Microsoft Office is the most popular suite of productivity tools in the world, but it’s not the only player in the game. Check out our awesome free office software alternatives.

It’s fair to say, when it comes to productivity tools, the term is synonymous with the suite of software put out by the world’s 28th largest company – Microsoft. However, while Microsoft Office may still be the favourite steed in the derby, it’s far from the only office software with a horse in the race.

With Microsoft recently moving its Office software into a software as service (SaaS) subscription-based business model, it’s a time of great change for the way the tech behemoth serves its users. This is leading many people to start shopping around and looking at what other productivity tools are available as an alternative.

Whether you’re looking for word processing software, spreadsheet apps, or a great PDF reader (PDF viewer) or PDF converter, the good news is that there are plenty to choose from. From freeware to opensource offerings, and even full commercial packages (complete with free trials), there is a whole range of productivity tools which will suit any workload or budget.

1. WPS Office 2016

WPS Office 2016 from Kingston Software is a versatile and free suite of productivity tools. In this offering, you get access to a word processor, spreadsheet program, and a presentation/slideshow maker. Those familiar with Microsoft Office will be at home with this software as the layout and features are very similar.

You get multiple language support, including English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Polish, which you can switch between with a single click. You can also operate multiple tabs, and use a paragraph adjustment tool, PDF converter, spell check and word count, and many more of the features you’ve come to expect from a modern office program.

  • 100% compatible with Microsoft Office document file types including .doc, .docx, .docm, .xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, ppt, pptx, .pps, .ppsx, .pptm, and .ppsm
  • Thousands of free document templates
  • Built-in PDF reader
  • Mobile device support for iOS and Android
  • WPS Cloud Storage

There is a business package upgrade available for a fee but, for the majority of people, the freeware version offers everything you’ll need. The three components of WPS Office 2016 – Kingsoft Word, Kingsoft Spreadsheets, and Kingsoft Presentation – are also available as separate offerings, if for some reason you only need one of them.

2. Apache OpenOffice

Since Apache OpenOffice was released as an open source offering to anyone who wished to use it or contribute to its development, it has become one of the leading alternative productivity suites to Microsoft Office.

Whereas many of these suites only offer word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, Apache Open Office presents a more complete range of programs that’s more in-line with Microsoft. Graphics and database software are added to the standard three, giving users an alternative to Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Access respectively.

The software is licenced for personal, commercial, educational, and public administration, meaning you’re covered for whatever you need the software for. Note that commercial development of Apache OpenOffice was ceased in 2011, and the project is now entirely supported by volunteers via The Apache Software Foundation.

Thanks to its community-led development, Apache OpenOffice is also available in multiple languages.

3. OfficeSuite

This award-winning productivity suite was made famous as the default office software provided with billions of Android mobile devices around the world. Now OfficeSuite is also available as freeware for Widows PC devices.

The PC version is completely compatible with all Microsoft file formats, as well as cross-device compatibility via the mobile app (on Android and iOS). The software also has support for all major cloud storage providers, allowing you to access your files from any connected device.

  • Full compatibility with all popular formats including .doc, .docx, .docm, .xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, ppt, pptx, .pps, .ppsx, .pptm, and .ppsm
  • Cross-platform support between PC, Android and iOS. Synchronization between devices through an OfficeSuite account
  • Powerful PDF integration including converting PDFs to Word, Excel, or ePub, permissions management, text to PDF, and annotations
  • Free 15gb document storage on OfficeSuite Drive once you sign in
  • Fully compatible with popular cloud providers including iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, SugarSync, WebDAV, Amazon Cloud Drive
  • Sharing via email, Bluetooth, as well as all smartphone messaging apps
  • Localised in Japanese, Russian, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Thai, Simplified Chinese, Hindi and Bulgarian

If you find the impressive free offerings available on OfficeSuite fall short of your requirements, there is the option to upgrade to one of three – personal, group, or business – payment plans. Paying customers gain access to PDF conversion to editable Word, Excel, and ePub files, watermark free printing, converting to PDFs without watermark, and priority customer service support.

4. Corel Office

With Corel Office, you get access to a commercial trial for a sleek and simple suite of the three standard productivity tools for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. Corel Write, Corel Calculate, and Corel Show, will be instantly familiar with anyone used to Microsoft Office and will be able to create and edit documents in all the familiar file formats.

Corel Office has integrated Dropbox support, allowing you to upload your documents to the cloud with a click, and has built-in PDF creation tools, allowing you to create professional looking eBooks and white papers for professional purposes.

Once the trial period has ended, there are a load of premium options should you like the software so much you want to commit to it financially.

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of alternative options for your productivity tools beyond Microsoft Office. Each one offers more or less the same features you’d expect from software of this type, so it’s worth having a go with each to figure out which one feels the best to you.

Microsoft isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it’s refreshing to know that there are alternatives available. A monopoly benefits nobody but its holder, so, if nothing else, having a few other horses in the race will serve to ensure Microsoft Office doesn’t become complacent and maintains its high level of service if it wants to retain its user base.

Explore our fantastic range of free office software and PDF readers here – and if you know of any other brilliant office suites we’ve missed, head to the comments and let us know.