Though Microsoft Office is the juggernaut of office productivity and the industry standard in terms of integrated applications, spreadsheets, word processing, presentations, email, and database management, it’s not the best choice for every home and business user.
Some people feel that the $70 annual cost for a single user home license or the $8.25 monthly cost per employee for businesses is too high. Others just want stronger desktop publishing features and better collaboration than Microsoft Office offers hence the need for Office alternatives.
Whatever the reason, know that the recent software development has given rise to a slew of feature-rich office suites that falls outside Microsoft banner but offers similar functionality and even goes beyond the basic editing. Most of all, some of these Microsoft alternatives are available in free and open source office productivity applications. Open source office productivity tools have nurtured the art of perfection in recent years, so choosing free software over the expensive proprietary program does not mean that you compromise on quality.
You will also find that most of these open source Microsoft Office alternatives support some of the common file types including Microsoft’s file formats. Most of these tools also provide more storage options, database tools, and drawing applications. If you wish to retire Microsoft Office, we’ve evaluated the best Microsoft Office alternatives for you, so you can rock with the most powerful alternatives in the market.
Best Microsoft Office Alternatives in the Market
1. WPS Office 2016 (recommended)
Billed as the ‘World’s most advanced free office suite for Windows PC’, WPS office 2016 has what it takes to be the perfect alternative to Microsoft Office. This ingenious program also runs on Mac OS and Linux operating system and its dynamics allows it to run even on a tablet. WPS office comes with some unique features that you won’t even find in Microsoft Office. For instance, it comes with an ‘eye protection’ mode that turns the background green to keep off prying eyes and also allow users to change the color and style of the UI.
WPS office also comes with tabbed documents, something that you won’t also find in Microsoft Office. It enables users to easily read and import files while allowing them to write new ones without any problem. It has a ribbon that looks better than the one you see in the Microsoft office, and if you don’t like the Ribbon, you can change the interface in just a single click.
WPS Office has a free version that lets you do everything well but you will see some adds when performing advanced functions such as PDF exporting or Mail Merge. However, you can avoid this by subscribing to the paid version at $45 per user per year or $80 for a lifetime license.
2. FreeOffice 2016
FreeOffice software from Softmaker is a feature-rich office suite that provides a powerful and free version of the company’s most robust commercial suite. The program includes Textmaker, Planmaker, and Presentations as alternatives for Microsoft’s big three and each comes with functionalities that equals, if not better that Microsoft’s Office suite.
Moreover, the program showcases the fastest loading times and a great user interface that sports a streamlined design, corresponding icons and a familiar palette of resources. FreeOffice 2016 offers an easy to use interface and as a free program, it beats other free programs as well as some of the other paid programs.
Talking of compatibility, FreeOffice features innate compatibility with other programs proprietary document formats – even better than Microsoft Office suite. The latest version showcases the SoftMaker’s finesse in productivity tools, integrating tools for creating PDF documents, spelling check, and tracking document changes.
The 2016 version of FreeOffice offers a ton of graphic support while incorporating smart typing and more export and import options. SoftMaker is renowned for keeping its products up to date and their 2016 version is the exemplar of how an excellent office suite should look like.
Editor’s Note: This article continues on the next page. If you’re interested in other Office products, check out our wide collection of guides.Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September 2016 and was revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.