Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office
I often get asked where people can get free or cheap copies of Microsoft Office. Unfortunately, I have to tell people that there isn’t an easy or legal way to do that. If you do need a genuine copy of Microsoft Office, then your best bet would be to purchase a copy through http://www.amazon.com or http://www.ebay.com.
But, if you are just looking for some programs to create, open, and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, then there are several FREE (and legal) alternatives that I highly recommend.
Easiest to Use:
Kingsoft Office Free 2013 – 45.4 MB download
Shortened URL Download Link: goo.gl/HJ0Kbz
Kingsoft’s Free Office program would be my most recommended alternative for people to download. It provides anyone with three free Microsoft Office alternatives: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It is also the best looking since it uses a similar interface like that of Office 2007 and newer. Kingsoft also prompts you upon install if you would like to automatically save all your files into the Office version (.doc, .xlt, and .ppt), which is a BIG plus in my book. If you want to share files with someone who uses Microsoft Office, then you will need to save the files that you create in Kingsoft as those versions. Kingsoft’s program also seems to handle existing Office files well. I haven’t run across any funky looking documents that it has opened that were originally created with Microsoft Office.
LibreOffice 4.1 – 205 MB
Shortened URL Download Link: goo.gl/afqcQQ
Windows, Mac, and Linux
LibreOffice is an open source alternative to Microsoft Office that provides several more program alternatives than Kingsoft. It also includes variations of Access (for databases), Visio (for diagrams), and a program for creating complex math problems to place in documents (this can be great for math teachers who want a typed test!) My biggest complaint with LibreOffice is that it looks like the way Microsoft Office looked in versions prior to Office 2007. I find the program harder to use because of this, but people who are familiar with the way Office 2000 and 2003 looked might prefer LibreOffice’s interface. Another problem with LibreOffice is that you have to specify when saving a document that you want it saved as the Microsoft Office version (.doc, .xlt, and .ppt). If you don’t do this, then people with Microsoft Office will not be able to open and view the files you create unless they also download LibreOffice.
Since both programs are free, you are welcome to download and try them both out, and I would encourage you to do so! Just type either of those two shortened URLs into your web browser’s address bar to be taken directly to the download page for that program. You can also type the software’s name into Google, and you should be shown the links for those pages as well.
Until next time, dare yourself to try something new with technology!
- .doc and .docx files are Word documents
- .xlt and .xltx files are Excel spreadsheets
- .ppt and .pptx are PowerPoint presentations.