Best Alternatives to MS Office 2016 or Office 365

Best Alternatives to MS Office 2016 or Office 365
  • Best Alternatives to MS Office 2016 or Office 365

If Microsoft Office isn’t an option for you because of its price or other reasons, you may be happy to learn that there is a wide range of alternatives out there. We have put together this list of the best word processing and office suites that can compete with Microsoft’s products on many fronts. 

While some of the programs on our list are free, the ones with a price tag attached offer such perks as more frequent updates, free customer support and more useful features than open-source software.

The programs on this list were selected based on their being compatible with common MS document formats, their stability and set of features available. All paid programs on this list have free trial versions, so you can give them a test run without having to pay right away.


Current price tag: Free

Open365 is not just a common office suite, but rather a cloud-based desktop which involves a selection of quality open-source software and places it straight in your web browser. Included are some LibreOffice suite key components (Calc, Writer and Impress), as well as the Gimp image editor, the email package for Linux - Kontact, and Seafile cloud storage. Everything that can be done by desktop versions of these programs you can do with Open365, in all formats supported by these programs.

You also get a desktop client that will transfer files and mirror your cloud storage to your computer’s drive. The software itself has to be run in the browser though. The suite is pretty heavy on system resources because of all the components it includes, so you want to make sure your computer’s RAM and CPU power is sufficient.


Google Docs

Current price tag: Free

Google's office suite offers tools for working with word documents, presentations, spreadsheets and so on. This suite is perfect for team work, as it allows multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously, discuss edits, leave comments, etc. However, if you are looking to create files that would be production-ready, Google Docs with its inconvenient formatting options is probably not the best tool. Although you can always export files from it into another suite of tools and do the fancy work there. 

The only thing that’s needed is a Google account and you can start creating and editing documents, sharing them with your co-workers and collaborating on these files. Google Docs is integrated with Google Drive, where your documents can be stored and accessed from anywhere.

Your edits are saved automatically and you can always look at the history of edits and see who made the change. Edits can be rolled back if something goes wrong.

Zoho Office

Current price tag: Free

Zoho Office is an online solution similar to Google Docs. And although the latter is more popular because of the brand, Zoho has its advantages too. It reminds more of a desktop office suite and it can actually boast having Nike and BBC using it in their offices.

Zoho's word processor doesn’t have the classic MS Word look at all. It offers all formatting controls on a sidebar instead, helping you create professional-looking documents. A spreadsheet tool and a presentation-making package are included as well, but that’s not all. 

There is also a feature-rich CRM package, business tools for bookkeeping and invoicing, assistance with project management, and lots of collaborative options. Some of them are rather simplistic, which means that they probably won’t be able to replace more powerful tools you may already have. However, if you have a startup that’s just taking off, the Zoho Office package will be a great starting point.

SoftMaker Office Standard 2016

Current price tag: about USD 77

Works with: Windows, Linux

It’s hard to compete with popular office suites made by companies like Microsoft or Google, but SoftMaker offers a unique selling point in its suite of office tools. It is speed. SoftMaker Office launches fast and opens word or excel documents in a snap. The paid program can be installed on up to 3 PCs with one license. It contains a word processing tool, programs to handle spreadsheets and presentations, plus the publisher’s own version of the open-source Thunderbird email client. Of course no one would buy this suite for this piece of software that’s otherwise free, but the standard office tools included make it worth checking out.

SoftMaker offers a free version too, FreeOffice, that may be worth a test drive if you wanted to get familiar with this company’s software interface and navigation. Do keep in mind though that the free product is not the same. It has no tabbed document view, lacks some of the export and spreadsheet features.

Atlantis Word Processor

Current price tag: USD 35

Works with: Windows

If the old classic MS Word interface is what you are really used to and love, then Atlantis is the tool for you. Your nostalgic feelings for the Word 2000 looks will find satisfaction in this program’s interface, which is almost an exact clone. The program runs very efficiently and does not use a lot of system resources, so it is perfect for an older or a lower-spec computer.

Just as the name suggests, Atlantis Word Processor is not a complete office suite. However, if you mostly work on word documents, you will find its advanced options really handy. You may like the auto-complete feature Powertype, or the auto-backup feature Safeguard that saves a copy of your document to another drive as you work on it.

One more thing that’s absolutely great about Atlantis is that it can be installed on a portable USB drive and used from it on any PC you connect the drive to. All your settings are saved too – a very handy feature indeed.

WPS Office

Current price tag: Free/ USD80

Works with: Windows, Linux, iOS, Android

WPS Office that used to be Kingsoft Office once offers free versions for mobile devices and desktops. Some of the more advanced features used to be restricted to the $80 paid version, but now the company lets you use advanced functionality for free in exchange for you having to sit through an ad every half hour. If you plan to use the software in a business environment, you will probably need to buy a license, as watching ads twice an hour may make you less productive.

Otherwise, WPS Office is a very well-presented suite that may be the only free (sort of) suite to compete with Microsoft Office in being modern and good-looking.


OfficeSuite Professional

Current price tag: Free (Amazon Underground)

Works with: Android

Although Google’s versions of its Docs are more familiar on this mobile platform, OfficeSuite Professional is still worth a try. If you get a Bluetooth keyboard to go with it, it can replace a desktop office suite quite well.

It may be easier to use on a tablet screen, but it works just as well on a smartphone. You get a word processor along with spreadsheet and presentation components, which support standard MS Office formats. You can even export your content into a PDF file straight from OfficeSuite.

Microsoft Office Mobile

Current price tag: Free

Works with: Windows Phone, iOS, Android

You may say it’s crazy to suggest Microsoft Office as an alternative for… yes, Microsoft Office. Well, for the purpose of mobile usage it makes sense. This suite is free and available for most common mobile platforms – iOS, Windows phone and Android. Naturally, this alternative offers perfect compatibility with all standard Microsoft document formats, the best you can get on a mobile device.

But it isn’t just a tool that lets you edit your documents on the go. You can use it for creating professional-looking Excel, Word or PowerPoint docs, although without some of the advanced features of the desktop Office version.

While you are at it, you may want to take a look at the OneNote mobile version too. It beats other note taking apps in many ways.

WordPerfect Office X8 Standard

Current price tag: around USD 370

Works with: Windows

Although the price tag is pretty hefty, the fact that Corel has been producing this suite for over 35 years speaks for its quality and popularity. The last release of the suite, Office X8, has recently come out and includes powerful word processing, spreadsheet and presentation components, along with an eBook creator that’s perfect for any self-publishing writer.

WordPerfect has an intuitive interface and is compatible with all common document formats. The greatest feature is letting you dig down to the basics of your document: use the Reveal Codes option and you will see every element and will be able to make minor changes without affecting the actual layout. With the Make It Fit option you can compress your text into a specific number of pages with minimal to no formatting changes.

The Professional edition (around USD 595) contains a database management system, Paradox, so you need to get this version if you want to work with databases.


iWork for iCloud

Current price tag: Free

This office suite by Apple had a price tag once, but now comes pre-installed on new Macs or you can download it free of charge for a post-2013 Mac. It has moved online as iWork for iCloud. The latest version of this suite is full of what Apple might call 'innovations', which are considered by most to be the opposite of an improvement. The good thing is that anyone who has an Apple ID is able to get and use this suite for free.

You get Pages, Numbers and Keynote in web interfaces, and the files you create or edit get saved on iCloud when you are done with them, allowing for easy access from anywhere. You can export documents in standard MS Office formats or to PDF.

Check out these office suites and see if one of them is perfect for your needs.


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