly required also serves as the suite’s biggest drawback. However, on the whole, for teams that need office software for free, Google Suite is a fantastic free alternative to Microsoft Office.

Key features

  • Real-time co-editing allows teams to work together on documents simultaneously
  • Tight integration with Google Drive for cloud storage and sharing
  • Add-ons from Google Workspace Marketplace for extended functionality
  • Access docs on any device from the Chrome browser
  • Intuitive formatting and page layout options
  • Ability to export files as Microsoft Office formats or PDF

Best Microsoft Office free alternative for cross-platform – LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a powerful open source office suite that provides a great free alternative to Microsoft Office, specifically if you’ve got cross-platform usage in mind. One of the main advantages of LibreOffice is that it runs on a variety of operating systems, making it perfect for those looking to use the software across platforms and devices. LibreOffice is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and BSD systems. This cross-compatibility and lack of licensing fees makes LibreOffice an excellent choice for users who need office software across different devices and operating systems.

Furthermore, LibreOffice also offers strong compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats, allowing for seamless sharing between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office users. The ability to open and edit Office documents is crucial for an open source office suite, as manu users will be trying out different software to decide if they’re worth the transition from Office itself. Overall, LibreOffice’s wide availability across different desktop platforms andf zero cost license make it an ideal productivity suite for individuals, students, and business users who need office software that can work across various operating systems with minimal compatibility issues. The open source nature of LibreOffice also ensures that it will remain free and multi-platform far into the future.

Key features

  • Full-featured apps for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and more
  • High compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx)
  • Writer, Calc and Impress provide alternatives to Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Strong performance working with complex documents and large data sets
  • Supports charts, tables, formulas, diagrams, and databases
  • Extendable through macros, templates and community-driven extensions
  • Completely free and open-source software with an active developer community

Best Microsoft Office free alternative with templates – WPS Office

For those seeking a free office suite, WPS Office provides a solid option as an alternative to Microsoft Office. Overall, it’s a versatile productivity suite that offers writer, presentation, and spreadsheet applications similar to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, in an interface existing Microsoft users will find familiar. While not as full-featured as Microsoft Office, WPS Office covers the core functionality needed for everyday office work.

However, one of its advantageous features is its huge variety of templates for a range of uses including social media, education, work presentations, and personal use. Whether your after a workout plan or a reciple planner, WPS most likely has a template you can try out. Unfortunately, it is worth noting that while the majority of these templates are available for free, you can only access some through the WPS Office Pro subscription, which costs $34.99 for the year. For basic usage, WPS Office free provides a solid free Office alternative while remaining compatible and familiar for Microsoft Office users. It lacks some of the complexity of Office which larger enterprises may require, but remains a practical choice for many productivity needs.

Key features

  • Quick launch times and light resource usage
  • Ribbon toolbar interface similar to Microsoft Office
  • Strong compatibility with Office file formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx)
  • PDF conversion and editing tools built-in
  • Pivot tables and filters for fast spreadsheet analysis
  • Presenter view, notes and laser pointer for presentations
  • Free version available for Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS

Best Microsoft Office free alternative with external cloud use – Polaris Office

Polaris Office focuses on providing a fully-featured free office suite for Android and iOS mobile devices. For productivity on Android or iOS smartphones and tablets, Polaris Office is a top choice.

For users seeking an office suite that integrates with external cloud storage services, Polaris Office should be considered a strong contender. First and foremost, one of its key advantages is its interoperability with major cloud storage platforms including Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. Essentially, this allows means you can access, edit, and share documents directly from cloud storage, facilitating collaboration and availability across devices.

Polaris Office also provides robust office software capabilities, including a word processor, spreadsheet, and not forgetting a presentation program, all of which are compatible with Microsoft Office formats. While its not as full-featured as Microsoft Office, Polaris Office covers the essential functionality for common business and personal tasks. It also goes a step further, being available as a free mobile app for Android and iOS. Polaris Office makes cloud-connected productivity available on smartphones and tablets while costing nothing upfront. For users that rely heavily on cloud services for storage and collaboration, the integration Polaris Office offers with major platforms like Google Drive enhances external sharing and real-time collaboration. For free office software tightly linked with external cloud storage, Polaris Office is a solid choice.

Key features

  • Edit Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on mobile devices
  • Also supports editing PDFs and plain text files on the go
  • Connects with various cloud storage providers to access files
  • Track Changes mode for viewing document editing history
  • Tablet-friendly interface optimized for touchscreens
  • High-resolution display support
  • Export documents to DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, or PDF formats

Best Microsoft Office free alternative most similar to MS Office – FreeOffice

FreeOffice from SoftMaker provides a speedy and compelling office suite for Windows and Linux with close compatibility to Microsoft Office. Developed by SoftMaker, FreeOffice includes word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications similar to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Undoubtedly, one of its major benefits is its compatibility with Office file formats, reducing headaches when sharing files with existing Office users.

On the whole, FreeOffice provides a familiar user interface making it easy to transition from Microsoft Office. While it doesn’t have all the advanced features of Microsoft Office, FreeOffice still covers the core functionalities such as word processing, calculations, and slideshows that many users need. Additionally, FreeOffice is available for completely free, even for commercial use, eliminating the subscription costs associated with Microsoft Office. While more limited than Office, FreeOffice presents an excellent free alternative for individual users and businesses needing office software without the recurring subscription fees.

Key features

  • Launches quickly with low memory usage
  • Mimics the Microsoft Office ribbon interface
  • Reliable support for opening and saving in Office formats
  • Additional functionality like mail merge in FreeOffice Writer
  • Built-in support for direct editing and saving in PDF
  • Free for personal and business use without restrictions
  • No ads, tracking or compromises on features

While no free office suite matches the full capabilities of Microsoft Office, these options give students, individuals and businesses solid word processing, spreadsheets and presentations without the costs. With internet reliance and platform differences aside, any can fulfill essential documentation needs.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.