Some Alternatives to Microsoft Office

Ever get tired of forking out money for Microsoft Office licences?

You buy a new notebook so you need another licence. You upgrade your computer and the OEM licence is not transferable. You are several versions behind everyone else so you can’t access the newer files with the ‘x’ (e.g. .docx) on the end of the file extension so feel compelled to upgrade. At $200 – $600 each time this can become an expensive exercise.

The good news is there are several alternatives to the dominant Microsoft suite. The two that I particularly like are OpenOffice and Google Docs.


OpenOffice comes in Windows, Mac and Linux versions and looks and feels very similar to Microsoft Office. Things I like about it are that it is extremely easy to learn (if coming from MS Office); it opens and saves in Microsoft’s proprietary formats (e.g. doc, xls, ppt); it uses an open standard for saving documents (.ODF) so there won’t be any problems opening the document in years to come; and best of all it’s completely FREE!

Google Docs

Google Docs is a cloud based application, this means that the software is accessed via the internet and is not loaded on your computer or server. The great advantage to this is from a collaboration point of view. Your documents are saved in the clouds and can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. Documents can easily be shared with other users and their changes update the document. Google Docs provides 1GB of storage space. The Document, Spreadsheet & Presentation applications are very functional and can handle MS Office documents. And yes, this is also FREE!

Note: Consult your IT consultant about the appropriateness of these applications for your personal use or small business before ditching the dominant Microsoft Office Suite!

Richard Kemp – Watts Price Accountants

The advice provided on this Article is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.