Microsoft Office, how old is Vanna

Use Microsoft Office for free and the best alternatives

Free Microsoft Office and clever alternatives

Joerg Geiger

Microsoft Office including Word, Excel and PowerPoint is the Office gold standard. There is hardly a way around it in companies, it looks different for private users. There are stripped down versions of Word & Co. that you can use for free. In addition, there have been powerful alternatives to Microsoft Office for years that come very close to the functionality of the original, even free of charge.

Slimmed-down Microsoft Office for free

Microsoft Office with Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint is the most frequently used Office package and costs good money with its full range of functions, but for many private users Word, Excel and PowerPoint are also free. Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available for use in the browser under the names Office Online. The only requirement is a Microsoft account, which you can create for free. Many Windows 10 users should already have such an account anyway.
Word, Excel and Power in the online version work in common browsers. There you can create, revise and share text documents, tables and presentations with others. One advantage is the easy collaboration between several users. But there are also disadvantages: You don't get all the features of the desktop version and you always have to be online to use them. It is difficult to say whether Word, Excel and PowerPoint Online are sufficient for your project. It's best to just try it out.

To the web app: Microsoft Office Online

Is Microsoft Office free?

Yes, although this does not mean the full-fledged office suite, which still costs money. What is available, however, is Microsoft Office as a free browser version. Word, Excel and PowerPoint can be used free of charge in the browser with a Microsoft account. A second option are the apps, which can also be used free of charge with restrictions. Office is offered free of charge for cell phones and small tablets, but the editing function is no longer free for subscribers with a screen diagonal of 10.1 inches. Then you have to have already subscribed to Office 365 or Microsoft 365.

What are the best free alternatives to Microsoft Office?

For private use it is LibreOffice. The full office suite has been on the market for 10 years and offers a wide range of functions.

Is Microsoft Office only available as a subscription?

No, Microsoft is advertising its subscription under the new name Microsoft 365 in many places, but there is still a version of Microsoft Office for one-time purchase. The plans for the next Office version, which will probably appear in autumn 2021, also include a classic license as an alternative to a subscription.

Is Microsoft Office free for students?

Yes, schoolchildren and students often come to Microsoft Office for free, which means the "real" full-blown Office package. Behind this is an extensive commitment by Microsoft in the education sector. Your university or school should have the necessary information ready. As a rule, you have to register with your school or university e-mail address on this Microsoft site.

Do I have disadvantages with free Office alternatives?

Well, the office world speaks Microsoft Office. Since the office world also speaks Windows, one is best equipped with Microsoft Office under Windows in terms of compatibility. Every alternative that you use may not fit in with a detail. This can lead to problems, for example when exchanging data with customers or when writing the master's thesis. For private use, however, these little things can usually be avoided.

Use Office apps for free

Microsoft also provides apps for its Office components Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android, iOS and Windows 10. They are also slimmed down in terms of functionality compared to the classic desktop version. For the costs, Microsoft has come up with a not particularly catchy system. You can use apps free of charge, firstly only for private use and secondly only on devices with a maximum screen size of 10.1 inches. With a free Microsoft account, you can also create new texts and edit existing ones in the Word app, for example. No problem on the smartphone, but for an iPad Pro you have to subscribe to Office 365 for a fee in order to be able to use the Word, Excel or PowerPoint apps for editing.

Microsoft Office for Android

Alternative LibreOffice

Microsoft sets the Office standard with Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but there are good alternatives such as LibreOffice. The package has been on the market for more than 10 years and you can really let off steam with the open source office, an absolute top recommendation for private use.
From a purely functional point of view, you should get along with LibreOffice in many cases, but the problem is the compatibility with Microsoft Office, which is tacitly assumed in the business world. For example, if you work with colleagues from other companies and they all use Microsoft Office, it can be quite annoying to struggle with layout problems in LibreOffice.
We prefer LibreOffice, but of course you can also use the more popular OpenOffice.

LibreOffice & OpenOffice

Google Office programs

There is no shortage of online alternatives for Office programs. Since many users already have a Google account due to the widespread use of Android and Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides are also possible Office alternatives. They are comparable to Word, Excel and PowerPoint in the online version and offer similar advantages, such as easy editing in a team and the simple options for sharing content.
But the disadvantages are similar, so you put your own content on Google servers and have to be online for editing. Compared to a desktop office, you also have to make functional compromises. But whether that really hurts can only be found out by trial and error.

To the Google Docs

SoftMaker Free Office

SoftMaker FreeOffice is also a free Office alternative. It includes alternatives to Word, Excel and PowerPoint and is committed to compatibility with Microsoft formats. In order to be able to use it, you have to register once with your name and email address.

Download: SoftMaker FreeOffice