Thanks to its features and offerings, Microsoft Office remains one of the most widely-used productivity applications today. However, it’s not for everyone.
If you’re looking for a Microsoft Office alternative to cut costs, find better solutions, or simply avoid Microsoft products altogether, you’re in luck! There are plenty of competitors that give the longtime leader a run for its money.
Here, we review the best MS Office alternatives and help you pick the right one. Let’s get started!
This Article Covers:
Our Top 5 MS Office Alternatives
- Google Workspace – Best Microsoft Office Alternative Overall
- Office Online (Microsoft) – Best Cloud-Based Solution for Microsoft Users
- iWork (Apple) – Best for macOS and iOS Users
- OpenOffice – Best Free Microsoft Office Alternative Overall
- WPS Office – Best Ad-Supported Multi-Platform MS Office Alternative
Why Should I Use a Microsoft Office Alternative?
There are a few reasons why you might prefer to use an MS Office alternative instead, such as:
Microsoft Office isn’t cheap. Annual purchases cost $69.99 for single users (with family plans starting at $99.99). For the most basic monthly subscriptions, single users should expect to pay $6.99 (and $6 per month for a business plan).
An obvious reason to seek an MS Office alternative is that you aren’t pleased with its performance. Perhaps you keep getting errors (or things are running too slow, too often).
MS Office is relatively easy to pick up. That said, learning some of the more advanced features of each app can be confusing.
Lack of Features
Although MS Office apps are absolutely packed with features, there’s always a chance you’ll find a feature that’s missing.
Some productivity suites make it easier to seamlessly collaborate with others on the same file.
Is a Microsoft Office Substitute Worth the Cost?
Sometimes, an alternative application is free. Sometimes, it costs the same as a Microsoft 365 subscription. We’ve highlighted a few options in this list to help you determine whether a particular substitute is worth the switch.
5 Best Alternatives to Microsoft Office
Our Rating: 4.25/5
- Any computer with a modern browser and an internet connection
- iOS, iPadOS, Android
- Free forever plan allows the use of any Google Workspace app
- Comes with 15 GB of free storage
- Business plans:
- $6 Business Starter plan/month
- $12 Business Standard plan/month $6 per user/month
- $18 Business Plus plan/month
- For enterprise plans, contact the sales team.
In our opinion, Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) is the best Microsoft Office alternative. This productivity suite includes Gmail, Google Meet/Chat, Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Forms – with all of them connected to your Google Drive cloud storage solution.
As long as you have a modern browser and internet connection, you can connect to the cloud-based Google Workspace anywhere at any time. It also has an offline mode (though it isn’t the most reliable option). Google Workspace also offers easy and instant collaboration.
Perhaps the only thing you’d notice switching to this suite from MS Office is the lack of a MS Access equivalent (and the fact that Google Sheets can’t do everything MS Excel can). But the fact that you can use pretty much everything for free (unless you want more storage or want a business account) pretty much has us sold.
Note: Plenty of Excel users swear by the OG app – and for great reasons!
On Spammers and Google’s Inaction
Quite honestly, we would’ve happily given Google Workspace as close to five stars as we could, save for one annoying and unacceptable thing: spam.
If spammers get ahold of your Gmail address, they have free rein to send you pretty much whatever they wish. Some users (including this editor) receive between 1-5 shared files or folders every day. These could be explicit photos, phishing attempts, and links to illicit websites. These shared files and folders get added right to your Google Drive or Photos — and you can’t do anything about it.
Google only recently added their “report and block” which works great if you’re getting spam from a single account. In most cases, spam comes from different email addresses. If you can overlook the potential daily spam emails, Google Workspace offers a productivity suite that rivals Microsoft’s.
- 15 GB free storage with a free plan
- All Google Workspace apps are available entirely for free
- Works on any computer with a modern browser
- Has apps on iOS and Android for on-the-go productivity
- Spam can be hard to stop
- Offline features are limited and occasionally unreliable
- Paying for higher-tiered plans can get quite pricy
2. Office Online (Microsoft) – Best Cloud-Based Solution for Microsoft Users
Our Rating: 4.5/5
Platforms: Any computer with a modern browser and an internet connection
- For more features, you can subscribe to Microsoft 365.
Microsoft’s Office Online is more like a competitor to Google Workspace because it offers a cloud-based productivity suite (alongside some storage). Users get 7 GB of cloud storage for free, as well as a fully online version of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote.
Office Online is an excellent free Office alternative for anyone who needs a simple solution (since Microsoft Office alternative’s apps are limited in features).
- 100% free
- Works perfectly on any computer with a browser and internet
- Available for free on Android/iOS devices with screens smaller than 10.1”
- Limited features
3. iWork (Apple) – Best for macOS and iOS Users
Our Rating: 4.3/5
Platforms: macOS, iOS, iPadOS
If you’re an Apple ecosystem enthusiast, you’ve probably already heard of iWork, Apple’s Microsoft Office equivalent. There are only three apps: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. All three work on all compatible computers and devices. You can sync your files over iCloud and continue working on any device. Our biggest complaint about iWork is the apps feel somewhat limited.
- Syncs via iCloud so you can continue working on any device
- 100% free
- Cleaner, user-friendly interface
- Works with MS Office file types
- Only three apps are available
- Limited features
4. OpenOffice – Best Free Microsoft Office Alternative Overall
Our Rating: 4.5/5
Platforms: Official apps on Windows and macOS; third-party ports on Android and iOS
OpenOffice is a 100% free Microsoft Office alternative. It’s easily the leading open-source option – and dedicated volunteers continue to support OO’s apps to keep them up to date. Apache OpenOffice offers alternatives like Writer, Impress, Calc, Draw, Math, and Base.
Apache OpenOffice doesn’t have official iOS or Android apps. However, there are some third-party ports (developed by volunteers) that allow users to access OpenOffice on their mobile devices.
- 100% free.
- Tools in the OpenOffice suite get regular support and updates from dedicated volunteer contributors.
- Works with the majority of Microsoft’s file types.
- Can sometimes feel unpolished
- Not as full-featured as some alternatives on this list.
5. WPS Office – An Ad-Supported Multi-Platform MS Office Alternative
Platforms: Windows, Linux, macOS, web, iOS, Android
- Free but ad-supported, 1GB cloud storage only
- WPS Premium (ad-free and more features)
- $23.99 for six months
- $35.99 for one year
- Contact sales for WPS Business pricing
WPS Office is Kingsoft’s somewhat new MS Office alternative. This is a well-designed, organized, and intuitive product. If you don’t mind the 1 GB cloud storage and occasional ad, you can use WPS Office for free. If you’d like to remove the ads, a six- or twelve-month subscription adds features like 20 GB of cloud storage, OCR (optical character recognition), and a PDF editor.
Related: Top Dropbox Alternatives
WPS Office will work on just about any operating system, as there are native apps for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android. However, you can also use WPS Office on any computer with a modern browser and an internet connection.
- Available for free (if you don’t mind ads)
- Works on practically any platform
- Organized and intuitive user interface
- Ads on free version (many competing free alternatives have no ads).
- Free version only offers 1 GB of storage.
How We Chose Our Top 5 Microsoft Office Alternatives
To choose our favorite MS Office alternatives, we gave each suite a fair shake by downloading or using them in the cloud for a few days. We also considered a few factors, such as:
- Whether it was available entirely for free, ad-supported, or through a premium subscription or license purchase.
- Platform compatibility and how easy it was to use the suite across various operating systems and devices.
- The file formats each alternative can work with, and whether it is capable of opening and editing Microsoft file extensions (e.g., .doc, .docx)
- How user-friendly, appealing, and intuitive the suite is.
- How well each program performed with the tools that were included.
How to Choose the Best Microsoft Office Alternative for You
There are a few things to consider as you select the right Microsoft Office alternative for your needs. Consider the criteria below:
User-friendliness and Ease of Use
Some productivity suites are more intuitive and user-friendly, allowing even beginners and less tech-savvy users to get started in no time. You may want to find an alternative that you can learn without much hassle.
If you know you’ll need to work on files with others, you may want to look for an Office alternative with collaboration features. Although the old-school way of sharing files can work, a cloud-based solution is usually much more convenient.
It’s always a good idea to look for productivity suites that offer built-in features that protect your data and other sensitive information. Always ensure that you download apps from the official channels.
There’s nothing more frustrating than sharing a file and being told it’s impossible to open. As you consider the best MS Office alternative, determine which file types are supported by each option. This way, you’ll be able to send files and edit received files without any issues.
Operating System Compatibilities
Consider whether a productivity suite is compatible with your devices, including versions on your phone or tablet. Some alternatives offer cross-compatibility and universal syncing, meaning you can work on any device and pick up where you left off on another device.
You may not need all the apps offered by Microsoft Office, and the same applies when it comes to alternatives. If you know you’ll only really use one app out of an entire suite, is there really any need to pay for all of the programs? Obviously, this won’t be a concern if you use a free Office open-source alternative.
If you’re considering a cloud-based solution, it’s always a good idea to look into how much free storage space is available. Also, look into whether storage space is scalable (so you can purchase more storage if it’s necessary).
Of course, one of the biggest things to consider is cost. Set an amount you’re willing to spend – even if it’s zero – and stick to your budget!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Alternative for MS Office?
The best alternative depends on your needs and whether you are looking for a personal solution or one to share with a team or business. Nevertheless, there are a few universally great options you can try, such as Google Workspace, and Apple’s iWork.
What Is a Free Microsoft Office Substitute?
If you’re looking for a free Microsoft Office alternative, try Office Online. There’s also Google Workspace, which includes famous Google apps like Docs, Sheets, and more. If you’re a Mac user, you can use the iWork suite that comes with your machine.
If you want to stop spending too much on a perpetual MS Office subscription, why not choose a Microsoft Office alternative instead? There are plenty of options to choose from, including cloud-based and desktop app solutions (available for free or for purchase).
We hope that our list of the 5 best alternatives to MS Office helps you find the right productivity suite for you. If you feel there are some alternatives we’ve missed, please feel free to tell us in a comment below!