Alternatives to Microsoft Office

Since the early 1990s, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) has been used universally. All similar products seemed to fall by the wayside (I still mourn the loss of WordPerfect, and I am not alone). You never think twice about using MS Office being a licensed product when you are working in an office or in an academic environment because the organization pays for the license.

However at home or when setting up your own business, do you really need to spend money purchasing a license when there are alternatives freely available?

The only thing with the alternatives is that you have to learn to do things differently. If it is free and relatively easy to master, then why not?

The key thing to remember is, no matter which software you use, when you share a file:

share it as a .pdf

An Adobe Reader .pdf makes your file universally readable.

Your options

There are two free products that I recommend as alternatives to MS Office:

  • Google Drive
  • Apple packages

Google Drive – this is a Google product and is available when you have a Google email (gmail) account

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 11.36.51

  • Instead of Word, you get Google Docs
  • Instead of Excel, you get Google Sheets
  • Instead of PowerPoint, you get Google Slides

To find Google Drive

Go to your Google Mail account. Look for the 9-box matrix symbol (most likely in the top right hand corner of your screen),

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 11.07.16

Click on matrix icon to locate Google Drive (the triangle symbol)

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 11.06.52

Select ‘Drive’ to see this: Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 11.13.36


Use online tutorials to get familiar. Remember – it gets easier with practice and it is free.

2. The Apple packages are free when you are working on Apple tools (iMac, iPad, iPhone)

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 11.35.34

  • Instead of Word, you get Pages
  • Instead of Excel, you get Numbers
  • Instead of PowerPoint, you get Keynote

On the iMac, they can be found under Launchpad.

Use online tutorials to get familiar. Remember – it gets easier with practice.