As a small business or contractor, you’re going to need some office productivity software. Microsoft Office is probably the most popular Office software since it originally runs on Windows and Windows is the most popular desktop operating system.
But, did you know that you don’t need Microsoft Office to read and write documents in Microsoft Office? There are two major office productivity software that are free Microsoft Office alternatives you can use if you don’t feel like buying the program and paying for upgrades every couple of years:
I originally used StarOffice which turned into OpenOffice, but, in the last few years, I switched over to using LibreOffice.
Writer – alternative to Word
Calc – alternative to Excel
Impress – alternative to Powerpoint
Draw – alternative to Paint
Base – alternative to Access
Math – equation and formula editor
Charts – create and embed charts
OpenOffice also has the same tools as above, except Charts. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t produce charts in OpenOffice.
The functionality of LibreOffice rivals Microsoft Office, It may be hard to believe since it’s free, but, really it does. In the 25+ years of owning and using computers, I haven’t once installed or bought Microsoft Office. LibreOffice Calc can read and write to Excel. Writer can read and write to Word and Impress can read and write to Powerpoint. These are probably the 3 most used office applications and LibreOffice is completely compatible.
The only issues you’ll come across is probably if you are reading any Microsoft file that is using a macro. Otherwise, I’ve never had any major issues reading Word or Excel. Minor issues in Word might be formatting issues. So, what you saw in Word, for example some tabs or spacing may be off. And you’ll have to re-align it in Writer. But, this happens in Word even if you use Windows and if you use a file from one computer to another that uses a different printer. The formatting may also be off.
Take a free trial test run of LibreOffice. Check out the video below. There are no fees whatsoever. If you like it, keep using it. If you don’t, just uninstall it. You may find, you’ll never go back to Microsoft Office. LibreOffice works on Windows, Apple, and GNU/Linux.
Introduction to LibreOffice 5