Ballantyne Accountants

AAT Licensed Accountant

Microsoft Office 365 is well established as the leading office software suite. At just under £140 per user per year for the Business Premium edition, its not unreasonably priced especially compared with the stand alone desktop version at £250. However, if money is really tight and you need something free, what are the alternatives?

Google Docs, Sheets & Slides

Docs is a word processor, sheets is a spreadsheet and slides is a presentation program. The software is accessible online through a web browser or mobile device. Changes are saved automatically. Multiple users can work on the same document simultaneously. The software can open MS Office files and save in MS Office format.

Apache Open Office

Apache Open Office is an open source software suite comprising a word processor (Writer), a spreadsheet (Calc), presentation software (Impress), a database (Base) and a couple of other applications. It is a desktop only software package. It uses the Open Document Format (ODF) but can also open and save MS Office files.

Zoho Office Suite

Zoho is a web based online office suite similar to Google Docs, Sheets & Slides. It includes a word processor (Writer), spreadsheet (Sheet), presentation software (Show) and a selection of other applications.


LibreOffice and Open Office have a shared development history so the different application in the suite have the same names. Like Open Office, it is desktop only software. According to Wikipedia, it is the most actively developed free and open source office suite, with approximately 50 times the development activity of Open Office.


FreeOffice is another desktop only office suite developed by SoftMaker. It includes a word processor (TextMaker), spreadsheet (PlanMaker), and a presentation software (SoftMaker Presentations). This is commercially developed software with paid versions having more features and support, however, the free version has a high level of functionality.

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