The 8 Best Microsoft Office Alternatives

Google Workspace is the best overall Microsoft Office Alternative

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Microsoft Office is a longtime leader in office productivity software. But the cost can be a bit out of reach, especially if you're running a small business. If you are looking for an alternative due to cost, performance, or just a dislike of Microsoft products, there are many alternatives available. And the free alternatives can be just as good, if not somewhat better than paid versions.

Not all office suites are created equal, so we sifted through more than a dozen competitors to find the best Microsoft Office alternative for your needs. Follow along to learn more.

Best Microsoft Office Alternatives of 2023

  • Best Overall: Google / Google Workspace
  • Best for Mac: Apple Office Suite / iWork
  • Best Free Software: Apache Open Office
  • Best Advertising-Supported Free Software: WPS Office
  • Best for Text File Sharing: Dropbox Paper
  • Best Ease-of-Use: FreeOffice
  • Best Lightweight: LibreOffice
  • Best Online Alter-Ego: Microsoft 365 Online

Best Overall: Google / Google Workspace

Google

 Google 

Key Specs

Cost: Free with up to 1T of free storage + additional business plans
Features:
Real-time collaboration, share and store files, domain branded email addresses
Storage:
Up to 1T of free storage

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Works with most operating software

  • Easy-to-use interface

  • All Workspace apps are free to download

  • 1T of free storage

Cons
  • Spam can be a major problem

  • Higher-priced tiers can get expensive

Why We Chose It

Google Workspace is our overall top pick due to its easy-to-use interface, online storage, and massive combination of workplace productivity tools.

Overview

The best Microsoft Office alternative for businesses is Google Workspace (formerly G suite). The combination of Gmail, Google Docs, Google Meet, Google Chat, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Forms come together around online storage solution Google Drive as a top-notch productivity offering.

It works great on Windows, Mac, Linux, and any other computer with a modern web browser. You can easily collaborate and share without downloading anything, add missing features with plugin integrations, and work with files from a variety of formats including Microsoft Office files.

The biggest downside is offline use. While Google offers offline versions through plugins with the Chrome browser, they are not always consistent or reliable. But if you do have a connection, you’ll be happy to know it works well on Android devices as well as with native apps for Google’s mobile operating system.

For business users, Google Workspace starts at $6 per user per month. For non-business users, you can do everything with a free Google account. You don’t have to pay unless you need more storage space in your online Google Drive. While it doesn’t quite do everything power users look for in programs like Excel, and there is no alternative for the database program Microsoft Access, there is a lot more to like than dislike and the price is right. 

Best for Mac: Apple Office Suite / iWork

iWork

 iWork

Key Specs

Cost: Free
Features:
Sync data with iCloud, word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations
Storage:
Unlimited

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Fully integrated and compatible with Apple products

  • User-friendly interface

  • Easy to collaborate

Cons
  • Limited file compatibility

  • Little support

  • Limited features overall

Why We Chose It

iWork can be an excellent replacement for Microsoft Office for Apple users who prioritize compatibility and user-friendliness.

Overview

If you own a Mac, you get an office suite included with your purchase. While they are not as popular as the Microsoft and Google suites, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are great for occasional use and solo needs, particularly if you are entrenched in Apple’s ecosystem including iCloud and devices like the iPad.

Apple also offers a web-based version compatible with the latest versions of Safari, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge that integrates fully with iCloud. Like others on this list, it works with its own file formats and easily imports and exports files in popular Microsoft Office formats like .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx. Mac users don’t have to pay; the only cost is for additional iCloud storage space if you run out of room and want to store your files there.

The only really big downside is that it is not widely used, so support and online tutorials are far fewer. You may also run into angry colleagues if you send over a Keynote file when they were expecting PowerPoint, as compatibility isn’t always great between formats, particularly when it comes to things like fonts, layouts, and image sizing. But if you want something that “just works” and you are a dedicated Mac user, you should find everything you need with iWork.

Best Free Software: Apache Open Office

Apache Open Office

 Apache Open Office

Key Specs

Cost: Free
Features:
Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and graphics
Storage:
None

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Completely free to use and download

  • Cross-platform compatibility

  • Easy to share files

Cons
  • Limited support

  • Not a wide variety of features

  • Can have some security risks

Why We Chose It

Apache OpenOffice is a wonderful choice for people who are on a small budget, don’t need a ton of bells and whistles, and are comfortable with using open-source office software.

Overview

If your primary complaint about Office is the cost, you should consider Open Office. While this open-source software isn’t quite as full-featured nor as beautifully polished as Microsoft’s apps, you can’t beat free.

As an open source software suite, new features generally come from volunteer developers interested in enhancing the program for the broad community’s use. But with Google’s apps acting as an enticing alternative at the same price, it struggles to keep up with the competition from the legions of professional developers at Microsoft and Google. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth considering, however. Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, and Math are excellent tools that get regular support. 

Best Advertising-Supported Free Software: WPS Office

WPS Office

 WPS Office

Key Specs

Cost: Free to use and download, premium features available at an additional cost
Features:
Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and graphics
Storage:
1GB of storage included

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Free to use and download

  • Cross-platform compatibility

  • Lots of customization options

Cons
  • Can have compatibility issues

  • Limited support

  • Not as many advanced features as Microsoft Office

Why We Chose It

If you need software for basic office work, WPS Office is a great choice. It supports a variety of file formats and is a great, free alternative to Microsoft Office.

Overview

With so many free alternatives to Microsoft Office, it’s no wonder you're browsing your options. WPS is another software with versions for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. This office suite is free but advertising supported. You can pay $30 per year to get the ads removed.

This suite comes from Kingsoft, a China-based developer. Applications include WPS Writer, WPS Spreadsheet, and WPS Presentation. WPS Office is generally well reviewed. It has customizable interfaces so you can decide on the menu style you like most. It also supports tabbed document editing, just like you get with a web browser. It also has an integrated cloud with 1GB of storage included. It is a lightweight and fast app to use. It’s great that you can give it a test run for free and then decide later if it’s worth the money to go advertisement free.

Best for Text File Sharing: Dropbox Paper

Dropbox Paper

 Dropbox Paper

Key Specs

Cost: Free with a Dropbox account
Features:
Word processing
Storage:
2GB of storage included for Dropbox users

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Cloud-based platform

  • Real-time collaboration

  • Customizable templates

Cons
  • Basic features

  • Limited file compatibility

  • Does not have many offline features

  • Only supports limited languages

Why We Chose It

Dropbox Paper is a great choice for small businesses and entrepreneurs that prioritize easy collaboration and integration.

Overview

Dropbox isn’t known for its office programs, but this file-sharing platform offers a competitive application strictly focused on word processing. Dropbox Paper is tightly integrated into Dropbox, which makes file sharing a piece of cake.

Dropbox Paper allows multiple simultaneous collaborators and allows you to export files in the popular .docx and .pdf file formats. Adding a file is as simple as dragging it into your Dropbox folder or dropping it into an active Dropbox Paper window.

Dropbox Paper gives you a simple user interface that is easy-to-use, but not familiar to Word veterans. It is free if you have a Dropbox account. Dropbox accounts are free for individuals up to 2GB of storage. Business users and those with bigger storage needs will have to pay a monthly or annual subscription starting at $15 per month for individual users.

Best Ease-of-Use: FreeOffice

FreeOffice

 FreeOffice

Key Specs

Cost: Free, ad-supported version
Features:
Word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations
Storage:
None

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Free to use and download

  • Cross-platform compatibility

  • File compatibility with Microsoft Office

Cons
  • Basic features

  • Ad-supported software

  • Limited support

Why We Chose It

FreeOffice is highly compatible with other office software and is an excellent option for people looking for software that's consistent and easy to use.

Overview

FreeOffice offers a relatively easy transition away from Microsoft’s version, as it looks and feels a lot like Microsoft Office. As the name implies, it is free. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs and comes from developer SoftMaker.

Core apps in FreeOffice 2021 include TextMaker, PlanMaker, and Presentations, which replace Word, Excel, and PowerPoint respectively. You can choose classic Windows-style menus or the more modern ribbon view.

FreeOffice is also available for Android if you have an Android tablet. If you use this suite and are a Windows user, you may also enjoy FreePDF, a good companion that gives you many of the features of Adobe’s PDF editor.

Best Lightweight: LibreOffice

LibreOffice

 LibreOffice

Key Specs

Cost: Free
Features:
Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, drawing, database, and more
Storage:
None

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Free to use and download

  • Open-source software

  • Compatible with a wide range of file formats

Cons
  • No advanced features

  • Challenging user interface

  • Limited technical support

  • No cloud storage

Why We Chose It

LibreOffice is another free, community-driven software project that offers amazing compatibility with Microsoft Office with an easy-to-use interface.

Overview

LibreOffice is another free and open-source office suite that works with all Microsoft Office file formats. It is based on OpenOffice, discussed above, and took off with its own fork in 2010. Maintained by The Document Foundation, this app also encourages users to get involved and help improve and add new features.

LibreOffice is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers and offers a mobile version for Android. It is actively supported with minor versions and updates coming out periodically.

While it doesn’t get blowout reviews, it does have a very strong and dedicated user base who rave about the Writer, Calc, and Impress applications. It has a flexible interface that can feel a lot like Office, but it doesn’t have any integrated cloud storage or collaboration tools.

Best Online Alter-Ego: Microsoft 365 Online

Office 365 Online

 Office 365 Online

Key Specs

Cost: Basic subscription starts at $6/month
Features:
Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.
Storage:
1TB of OneDrive storage

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office

  • Includes 1TB of storage

  • Includes access to Microsoft teams

Cons
  • Subscription-based service

  • Not all Office features available

  • Cannot be used offline

Why We Chose It

Microsoft 365 is the cloud-based version of Microsoft Office, so it comes with everything you know and love about the classic software program.

Overview

If you are looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office, you may not be interested in another version of Microsoft’s Office programs. However, with all this talk of cloud-based office suites, it is important to consider Microsoft’s online version of office, known as Microsoft 365.

Microsoft 365 gives you a browser-based version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The subscription also gives you mobile versions of the same apps on Android, iOS, and Windows phones. The $6 per user per month Microsoft 365 Business Basic subscription includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as well the cloud services Teams, Exchange, and SharePoint. It also includes 1TB of OneDrive storage. The $12.50 per user per month Business Standard subscription includes the desktop versions you are trying to avoid, as well as Access and Publisher apps for PC. Bigger businesses may want the full security features included in the $22 per user per month Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription.

Final Verdict

Google Workspace comes out on top as it has every piece of software you need to run a business, including email, word processing, virtual meeting and chat software, as well as alternatives to Powerpoint, and Excel.

Guide to Choosing Microsoft Office Alternatives

If you're looking to choose an alternative to Microsoft Office, here are the most important factors you should consider:

  • Ease of Use: It's important to look for a software that is both user-friendly and easy to use. This will allow even those who don't consider themselves to be techies to become comfortable with the software quickly.
  • Teamwork: The ability to collaborate on documents with others can be an incredibly helpful feature, especially if cloud-based options are available.
  • Security: Security should be one of the top features to consider when looking into alternatives to Microsoft Word. If you want to make sure your data and any important information stay safe, it's especially important to be sure to use only official websites to download apps.
  • File Types: To make sure that everyone in your company can open and edit the documents you send, it's critical to make sure that all file types you need are supported by the software you choose.
  • Compatibility with your device: Whether you use Windows or Apple, it's a good idea to make sure that your software is compatible with the computer, cell phone, or tablet you are working from.
  • What tools are included: Be mindful of the features and tools that you and your team need to use for your work and make sure that those options are included in the software of your choice.
  • How much storage is available: Storage space, especially if you're opting for one of the cloud-based services, is one of the most important factors in choosing alternatives to Microsoft Office. Also, make sure to note if you can increase the storage space later, in case the needs of your company change.

Why Use a Microsoft Office Alternative?

You may not like Microsoft Office for several reasons. You may choose an alternative because Microsoft Office is too costly for your budget, you don’t like its setup, you’re unhappy with its performance, or you just want to try something new. You also may be using a device that’s not compatible with Microsoft Office. 

How Much Does a Microsoft Office Alternative Cost?

Some new computers come with a free version of office productivity software, which you can use as an alternative to Microsoft Office. There are also some free applications on the market that you can download, but they may not have as many features as the paid versions. Alternatively, paid software typically has enhanced features and may cost anywhere from $6 per user per month to $22 per user per month. 

Is a Microsoft Office Alternative Worth the Cost?

If your reason for trying an alternative to Microsoft Office is cost, you may want to try a free office software. If you need more features, though, you may spend over $20 per user per month. This is generally worth the cost if you’re only paying for one user or using it consistently for work. With the many options for Microsoft Office alternatives on the market, you can find one that’s worth the cost for you. 

Methodology

We looked at some popular Microsoft Office alternatives and researched and reviewed them before deciding on our top choices. Our eight best Microsoft Office alternatives are based on their features, costs, what the subscription includes, operating system compatibility, and more.

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