Hi friend! If you‘re relying solely on Microsoft 365 for your productivity needs, you could be missing out. There are so many solid alternatives worth checking out that can provide a better overall value.
As a fellow tech geek, I‘ve spent a lot of time researching and evaluating the top contenders. In this guide, I‘ll share my insights to help you find the best Microsoft 365 alternative for your specific needs.
Why You May Want an Alternative
Don‘t get me wrong – Microsoft 365 is popular for good reason. It combines classic Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with cloud-based collaboration tools. But there are some downsides that make alternatives worth considering:
Cost – A Microsoft 365 subscription doesn‘t come cheap, especially if you just need Word or Excel and not the entire suite. Many free or low-cost alternatives provide better value.
Lack of Customization – Microsoft 365 forces you to use the full suite of apps, even ones you may never use. Alternatives let you pick and choose.
Cross-Platform Issues – Microsoft 365 doesn‘t always play nice with non-Windows operating systems. Alternatives work across platforms.
Missing Innovative Features – Many alternatives offer extra, innovative features not found in Microsoft 365.
Cloud-Based Options – As cloud computing rises in popularity, hosted alternatives provide flexibility Microsoft‘s legacy desktop suite lacks.
Let‘s explore some key benefits the right alternative could provide:
This table compares the costs of Microsoft 365 plans versus popular alternatives over 1 year:
|Product||Personal (1 user)||Business Basic (1 user)|
As you can see, you can save a substantial amount depending on the alternative you choose. Those savings add up, especially for larger teams.
Customize Your Workflow
Microsoft 365 forces you to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other apps you may not need. Alternatives let you customize your workflow:
- Only pay for the tools you‘ll actually use like documents, spreadsheets, email, calendar, etc.
- Adopt platforms with interfaces you find more intuitive.
- Access features that support your team‘s unique way of working.
The right alternative provides tools to help you and your team work more efficiently together:
- Enhanced collaboration – Seamlessly edit documents with remote teammates.
- Integrations – Connect the suite to tools you already use like Slack or Salesforce.
- Templates – Use ready-made templates to create content faster.
- Innovative features – Take advantage of unique features like advanced analytics.
Leverage the Cloud
Cloud-based alternatives make it easier to:
- Access your work anywhere with an internet connection.
- Quickly share and collaborate on files.
- Scale your usage up or down as needed.
They eliminate the need to install and update desktop software.
Use Any Device
Microsoft 365 doesn‘t support all operating systems equally. Alternatives like Google Workspace operate seamlessly across Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
You and your team can work efficiently from any laptop, smartphone or tablet. Support works better for remote teams using diverse devices.
Which Option Is Right for You?
With the key benefits covered, let‘s explore 12 leading alternatives to find the right fit:
1. WPS Office – Best Free Option
If you want Microsoft Office-style apps for free, check out WPS Office. Available for Windows, Linux, macOS, Android and iOS, it‘s a lightweight yet full-featured suite.
The free WPS Office Personal edition is a good alternative for personal or student use with tools for:
- Documents – Writer offers everything you expect like templates, revisions and collaborative editing.
- Spreadsheets – Spreadsheets provides pivot tables, formula builders, data analysis and other advanced features.
- Presentations – Presentation comes with 700+ templates, animation effects and real-time co-editing capabilities.
- PDF Converter – Built-in tool effortlessly converts documents to PDF format.
Personal also includes a PDF reader, notebook app and free 1GB of cloud storage.
For teams, WPS Office Business adds online file sharing, multi-user collaboration, and 1TB of cloud storage per user.
The only major downside is lack of an email client or calendar app. But if you mainly need core document editing tools for free, WPS Office is hard to beat.
2. Ashampoo Office – Excellent Value
Germany-based developer Ashampoo offers a budget-friendly Microsoft 365 alternative at a one-time price – no subscriptions. For just $49.99 you get:
- Ashampoo Text – Word processor for documents.
- Ashampoo Spreadsheet – Excel-style spreadsheet app.
- Ashampoo Presentations – Tool for creating professional slides.
- Ashampoo Mail – Email client with calendar and contacts.
Unlike Microsoft 365, purchasing Ashampoo Office 2021 provides permanent licenses to install on up to 5 devices.
The apps aren‘t as robust as Microsoft‘s offerings but provide plenty of functionality for most users at a fraction of the cost. And Ashampoo Office seamlessly opens and edits Microsoft file formats for easy conversion.
If you want an affordable option for documents, spreadsheets and email without ongoing subscription fees, Ashampoo Office is a cost-effective pick.
3. Zoho Workplace – Impressive All-in-One Cloud Suite
Zoho Workplace combines a huge breadth of applications for a surprisingly affordable price. The standard plan with all apps and features costs just $3 per user/month when billed annually.
Here are some of the 40+ apps Zoho offers:
- Zoho Writer – Robust word processor.
- Zoho Sheet – Excel alternative for spreadsheets.
- Zoho Show – Feature-packed presentation software.
- Zoho Mail – Business email hosting and management.
- Zoho Connect – Team chat for communication and collaboration.
- Zoho Projects – Project management with Gantt charts.
- Zoho CRM – Sales and marketing automation.
Zoho really aims to be an end-to-end platform for running all aspects of a business. Beyond the core office productivity tools, it offers everything from website builders to HR software.
While best suited for larger organizations, Zoho provides excellent value with its huge app selection. And businesses can deploy apps gradually as needed.
4. LibreOffice – Popular Free and Open Source Suite
With over 100 million users worldwide, LibreOffice is a leading free and open source alternative to Microsoft Office. The open source community actively develops it.
LibreOffice encompasses several core apps:
- Writer – Word processing.
- Calc – Spreadsheets.
- Impress – Presentations.
- Draw – Vector drawing similar to Microsoft Visio.
- Base – Database management.
- Math – Equation editing.
The suite opens and edits Microsoft Office files. You can even export documents as PDFs. Impress supports animations and slide transitions in presentations.
As an open source platform, LibreOffice benefits from constant improvements by its developer community. The suite offers an impressive free option for any operating system. But the open source nature does mean limited technical support.
5. FreeOffice – Another Great Free Office Suite
SoftMaker‘s FreeOffice is another full-featured free office suite for Windows, Linux and Mac. Its clean interface will be familiar to Microsoft Office users.
FreeOffice provides free alternatives to Word, Excel and PowerPoint:
- TextMaker – Word processor for creating professional documents.
- PlanMaker – Spreadsheet app with charts, pivot tables and more.
- Presentations – Build beautiful presentations with slide themes and effects.
The free version supports Microsoft Office formats like .docx, .xlsx, and pptx for opening and saving files. It even offers some functionality the Office suite lacks like saving in PDF format.
FreeOffice makes an excellent free option if you find LibreOffice‘s interface dated. And it integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office when needed.
6. OfficeSuite – Robust Mobile Productivity Apps
While Microsoft 365 provides limited mobile support, OfficeSuite delivers a full office suite tailored for mobile use. It‘s the top-rated productivity app for Android with over 500 million installs.
OfficeSuite lets you easily view, edit and share documents on the go from your phone or tablet. It makes an excellent companion to desktop suites like Microsoft Office, providing mobile access.
OfficeSuite‘s free version includes:
- Word – Mobile word processor.
- Spreadsheets – Excel-style spreadsheets.
- Slides – Presentation and slideshow creation.
- PDF Editor – View, edit and annotate PDFs.
- Cloud storage integration – Access files from cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.
For $29.99 yearly, premium OfficeSuite adds track changes, improved fonts, themes and the ability to create fillable forms.
If you need full document creation capabilities on mobile devices, OfficeSuite fills the gaps left by Microsoft 365‘s spotty mobile support.
7. Collabora Office – Powerful LibreOffice Alternative
Collabora Office is an enterprise-focused suite built on LibreOffice code. It polishes LibreOffice‘s open source foundation with improved file fidelity, interoperability with Microsoft Office, and support options.
The key apps Collabora offers are:
- WORDS – Advanced word processor.
- CALC – Robust spreadsheet editor.
- IMPRESS – Feature-rich presentations.
- Draw – Diagramming and flowcharts.
In addition to the latest open source code, Collabora adds proprietary enhancements like improved Excel importing and security features like document watermarking.
Pricing starts at $5.33 per user/month billed annually. That‘s affordable yet adds commercial-grade support and features beyond what the free LibreOffice offers.
For small to mid-sized businesses wanting a more robust open source option, Collabora Office strikes a good balance.
8. Apple iWork – Seamlessly Integrated with Apple Devices
If you use Macs and iOS devices, Apple‘s iWork suite integrates seamlessly across your Apple ecosystem. The apps automatically sync documents via iCloud.
iWork offers macOS, iOS and even web-based apps for:
- Pages – Word processing to layout documents.
- Numbers – Spreadsheet creation with built-in templates.
- Keynote – Build beautiful presentations.
The suite feels very natural on Apple devices like iPads and iPhones. iWork also makes collaborating with others easy. You can instantly share a document and edit it together in real-time.
But of course, iWork‘s tight Apple integration means less seamless support for Windows and Android. And as a closed source suite, iWork trails Microsoft Office in some advanced features.
Still, if you want a suite tailored specifically for Apple users and products, give iWork a look.
9. Google Workspace – Leading Cloud Office Suite
Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) brings Google‘s web-based apps together in a cloud-first suite. It‘s a leader in collaborative editing and remote work.
The core Google Workspace apps are:
- Docs– Web-based word processor.
- Sheets – Spreadsheet editing.
- Slides – Presentation creation.
- Drive – Cloud file storage and sharing.
- Meet – Video conferencing.
Workspace starts at a reasonable $6 per user/month for Business Starter. Upgrading to Business Standard at $12 per user/month adds enhanced security controls, unlimited storage, and advanced Hangouts Meet video capabilities.
Google Workspace offers the best collaborative workflows, especially for remote teams. And the suite works seamlessly across devices thanks to the mature web versions.
But if your organization relies heavily on Microsoft Office file formats, Workspace lags in full fidelity support. And it lacks some of Office‘s advanced desktop features.
Overall, Google Workspace is a great cloud-focused pick if your team is distributed and collaborative.
10. OnlyOffice – Impressive Free Online Office Suite
OnlyOffice offers a free online office suite with impressive functionality rivaling Microsoft 365. It‘s available as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or installable open source software self-hosted on premises.
The free Community Edition provides web-based apps for:
- Documents – Word processor for text documents.
- Spreadsheets – Excel-style spreadsheets with charts, formulas and pivot tables.
- Presentations – Create and collaborate on presentations.
OnlyOffice‘s free edition includes up to 20 connected users. It supports standard Office Open XML formats along with OpenDocument formats.
The open source Enterprise Edition adds enterprise-grade security, document version control, and advanced permissions management. It integrates with file storage platforms like SharePoint, Dropbox, and Nextcloud.
With its free tier and open source options, OnlyOffice makes it affordable for teams and organizations to escape vendor lock-in.
11. Polaris Office – Robust Mobile and Desktop Apps
Polaris Office by Infraware is a viable Microsoft Office alternative combining desktop apps, mobile apps, and cloud collaboration.
Polaris Office Standard for desktop provides apps for:
- Words – Word processor similar to Word.
- Spreadsheets – Excel-style spreadsheets.
- Slides – Build presentations.
- Create and edit PDFs – Annotate, redact and eSign PDFs.
On mobile, Polaris Office lets you access and edit documents from Android, iOS and Windows phones. The apps sync across all your devices.
Polaris Office also facilitates real-time collaboration. You can chat, share files, coauthor documents, and integrate third-party storage like Google Drive.
Pricing starts at $59.99 annually for access across desktop and mobile. Polaris Office suits solopreneurs, small businesses, and teams needing office software for varied devices.
12. SoftMaker Office – Affordable Microsoft Office Alternative
Germany-based SoftMaker offers Office 2021 as a solid cheaper alternative to Microsoft 365. A standard single license runs just $79.95 with no recurring fees.
You get feature-packed Windows apps for:
- TextMaker – Word processor with excellent Microsoft Word format compatibility.
- PlanMaker – Excel alternative with pivot tables, advanced calculations, andVisual Basic macros.
- Presentations – Create PowerPoint-style presentations with charts, graphics and animations.
The suite feels very similar to Microsoft Office with a familiar ribbon interface. And Office 2021 achieves nearly full compatibility with Office‘s proprietary file formats.
Office 2021 is an affordable option for small businesses that want the familiar Office interface without the subscription. Individual apps start at just $29.95.
Which Microsoft 365 Alternative Is Right for You?
The best Microsoft 365 alternative depends on your specific needs and budget:
- For free office software, WPS Office and LibreOffice are top choices.
- If you want Microsoft compatibility for less, SoftMaker Office provides great value.
- For impressive mobile productivity, turn to OfficeSuite.
- For seamless Apple ecosystem integration, iWork leads the pack.
- If you need unmatched collaboration features, Google Workspace is ideal.
- For open source flexibility with enterprise support, check out Collabora Office.
Take time to evaluate your exact needs, then give one or more of these top-rated alternatives a try to see if they‘re a good fit. With the right option, you can save money while actually gaining productivity features Microsoft 365 lacks.
The alternatives landscape will only continue expanding as more competition challenges the Microsoft Office monopoly. With SaaS and mobile changing how we work, reliance on legacy desktop software makes less sense.
Hope this guide gives you a helpful starting point for discovering the right Office alternative for your needs! Let me know if you have any other questions.