Best Free MSOffice Alternative

I has new computer. Unlike previous computers, i did not spend extra getting a license for Office. I do NOT want to get locked into a subscription model with 365.

So… what are your favourite MS Office alternatives that are suitable for a) interoperability with MSOffice and b) will interoperate with MS Office without a lot of hiccups and c) aren’t that hard for someone to set up?


It depends on which apps in the suite you use the most.

I love LibreOffice’s spreadsheet and word processor, and there’s nothing to set up except maybe some templates if that’s important to you. There’s a bit of relearning to do since features are organised differently than in MS, but there’s loads of help on-line, and import/export between native and MS formats is a breeze. I actually like how styles are handled in LibreOffice better, and I use the one-click PDF export feature a lot.

Having said that, Impress (PowerPoint equivalent) is okay but underpowered, and Draw is good for some things and bad for others. I’ve never got into the math and database apps much, but they seemed reasonable.

The other alternative I use is Google Drive, which is getting better all the time but has all the drawbacks one would expect from a cloud suite: lack of features and needing to be on-line for a lot (the offline versions never do it for me except on my phone, which means minimal use for later formatting on my laptop).

Import/export between Google and MS is also very good.

Both these options are free. I’m still looking for a OneNote alternative.

Hope this helps.


Thirded, fouthded, etthetteraed. The nexus of all apps, but a real professional tool instead of shitty.


Yes. My only real problem with LibreOffice is the blinding cursors and marching migraine ants. And I think Windows lets you disable them at the system level.


KingSoft Office (personal: free, professional: $59 USD) is a decent cross-platform suite. Potential downsides: developed in China, documentation spotty. Great compatibility.


I can’t quite tell if you like OneNote, or not (i.e. do you mean OneNote is shitty, or the alternatives?). I’m guessing not. :grin:

I liked Evernote for a while, mostly because of their mobile app, but they’ve sucked pretty hard for the last few years and I ended up migrating everything and deleting my account. I’ve never run across anything besides OneNote that would work with the OneNote file format, however. That being said, I generally like OneNote; there are a few things that frustrate me, but I’ve decided I can live with them, given the (lack of) alternatives.

As for the op, and at the risk of re-framing the question, @MalevolentPixy, does your employer use Office? If so, you might have access to their Home Use Program, which gets you their desktop suite for something like $10-$15. Not free, but a pretty good deal if you can get it.

I’ve also used Scrivener, which can import and export Word documents, but it doesn’t include equivalents to any of the other Office apps, and is a bit of a different sort of animal than your typical word processor. And it’s not free, either, now that I think of it.

I don’t think I’ve used LibreOffice since it was OpenOffice, and even then not much, so I don’t have much of an opinion on that.


Libre has seen some considerable improvement, especially with the spreadsheet. Openoracleshit not so much.

I’m a big fan of Scrivener. It isn’t expensive. I would describe it as quite a bargain. Too bad there isn’t a single app for bringing ideas together, and in the darkness, binding them.

Wait. That story ends with the burning of evil. Ok. Dark days ahead but many Slav stereotypes to sicc the elves on and save the day.


Are you running Scrivener 1, 2 or 3? I use Scrivener 2 on my mac, but mojave tells me I’ll need to upgrade to a 64 bit version soon.


Windercrap, so 3 is… coming? :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Being late with Android (seemingly as if there’s no official statement that it will happen at all) got me to get an iPhone. Versus Android it’s a wash apart from older hardware being supported longer. And my refurb 6s got to be very pedestrian until… I took the Otterbox off of it …and my Samsung and used one or the other. Slippery it may be but the final contours of the product, the haptic mouse-thing, it’s better for me.

If the job holds together, I’ll make the conversion to a mac laptop. I think it’s 2008 again, in a way. A scented leather Jesus/-ina bag and oooooh the “old” last year intro is super small and has the little thunderbolt solo thing, which seems risky. And delicious.

Am I doing a good 1908, 20-oh-whatsit?

Shit! I was looking for the Lounge. What the fuck happened to the alcohol thread?

There should be an alcohol thread.



I use LibreOffice, though primarily only for the spreadsheet (just don’t have much use for other office suite applications). In my experience, it works better than Excel (I’ve seen so many cases where data got automagically screwed up by Excel…).

Someone else mentioned Scrivener, but that’s more of a writing tool. I’ve used and liked yWriter (which is free) for that, keeping track of chapters, scenes, characters, tone and viewpoint changes, word count goals, draft status, etc. Scrivener does look like a more polished alternative from a UI perspective, but I haven’t used it yet.


If I screw up, which is often, I may need to reload from the last good version or quit without saving, and reopen the last good version. Scribener saves on “oh shit, I’ve screwed up, I need to quit and go back to the last good version.”

So it is incompatible with my workflow.

I don’t remember whether it allows users to disable blinking cursors.

So depending on whther the operating system does, it may be incompatible with my brain.

I tend to go back and forth between my work, the relevant finder folders, Calibre, and my epub and pdf reading software.

So I’m not sure Scrivener would be compatible with my workflow there either-- I think it wants its own copies of everything.

I’d asked about where to find good clear starting instructions, and been advised to experiment. And the back and forth between “just experiment” and “you did what? why didn’t you use x, it’s in the manual, you need to start over and use x!” is aggravated by the fact that save-on-screw-up makes it harder to experiment.




Google Docs works fine for me in a pinch.