17 Quality Alternatives to MS Word

With MS Word available on all platforms, it seems like this word processing program is the best you can get for your writing needs. It loads quickly, saves files in multiple platforms, and lets you transfer coding directly into the template you might be building. The one down side to MS Word is its cost: you either need to buy the software outright or have an Office 365 home subscription and both at $74.99. Instead of spending all that cash, here are some low-cost alternatives to MS Word that work just as well.

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1. Open Office

This word processing program provides you with everything that MS Office products have. You can save in multiple formats in this program, including MS Word and Excel, so that you can easily transfer documents back and forth. You can also open Microsoft coded files, although if you’re using a PC version of Open Office and someone else is using a Mac version, that can get to be a bit tricky. It’s got plenty of tools and options for customization and best of all, it’s free.

2. Jarte

This word processing program is based off of the WordPay engine. It works a lot like Pages does on an Apple computer, but without all the troublesome crashes. All of your tools are in a handy HUD and you don’t even need to click commands to get your word count. If you’re a coder, this is the free MS Word alternative for you.

3. AbiWord

This MS Word alternative works on virtually all platforms well. It also interacts well with all of the major word processing programs, so you won’t need to worry about file compatibility. It’s a lot easier to work with multiple documents in this program thanks to the web-browser like interface that you get.

4. Google Docs

Whether you’re working from the app or online, the main benefit you get from this word processing alternative is automatic Cloud storage. Multiple users can easily alter docs on this platform that auto-saves everything, so you won’t have to worry about lost content. If you’re using a 3G/4G connection on your tablet, you can work virtually anywhere on a document, which is a definite plus.

5. StackEdit

Sometimes getting out of the standard document format is the way you need to go. If your word processing needs are more geared toward content for your blog or website, then this browser-based word processor will help you format your content with a lot of handy keyboard shortcuts. If you’re using a Chromebook, this is probably the best word processor to use as the files stay saved in the browser itself.

6. ZoHo

There are about two dozen free apps that you can utilize through ZoHo, including a good word processing program. It’s Cloud-based and automatically saves data as it is inputted so you won’t have to worry about lost content. You can save in multiple formats as well, including HTML, to get all of your work done.

7. Lotus Symphony

Supporting SmartSuite files in addition to MS Word and Open Office, this free MS Word alternative was initially based on the open-source older versions of Open Office. This is probably the best option for you if you do a lot of document presentations because the tables, page formats, and graphic inserts are a lot easier to manipulate in this program. It’s got all the perks too, including footnote additions for school/professional papers.

8. ThinkFree

This productivity app is based on Java, so it may not be your favorite free alternative. It takes forever to load at first, but it caches into your computer so speed improves over time… until you have to clear your cache. Then the cycle starts all over again! The one true advantage to this online processor is that it automatically puts your document into your computer when you close the program, so you’ll never have lost content again.

9. Peepel

This is another browser-based word processor that will let you do automatic formatting within the document itself. You can also insert graphics that you’ve scraped from the internet, but you won’t have any local file access.

10. EtherPad

This is another one of the browser-based word processors available today, but it also incorporates a lot of the features you’d find on Google Docs. This free MS Word alternative also lets you work in real-time with others, making it a handy addition to your portfolio.

11. NeoOffice

Is is a Mac-based word processor that gives you pretty much all of the options that MS Word gives you, including multiple document formats.

12. KOffice

This is an open-sourced word processor that is a lot like Open Office, although it isn’t as easy to use if you are on your word processor program every day.

13. Bean

Made for your Mac, this program will only edit or create .RTF files. Good for if you’re in a hurry to jot down some notes or code, not necessarily much else.

14. TextWrangler

You can save files in multiple formats, but this word processing program is more for coders than for writers. If you create lists of things, however, you’ll love this program because you can easily see which line you’re on. If you need to tweak a template for WordPress or Tumblr, this is the perfect free program to use.

15. Ommwriter

If writing with the “click click click” of a standard keyboard wears out your eardrums every day, then this is the word processor for you. The program syncs audio sounds with your keystrokes so that every button you hit on the keyboard has a sound assigned to it. There are different backgrounds that you can assign to the documents and you can sync audio files, like brainwave entrainment or binaural beats, to sound on your iPad or PC/Mac platform as you work.

16. Buzzword

Powered by Adobe, this is the go-to program for many when working online. Because it is an Adobe product, PDF transitions are seamless and documents are exported a lot better.

17. SSuite

This Windows word processor is good for those who are just learning how to use a computer.

Do you use a different word processor every day then the ones listed above? Share with us below the free MS Word alternatives you prefer to use for your writing or content creation needs.

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Graeme Sandlin
A theologian of the odd. I love all things tech, especially if there's a sci-fi element to it. You'll find something special I've created every day... and not just on the internet.