August 07, 2020
July 03, 2020
March 16, 2018
Whether you are a student, professional, or small business owner, you need quality office software. Surprisingly, some of the best office suites are completely free and available on the most popular operating systems.
New Windows 10 PCs are preloaded with a trial of Microsoft Office, but after expiration, you will need to find an alternative. Macs are equipped with Apple's own office suite, but you might need a cross-platform suite to work with PC users.
So what is the best free office suite on the market? Factors to consider are price, operating environment, delivery method and extra tools and services. You need to weigh each criterion against your needs to select the software that's best for you.
LibreOffice is a good option to start in your search for a good Office application. It's compatible with all Microsoft document formats, and has most features in the latest versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
The suite contains six programs to cover every common office task: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. The last three are tools designed for vector diagrams, math functions and databases. The latter is particularly useful if you work with large amounts of data.
LibreOffice is an open source project maintained by a large community of volunteers constantly working to improve stability and add new features. There's a vast array of extensions and templates to make it even more flexible, and it's free for businesses as well as personal users.
LibreOffice is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, but the main drawback is there are no mobile versions available except for a document viewer for Android.
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
If you work collaboratively, or switch between a PC and a Mac, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides should be considered.
For people who are already familiar with the Android and Google ecosystem, this suite will be a natural choice. The three key tools run well in any web browser, and are available as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
Google's free office suite is limited in functionality. It doesn't offer the advanced tools you'll find in desktop software like WPS Office (for example there are no pivot tables or shareplay option in presentation) but everything is displayed in a clear manner. All your files will be saved and synced automatically so you don't have to worry about transfers and backups.
The chief disadvantage of Docs, Sheets and Slides is that opening files created using other office software is a troublesome process and files aren't converted correctly often.
This is partly because Google's office tools use web fonts rather than ones stored on your local device, and also because Microsoft documents sometimes contain features not supported by Google.
If file compatibility is a must have for you in your daily use, move on to the options below.
Microsoft Office Online
Microsoft's desktop software requires a subscription fee, but the firm has created its own set of free online apps to combat the other free offerings.
Microsoft Office Online looks and works just like its desktop equivalent, and although advanced tools like pivot tables are lacking, it is on par with Google Suite.
If you generally use Microsoft document formats, Office Online is a common choice. Unlike Google's apps, it doesn't need to convert your files before you can work on them, and you can share them easily through your OneDrive account. Use your Microsoft account to access cloud services and you're all set.
There's a version of Office Online for Chrome, plus mobile editions of Office for iOS and Android.
WPS Office Free is a smaller version of a premium office suite, but you will find its power is good for most of your needs. Each of its three programs looks comparable to the latest versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and is loaded with just as many features.
File format support is excellent, and you can save your work in native Microsoft formats for easy sharing with Office users. WPS Office comes with an excellent free PDF reader that's a great for reading contracts and other secure files.
To offset the costs of offering the features, these are a few ads. They won't block your work, and you'll be amazed that everything in this suite is completely free.
WPS Office Free is available for Windows and Linux systems, as well as apps for Android and iOS devices.
In conclusion, after considering the best file compatibility with Office, rich feature set, and price, the best choice for an Office suite is WPS Office.
Download WPS Office free