Best free software of 2014: OpenOffice

Check out the essential free downloads from the past year, all on TechRadar

OpenOffice

Editing and creating documents is one of the cornerstones of computer use. In almost every job, there is a need to create and edit documents ranging from word files to spreadsheets. Currently, the main way of doing this is Microsoft Office, which is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android – but it's expensive.

Office 365 starts at £5.99 a month for one user, increasing to £7.99 a month for up to five PCs, which for the cash-strapped is just too much. Apple's iWork suite is free, but only works on OS X and iOS, requiring the purchase of expensive Apple hardware.

Enter OpenOffice, a free open-source project by Apache to offer word processing, presentation creation and spreadsheet creation on Windows, Mac and Linux. Offering all the benefits of Word, PowerPoint and Excel for free, OpenOffice exports and imports .docx, .ppt and .xls, guaranteeing integration with peers and colleagues.

Having used OpenOffice on and off over the years, it deserves a place on our countdown for offering one of the only legitimate alternatives to Office and iWork, and at no cost.

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