Microsoft Word is the de facto standard for word processing. It simplifies the process of writing official documents. Thus, choosing alternatives to Microsoft Word may feel like picking from a small pool of candidates. Sure, this popular word processor isn’t perfect. As well as not being available for free, it also only supports a small subset of OSes.
Many people also find it cumbersome and outdated, making it useless in the modern world. Some individuals like MS Word, but others would rather use different software that has the same or similar features. If you need a text editor that can be used on multiple platforms but don’t want to shell out extra money for Microsoft Word’s premium features you won’t be using, look no further.
We’ve compiled a list of the Best free Microsoft Word alternatives, with detailed analyses.
Best Free Microsoft Word Alternatives
Here are the best alternatives to Microsoft Word that you can download and start using immediately if you’re sick of paying for Microsoft Office features you’ll never use.
1. Google Docs
Many people prefer Google Docs to Microsoft Word because of its ease of use and robust features. This software is functionally equivalent to Microsoft Word. Files can be made and shared in several different forms. A variety of plugins can be used to increase Google Docs’ capabilities. Google Docs is a web-based text editor, but it also has the option of offline editing.
Even if you lose your connection in the middle of an edit, you can continue working on your documents. By its very nature as a file-sharing platform, Google Docs facilitates seamless, instantaneous teamwork. It is compatible with various file types, such as PDF, and it may be integrated with the G Suite.
Since the Oracle/Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice projects split in 2010, LibreOffice has become a popular free and open-source alternative to Microsoft Office. A “monolithic software,” LibreOffice includes the seven software listed above, plus Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, Math, and Charts. Available for free on Windows, Linux, and Mac, LibreOffice Writer is a very capable word processor.
LibreOffice Writer is the greatest alternative to Microsoft Word if you frequently work with people who use Microsoft Office, as it can edit and save DOCX files. It has better language support than Apache OpenOffice, a spell checker, the ability to export to PDF and EPUB ebook format, AutoCorrect and AutoComplete, many add-ons and document templates, and more frequent upgrades and major and minor versions.
Apache’s OpenOffice Writer is the 2003 relic you want if you despise Microsoft Word because of the ribbon’s invention. In addition to maintaining backward compatibility with Office 2003, this suite also continues to receive critical patches and upgrades that are essential for any organization.
Even while OpenOffice Writer uses its document format, it is also compatible with and can import.doc and.docx files, and it does a wonderful job of preserving formatting when doing so. When creating complex Word documents, you won’t have to worry because OpenOffice Writer includes many of the same advanced capabilities as Microsoft Word.
4. WPS Office
If you’ve used Microsoft Word recently and found the interface too complicated, WPS Office Writer is a great alternative. The free text editor has a similar layout and functionality to Microsoft Word, and it even has a cloud storage service (called “OneDrive”) that gives you 1GB of free space.
With WPS Office Free Writer, you may quickly and easily write various documents using the program’s pre-made templates. It works with most modern text file formats, including the latest versions of Microsoft Word. WPS Office Writer’s free edition is supported by discreet advertisements; they can be disabled in the paid versions.
Zoho provides roughly 20 free web apps, one of which is a word processor called Writer. A Zoho account can be linked to another service, such as Google or Yahoo. Using Writer shouldn’t be a problem because of how familiar the UI is. When working online, it is possible to lose information if your connection drops, you close your browser by accident, or your browser crashes.
Microsoft Word files can be imported and edited, and photos and other changes can be made. Zoho Writer lets you export to DOCX, ODF, PDF, Latex, RTF, TXT, and HTML, among other common formats. It can integrate with Echosign to allow for electronic signatures, post the document to a blog, or make it publicly available.
While technically a desktop publishing software, we’ve included Scribus as a free alternative to Word for individuals who need it for more complex layouts such as posters, flyers, newsletters, and the like. Although it may take some time to adjust from your usual Word workflow, it does a good job of cramming in many features without being too overwhelming.
Scribus’s advantages become clear after you adopt a desktop publishing mentality, such as the requirement to first construct a text box before entering any content. Tables, non-rectangular select boxes, and text that flows around objects all work fine in the application, but you won’t find some of the more common word processor features like outlines or a table of contents.
Take a look at FocusWriter, developed by Gott Code, if you want to concentrate on your writing without interruptions. There are no more distracting tabs, bars, or options in the primary document. Like macOS, you can get to the menus by dragging the mouse pointer to the edges of the screen.
It works with Windows, macOS, and Linux, and it can save text files in TXT, basic RTF, and basic ODT formats. You may even activate typewriter noises if you’re in the mood for a throwback workplace.
AbiWord is one of the few word processors available without needing to install an entire office suite, despite its antiquated appearance. It contains all of the features you’d want in a desktop word processor. A new online feature called AbiCollab makes it easier for users anywhere in the world to share documents and work together on them.
Spell check, grammar check, header and footer creation, table and column support, templates, and footnotes are just a few of AbiWord’s many features. To help you make your papers seem just how you want them to, we’ve included all the usual character and paragraph formatting options.
Try Jarte if you want something that doesn’t require a lot of training to use and still does what you need it to. It’s a stripped-down word processor with the same core as Microsoft’s WordPad. Opens files with the RTF, DOC, and DOCX extensions; works with touchscreen devices. The thing that really sets Jarte apart from the rest is that it is small enough to fit on a flash drive.
Additional features of Jarte include a built-in spell checker, word count, online dictionary/thesaurus, and a copy/paste clipboard. You can save your work in various forms, including Rich Text, Plain Text, and Microsoft Word Documents, and even export it as a PDF or HTML.
10. Dropbox Paper
The company’s online word processor, Dropbox Paper, is free for all of its customers to use. You’ll need a Dropbox account before you can start utilizing it. After logging in, you’ll have access to the entire online suite. The user interface is uncluttered and straightforward, making it easy to focus on the content. Its capabilities extend far beyond the creation of simple text documents.
You have the option of including multimedia elements like sound and visuals. Accessing apps that allow you to embed Trello cards, YouTube videos, or SlideShare decks is also possible in Dropbox Paper. You can also integrate a document from your Dropbox, share links to documents, and collaborate by creating and assigning checklist items.