10 Best Alternatives to Microsoft Office
By Bob Rankin
Bob evaluates 10 of the best alternatives (some free/some paid) to the inflated price tag attached to Microsoft Office.–PC Pitstop
Microsoft Office is the gold standard for business productivity suites. But it can cost a lot of gold, even at today’s low street prices. The Office Home and Business edition costs $219, and the Professional edition goes for $399. Fortunately, there are plenty of good alternatives to Microsoft Office; many are free, and even those that are not cost much less than Office. Here are some of the best alternative office suites…
Alternatives to Office: Free and Paid
Libre Office is a free, open source office suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. Libre Office’s native format is the Open Document Format (ODF), but it supports a staggering variety of other formats, including MS Office. Versions are available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and many Unix flavors. If it sounds very similar to OpenOffice, that’s because it’s a fork from that project. As I understand it, when Oracle took over the OpenOffice project, some of the key developers left and started work on LibreOffice. Some copyright restrictions are removed in LibreOffice, it has a few features that OpenOffice lacks, and will run well on older machines that have limited RAM memory.
MS Office Alternatives
Softmaker Office 2012 costs $80, but it is widely acclaimed as one of the best Office replacements. Its modules include the TextMaker word processor, PlanMaker spreadsheet, Presentations (like PowerPoint), and the BasicMaker macro language enables automation of many tasks. For $20 more, the Professional version includes eM Client (equivalent to Outlook, with calendar and contacts) and four Berlitz dictionaries. Notably missing is a database module akin to MS Access, and a desktop publishing module like MS Publisher. SoftMaker Office is compatible with all Microsoft Office document formats, an important consideration if you share files with Office users. Versions are available for Windows, Linux, Android, Windows Mobile, and Windows CE.
Excerpt shared with permission from Bob Rankin.
About Bob Rankin
Bob Rankin is a translator for the technology impaired -- a writer and computer programmer who enjoys exploring the Internet and explaining technology in plain English. His work has appeared in Computer World, NY Newsday, and other publications. Bob is also publisher of Internet TOURBUS, author of several computer books, and creator of the Lowfat Linux tutorial.