Microsoft Office Alternatives

Microsoft Office alternatives for home users

Microsoft Office Alternatives





There are some Microsoft Office alternatives that home users should definitely consider before subscribing to Office 365, or purchasing Microsoft Office outright.

My favourite free Microsoft Office alternatives.

As someone who is always looking to save money, I’ve chosen LibreOffice as the best of the Microsoft Office alternatives for my home use. Putting it simply, LibreOffice does pretty much everything that you are likely to use Microsoft Office for and best of all, it is absolutely FREE; regularly updated; and has no advertisements!

Whether you need to create or read word processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, or databases; you can do it in LibreOffice. A particularly nice feature is that you can even set your defaults so that LibreOffice saves spreadsheets, presentations, and word processing documents as their Microsoft Office equivalent, so that when you share these documents with friends or businesses that only have Microsoft Office, they will still be able to open and work with them. Watch the introduction to LibreOffice below:

For some detailed comparisons with Microsoft Office 2016, you can visit this page.

Another free Microsoft Office alternative worth considering is SoftMaker’s FreeOffice 2016: I have not yet reviewed this software, but it is beginning to appear on lists of good free office suites, and you might like to check it out.

WPS Office is mentioned as my best paid alternative (below). There is an adware version of this software that allows you to use it for nothing, but you need to be prepared to endure the advertising.

Free on-line collaborative Microsoft Office alternatives

A proven performer

For a free on-line Microsoft Office alternative, for working collaboratively with others (eg for a club, family, or small organisation) then I would recommend the use of Google Docs. (Offering on-line storage and collaborative editing of documents.. word processing – Docs, spreadsheets – Sheets, presentations – Slides, forms – Forms)  You can read about it and sign up here. Most of our local schools are now using Google Docs with their students – particularly because of the ability to access documents and collaboratively edit them from any web browser. (The free price tag also helps!)

Google Docs won’t be much use to you if you have a slow internet connection though.

An exciting newcomer

An exciting development in the online, collaborative office suite area is Open 365. This is still in Beta development, but you can sign up and try it now. Here is what it’s makes say… “Open365 is the first open source productivity suite in the cloud. Powered by open source tools like LibreOffice, Kontact, Seafile or Jitsi, it delivers the full cloud experience 100% open source. Create and edit files. Share files with your team mates. Communicate with them, and using Open365 android app, sync your files with the cloud.” The suite currently includes the key applications of Libre Office (above) as well as cloud storage, a capable photo editor, and an e-mail client.  Because it is still in beta development, you can expect some issues with this suite at this time.. but keep an eye on it!


Best paid Microsoft Office alternatives for the home user

The only office suite that I would personally consider buying as a home user is WPS Office 2016.

WPS Office is actually free for home and school users if you are willing to put up with the occasional advert whenever you want to use an ‘advanced’ feature… but I would soon tire of that. (But this is a great opportunity to try before you buy!) If you like what you see, then US$50 will buy you a lifetime licence. (or you can subscribe by the month or year if you prefer)

You can download the free edition here. (And upgrade it to the advert-free version later if you like it.)


Want to read more?

Wikipedia has lots of information if you can handle it!

Any feedback on this post? Please add your comment!


Back-up options: What price for peace of mind?

Greymouth: Answer this question honestly!

[socialpoll id=”2377345″]

Hmm.. How did you fare?  Back-up not up to scratch? I’m guessing that most of us are ashamed to admit that we really aren’t prepared for a data disaster.

This week I address some of your options to improve on your existing back-up system.  I welcome feedback too on anything I say. You may have some suggestions to make too.

Set and forget! (For full peace of mind)

If you or your business depend on your data, or if you simply cannot afford to lose your files then you must have completely reliable back-up in place. So long as you have a broad-band plan in place, then my current recommendation would be to go with Backblaze Online Back-up.  This currently costs US$5.00/month or US$50.00 per year (About NZ$70.00/year) Backblaze can give you complete peace of mind that all of your files are backed-up in the cloud immediately and securely. You can even back-up any attached external drive. (Which in my case holds 3TB of data) These days, we really need to think of on-line back-up as an essential (and now affordable) insurance policy for many of us.  Interested in trying it out free? You can sign up for a 15 day free trial here.  You can see how it stacks up against other cloud back-up services here.

Local back-up (If you really cannot afford $70/year, or your internet plan has very limited data etc)

Local back-up is a second-best option in my view. The main reason for this, is that we aren’t data specialists and don’t devote ourselves to daily checking that everything is working!  It is also true that the disaster that results in us losing the data in the first place may also take the local back-up. (Eg A house fire, flood, or theft) For local back-up I would recommend either using the built-in Windows back-up or even better, a free back-up software AOMEI Backupper. You can visit the AOMEI site and download backup software. (Just remember that this is a secon-best option to online back-up in my view.)

AOMEI Backupper allows you to back-up your whole operating system and data files to a second internal hard disks, external hard disks, solid-state drives (SSD), USB flash drives, Thumb Drives, Network-attached storage (NAS), Hardware RAID, Dynamic Disk and Virtual machine systems, etc. It has an amazing range of back-up options for you to choose from, and can even be used to transfer all of your computer’s contents to a different PC.

Local back-up still has its costs. If you want the back-up to be live, then you will need to have another drive running all the time that your computer is running. That will cost money for the drive, and money for the electricity to keep it running. (You can of course just schedule a weekly back-up if you really can afford to lose up to a week’s worth of files…. but then you have to remember to make sure that it doesn’t get forgotten, or unplugged etc.)

Hybrid Back-up (Local and “Free” on-line)

Until recently, I have adopted this ‘patchy’ approach.  I back-up all of my photos to a Flickr Account (I have 18,035 photos stored there today) Flickr is completely free to use, and is a great way to share your photos with your friends, or publicly. (You can even edit your photos there) My music is all backed up to Google Play Music (Free if you have an Android device.)

Now, having gotten all of those files out of the way, you might choose to make a disk image back-up of you computer using AOMEI Backupper (Above). (So you can easily restore your computer if you need to) You document files can be added to this image periodically, or you could elect to store all of your documents in the cloud using the free Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive cloud services.

Whatever you decide to do…..!

  • Don’t delay! – Do it now, while it is fresh in your mind.. before it is too late!
  • Stick to a simple system! (If it isn’t simple, it is unlikely to happen.)

I welcome your feedback on this post!

Disclosure Statement: Regarding Backblaze online back-up. I have selected this service because I genuinely think it provides the best value for money of the mainline back-up companies. As a Backblaze affiliate,  I stand to profit $5.00 for any reader who follows the link on this page and signs up for a paid account within 30 days. (Assuming that at least 20 readers actually do so!)

 hard disk drive crashes require you to have a back-up plan.