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Best 10 FREE Office Software for Windows & PC (2024)

March 6, 2024 10.5K views

When you can access to many free office software of quality, why should you pay for expensive software like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel? A great free office software can not only save your cost, but also help improve your work efficiency and work experience by employing easy-to-use softwares for office documents, spreadsheets and presentations, all free of cost.

Within a dozens free alternatives to paid office software, in order to provide you with a comprehensive guidance to choose one suitable for you, we have used lots of office softwares and listed the Best 10 Free office softwares. Based on direct experience of using them, their advantages and shortcomings are presented at details for you. 

1. WPS Office

WPS Office is one of the best free office software you can find as a replacement for Office 365. Apart from its excellent compatibility with Office 365, rich formulas and functions and diverse templates, WPS Office owns its outstanding advantages:

  • Microsoft Office + Adobe Acrobat: WPS Office offers users a comprehensive and powerful services. It not only contains three componets compatible to Microsoft Office, including WPS Word, WPS Spreadsheet, WPS Presentation, but also equips with WPS PDF, which provides the similar service with Adobe Acrobat. 

  • Powerful PDF toolkit: WPS PDF tool provides one-stop pdf solution, including converting, editing, and signing PDF files. The most surprising function is that WPS PDF allows users to convert pdf files to and from Word, Excel PowerPoint, and image files online for free

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Besides, another advantage of WPS Office is its moder-design interface and comfortable using experience:

  • Simple and modern user interface: Even though you use WPS Office for the first time, you could create and edit documents frequently in a short time. The interface is modern and similar to Microsoft Office. Its navigation consists of clear function icons and neat toolbar, making you easy to find and understand various functions.

  • Seamless and convient using experience: The unique feature of WPS Office allows many interfaces of different document types coexist in one window, providing a seamless working experience within numbers of documents. https://res-academy.cache.wpscdn.com/images/b8000f3565123e1115a21146314666af.png

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WPS Office- Free All-in-One Office Suite
  • It allows you to create a word document, excel spreadsheet, and presentation.

  • It supports multiple platforms, including Microsoft Windows, Linux, iOS, macOS, and Android.

  • This Office Suite is compatible with Microsoft Office Suite so that you can use documents interchangeably and it won’t erase formatting.

  • You can view multiple documents at once with WPS Office.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

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However, there are some shortcomings of WPS Office you need to pay attention to:

  • Lack of some advanced functions: In WPS Spreadsheet, although most of functions are equal to Microsoft Excel, there lack some advanced functions such as macro and VBA. If you need to use these functions in your working, WPS Office may disappoint you to some extent.

  • Upselling of WPS PDF: When using WPS PDF, most of the functions are free. But there are many advanced functions that you should pay for, which would be annoying at some time.

2. Google Docs

Google Docs is a well-known office software for many people. Its cross-platform accessibility and powerful google drive support provide users comfortable using experience. Besides, what advantages of google docs are worth mentioning are:

  • Based on web: You can use google docs in multiple devices without need to download and install software. If you log in your google account online, you can use it for word processing, excel spreadsheets and presentations no matter on your laptop or mobile phone. In addition, it integrates with Google Drive and syncs your data automatically, so you don’t have to worry about the backup of your data.

  • Outstanding collaboration: You can share your documents to other people, which improves work efficiency of collaborating. Google docs provides different ways to share, including emails and links. And if you choose share documents with emails, you could send to multiple addresses at once and receive email notification of others' editing in documents. In addition, there are three types of permission setting, allowing others to view, comment or edit. When others comment or edit the document, you also can watch their live of commenting and editing.

As for the interface and user experience of google docs, it owns a simple-design interface and offers smooth user experience. Although its functions are not as rich as other offline office software, google docs is equipped with basic and most used functions. In a word, google docs could satisfy the basic need of users.


According to many users' viewpoints and direct experience, there are still many place of google docs waiting to improve. The shortcomings of google docs are:

  • Lack of offline version: Because google docs are based on web, users could not operate it without web, which leads to something troublesome for many users. 

  • Format issues: As Google Docs mainly use web-based fonts instead of locally stored on a PC, you might need help opening files in Google Docs created in other softwares and may find formatting disturbing.


3. Microsoft Office Online

Microsoft Office Online is a legal and free version of Microsoft Office. As we know, Microsoft Office occupies a leading role in office software office. Although the online version lack of some functions, it also offers users the great experience of Miscrosoft Office ecosystem for free. 

Compared with other office suites, Microsoft Office Online may have some advantages:

  • Strong compatibility: Microsoft Office Online also have the same strong compatibility as Microsoft Office, it is compatible to most of files. You can upload documents directly without converting their formats, even documents from other office softwares.

  • Based on web: Microsoft Office Online, like google docs, allows users to create word document, spreadsheet and presentation without downloading and installation. In addition, your date will automatically be backed up in powerful Microsoft Onedrive.


The most disappointed disadvantage of Microsoft Office Online is the limitation of its functions, compared with its app version. For example, only some basic typefaces could be employed and other typefaces should be paid for. Moreover, the function of quotation in essay writing is limited that you can not adjust different quotation formats. 

Apart from it, some functions in the online version are not as good as in the app version. For example, adjusting the margin in the online version is harder than in the app version.

Best Alternative: Microsoft-like Interface

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4. LibreOffice

Within a dozen free office softwares, LibreOffice could be a good choice because its excellent compatibility with Microsoft Office, and it is packed with identical features that you can find in MS Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

In addition, the unique and attractive feature of LibreOffice is its three professional tools that you couldn't find in most office softwares. These professional tools can satisfy users' special needs.

  • Draw: This component of LibreOffice is exclusively used for vector diagrams. You can also use it as a free pdf editor.

  • Math: Math is a component of LibreOffice, offering services to make math equations. Users who occupy related jobs or professions would appreciate this math function well.

  • Base: Base is a tool exclusively for datebases, you can use it to manage a number of data.


However, many shortcomings exist in LibreOffice:

  • Cumbersome user experience: The design of interface is old-fashioned. In the navigation, there are many icons that you can't recognize which functions they represent from their appearances. And in the toolbar, there are lots of different menus so that you have to find the function you want through many menus. These features leads to a relatively terrible user experience, especially for new comers.

  • Lack of real-time collaboration: You can not enjoy the seamless collaboration in real time in LibreOffice like in google docs. If you would like to collaborate with your colleagues, you have to export the document and send it to them.


5. Apache OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice is an excellent tool to cater to your MS Office needs. It could help you create complex mathematical equations, produce high-quality word documents, and create stunning presentations. Among many features of Apache OpenOffice, the most attractive advantages are:

  • 3D tool: Apache OpenOffice includes 3D tools, providing users with the ability to create and manipulate three-dimensional objects within their documents. This feature enhances the visual presentation capabilities of OpenOffice and allows for more engaging and dynamic content creation.

  • Extensive community development: Over the course of 20 years, the software has fostered a vibrant community where users can provide feedback and report issues. This active community involvement ensures that software problems are identified and resolved promptly.

  • Easy migration: Apache OpenOffice is known for its high success rate in reading files from other software. This compatibility feature allows users to seamlessly import and work with documents created in other office software suites, which makes users' migration more convenient.


Nevertheless, some shortcomings of Apache OpenOffice you should pay attention to:

  • Complexity of operations: The operation of Apache OpenOffice to create and edit documents is not as simple as other office softwares. It is because of not only its old-fashioned interface, but also its operation mode different from lots of office software in market.

  • Format issue: The unconventional file format options for saving files in OpenOffice can cause compatibility issues when sharing or transferring documents with users of other office software suites. It may require additional steps or conversions to ensure that files can be properly viewed and edited in different software environments.


6. SoftMaker FreeOffice

FreeOffice from SoftMake is a standalone office tool like WPS office, although WPS Office is more established. It has all three necessary tools for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations: TextMaker, PlanMaker, and Presentations. Besides, FreeOffice could be regarded as a great alternative to Microsoft Office for free:

  • Similar interface: FreeOffice have a similar design of its interface with Microsoft Office, from its page design to details in toolbar. Users familiar with MS Office will find a similar interface and feature set in FreeOffice, making the transition seamless and comfortable.

  • Compatibility of file formats: The files created or edited in FreeOffice can be seamlessly shared with MS Office users without the need for file format conversion. Apart from it, files from other office softwares also can be imported directly into FreeOffice without conversion.



However, some features of FreeOffice may be annoying and need to be improved:

  • Absence of dictionary:  FreeOffice does not provide an integrated spell-checking tool. Users may need to rely on external spell-checking tools or manually proofread their documents to ensure accurate spelling and grammar.

  • Lack of cloud support: FreeOffice does not offer native cloud storage or collaboration features, which makes users cannot collaborate on documents in real time or access their files from different devices without manually transferring or syncing them.


7. SSuite Office

SSuite Office is intuitive software with a decent and easy-to-use interface. It provides all the necessary tools for office requirements like word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and PDF editing. There are some outstanding advantages of it:

  • Unique functions: SSuite Office allows you to create 2D and 3D charts while using ites predefined templates. In addition, there is a database tool in SSuite Office to help you deal with a number of data.

  • Lightweight design: SSuite Office have a lightweight design, which results in low memory usage. The lightweight nature of SSuite Office ensures that users can work with the software without experiencing significant performance issues or slowdowns, enhancing productivity and user experience.


And there are also some limitations of SSuite Office:

  • Lack of compatibility: The documents created or edited in SSuite Office may not be seamlessly compatible with files from Microsoft Office and google docs, the most used two office softwares.

  • Limitation of support system: SSuite Office could support Linux system and Windows system. However, iOS and Android, two systems many people use, are ignored. This shortcoming would limit the users of SSuite Office.

8. Etherpad

Etherpad is an advanced open-source software with a robust community of developers that are always busy bringing new features to the tool. It works on the concept of multi-player gaming and translates the same concept to office-related work by introducing the editing of documents collaboratively in real time. Compared with other office softwares, Etherpad owns some outstanding advantages:

  • Collaboration in real time: Etherpad provides a word processor online for multiple people to collaborate in real time. And the contribution of different people could be marked in different colors, which help you recognize the source of editions. In addition, what is unique is that you can watch the process of others' editing in the past.

  • Convenience without account: Etherpad allows users to collaborate without logging in and accounts, so users don't need to register an account before collaboration.


At the same time, many shortcomings of Etherpad are listed for you:

  • Outdated page design: The interface may appear less visually appealing or modern compared to other word processors or office software suites. Besides, outdated interface design also makes it hard to use it skillfully quickly.

  • Limitation of functions: Etherpad is rather a collaboration platform than an office software. Functions in Etherpad are so limited. There only offers the most foundational function, such as bold, italic, underline, line spacing adjustment, color adjustment, and text alignment. Etherpad may not satisfy users' needs well.


9. OnlyOffice

OnlyOffice is an office suite that offers word processing, spreadsheets, presentation making, PDF reader and converter, all within a secure environment.The resons why I recommend Only Office are:

  • Security: With OnlyOffice, you get host solutions on the premises, encrypt documents and data, customize access settings, and manage access rights to protect your precious data. These functions could ensure users' privacy well.

  • Flexibility of plugin: If you want enhance your OnlyOffice's function, you can choose and install different plugins to help you deal with various situations. This allows for customization and tailoring of OnlyOffice to suit different workflows, making it a versatile tool for collaborative writing in various contexts.


According to users' personal experience of OnlyOffice, there is a problems should be dealt with. That is the mirror issue of images, this problems always appears when people insert images in the documents. And OnlyOffice have both free and paid version, but in its free version, the options are limited.

 

10. Zoho OfficeSuite

Zoho Office suite is a well-established tool resembling the MS office desktop version. It has powerful editors and functionalities that business tycoons like Nike are Zoho’s fans of, and it uses this software instead of MS Office. 

The reasons why Zoho Office could own so many fans are:

  • Collaboration online:  Zoho Office is a collaborative work platform very well integrated across systems to boost the productivity of individuals or businesses. It is suitable for companies or student groups to collaborate online, offering cloud-based workspace.

  • Special functions: There is a site creation tool in Zoho Office that most of office softwares don't have. Apart from it, there are many rich details in Zoho Office. For example, Zoho Office allows users to insert various things in the document, such as Qr code, signature and video.


However, some shortcomings of Zoho Office may upset users:

  • Lack of offline version: Because Zoho Office is based on web, it lacks a offline version for users, which limits people's using to some degree. If there is not stable network, people could not operate their documents. 

  • Incohesive interface designs: There are three components of Zoho Office, including Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet and Zoho Show. However, the interfaces in these three tools are completely different so that it could not provide smooth user experience. For example, the navigation of Zoho Writer is on the left, but the ones of Zoho Sheet and Zoho Show are on the top. 


FAQs

Are all free office softwares compatible with Microsoft Office Suite?

Unfortunately, not all free office softwares are compatible with MS Office as most of them will have formatting issues, and you can’t use documents interchangeably. Here we recommend WPS Office which is fully compatible with Microsoft Office.

Is it safe to get Microsoft Office for free?

You can download MS Office for free illegally, potentially harming your computer as you open your PC for malicious attacks.

Are there any limitations to using MS Office free version?

The free versions have many limitations, including fewer formatting options on the page, no access to citations, a bibliography, and more.

Summary

Different companies have released their versions of Office suites to ease consumers who can’t afford to buy the expensive Microsoft Office. Some are highly compatible with MS Office, like WPS Office, while some don’t care about their compatibility with MS Office. The best part about these free office softwares is that you don’t necessarily have to buy its premium versions as the free versions have enough options to cater to your needs. These softwares are lightweight and available for several platforms, and you can use them on desktops and smartphones.

However, Microsoft Office being the most famous office suite in the world, we can’t deny that compatibility should not be considered. For this purpose, the best free office software you can choose is WPS Office. WPS Office has the same layout, shortcuts, and identical functions as MS Word; you can call it a free compact mini version of MS Office. Moreover, WPS Office is highly compatible with MS Office, and you can use documents interchangeably between these two softwares.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.