Best open source Microsoft Office alternatives

Microsoft Officeremains the go-to productivity package for many businesses, with the obvious exception to that being Google G Suite users. But high costs and a growing number of irrelevant features means that increasingly, professionals are looking for more options.

Luckily, there are a number of options out there which are completely free.

Here, we take a look at the best open source software packages that provide a successful replacement to Microsoft Office.

And don’t worry, most are also compatible with Microsoft Office documents, meaning the transition to new software needn’t be messy.

Read next: Best open source Excel alternatives.

What to consider
iStock

What to consider

Some of the most important issues to consider when weighing up Office alternatives is whether they offer valid replacements for the most useful applications - namely Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Also to consider is whether they're compatible with Microsoft Office, so files across different formats can be shared.

Lastly, collaborative tools are an important consideration. Emailing updated documents between colleagues should - thankfully - be a thing of the past.

Read on for our top picks.

LibreOffice

LibreOffice

LibreOfficeis a full office productivity suite including a word processor to rival Word (Writer), a spreadsheet function (Calc) to replace Excel, and a presentation feature (Impress).

It also offers a drawing application, formula editor and database management application.

LibreOffice offers very similar capabilities to Apache OpenOffice, but LibreOffice may have the edge, boasting a more attractive and usable interface.

The application’s open source status means the software is constantly being improved by a large community of volunteers in terms of stability and the features it offers. It is available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

On top of that, it’s completely free for both personal and commercial uses, however, isn’t currently available on mobile.

OnlyOffice

OnlyOffice

OnlyOfficelaunched in 2015, but has since accumulated more than five million users worldwide.

It is open source office software which offers a complete productivity suite with document management, project management, CRM, calendar, mail, and corporate network.

This eliminates the need to open multiple different applications to manage tasks.

It also offers the opportunity to create an ‘office in the cloud’ - useful for any dispersed business or one without a physical address.

Calligra

Calligra

Calligrais a graphics office suite built on the Qt toolkit by KED.

KEDis the international, free software community dedicated to building open source software.

Calligra's simple suite offers the basics along with some extra applications including database management, flowcharts and image manipulation.

It's designed for use on smartphones, PCs and tablets, which is something that others listed don't offer.

And while it is pitted against LibreOffice, it does lose out on the range of document design and editing features. However, it shouldn't be written off just yet.

Calligra does provide a more diverse range of applications such as those for project management and a mind mapping tool.

NeoOffice

NeoOffice

NeoOfficeprovides an office suite compatible with users of the MacOSoperating system.

It's the Java-based commercial branch of Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

In fact, current versions of the software are based on LibreOffice 4.4, offering a solid spreadsheet, word processor, graphics program and presentation program.

The source code for the program remains free, but from 2016 the software package can only be accessed with the purchase of a commercial license.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.