Microsoft Office remains the benchmark for which all other Office suites or productivity programs are judged and although Microsoft may lead the pack there are plenty of pretenders to the crown that have produced offerings that assist you in getting what needs to be done…done.
Whether you want a program that acts exactly like earlier versions of Word, one that has a stellar set of features or you're erring towards one that runs straight inside a browser there are plenty to choose from, and the best part is the prices are either free or incredibly affordable.
That in mind, we've picked out the five programs that are best placed to help you replace Office as successfully as possible.
1. Google Docs
When it comes to a cover all bases Office alternative there aren't any that get closer than Google Docs.
Google's program lineup includes Docs, Sheets and Slides, which are respective alternatives to Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and all three perform just as well as you'd expect something from Google to act.
Using the free suite is contingent on you signing up for a free Google account and anything you work on can then be saved inside Google Drive for a later occasion. Once inside the interface it's fairly similar to Office and offers most of the options that come with Microsoft's suite as well as the ability to benefit from Google's haul of add-ons.
Collaboration is where it comes into its own and by sharing documents with colleagues or friends it can make working together in different locations incredibly simple. Microsoft has already brought itself in line with the likes of Google Docs in that Office 365 is primarily a cloud-based option where collaboration is possible yet it's not quite as seamless and Office 365 has the price element to consider.
In conclusion, the program is the best option unless you don't like the sound of a browser-based offering that has the added benefit of taking on virtually no space on your PC.
One of the hefty desktop-based alternatives to Microsoft Office, LibreOffice acts as a default for all your Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations plus has a range of other tools that make it more than just your average Office alternative.
When downloading any of the legion of Office-like suites out there you'll come to notice that they take more than a few cues from the one they aspire to be and LibreOffice is deep inside this camp. Opening up a new document, spreadsheet or presentation will show you just how similar it is to past versions of Microsoft Office and it's comforting to have a program that looks exactly the same.
The good news is that it also functions in the just as efficient a way as Microsoft Office ever has and has a built-in drawing feature, math formula section, and database that complements the main features well. There is even a legion of developers that have created a number of extensions for LibreOffice like there is for Office and it is as close as you'll get to Microsoft's own program without downloading it.
Coming slightly lighter and more stripped down than LibreOffice is OpenOffice that has a complete set of tools that again present a credible argument for the free alternatives against the fully fledged paid-for version of Microsoft Office.
OpenOffice immediately feels like you've jumped into a slightly different version of LibreOffice and that isn't far from the truth as they were both born out of the same project. It means that the only noticeable difference is a sidebar that contains many of different formatting options and this is something that must be enabled in LibreOffice as it doesn't come up automatically.
Absent from OpenOffice is LibreOffice's live updating word count tool that has to be enabled in the settings menu and completely absent is the word embedding tool that is present in LibreOffice. Aside from those small things the programs are very similar and whether you choose LibreOffice or OpenOffice, both offer an easy way to create, open, edit and save Office documents on your PC free of charge.
4. Atlantis Word Processor
Those after a pang of nostalgia, that big dollop of simplicity and not a hint of the cloud will find themselves very happy indeed when they download Atlantis Word Processor.
Doing its best to completely copy the older incarnations of Microsoft Word when it comes to looks, the program does have its own identity. It lacks the complete Office experience of some of its competitors and as a replacement for the Office suite this is where it falls down, however, if you just want a word processor then this is one of the best around.
It manages all formats incredibly well and the way that it organises new documents into tabs along the bottom of the program is great way to save space. There are varies other features unique to Atlantis Word Processor such as power type, which works like predictive text and guesses whats coming next before it's typed in. Add to this the customised typewriter sound each time a character is typed in and as a standalone word processor this one does the job with some fun along the way.
5. WPS Office 2014
Hitting the end of the list with the most modern look of them all, WPS Office 2014 takes elements of what is already in this run-down and brings a slightly different slant on the Office emulation process.
Looking a lot like the newer versions of Office, WPS Office is split into three distinct applications that are titled writer, presentations, and spreadsheets with each one doing exactly what it says on the tin. Online integration is big part of WPS Office's repertoire and there are a range of templates immediately available to make the Office experience an easier one and mean that it's able to create just about any type of document.
Tabbed documents make the job of keeping documents organised a lot easier and every time that you open a new one up it is slotted in alongside the ones that came before it and only disappears once it has been saved or closed. When set against the rest of the pack it offers the same set of features the just as much reason to download this as there is any of the others.