7 Best MS Office alternatives in 2020 Leave a comment

There is no “best” alternative; yes you read it right, there are several MS office alternatives from the free and open source community such as: Open Office, Libre Office, etc, but they all have problems.

Most of them work directly with MS Office files, even if they have their own native file formats. In some cases the formatting of documents may get rearranged, usually requiring fonts to be installed so it spaces out text similar to MS Office products.

But they all can do the exact same thing as MS Office programs does. Microsoft Office apps like Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc. have got so many features nowadays that it takes weeks to learn the ins and outs of each product.

What about those who don’t need much out of MS office software?

The average person, even if technically inclined, doesn’t need much out of a word processor.

So, should you pay for something that you don’t need in MS office?

Do you wish to know some best free Microsoft Office alternatives in 2020 to make your tasks easier?

Some people need specific features or compatibility with other contacts, and that’s pretty acceptable; it’s expected to come at a price.

Probably none of my business, so I’ll just give you the facts to make an informed decision and select the best Microsoft Office alternatives here:

Best MS Office alternatives for Free in 2020 at a glance:

  1. Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc)
  2. LibreOffice
  3. Office Online
  4. Apple iWork
  5. WPS Office
  6. Calligra Office
  7. DropBox Paper

#1. Google Drive

Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service developed by Google. Launched on April 24, 2012, Google Drive allows users to store files on their servers, synchronize files across devices, and share files. In addition to a website, Google Drive offers apps with offline capabilities for Windows and macOS computers, and Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Google Drive encompasses Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, which are a part of an office suite that permits collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, and more. Files created and edited through the office suite are saved in Google Drive.

Source: WikiPedia

What are the benefits of Google Drive?

Here are some benefits of using Google Drive which I use regularly:

  • Backup Your Precious Files. (Like photos, videos, documents and as well as your website)
  • Send Large Files to Family, Friends or Co-Workers.
  • Use Google Drive App to Access Documents.
  • Efficient Built-in Search Engine.
  • Optical Character Recognition Feature.
  • Share Photos and Videos with Your Contacts.
  • Open and Edit Various Kinds of Document.
  • Add collaborator to work on single file and many more………

Let’s dive more into it;

Its own set of Google web apps can be used as the best alternative to Microsoft Office application as they are available for free, and their cloud-based nature doesn’t need you to go through a tedious installation process.

Google online office suite comprises of a word processor (Google Docs), a presentation app (Google Slides), a spreadsheet (Google Sheets).

Apart from these primary office apps, Google Drawings, Forms, are also a part of the free office suite.

Google’s office suite apps can be accessed without any cost from any location on the globe; all you need is a Google account and an active internet connection.

However, the biggest advantage can be a deal-breaker for the users having a scarcity of internet. Although there is an official extension that enables offline mode, it only works for the files stored on your Google Drive.

Google Docs supports simple export to industry-standard document formats such as Microsoft ‘docx’, PDF, and several others.

Similar is the case of other Google office apps like Sheets and Slides. Google Sheets now includes a feature where you can create pie charts and bar graphs for a given data just by typing the description into a text box.

You can upload files from your device or directly edit the files stored on your Google Drive. Google office apps allow the sharing of documents privately with friends, or even publicly.

And in addition to the sharing, you can even invite people to edit with you in real-time collaboration.

Google Drive has undoubtedly the best and free cloud-based office software that also gives close competition to Microsoft Office Online.

You can also add a number of add-ons built by Google or third parties, which extend the functionality of Google Docs.

The freely available Microsoft Office alternative can be beneficial to home users and students searching for a cost-effective set of office apps, you’re only paying for the internet.

However, for commercial users, Google also sells these apps in the form of a subscription called G Suite, which also includes Google’s other cloud-based solutions.

G Suite comprises of Gmail, Calendar, Google+, Hangouts, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites, etc. It also includes the digital interactive whiteboard Jamboard.

Platforms supported by Google Drive: Windows, macOS, Linux, and other operating systems via a web browser. Apps are available for Android and iOS.

#2. LibreOffice Best ms office Alternative

Image source: LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a powerful and free office suite, used by millions of people around the world. Its clean interface and feature-rich tools help you unleash your creativity and enhance your productivity.

LibreOffice was formed from OpenOffice a while back for some political reasons. Suitable for all intents and purposes, they’re more or less the same thing with the exception that the community followed the LibreOffice fork, and OpenOffice just hasn’t seen as much development since.

LibreOffice includes several applications that make it the most versatile Free and Open Source office suite on the market: Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing).

In terms of cost-effectiveness, it’s pretty hard to beat. It has a few quirks, like need to change the default document formats to Microsoft Office formats. But apart from that, this free office software is an excellent choice for anyone that doesn’t require the bells and whistles of a commercial product.

Platforms supported by LibreOffice: Windows 10/8/7, Linux, Mac OS X, Android.

#3. Office Online

If you want to stick to Microsoft-made office apps, Office Online can also be a great alternative to Microsoft Office Suite, which we normally install on our PCs and Macs.

Similar to Googe’s set of office apps, it works right inside your web browser and can be accessed using your Microsoft account.

Currently, Office Online includes cloud-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Sway (creates presentations), Flow (automate tasks), etc. Similar to Google Docs, and Sheets, you can edit the files stored on your OneDrive or your computer.

You shouldn’t confuse these apps with Office 365, which comes at a monthly price. It won’t be surprising if Microsoft cuts down some features from these cloud-based Office apps.

Is Microsoft’s Office online Free?

Microsoft’s Office Online is a completely free, web-based version of Microsoft Office. This online office suite is clearly competing with Google Docs, but it’s also a potential replacement for the desktop version of Office.

Platforms supported by Office Online: Windows, macOS, Linux, and other operating systems via a web browser.

#4. iWork-Apple

Apple has always been Microsoft’s biggest competitor in consumer operating systems, but Apple has put generous effort into their office suite called iWork.

It’s only available on macOS (OS X), but it is free of charge (though, not free as FOSS). iWork is capable of word processing (with an emphasis on design), spreadsheets, and presentation software.

Some find iWork to be so simple that it makes you feel most of the features are missing, and it really takes some time to get used to. Despite that, this Microsoft Office replacement for Mac is still a solid suite for a small office.

Yes, you heard it right, as an office alternative, it lacks many of the features of Microsoft Office. But do you really need them?

As you can see iWork provides many easy to use and popular features. It’s simple to use without any unnecessary fuss.

Platforms supported by iCloud: Mac, iOS, Multiple operating systems (via iCloud version).

#5. WPS Office

One of the best Microsoft Office alternative in 2020 is WPS Office. You might have heard about Kingsoft Office in the past; it was renamed as WPS Office, which is a well-known office app for Android.

Currently, WPS Office 2020 Free version is available to the Windows users at no cost but with non-interrupting advertisements when the software starts.

High compatibility with Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Adobe PDF. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation-making applications. Regarding look and feel, WPS Office is similar to MS Office.

It is available in both free and premium versions. In a nutshell, it could turn out to be a great choice for those looking for some free alternatives to Microsoft Office. But you can go for the paid option if you want additional features.

Platforms supported by WPS Office: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

#6. Calligra Office – calligra suite

Calligra suite is a free and open source office suite built upon the Qt toolkit, previously known as KOffice in 2010, and the KOffice fizzled out shortly afterward. It has more applications than LibreOffice, but they lack much of the features of LibreOffice.

If you want a simple office suite with a few extra applications like flowcharts, database management, and image manipulation, this free Microsoft Office replacement might be for you. Again, just like LibreOffice, if this is all you need, it’s very cost-effective.

Platforms supported by Calligra Office Suite : Linux, Windows and Mac.

#7.  Paper Dropbox

Earlier DropBox was only the place where you could store your documents. Now, with DropBox Paper, it aims to develop itself as an alternative to Microsoft Office Online and Google Docs.

You can create and edit documents, collaborate with friends and colleagues, as well as enjoy many of the project management and team communication features.

Dropbox Paper has gone past its beta stage. The web-based work platform doesn’t include presentation and spreadsheet apps of its own, but in future there are chances to add compatible files created using Google Docs apps or Microsoft Office files stored on your computer or Dropbox or Google Drive.

Supported platforms: Works on all platforms, but needs an internet connection

There are many more paid and free office alternative programs that are capable of covering the basic user’s needs. So, let me know in comments which office suite you are using?

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