10 Best Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office

The Microsoft Office suite takes up a lot of memory, both in hard drive space and in RAM. The full and complete package of Office costs more than some people's mortgage payments. Fortunately, Office is not the only option available to get the work done. Here are ten FREE alternatives to what Microsoft Office has to offer.
  1. Google Docs (Web Based): The Web Based Google Docs is an easy to use set of applications that users can create word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. You can share these documents with friends and coworkers quite effectively with the push of a few buttons.

  2. Open Office (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux): Open Office is a great solution for those who are looking for a free open source alternative to the Microsoft family. The suite offers a great open source alternative to the Microsoft family of products. The suite has word processing, a database program, a spreadsheet application and a layout program to create most documents.

  3. KOffice (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux): There are eight packages in this suite, including a spreadsheet, presentation software, project planning and image editing. It is fast, functional and open source.

  4. NeoOffice 3.1.1 (Mac OS X): NeoOffice took the features of OpenOffice and expanded them to be Mac specific. This offers the same programs in OpenOffice and streamlined them specifically for the Mac user. It is faster than OpenOffice, and uses the Mac OSX Leopard grammar checking features.

  5. Lotus Symphony (Windows): Lotus Symphony diverges from its OpenOffice base by offering a browser-like system of creating and editing documents. Three tools are offered: word processing, spreadsheets and presentation. In the word processing application, you can use templates, spellcheck and insert your own creations into the document.

  6. Zoho (Web Based): Zoho aims to be a comprehensive set of applications like Google docs. There are programs for writing and spreadsheets, but the Zoho suite goes beyond that by offering a wiki, a planner, email and CRM.

  7. GnomeOffice (Linux, Windows): This was a Linux suite in the beginning, catering to those users with a word processor and a spreadsheet program. It has since expanded to the Windows arena, allowing you to take your documents anywhere with the Open Document format. Gnumeric, the spreadsheet program, offers 189 functions that are not available anywhere else.

  8. ThinkFree (Web Based): ThinkFree allows you to open Excel spreadsheets, MS Word Docs and PowerPoint presentations. The tools are Web Based, requiring a login that can be coordinated through your Google account. You have the option of collaborating with others. Being a Web Based system, it is accessible from anywhere that has an internet connection.

  9. Jarte (Word Processor, Windows): Jarte is self-described as 'a fast starting, easy to use word processor that expands well beyond the Wordpad feature set.' You can insert photos and tables and export to html or PDF formats. You can also send documents out via email.

  10. Atlantis Nova (Word Processor, Windows): The claim to fame for Atlantis Nova is that you get all of the traditional tools for word processing, but you don't have to worry about it chewing up processing power. The basic version of the program is free, or you can choose to pay $35 for registration.

Free is a great price to pay for these applications, so give them a shot and see what you like. By the way, Jun has previously written about several free and open source office suites for Linux that you may also want to check out.