Microsoft Word continues to occupy the throne with regard to the creation and editing of text documents. Especially in the workplace, the program has been established as an absolute and essential standard for all those who have to work with texts at a professional level. Naturally, this has a price, and not precisely reduced, but luckily there is a world of alternative options that includes other comparable and free word processors. The question is, what are the best alternatives to Microsoft Office Word for free?
Deciding which is the most appropriate in each case, depends on the use you want to give the program. If the priority is to have as many editorial design possibilities as possible, a very different program is needed than when you simply need to write. The various options available also differ in terms of storage space and, if the choice falls ultimately on an online program, local storage requirements are drastically reduced. The main requirement, of course, is the compatibility of the program with the operating system installed on the computer.
Alternatives to Microsoft Office Word for all platforms with any license
Apache OpenOffice Writer, almost like Word
Until 2012, the Apache OpenOffice office suite, popularly known as Dry OpenOffice, was still signed as OpenOffice.org. Its free word processor, OpenOffice Writer is the best-known alternative to Microsoft Word and, together with LibreOffice, the most similar to the Microsoft house suite. Like this one, OpenOffice is also composed, in addition to the text editor, of a drawing program, a spreadsheet processor, a database tool, another for mathematical formulas and a program for making presentations. The only component of the Microsoft suite for which OpenOffice does not offer an alternative option is Outlook, the email client.
OpenOffice Writer, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux (with adaptations for Solaris and FreeBSD), has all the necessary functions for day to day in the office. One of its key features is that it can open all Microsoft Word’s own formats, although, when saving documents, it only supports the oldest formats (.doc and .xml). Most of the design details are kept in the free version, but in some aspects, such as the placement of footnotes, displacements can occur. It is for this reason that it is advisable to convert these documents to the immutable PDF format before printing them.
LibreOffice Writer, the alternative to OpenOffice
LibreOffice is the alternative to the alternative, split from OpenOffice in 2010 due to disagreements with Oracle. It’s then the main sponsor. The appearance and functions of the programs are practically identical, with some important differences. Among them, LibreOffice can, not only open the .docx file format but also and, unlike its “brother”, edit and save it, so, if you are going to work with users of the Microsoft Office suite, This program would be the best choice. On the other hand, LibreOffice releases more updates than OpenOffice, which can mean both an advantage and a disadvantage. The point in favor is that, in this way, developers can solve errors, close security breaches or implement new functions. On the other hand, they also integrate functions that have not yet fully matured, while also relying on the predisposition of their users, many of whom are not willing to install a new update every so often.
AbiWord, an alternative to Word retro and resulting
The name of Abiword, which takes as reference the word in Spanish “open”, is an alternative option to Microsoft Word with functions similar to this office suite and an editing interface whose design is oriented to the older versions (until Word 2003). Abiword occupies only 20 Megabyte on the hard disk and allows you to create tables, integrate graphics. And fill fields automatically in emails thanks to the Mail Merge tool.
Once the program is installed, the range of functions can be extended thanks to a long list of extensions. The so-called Importfilter (import filters) allows you to read and save most formats, also .docx, although in practice it is usually necessary to edit the document. With AbiCollab.net the software offers a platform on which to work together with other collaborators in real-time. The option of exporting documents in PDF format is also missing.
AbiWord is only continuing to develop for Linux, although older versions are also available for other operating systems.
WPS Office Writer: the Word alternative for copywriters
The Kingsoft company markets its WPS Office office package, since the 1980s. A free version that comes to add to its diversified offer in paid versions. The free word processor remembers its direct competitor in its structure and design, although it includes some variations. Such as, for example, the possibility of opening several documents at the same time. And switching between them by means of tabs. Another novelty is the two Eye Protection and Night view modes, which modify the color of the editing panel to protect the view.
Files can be saved in different formats so that the user not only works in his own .wps format but also in .docx. If you register, you can access a personal cloud and deposit the files there. The user also has the option to secure the files with a password and configure encryption.
SoftMaker FreeOffice: word processor “made in Germany”
The German software manufacturer SoftMaker offers the free version of its payment offer with FreeOffice. To enjoy it, you only need to provide the email address. The program allows you to choose between the classic view with a menu structure. Or a modern ribbon view and in either one, it is a clean and orderly work panel.
To save the documents, the software allows you to choose between the known Microsoft Word formats. And the SoftMaker format itself. The user also has the possibility to export documents such as pdf or epub. The free software suite also contains a program of calculation tables and another of the presentations. FreeOffice receives updated regularly and is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac and as an application for Android mobile terminals.
WriteMonkey, to write without distractions
WriteMonkey is the right choice for all those who want to work in a focused way without being distracted by the functions of the toolbars. The “Fullscreen” mode (full screen) is the best way to match the blank sheet or, depending on the configuration, black, green or any other color, on which to give free rein to creativity. With the right mouse button. You can open a menu with which you can hide certain pieces of text for the sake of clarity. Or jump between paragraphs. The timer allows you to set the time during which you plan to work in a focused way. And an integrated function to complete words saves time during writing.
WriteMonkey is the simplest of the desktop programs mentioned here and does not even need installation. Which means that it can always be kept on hand on a USB device, ready to use on any computer. To do this, you must download the folder with the application files. Copy it to a folder on the hard disk and open the WriteMonkey.exe file.
Documents written in WriteMonkey are saved as .txt files or exported as .doc or .docx, but it only works with Windows.
Google documents, online and group text editing
Google Documents or Google Docs is an online text editing program accessible from Google applications in the Google user panel. With this web application, you can create new documents and work on them together with other collaborators. Even seeing the changes made in real-time. This is very practical when writing a text among several editors. In the same way, as with the Microsoft Office suite, OpenOffice or LibreOffice. Or Google Docs also contains functions to create tables and presentations.
Instead, it works at a lower speed and has fewer functions than locally installed Word alternatives. The design options, for example, are smaller here. To which it is added that many users do not quite see clearly trusting their data completely to the Internet.
The performance of the tool depends largely on the quality and security of the Internet connection, although, fortunately, a downloadable application is already available on your computer or phone to work offline.
As expected, there are also several options that make competition to Google Documents. Zoho Writer, also accessible with a registered account, is the program that offers the most functions. Such as email and many editing options, the ideal choice to work with texts on a regular basis. For occasional group work, Etherpad, in which registration is not necessary, is the best solution. Because although it has fewer editing options, it is the fastest tool for teamwork.