Alternatives to Microsoft Office

If you know of a Microsoft Office Alternative that is not listed below, please leave a comment below.

Cloud-based:


Google Drive (formerly called Google Docs): the collaboration features are fantastic.
Take a look at this video and this one on sharing/collaboration.
Here's a good article on How to Make Google Drive Work Like a Desktop Suite.

Zoho Docs


Mobile-based:

Quickoffice (Android, iOS)

Kingsoft (Android, iOS)

Documents To Go (Android, Blackberry, iOS)

Office^2 HD (iOS)

Apple iWork (iOS)


Desktop-based:

Many of the packages listed here work on Windows, MacOS and Linux. Not all of them work equally well on "supported" platforms, so be sure to test the out on all of the platforms of your choice.

LibreOffice is the most popular alternative to Microsoft Office. It is free, you don't have to pay anything to use this. It works on Windows, MacOS and Linux.

LibreOffice 4.0: First Take

LibreOffice 4: A new, better open-source office suite

LibreOffice 4.0 New Features and Fixes

You may also wish to check out:


If you have needs that are more like desktop publishing you might want to check out Scribus.

Microsoft has a fairly limited notion of what needs to be in an office suite.  Calligra contains a number of interesting additions, also, consider some of these:



Here are some other collections of this sort of thing:

40 Best Open Source Graphic Programs

10 Excellent Open Source and Free Alternatives to Photoshop






YouTube is a great place to learn how to use these things well, here are a couple of examples:

Design Professional Brochures Using GIMP Inkscape and Scribus

GIMP Tutorial - Fire Effect




Helpful Article for what to do/not do when switching from Office:

Triumph and disaster: Two migrations to OpenOffice

Good comparison article, be sure and check out the comments.
Battle of the Office Suites: Microsoft Office and LibreOffice Compared

5 comments:

  1. ridiculous... ever tried to use this garbage for business. Every time Microsoft makes a change to their office suite you get compatibility issues. for 99/year you can have the entire office suite from Microsoft delivered via the cloud and virtualized on any machine. that is a deal.

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    Replies
    1. My company has used some the software above for all of its business needs for around 5 years now. We started with OpenOffice, then after the split (OpenOffice and LibreOffice) we switched to a combination of GoogleDocs [for most stuff] and LibreOffice for the more complex documents. We also lightly use several of the Graphics/Paint/Drawing packages.

      As to "every time Microsoft makes a change... compatibility issues", this is a major reason we left Office to begin with. Every Office release Microsoft did one or more of the following: made Office fatter, made gratuitous interface changes, broke our office-based workflow software, made documents that used to print fine need work before they will print again. We no longer have any of those issues.

      As importantly, switching to the packages above gave us the flexibility we needed to be able to use the same packages on Macs, Windows and Linux.

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  2. I am trying to decide if LibreOffice will work for a small business I am starting. Writer is less of a problem with sending documents to clients. But I also need to be able to send clients slide presentations and spreadsheets that have the same functionality and complexity as Excel and PowerPoint. Clients don't want to be hassling with fonts and compatibility, and I don't want to lose business. If I was using the spreadsheets and slide presentations in house only, I wouldn't hesitate to make the shift. Writer is as easy to work with as Word, and Base seems pretty straight forward though help documentation is skimpy to say the least.

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  3. Not easy for me to advise as my business generally does not exchange documents with other businesses. For those few times we do need to do it, we generally send a PDF, which LibreOffice handles very well. If you need to send documents to a client for collaboration purposes, you do indeed have a problem, though you can hit nearly as big a problem just by having a different version of Microsoft Office. [Had this happen twice with contract negotiations.]

    Another thing to consider is how often do you need to use Office to communicate with a client. If it is constant, then you do need to think about paying through the nose with Office [small business pricing is downright rude]. In our case, Microsoft invited us to a dog and pony show for Office 2008? and we got a free copy. We have used that copy once in 5 years [one of the contract negotiations]. Otherwise everything has been via LibreOffice and later Google Docs. For example LibreOffice is used for our user's manual, which we distribute in PDF.

    You don't say how many people in your business. If more than one, is everyone in contact with customers in that fashion? Also, consider that you may run into customers that use only LibreOffice or Google Docs. Office 2013 pricing is causing many to switch. When I was writing this article, around half of the Office 2013 reviewers suggested switching to LibreOffice, Google Docs or OpenOffice.

    Also... would PDF versions of your presentations not be good enough?

    Excel often seems to be a sticking point, though I'm never sure why. I would be very interested in hearing what you use in Excel that cannot be done in LibreOffice. Anyway, Excel can be purchased separately for those that actually need some functionality not present in LibreOffice. Most comparisons I've seen show very few things not available though. Again, if you are collaborating with clients, Excel might be necessary. If they just need to view a spreadsheet, will PDF not work?

    Mixing a few copies of Office with mostly using LibreOffice may sound more complicated, but remember Microsoft is not allowing Multiple installs like it used to. If you are mostly using LibreOffice every one can install it every where for free, including at home. This gives you a great deal more freedom than if you are tied to Office only. Versions of LibreOffice should be web enabled and available for Android devices in the next year or so.

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  4. Excel is actually the only tool that Bloomberg would support at this point and I don't see that will change. So moving away from MS Office doesn't always make sense.

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