The best (free) alternatives to Microsoft Office
Although Microsoft, thanks to its price plans integrated into family or individual packs, has made the price of the Office suite truly affordable, the truth is that for some users it is still totally dispensable as they will use documents in that format in an occasional way. Can you live without Office? Of course, yes, and many alternatives to the popular platform of office applications have been among us for a long time; others, not so much and with interesting contributions. These are the best alternatives to Office:
Everything Google touches is, starting, free, and its entry into the world of office applications was no different. Who does not know Google Docs? The giant Mountain View solution is used daily by millions of people spread around the world. Docs offers the possibility to create, edit and open any document in Office format without major inconveniences, although it is true that sometimes problems of compatibility can arise in the conversion of formats that hinder the work.
However, saving these distances, the Google solution is perfect for the vast majority of users. In addition to its gratuity, the main advantage of Docs is its net orientation to teamwork: creating a text document and sharing it in real time with several people is priceless. This tool also allows exporting in the format of Microsoft applications, so you can work without problems with computers that have Office.
Microsoft has experienced an integral transformation in its product strategy and a good part of it is due to the irruption of Google Docs and similar in the market: it is difficult to compete with a rival who offers basically the same for free. Thus, the Redmond have played a double trick: offer a free online solution for anyone who wants to use Office from the browser without paying a single hard thanks to Office Online. The fact that the product is also from the house offers a great advantage over its rivals in the market, and that the interface will be extremely familiar to the usual users of Microsoft Office. On the contrary, the firm has limited its online ‘suite’ in some aspects compared to what the payment solution offers and on the other hand, less formats are supported when exporting/importing.
Zoho has been possible since its inception a great solution that has been overshadowed Google Docs, although there is no real cause to justify it. The approach of Zoho’s products is very similar to that proposed by Google, and in the case of office automation, the firm has a specific solution called Workplace. This tool offers specific applications for writing text, spreadsheets and presentations, and its use is free for light users, and there are price plans for the most intensive. Its great strength is that this company has chosen to trace its own path in terms of the interface, offering clean and innovative applications that will undoubtedly bring some freshness in a market already used to Office and Google Docs.
And yes, there is also an open source alternative for those looking to use Office and of course, LibreOffice complies with this function note. The suite, 100% free, is considered by many as the great alternative to the set of Microsoft applications and offers two features of great value: excellent compatibility with Office formats and a very similar interface; so the jump from one to another will be very simple. The other great advantage of LibreOffice is that it is free in all its applications (there are no different versions) and as they point to in their website, it always will be.
Those who pursue a more professional and corporate approach and the possibility of escalating the installation over time may need to consider the Polaris Office proposal. This pack is presented on the market in a freemium model (free in its basic version but paid in successive plans). Polaris offers a great compatibility of formats as well as the possibility of editing PDF documents and the free version has 1 GB of storage in the cloud, although it is always possible to use other solutions in the cloud such as Dropbox or Drive to store the documents.