As the saying goes, “the best things in life are free.” Same applies to software that you install in your machine or devices. Whether you are a student, a professional or simply a home buddy, I know that you will agree with me in saying that productivity suites are the most used apps in your machine. First thing that comes into our mind when we talk about productivity software will be Microsoft Office. However, being a commercial product, one will have to shell out around PHP260 per month for an Office 365 Personal subscription or a one-time purchase of the stand-alone installer, costing around PHP4,700 for Office Home and Student 2013.
For the ordinary Juan, these prices are too steep to a point wherein people are tempted to use counterfeit or pirated versions of the software suite. Well, I have some good news for you. No need to use pirated software (piracy is a crime, remember?) with these alternatives to commercial productivity suites like Microsoft Office.
If you are a Gmail user, then Google Docs is not alien to you. Gives you access to Google Docs as word processor, Sheets as spreadsheet, Slides to create slideshows, Forms to create custom surveys and signup sheets, Drawings to make diagrams and My Maps to create and share custom maps. It comes with a 15GB storage, shared across Google Drive, Gmail and Google Photos. For an annual fee, you may opt to subscribe for more storage space.
Perhaps one of the most popular free and open source office suite before the advent of webwares (software that is accessed using a web browser) is LibreOffice. This productivity suite is developed by The Document Foundation and was forked from OpenOffice.org in 2010. LibreOffice uses the international ISO/IEC standard Open Document file format as its native format in saving documents across all of the applications in the suite. Comes in the software package is Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation), Draw (vector graphics editor), Math (create formula using XML) and Base (database management).
Commonly known as OpenOffice or OOo, it is the open source version of the then popular StarOffice suite by Sun Microsystems. Version 1 of the application suite was released in May 2002 and was poised to go head-to-head with the Microsoft Office suite. A year after Oracle Corporation acquired Sun Microsystems, in 2011 they announced the donation of the project to the Apache Foundation; effectively ceasing the commercial version of the suite. OpenOffice.org has the same set of application components as with the LibreOffice suite. One of the noticeable difference between the two open source application suites will be the user interface.
Formerly known as Kingsoft Office, WPS Office. Since WPS Office 2005, it supports Microsoft document formats by default (aside from the native Kingsoft formats) and has a user interface which is similar to Microsoft Office. WPS Office runs on Windows PC, Android and iOS devices and has 890 million users worldwide; it is free for personal use and has premium subscription for business users.
Microsoft Office Online
Yes, Microsoft Office has an online (browser-based) version! If you are the type of person, who is forever online, then the free Microsoft Office Online suite might just be a fit for you. One just need a Microsoft account to create and share Office documents using Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online or OneNote Online). Files created using this webware are stored in your OneDrive account. You can also send and receive files using your Outlook.com email account.
Article (edited) published in the Manila Bulletin, Tech News Section last Mon 27 Jul 2015.