Whether you are writing a letter, an essay or a doctoral thesis, creating an invoice for your customer or a presentation for your boss, you are probably relying on an office suite for an efficient and enjoyable work process. The type of office suite you need depends largely on how you will be using it.
Are you a business owner who creates a lot of complex spreadsheets and time cards? Or are you a college student who needs a user-friendly word processing program to make writing papers as easy as possible? Do you always work from the same computer, or do you need to store your documents in a cloud so that you can access them from anywhere at any time? There are many options available when it comes to office suites, and you should consider what each one of them offers before you make your decision.
1 WordPerfect Office
Offering many similar features for a lower price, WordPerfect is good option to consider if you’re looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office. Similarly to its more popular competitor, WordPerfect includes a word processor, spreadsheet program, slideshow creator, digital notebook and email client. WordPerfect supports a multitude of file formats, and one license allows you to install the suite on three computers. Keep in mind that this office suite is only available for Windows users.
2 Kingsoft Office
Designed to provide all the basic features of Microsoft Office, Kingsoft is a fast and efficient suite that is extremely user-friendly. It offers three programs: Writer, Spreadsheets and Presentation, which are very similar to MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It is ideal for those who are accustomed to working with MS Office, but don’t have a lot of use for its advanced features.
Kingsoft supports all Microsoft Office documents and even allows its Writer documents to be converted into MS Word files. Although the Writer is missing a few useful features such as grammar check and thesaurus, its page layout tools are second to none. Spreadsheets and Presentation are also extremely efficient and easy to use, while its Office for Android App allows you to work on and share your documents on your mobile device entirely free of charge.
3 Softmaker FreeOffice
Similarly to Kingsoft, FreeOffice is quite basic and easy to use, while providing all the necessary features for the average consumer (word processor, spreadsheet builder and presentation creator). Its small size and fast running speed makes it a perfect choice for older computers. FreeOffice is highly compatible with Microsoft Office file formats.
4 Corel Home Office
Corel Home Office is another alternative to those who are used to MS Office. Its familiar and user-friendly interface makes it easy to transition from MS Office or WordPerfect. Corel’s word processor, Write, offers all the necessary features for office and school work. The spreadsheet, Calculate and presentation program, Show, also offer most of the basic features found in their Microsoft equivalents. Corel is particularly impressive in its compatibility with Microsoft files; however, it does not open OpenOffice documents.
5 Google Docs
The search engine’s alternative to desktop office suites, Google Docs offers all the essential office features free of charge but with one caveat: you need Internet connection to access it. However, in today’s world this rarely presents a problem, and Google Docs offers many user-friendly sharing features to attract today’s hyper-connected consumers.
An obvious benefit of working with a Web-based program is that you can access your files, and probably even more impressive, the application itself, from any computer at any time. Google Docs is very intuitive in its use and offers all the necessary features for word processing, building spreadsheets or creating presentations.
Although editing tools are quite limited, most users will find them sufficient for work, school or home use. Google Docs provides 15 GB of storage, with additional storage available for a fee. It also allows you to import and export files in various formats.
LibreOffice offers a comprehensive package of office applications free of charge, and is compatible with many systems, including Windows, OS X and Linux. The programs provided are Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. Although not as extensive in its features as Microsoft Office, most users should find it sufficient for their needs and easy to work with. Write and Calc particularly stand out as worthy rivals of MS Word and Excel. Many users have reported problems importing PowerPoint presentations into Impress, though, which is something to consider if you work on presentations a lot.
7 Apache OpenOffice
Once the most popular of the open-source office suites, OpenOffice has been falling behind LibreOffice as of late. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider OpenOffice when looking for a free office suite, especially since the latest version comes with many improvements. Although the two are similar in the features offered, some reviewers have noted that OpenOffice runs faster than LibreOffice, but that both competitors still have problems converting large Word documents.
In my personal experience I have found that over time my spreadsheets start to open with Chinese characters without any changes in the language settings. Often a complete uninstall/resintall is required to rectify the issue. Note though that this could be completely user error 😉
Zoho offers one of the most comprehensive online office suites. Zoho software includes a database management system, presentation program, spreadsheet program, word processor and more. When comparing Zoho to its biggest rival, Google Docs, it’s evident that Zoho is better at integrating Microsoft Office documents with all their advanced features. However, Zoho does not offer as wide of a variety of sharing options as Google Docs, and tends to run slower.
Ideal for Mac users and cheaper than Microsoft Office, iWork includes Pages for word processing, Numbers for spreadsheets and Keynote for presentations. While these programs offer most of the features you will find necessary, you would need to export your files into Microsoft Office before sharing them with anyone who doesn’t also use a Mac, which could create problems with formatting.
10 Microsoft Office
Without a doubt the king of all office suites, Microsoft Office offers the most comprehensive package of programs in office software. It provides a full range of programs for every task imaginable: a word processor, spreadsheet builder, presentation creator and database manager, among others. Unfortunately, all these features don’t come for free, and Microsoft’s hefty price tag has forced many users to look for cheaper alternatives.
However, if your job requires the use of a truly inclusive office suite, Microsoft Office is well worth the investment. With its new SkyDrive feature, you can work on your documents from any mobile device. Although you can only install the suite on one computer when you purchase a license, a new annual subscription feature allows you to download Office onto multiple computers.