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Alternatives to Microsoft Office

- by Andrew Gould

Microsoft has released a new version of Office for 2013, aptly named Office 2013 and Office 365 for its new subscription-based licensing model. Many people rely on this suite created by Microsoft almost 23 years ago, with an estimated one billion users.

Many people, however, are looking for low-cost or free alternatives, and there are plenty of alternatives out there. We will take a quick look at some of those here.

As the ability to work from anywhere, on any device becomes increasingly necessary, people are looking more to cloud-based alternatives. These cloud-based programs allow you to access your documents from any web browser, on almost any device, as well as the ability for multiple people or computers to have the same file open and edit it simultaneously. These programs typically don't come with all the bells and whistles that your typical Office suite does, but they perform with all the basic functionality you would expect from an office program. Listed below are just a few of the available cloud-based document editing programs.

Google Drive



If you prefer something that you can install on a computer or device and aren't concerned with being able to access and edit files from multiple locations, here are some programs that can be downloaded and installed on a wide variety of devices. Note that not all of these applications have mobile/tablet apps, so check the availability before making the switch completely. The nice thing about these programs is that if you don't like them, you can just uninstall and move on, as they are all free! You may want to check the licensing terms if you are planning on using these for business purposes.

Open Office

Libre Office

Kingsoft Office

SSuite Office

Soft Maker Free Office

These programs leave something to be desired if you can't get along without Outlook, but there are plenty of free alternatives such as Windows Live Mail which will provide a very familiar interface for your email. There are also web-based options like Gmail, and the new, which provides a familiar interface, at a price you can't beat--free!