There are a lot of free alternatives to Microsoft Office suite. You will find a lot of recommendations on the Internet but I personally hate most of them. See why this list is different:
- all of them are open-source or freeware: they do not contain any form of adware.
- they have been tested and they have a unique path: free from the start.
- mature distributions usually means: less bugs and a lot of documentation.
- all of them are compatible with Microsoft Office formats.
- most of them runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
- no discontinued versions here ( for example StarOffice )
Starting from here, if I would need a replacement I would use one or even more of them from the following list ( click on their title to visit their homepages ):
1. SSuite Office
It is not the most complete suite but it has several advantages over all the others: simplicity, size and "independence" from Java or .NET technologies. As a comparison, think at a web browser that would play flash without requiring to download and install Flash Player ( after that you have all the annoying messages - update it 20 times a year ). Go to SSuite homepage and see how many useful utilities they have - most of them focused on Office tools. SSuite is the unknown free Office Suite that exists, it`s just you didn`t knew about it.
This is a complete, professional alternative developed by The Document Foundation. It can be installed on Windows, Macintosh and Linux and has 6 powerful applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. I would dare to name LibreOffice the new OpenOffice. Since it`s being developed by a part of those who created OpenOffice, it will probably became one of the most used free Office suites in a short time. The entire history and connection with OpenOffice can be found here.
3. Apache OpenOffice
That`s the new name, at least temporary. As I said, for years, OpenOffice was the best alternative to Microsoft Office Suite and it contains a lot of feature-rich applications for all your document production needs. The development of this suite started in 1999 and it`s still free. There are millions of users who used this as an replacement software. If you`re interested in his history you can find it here.
This is also known as a great suite with everything you need for your office needs. You can expect to find an intuitive word processor, fully-featured spreadsheet, powerful presentation tool and many others. It is fast, stable and works on all major OS such as Windows, Mac and Linux.
5. Lotus Symphony
Lotus Symphony is another great, free alternative offered by IBM. Based on OpenOffice it comes with three powerful applications: Lotus Symphony Documents, Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets and Lotus Symphony Presentations. As their name suggests you already know what they are for. Additionally you can also download and install spell check dictionaries.
This is the only application from this list that works only on Mac OS X. I have added NeoOffice here because it`s extremely popular among the Mac users. It`s also a complete and mature distribution being released for the first time back in 2003. Also, on their official page it states that NeoOffice has improvements that can`t be found at Apache OpenOffice or LibreOffice although both of them can be installed on Mac OS X.
7. Online ( cloud office suites )
Although I don`t recommend them, you might be happy with their services so here they are: Google Drive ( formerly known as Google Docs ) Zoho and ThinkFree. I am suspicious when it comes to cloud solutions. The first thing is related to privacy issues regarding cloud computing. The second is about the relationship between working entirely online and what do you do when the Internet or electricity is down due to a storm or anything else.