We’re all MS Office-obsessed. It’s difficult to find someone who uses a different program for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or to save spit, general office work. Since Microsoft started Office, it has dominated the digital office apps.
However, you’ll need to pay to use Office! Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are not at all free. You can use it for a few days after initial installation, then you’ll be given a quit notice.
Like most other premium or freemium software, Microsoft Office has to face the harsh reality of losing some of its users to other free competitors.
Today, however, we’ll be addressing the best Microsoft Word alternatives you can actually use to get productive. The Microsoft Word alternatives that will be discussed in this article have features that Microsoft Word lacks.
Most of the available Microsoft Word alternatives are free, and they handle pretty much everything that Word handles. Some word processing programs will enable you to export your document to PDF, without installing additional software or plugins.
Some are available as online tools, which you’ll require an internet connection and a web browser to use, without having to download any additional software to your computer. Others are a downloadable piece of software like Microsoft Word. You can just download, install, and enjoy a completely different document processing experience.
List of Microsoft Word Alternatives
Here are the best Microsoft Word alternatives you can use for your office work. With compelling interfaces and an extensive list of features, one of these programs will be the exact Word alternative that you need.
Google and Microsoft are long term competitors in the game of tech. Microsoft usually leads the way, while Google follows with an even better copy, and later outperforms Microsoft.
The case is the same as Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
Google Docs is free to everyone who has registered a Google account, like most other Google products. It integrates with Google Drive and other Google productivity apps in real-time to maximize your productivity.
It allows you to share documents, spreadsheets, forms, etc. with even support for extensions to extend the functionality of the online office. Fortunately, Google Docs opens all Microsoft office document formats, from the earliest versions of Word.
In addition to opening all Microsoft Word document formats, Google Docs also opens some other document formats like ODT, PDF, RTF, and TXT.
Due to its integration with Google Drive, your work is saved to Google Cloud storage in real-time. It saves your work in real-time, keystroke by keystroke, so if anything goes wrong, you get the most recent version of your document.
Another important feature of this online software is the availability of online collaboration. You can collaborate with other Google users to edit documents in real-time. You see the collaborator’s latest keystrokes, and their modifications in real-time, while they also see yours. You can even chat while editing your documents, which is a plus.
If you’re not someone who really believes in online stuff, you can easily enable Google Docs offline to edit your documents without an internet connection.
If you’re an advanced user who makes use of Microsoft Word’s advanced document editing tools, you might find Google Docs a bit lacking in features. However, if you need a word processor that has excellent collaborative features, Google Docs is just the way to go.
2.Apache OpenOffice Writer
Apache OpenOffice is one of the only Microsoft Word alternatives that are completely different from Microsoft Word. All others are just like improved (or degraded version) of the popular Microsoft app).
OpenOffice comes with its own set of document formats known as the Open Document Format (ODT). Nevertheless, it also supports the Microsoft Office file formats (and Microsoft supports its formats in retaliation.
It has a rather outdated interface, and people who loved the old Office 2003 look and feel will definitely like it, as they both share many design features.
However, OpenOffice might continue to decline in popularity because it really looks like a 1990 kind of word processor. It has no online cloud integration, neither does it offers any sort of online collaboration to enhance teamwork.
You can open files stored on the cloud using OpenOffice, but you’ll have to install Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or Apple iCloud to enable this feature.
For our old grandma who writes novels since the 1990s, OpenOffice would be an App of the year. However, when it comes to a workplace or a setting where frequent saving to the cloud or some online storage is necessary, OpenOffice is quite useless for that.
OpenOffice edits complex documents quite well, and it’s quite flexible when it comes to the document formats it edits. When it comes to the latest in technology, such as cloud support and online collaboration, OpenOffice is quite poor.
3.WPS Office Writer
WPS Office is an alternative version of Microsoft Office, simply. It edits documents, spreadsheets, and presentations quite like Microsoft and it offers very similar interfaces to the Microsoft apps.
WPS Office includes most of the great features of Microsoft Word, in a premium-looking user interface. It can be described as an app that packs all the features of Microsoft Word into free software. It is superior to most other free office applications, and it can be used offline.
While WPS Office is equipped with native cloud support which enables you to easily save your documents online, it lacks the real-time collaboration feature. Unlike Google Docs, there is no option for multiple users to collaborate in real-time unless you’re using the same keyboard.
If the basic features of a word processing program are all you need, then you can use WPS Office without any hitch. However, if you’re to use the advanced features such as printing and exporting to PDF, you may have to watch an ad.
The ad lasts for about ten seconds, and you can unlock the feature for up to 30 minutes, after which you’ll have to watch another ad if you’re to continue using it.
If you can’t stand the sight of ads, you can pay $29.99 to get unrestricted access to all features of the Microsoft Word alternative. Better still, you can pay a slightly larger fee of $79.99 to get unrestricted access for life.
While this might look discouraging, it’s actually nothing, when compared to an Office 365 subscription.
4.Microsoft Office 365 (Online)
You wanted to remind me I’m writing about Microsoft Word alternatives, isn’t it?
Yeah, I know.
But, this innovation by Microsoft is a banger. Just like Google Docs online, Microsoft created an excellent version of their software and hosted it online, and free.
This means you don’t have to pay to use Office 365 online. Although it may be lacking in some of the features present in the premium downloadable package, there are actually times when the online version of Office becomes the best alternative.
Microsoft Word Online is much more Google Docs than Microsoft Word. Down to the features and the interface, this cloud-based version of Word proves to be a lot simpler.
However, being hosted online gives it some advantages over offline Word alternatives. For instance, real-time collaboration and cloud saving are made possible.
Also, documents made on Google Docs do not seem to retain their formatting, when exported to Microsoft Word, as well as those created via Word Online. Documents created from Word Online are automatically saved to Microsoft OneDrive, which ensures extra security of data.
OneDrive aside, it integrates with all Microsoft products as well as Google Docs integrates with Microsoft products. In addition to having numerous features, Microsoft Word online is free with no ads, and that’s what actually matters to some, making it a qualify as one of Microsoft Word alternatives.
Seems like I just love online software.
Dropbox is a popular cloud hosting and file sharing platform, and they decided to have a head-on competition with Microsoft and Google by also introducing their own word processing web app.
Sometimes, you’ll have to receive documents through Dropbox. Having to copy these documents to your computer to make the necessary edits, before having to copy them back online, and sending it to the destination might seem a long process. Dropbox saved you all this stress with Dropbox paper.
Dropbox Paper actually lets you do much more than just editing text. It displays a simple interface that hides the plethora of editing options available within the web app. Also, you don’t have to worry, they’re all free.
You can add images, videos, and even audios to your documents, making it more digital. If you’re knowledgeable, you can embed SlideShare decks and even YouTube videos to your documents.
It also supports online collaboration, but not as robust as that of Word Online and Google Docs. It limits you to link sharing, assigning checklists, and other very basic functions.
You’ll need a Dropbox account before you can access Dropbox Paper. Obviously, you can share, save, and access your papers online, as Dropbox is an online file sharing platform.
It’s usually difficult to choose an alternative to a well-established software piece. Anyways, we just have to do it sometimes.
Microsoft Word is an irreplaceable app for our Windows computers, but not everyone can afford the enormous subscription. When we’re unable to subscribe, we have to find a free or much cheaper, yet useful alternative.
The list above is the result of weeks of extensive testing and research, and they’re all great software pieces. While I won’t recommend one precisely, I’d tell you to go for Google Docs if you have to collaborate in a workplace or between authors.
If you’re a granny looking for a similar interface to the word processor that wrote your bestseller in 2002, go for OpenOffice and if you want a replica of Word, go for WPS Office or Word Online.
Whatever you choose, all that matters is that it gets your job done.
Thanks for reading.