Free Microsoft Office Alternatives or Replacements

»»»Free Microsoft Office Alternatives or Replacements

Microsoft Office suites and products are one of the most popular Office productivity application suite in many companies and corporations, and at home. However, Microsoft Office is expensive, overly priced at best. Microsoft Office comes with many advanced features that one may never use or need, and with user friendly interface. If you willing to sacrifice some bloated features, there are plenty of complete replacement alternative for Microsoft Office, which has slowly gaining market share. Best of all, the alternative Office suites are free, and possess all features you ever need to use, including compatibility and support for Microsoft Office file formats.

Here’s a list of the popular and free Microsoft Office alternatives or replacements that you may use in home, office or school. Most of the alternatives are also able to open, read, edit and save documents, workbooks and presentations created by Microsoft Office products (both Office 97-2003 formats and Open XML format used by Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2010, Office 2016 or later should be supported), thus you won’t have any problem when receiving Microsoft Office files from other users.

Beside, the Office suites listed below also support much many computer system platform including the mobile devices, rather than just Windows and Mac OS X (now known as MacOS) for Microsoft Office. If you opt for web based online Office apps services, you also embrace the instant sharing and collaboration feature that built-in into most online services.

Free Downloadable Standalone Desktop or Mobile Based Office Suites Alternatives

  • Apache OpenOffice – OpenOffice is the open source fork of since discontinued StarOffice. It consists of Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation program), Base (database program), Draw (graphics editor), Math (mathematical formula editor), QuickStarter and the macro recorder. Supports the OpenDocument standard for data interchange as its default file formats, and also Microsoft Office ’97-2003 formats. Available for free download for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Solaris, BSD, OpenVMS, OS/2 and IRIX platform. OpenOffice.org has gaining popularity across many organizations and small medium businesses.
  • LibreOffice – LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite, a project of The Document Foundation, that was forked from OpenOffice.org in 2010. The LibreOffice suite comprises Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation), Draw (diagram and drawing), Charts (chart and graph), Math (mathematics formula) and Base (database). LibreOffice uses the international ISO/IEC standard OpenDocument file format (ODF) as its native format to save documents for all of its applications, but also supports the file formats of most other major office suites, including Microsoft Office, through a variety of import/export filters. LibreOffice is available for Windows, macOS and Linux, as well as online.
  • Softmaker FreeOffice (previously known as Softmaker Office) – A German company product consists of TextMaker (Microsoft Word clone), PlanMaker (Microsoft Excel clone) and Presentations (Microsoft PowerPoint clone). Softmaker Office 2006 and 2008 are released as freeware, likewise for all versions of FreeOffice.
  • WPS Office (previously known as Kingsoft Office) – Kingsoft WPS Office is a Microsoft Office compatible suite of applications. It comprises of Writer, Spreadsheets and Presentation, all of which have a close resemblance to the familiar layout and functionality of Microsoft Office prior to 2007 version. Start from Kingsoft Office 2007, personal edition of English version is available for free download. Subsequently, a WPS Office Free edition is made available.
  • GNOME Office (GO) – Not exactly a suite and a collection of applications that make up an Office suite. Consists of AbiWord (word processor), Gnumeric (spreadsheet), Evince (document viewer), Evolution (groupware and email), Inkscape (vector graphics and presentation creations), Ease (presentation) and previously GNOME-DB (database connectivity). Available mainly to support Linux and available for free download. Available for Windows, Linux, iOS and Android.
  • Calligra Suite – Calligra Suite is a comprehensive set of 8 applications which satisfies the office, graphics and management needs which originated by KDE split from KOffice in 2010. Calligra Suite comprised of Calligra Words (word processor), Calligra Stage (presentation), Calligra Sheets (spreadsheet), Calligra Flow (diagrams and flowcharts), Kexi (database), Karbon (illustrations and vector graphics), and Plan (project management). Calligra is available for free download for Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and macOS.
  • OnlyOffice – OnlyOffice (formerly Teamlab Office), is an online office suite integrated with CRM system, document and project management toolset, Gantt chart and email aggregator. Its community edition is free for everyone who wants to deploy the online office suite on own server. In addition, OnlyOffice also offers ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors, an open-source office suite that combines text, spreadsheet and presentation editors, for free to Windows, macOS and Linux users.
  • NeoOffice – If you want to dump Microsoft Office for Mac, NeoOffice is good candidate. NeoOffice is a fork of the free/open source OpenOffice.org office suite that is ported to Mac OS X. It implements most features of corresponding OpenOffice.org release.
  • StarOffice (also known as Oracle Open Office after Sun is acquired by Oracle) – Also known as StarSuite in East Asia, and is the base Office suite that OpenOffice.org built on. StarOffice has been officially discontinued in 2011 in favor of Apache OpenOffice and still available for download and use. Consists of StarWriter (word processor), StarCalc (spreadsheet), StarImpress (presentation program), StarDraw (drawing tool) and StarBase (database). Supports XML file format, including (since StarOffice 8) the OpenDocument standard, and can generate PDF and Flash formats. Comes with templates and macros system. Original license costs $70 USD, but you can download older versions for free. Previously it’s available for free via Google Pack.
  • IBM Lotus Symphony (discontinued in 2014 in favor of Apache OpenOffice) – Comprises of Documents (word processor), Spreadsheets (as name implied) and Presentations (as name implied). Supports the OpenDocument format (ODF), and Microsoft Office and Lotus SmartSuite formats. Able to export to Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Available for Windows and Linux, with Mac OS X coming soon.

Online Web-based Office Applications or Suites

  • Google Docs (- A free, Web-based word processor (previously Writely), spreadsheet (previously Google Spreadsheets), and presentation (by Tonic Systems) application offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.
  • ThinkFree Office Online – ThinkFree Online is free online edition of ThinkFree Office by Haansoft ThinkFree, and consists a word processor (Write), a spreadsheet (Calc) and a presentation program (Show). ThinkFree Online runs in web browser using a mix of Java applet and Ajax technologies. ThinkFree Office reads and writes to Microsoft Office file formats (.doc, .xls, and .ppt), and has a look and feel similar to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, allowing users to switch over easily.
  • Zoho Office Suite – Zoho Office Suite is a web office suite that includes tools for word processing (Zoho Writer), spreadsheets (Zoho Sheet), presentations (Zoho Show), databases (Zoho DB and Reports), note-taking, wikis, CRM and other applications. Zoho applications are operating system independent, and supports read and write formats used in MS Office, OpenOffice, and other systems. The data (document) files can be saved on Zoho’s servers as well as those of several integration partners like box.net or Omnidrive, which allows synchronization back to the local PC. Integration plugin for Microsoft Word and Excel, browser plugin to open text documents or spreadsheets without having word processing or spreadsheet applications installed, desktop widget to run Zoho products on their desktops in a similar way to traditional office programs, mobile version of Zoho Writer, Sheet, and Show called iZoho, available at iZoho.com for iPhone, and Zoho for Facebook also available.
  • iWork for iCloud – A limited functionality Office suites from Apple that is based on Pages, Numbers and Keynote, the three apps that form Apple’s iWork Suite for iOS and macOS.

If you’re not satisfying with some components in the alternative Office suites above, there are plenty others standalone or web based word processor, spreadsheet and presentation applications available.

Microsoft Office System Suite also may contains some unique program such as Microsoft Outlook, Project and Publisher. If you’re using these programs, there are also free replacement alternative for them, which can be used to complement the free Office suites you selected.

Free Alternative for Microsoft Outlook (PIM)

  • Novell Evolution (Windows version – no longer available) – A personal information manager and workgroup information management tool which combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions. Evolution has user interface and functionality that are similar to Microsoft Outlook, but support iCalendar, full-text indexing of all incoming mail, powerful email filters writable in Scheme, a “Search Folders” feature (i.e., saved searches that look like normal mail folders), Ximian Connector to connect to Microsoft Exchange Server using web interface, and synchronize with Palm Pilot devices using gnome-pilot or other mobiles telephones and PDAs using OpenSync. Evolution available for GNOME, Windows (beta) and Mac OS X.
  • Mozilla Thunderbird with Lightning – Mozilla Lightning is an iCalendar compatible calendar extension that adds calendar and scheduling functionality to the Mozilla Thunderbird mail and newsgroups client.

Free Alternative to Microsoft Project

  • ProjectLibre – ProjectLibre that is based on OpenProj. ProjectLibre aims to be Microsoft Project replacement with support for Gantt chart, earned value costing, PERT chart, WBS/RBS chart, network diagrams, resource histograms and more. ProjectLibre is compatible with Microsoft Project 2003, 2007 and 2010 files. It supports Linux, Mac OS or Windows.
  • OpenProj – OpenProj is an Java based open source project intended as a complete desktop replacement for Microsoft Project, it can open existing native Project files. OpenProj runs on Linux, Mac OS X, Unix, and Microsoft Windows.
  • dotProject – dotProject is a web-based, multi-user, multi-language Project Management application. Its basic data elements and management functions include Projects and Tasks, Companies, Departments and Contacts, ToDo lists and Resources (rooms, equipment et al).

Microsoft Publisher Free Replacement Alternatives

  • Scribus – A free desktop publishing (DTP) application with native versions available for Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, OS/2 and Windows. Scribus has broad feature set of page layout features that comparable to leading commercial applications such as Adobe PageMaker, QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign, and able to prepare files for professional quality image setting equipment. It can also create animated and interactive PDF presentations and forms.

About the Author:

LK is a technology writer for Tech Journey with background of system and network administrator. He has be documenting his experiences in digital and technology world for over 15 years.Connect with LK through Tech Journey on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.