Small businesses might be hesitant about Microsoft Office’s widespread use and extensive features. Your business’s requirements, such as security and remote collaboration tools, will determine which is the best free Microsoft Office alternative. Alternatives include Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and cloud-based office tools such as Google’s apps.
Every cent is important for small businesses. Sometimes that means being creative in your tech decisions. Microsoft Office is undoubtedly the most popular office productivity suite. However, if you need to replace old software or purchase new computers, it can be expensive. Microsoft Office Desktop costs $250. The Microsoft Office 365 software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription model costs $6 to $23 per month. This adds up quickly.
These free Microsoft Office alternatives could be a great money-saving solution for your company before you spend on new software.
How to select a free office suite for your business
Your business type will determine the features you require in an office suite. These are the most important factors for your business.
Easy of Use:
You are a small business owner, like a retail business, or restaurant. Your team must have access to your productivity software, You’ll need tools that are intuitive, easy to use, and don’t require any training. If your staff and business are more technical, you might be willing to compromise ease of use in exchange for greater capabilities.
Remote collaboration capabilities:
While some businesses have everyone working in one location, others have employees who work from other locations or contractors. Your team should have access to your office suite no matter where they are located if your business is more geographically spread. A cloud-based office suite could be a great solution in these situations.
You must ensure that recipients are able to open and read documents you send to people outside of your organization if you frequently send them. You can do this by using the same software that the recipient, multiple file extensions, or cloud-based apps.
Although every business needs to protect its network and data, certain businesses are more likely to deal with sensitive data such as payment information from customers and intellectual property. It is best to have an office suite that has built-in protections against malware, spam, and other threats if your business is at risk. This will be added to existing security measures to prevent network security vulnerabilities and threats.
The larger the number of documents produced by your company and the larger the file sizes, the greater the need for data storage. Cloud-based apps are not affected by data storage, as downloaded apps store data on company servers.
Your office suite must be compatible with both mobile and desktop platforms that you and your staff use every day. If you rely on Macs or iPads or iPhones, this would be iOS or macOS. Or you might use Windows, Android, or Linux instead.
The breadth of programs:
Depending on your business, You may not require a complete range of programs, a marketing company will need robust presentation tools while a wholesaler may never need this software.
Also read: Top Tech Security Tips for Creating a Safe Home Office
Free office suites for download
These free office suites can be downloaded to many devices. Some of these suites offer complete Microsoft Office alternatives. Others offer core programs that include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
1. Apache OpenOffice
Apache OpenOffice is a popular open-source software that provides all the tools a small business owner requires in an office suite. Its tools can be used in conjunction with Microsoft Office 365 products and other Microsoft products.
- Writer: OpenOffice’s word processor is similar to Microsoft Word.
- Calc: can be used to create full-featured spreadsheets, much like Microsoft Excel.
- Impress: can be used to create slides or presentations, such as Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Draw: can be used to create graphics and illustrations, much like Microsoft Visio.
Math allows you to create equations within documents.
- Base: can be used to modify tables and forms, as well as for sharing data such as mail merges like Microsoft Access.
OpenOffice works with all Microsoft file extensions including DOC, XML, and PPT. It is compatible with Windows and Linux devices but not iOS. OpenOffice is compatible with certain macOS versions but not the most recent.
LibreOffice is an open-source, free office suite. It uses the same source code as Apache OpenOffice. LibreOffice offers full-featured office software with Writer and Calc. LibreOffice is different from OpenOffice because it has a larger community of volunteers around the world who continue to improve the software.
LibreOffice can be downloaded for Windows, macOS, and Android/GNU/Linux. LibreOffice also supports obscure operating systems like the BSDs (FreeBSD OpenBSD, NetBSD, and NetBSD).
LibreOffice supports Microsoft word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet file extensions. It also uses the Open Document Format to ensure maximum compatibility. LibreOffice can be used on a desktop computer, as well as via a USB drive and cloud computing.
NeoOffice is an office suite designed for Mac computers that are based on Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice. It is designed to meet the needs of Mac users and offers features that are not available in OpenOffice’s Mac version.
NeoOffice is a Mac-like software with the Versions feature. This macOS tool automatically saves copies before any changes are made to documents. NeoOffice also offers Mac-like features like highlighting, full-screen mode, and extended support. You can even choose which programs you want to open at launch.
NeoOffice can be downloaded from the Mac App Store. It is compatible with OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and Microsoft Office file types.
4. Kingsoft WPS Office
Kingsoft’s WPS Office offers Microsoft Office-like functionality for free. It offers only three core products, Writer, Spreadsheets, and Presentation. However, these products have the same look and robust features as their Microsoft Office counterparts.
WPS Office is easy to use because it uses the same layout and design as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. WPS Office is available for Windows, Linux, and Android. It includes a PDF converter, spell-check, multiple tabs, and document encryption.
5. SSuite Office
SSuite Office offers a wide variety of products including the WordGraph word processor and Accel Spreadsheet. MonoBase database creator is also available. FaceCom video conferencing is another example of SSuite Office’s extensive product range.
Ssuite Office can be downloaded as an entire program (there are many options depending on the user’s needs and machine), or as individual programs. You also have the option to download mobile apps. It’s only available for Windows but instructions on how to use the suite and its programs on Mac or Linux are available.
SSuite is free and lightweight. This makes it a great choice for slow or limited RAM computers.
Also read: 15 Best Cool and Amazing Office Gadgets and Accessories
Free cloud-based office suites
All cloud-based office suites can be accessed from any internet-connected device. They can be used on any internet-connected device. The cloud stores files and makes them accessible from anywhere, anytime. You can also share files and invite others to collaborate.
These are the top cloud-based office suites.
6. Google’s Productivity Apps
Google’s cloud storage and productivity platform allows users to create, edit, and collaborate on any type of file. It also includes the Google Docs word processor and Sheets spreadsheet editor. Slides presentation maker is available as well as the Google Forms form creator, Google Calendar, and other products.
For easy collaboration and access, all documents are saved to the user’s Google Drive account. Other apps can be connected, including the PicMonkey photo editor and WeVideo video editor. Users can also connect PDF Convert, RingCentral CloudFax, and DocuSign.
Google Drive requires you to have a Google account. It comes with 15GB of free storage. Google Workspace is also available as a paid option. Prices start at $6 per month for a more advanced version of Google’s productivity tools. This will depend on how much data you have and how many video conferences you require.
Also read: Microsoft Office 365 Product and Activation Key Free
7. Microsoft Office Online
Microsoft Office offers free web-based versions of Office’s most popular programs. You can access your files online and edit them, as well as collaborate with others via a web browser.
You can also share the service; you can create unique file links or insert documents, spreadsheets, and presentations directly into your website or blog.
Office Online is available for free with 7GB of free online storage, online versions of Microsoft Word and Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
Companies that need only the most essential functions can use these free versions. The free Word version does not include the Design and Mailing tabs of Microsoft 365. However, it supports third-party plugins that may restore these functions.
8. iWork for iCloud
Apple’s iWork is a suite that offers a variety of productivity apps, including the Pages word processor and Numbers spreadsheet editor, and Keynote presentation creator. It is accessible to anyone with an Apple ID. It can be used on Mac, PC browsers, and mobile devices.
You can also share documents between non-iCloud members using unique links. This allows for real-time collaboration, presentations, and collaboration regardless of which device each person uses. You can access iWork documents offline. However, they are only compatible with Apple devices.
You get 5GB of free storage with iWork for iCloud. Additional storage can be purchased starting at 99c per month, 200GB for $2.99/month, or 2TB for $9.99/month.
9. Zoho Docs
Zoho Docs is an all-in-one productivity solution that includes file storage, sharing, management, and file storage.
You can first create, manage, share, and publish files with Zoho’s Sheet, Writer, and Show programs. You can then invite other users to collaborate and assign tasks to keep track of progress. Zoho does not support these three office programs. However, it can store files and documents in any format and be shared with anyone via dedicated links.
Zoho Docs can be accessed on the web, iOS, and Android devices. The free plan comes with 5GB storage. Paid plans cost $5 per month and offer 250GB of storage and more advanced features. Zoho Docs is an excellent choice for small businesses that are geographically dispersed as it offers up to five users for free.