What are the best free alternatives to Microsoft Office?

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in Code Chronicles

A lot of people have nothing but love for Microsoft. Certain users, however, are neither blown away by the “revolutionary” design nor are they willing to pay the steep price of admission.  The following list of the best free Microsoft office alternatives is meant to help you find a worthwhile replacement that is chalk-full of options and is fully compatible with Microsoft Office formats.

Apache OpenOffice

This free office suite is recommended to all retro users who are quite satisfied with the outdated look from 2003 Microsoft Office. Apache OpenOffice features a word processor (Write), spreadsheet (Calc), presentations (Impress), and Database Management (Base), as well as software solutions for drawing and mathematical calculations. It fully supports Microsoft formats such as DOCX, XLC, PPT and XML. As an added bonus, you can easily save files as PDF documents, and enjoy the benefits of integrated commenting, as well as tracking changes. This office suite does not come with cloud support, but an extension lets you to connect to services such as Google Drive or Vox. Apache Open Office does not have applications for smart phone devices.

Google Docs

Google Docs grants you access to an office suite directly from your browser. One disadvantage to this approach would be that the suite does not really stand out with numerous, complex features that are most-assuredly found in the fully-fledged desktop alternatives. This should not have you deterred and if you give it a chance, you will be rewarded with elegant, clean interface and phenomenal opportunities for efficient collaboration. Google Docs is a great choice for real-time commenting, tracking changes and deep integration with Google Drive storage and sharing. For uninterrupted work, a constant internet connection is highly recommended. There is an extension, however, that lets you use the suite offline, but running it involves additional steps and it only works with the source formats. For an annual subscription, Google Docs unlocks features that are more business oriented.

Kingsoft WPS Office 2016

Outstanding suite that is free to use, but only if you are willing to suffer through adds every once in a while. This is for temporarily unlocking certain features, such as printing or conversion into a pdf document. The silver lining is that the ads are never longer than ten seconds, and if you want to completely root them out, you would need to make an annual financial commitment of $30. This policy of use could sound unfair and rub you the wrong way, but believe us when we tell you that this is the closest you will get to the actual Microsoft Office. In terms of both appearance and functionality, Kingsoft WPS Office 2016 is a spitting image of Microsoft Office. The suite comes with Writer, Spreadsheets and Presentations, as well as 1GB of storage space, thanks to the WPS Cloud service. The programs feature the recognizable ribbon interface, with tabs and tools locked in almost the same places as the product from the Redmond giant. Retro users will be able to fully turn back the time and use the 2003 interface on a whim. Compatibility with Microsoft Office formats is more than satisfactory, but you will be left empty-handed if you find yourself needing advanced features for collaboration.

LibreOffice 5

LibreOffice is an office suite that, at its core, is built upon OpenOffice code. The fifth version is significantly better than the ancestor, not only in terms of functionality, but also in terms of popularity. There are six programs available and, given the shared history with OpenOffice, many things are quite similar between them. Even though the user interface resembles Office 2003, this software solution is highly flexible with your modern needs. In addition, opening and working with a variety of formats is hassle-free. Libre Office also has a Remote Files option that allows you to connect to services like Google Drive or OneDrive, which is great for tracking changes and leaving comments in documents, but not as much for full on real-time collaboration.

Microsoft Office Online

The Google Docs’ biggest rival gives you THE office tools for working from the comfort of your browser. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote are also available as iOS and Android apps, free. Things become even better the moment you come across the numerous tools for real-time collaboration. Unfortunately, many of the advanced features are disabled in this free, online-only alternative, but the hard-core Microsoft fans who have invested in OneDrive and feel the need for online collaboration will not be left completely empty-handed.

Softmaker FreeOffice 2016

As a free version, FreeOffice 2016 is recommended to users who are completely satisfied with an interface that prides itself on minimalistic but responsive approach, fully compatible with the numerous Office formats. You have TextMaker (Word), PlanMaker (Excel) and Presentations (PowerPoint) at your disposal, as well as extra-fast tools for creating PDF documents, impressive worksheets in PlanMaker, and breath-taking effects in Presentations. You can also track changes and leave comments, but if the need arises for something more than this, then you would have to set some money aside for one of two more advanced versions.

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