Best Free Office Suite


An office suite is a collection of programs, mainly consisting of a word processor, spreadsheet & presentation application bundled together.

With the pricey tag put onto the all popular Microsoft Office, it leaves no surprise that the average home user or small business would be looking for an alternative. Below we have reviewed and rated all the popular freeware office suites and split them into three sections making it easier to find the best solution:

  1. Proprietary, privately owned software being offered up for free.
  2. Open Office, an open source suite and various mods based on the same programming code making them similar to use.
  3. Cloud / Online, web based suites than can be used on the move, some even contain a smartphone app for easy updating.
In a Hurry?

  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide:
- Proprietary Office Suites
- Open Office & Variants
- Cloud Office Suites

Proprietary Office Suites

Kingsoft Office Suite FreeWPS Office Free (formerly Kingsoft Office) is ideal for those familiar with Microsoft Office 2003 prior to the creation of the 'ribbon' feature in 2007. It will let you feel perfectly at home. To say that it is similar to Microsoft Office would be the understatement; they are practically identical. There are three main packages:

  1. WPS Writer, a word processor that can import from Microsoft Word (.doc & .docx) with the ability to have separate documents in a tabbed interface.
  2. WPS Spreadsheet, a spreadsheet application that can import from Microsoft Excel and having the same cells range (65,536 rows * 256 columns) as the Microsoft Office 2003 equivalent.
  3. WPS Presentation, a presentation suite that can import all Microsoft Powerpoint documents.

For a freeware equivalent to Microsoft Office and for those who liked the simpler old style 2003 interface then WPS Office Suite Free is the application. There isn't a single feature I found that isn't IDENTICAL to the Microsoft Office 2003 equivalent. The similarities even go far into the styles of WordArt.

WPS did offer a unique tabbed experience allowing multiple documents or spreadsheets within the same window making switching between them quick and simple. There are however two annoying selections upon installation: the startup of a browser linking to WPS's website, and the other is a popup asking to switch to another UI (basically the new ribbon effect which isn't free).

A quirky feature is the quick UI color feature allowing the UI to be alternated to an additional eight different skins helping color code your office suite with your OS skin.


SSuiteSSuite Office - Excalibur Release is a huge collection of products designed to make any office task easier. Initially the selection of tools are overwhelming and include everything from word processors, spreadsheets, email clients, IM clients, even a CD ripper. The installer doesn't allow for installation choice and bundles everything in.

Each application can be a pick n' mix of different options and an attempt seems to be made to give the end user the ability to do everything within the suite itself. Anything not directly accessible within the application links to an alternative website (for example Google Translate). The GUI 's (graphical user interfaces) are really hard to follow and require quite a large learning curve to get used to.

There are too many different applications to list individually but the main ones are:

  1. WordGraph, a word processor which can import doc, rtf, htm, xml but no support for docx. With the exception of the GUI, WordGraph has a lot of nice features that could in certain circumstances become very handy.
  2. Accel, a spreadsheet application which can import xls, csv, txt but no support for xlsx. We had extreme difficulty importing even xls files from other programs but has no problem importing the xls files previously exported from Accel.
  3. General Utilities, a selection of helpful programs including an Address Book, Envelope Printer, Calendar, Notebook, System Overview with links integrated into other programs.

Overall, the selection is great. The tools are great but the interface has a really strong learning curve to get used to. This is a good selection for anyone looking for everything in one place. There has definitely been a lot of effort put into developing applications that are useful but has been tackled it an obscure way.

Due to the small file sizes, each application opens, runs and saves super fast even for older slow end systems.


Softmaker FreeOfficeSoftmaker FreeOffice is a free version made available from June 2012. It is a lite version of the commercial application Softmaker Office 2012. Softmaker is a German software developer who also specializes in office suites for both Linux and Android OS. BasicMaker the macro language isn't included in the freeware version. Bundled within the free version is:

  1. TextMaker, a fully functional word processor compatible with MS Word & OO Writer.
  2. PlanMaker, a complete spreadsheet solution with MS Excel & OO Calc compatibility.
  3. Presentation, a software presentation program with MS Powerpoint & OO Impress compatibility.

The advantages of the small installation file size mean low memory consumption and faster loading times. It comes complete with all the usual formulas & formatting features and won’t win any awards for originality. PlanMaker lacks any scripting or macro support making it unsuitable for the more advanced user.

There are a couple of annoying features your hit upon opening an application. The first is the tips window which pops up automatically on the right but can be disabled by selecting View>Sidebar>Hide. Within PlanMaker, the spell checker (and background checking feature) isn’t activated by default and is buried deep in the options to get it started. When loaded into the system, the SMASH quick launch starts at start up and floods your taskbar with four shortcut buttons which could have been better as a stacking window rather than individuals.

For free, Softmaker FreeOffice offers a simple, easy to use, basic featured solution that will run comfortably on slower computers and won’t use a great deal of space and resources. It can import all the latest file formats and supports direct PDF exporting.


Open Office & Variants

Apache Open OfficeApache Open Office is considered the father of open source freeware office products. Open Office has gone through a number of owners starting with StarDivision to Sun Microsystems, from Sun to Oracle, then finally from Oracle to Apache. Due to some elements of Open Office having Java dependency, a JRE (Java Runtime Environment) download is required directly from Oracle.

We found it difficult to get Base & Calc to fully work using the latest version (v7) of Java JRE and had to resort to a previous (v6 32bit only) in order to get it loaded without errors.

From all the office products available, Open Office (and it's variants) are the only ones offering a free database management application.

There are four main applications included with Open Office:

  1. Writer, a word processor that can import nearly all text file formats available, plus the ability for a direct PDF export. The interface is similar to Microsoft Office 2003 and with no 'ribbon' available.
  2. Calc, a spreadsheet that can import nearly all forms of spreadsheet formats. Within Calc there is support for scripting & macro's in the form of Basic, Javascript, Beanshell & even Python.
  3. Impress, a presentation application that can import ppt, pps, pptm, pptx presentation files. The layout is simple and stable enough.
  4. Base, a database management application that can create tables, forms, queries, reports, etc. It comes complete with Wizards to help transfer tables for forms etc.

All in Open Office is well rounded with a great support group and lots of help files and documentation. There is so much add-ons and file import & export formats that Open Office would be useful for both the novice users looking for a quick Wordpad alternative to Advanced users who can customize the source code for their own requirements.


LibreOfficeLibreOffice began life in January 2011. During the acquisition of OpenOffice by Oracle from Sun Microsystems, some members of the project were concerned that Oracle would cease or restrict development of and started 'The Document Foundation'. Oracle eventually ceased commercial development of paving the way for LibreOffice to gain a major fan base, the child of this collaboration based on the source code.

As with Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice still requires 32-bit Java (JRE) for full operation but is currently working out the Java dependency. Decisively heavier 205MB compared with 123MB from Apache, the GUI is fresher and modern and the support base is constantly growing. LibreOffice releases more updates and has better compatibility for importing from other office suites. Although we don't see where the additional 80MB's are used there must be some background stability issues addressed for that hefty increase.

The main differences from Apache OpenOffice include:

- Find / Find & Replace are separate options
- Clear direct formatting instead of default formatting
- No media player
- No record macro option
- Undo instead of Can't Undo
- Redo instead of Can't Restore

- Delete Page Break instead of Delete Manual Break
- Page Break instead of Manual Break
- Insert > Names has additional 'Manage'

- Additional 'Title Page' option

- No Wizard upon opening (by default)
- Snap Lines instead of Guides


Discontinued: IBM Lotus SymphonyIBM Lotus Symphony has a unique interface that runs all the applications within a master window. Each application has its own tab and the universal menu system updates according to which application you are working in. The layout is a little awkward with the old style (pre ribbon) menu bar at the top for the popularly used items  (new, print, copy, paste, bold, justify etc) followed by a hidable side bar with a movable 'ribbon ' like interface which is where font, size, styles, clipart are located.

Unlike other suites based on OpenOffice, ILS only has three main applications included (with the exception of an integrated web browser based on Firefox):

  1. Lotus Symphony Document, a word processor which can open all Open Document Formats & Microsoft Office along with the variants and corresponding templates (odf, doc, docx, rtf, txt).
  2. Lotus Symphony Spreadsheet, a spreadsheet application which can import all the standard document formats (sxc, xls, xlsx) with a handy disclaimer that general compatible Microsoft Office documents main not display some formatting correctly (with an option to discard in future).
  3. Lotus Symphony Presentation, a presentation application which can import from MS Powerpoint (odp, ppt, pptx).

Generally speaking IBM Lotus Symphony is a nice clean office suite; the master window housing the individual applications does actually work well especially having a thumbnail (and search) facility for all open documents making it really easy to work with multiple files without taskbar clutter. The only issue is the annoying (portrait) side panel which is really cumbersome to use especially if working with smaller screen resolutions.

Effective from 2012, IBM have supplied the original source code to Apache for integration into the next OpenOffice 4 instalment which should be released as an IBM Edition.


Cloud / Online Office Suites

With recent development of smart phones, tablets & netbooks the need for online file sharing has never been greater. The 'cloud' is an online storage and sharing medium designed to share out an array of files over multiple devices. The selection of freeware cloud applications reviewed below allow a web-based interface to create, upload, save & share all variants of word processors, spreadsheets & presentation documents. As the files are online, a document can be created at home on a pc, updated on the train on a smart phone and finished at work just in time for that all important presentation.


Google DriveGoogle Drive was formed earlier in 2012, Google integrated their Docs suite into their online cloud storage called Google Drive. A generous 5GB of storage space is available (although shared throughout Google services - except Gmail) for saving the three main applications.

  1. Document, a straightforward word processor with all the most commonly used features crammed into one single menu-bar. The interface is similar to the older pre-ribbon style menu making it familiar for nearly everyone who uses it.
  2. Spreadsheets, a spreadsheet application that can import all major formats including xls, xlsx, ods, csv, txt, tsv & tab. It does an excellent job of maintaining the original file formatting & cell formulas.
  3. Presentation, a presentation creation application which allows uploading of popular file formats and allows importing of specific slides to help with organizing & creating.

The great feature with Google Drive is the ability to upload multiple files and multiple types quickly which automatically gets added it their native formats allowing sharing or importation to Google directly.

Additionally, Google Drive has the function to translate the whole document to over 50 other languages allowing a copy to be saving and maintaining the integrity of the original document.


ThinkFreeThinkFree Online is another cloud suite. The first thing I found when trying to register for ThinkFree was the difficulty of finding the login & registration screens. Upon registration, the initial interface is quite warm and inviting, creating a document was harmless but due to the interface being Java based, there are 8px;a few security prompts.

When getting into the nuts & bolts, the interface was fantastic, to the untrained eye could easily be mistaken for an actual desktop application than a cloud but unfortunately due to it's Java dependency seemed to run slow and continually load each .jar part when hovering over or clicking anything. This eventually sub-sites on previously accessed options but happens every login, it can sometimes take a few seconds from click to load.

The three main applications found are:

  1. Write, a word processing application similar to the MO 2003 interface. As with all the others, can natively import all the doc, docx, txt, dot, htm & xml formats expected with an online office application.
  2. Calc, a spreadsheet application again similar to the MO 2003 interface. Calc can import xls, xlsx, xlt, csv, xml, txt & htm. Import formatting and formulas are retained nicely upon import.
  3. Show, a presentation application with the ability to import ppt, pptx, pps & ppsx.

Everything considered, ThinkFree Online is an excellent representation of what is possible with a cloud suite. If it weren't for the constant loading and stability issues this would win the best award in it's class.


ZohoZoho registration is simple and easy, all that's required is a username, email address and a password. After registration has been completed you have the option of choosing your custom portal name when has an associated URL which can be shared giving direct access to your files for the people who you want.

For free you have 1GB of storage available across 50 workspaces. Within this included space you can host files which are don't have native import from Zoho (example wps) for others to download in collaboration.

There are three main packages that Zoho offer for free include:

  1. Writer, a word processor that can import from doc, docx, odt, rtf, html, htm & txt. The interface is simple and follows a thinner 'ribbon' style interface traditionally found in later versions of MS. Quick loading times and a rich source of features make Zoho an excellent choice for online work sharing.
  2. Sheet, a spreadsheet application that can import from xls, xlsx, sxc, ods, csv & tsv. Following the same thin 'ribbon' bar you have access to lots of features including the macro recording ability and VBA editor.
  3. Show, a presentation application that can import ppt, pps, odp, sxi, pptx & ppsx. This application has lots of drawing tools included to make presentation creation easy to complete.

Some neat features included are the pop-up shortcut format bar which lets you do quick adjustments without fumbling through menu's. The PDF export function is excellent allowing for a direct PDF download and lastly within Sheet when an auto formula updates the cells effected highlight allowing the knock on effect to be seen.

Related Products and Links

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Quick Selection Guide - Proprietary Office Suites

WPS Office (formerly Kingsoft Office)

Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Familiar office interface, easy to pick up, tabbing within each application, direct PDF output
Opens a browser link when application starts, switch UI popup annoying
45.4 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.

SSuite Office - Excalibur Release

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very fast start-up speeds, Simple and not distracting, nice spreadsheet editor.
Word processor is lacking in many areas, many programs are loaded that you may never use, some may find the "old fashioned" look not to their liking.
41.6 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7 / 8

Softmaker FreeOffice

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Small, fast & simple. Easy to pick up and use.
No macro/scripting, intrusive tips bar, very limited features
Rev 675
32 bit only
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Required for portable version to work rev 675 released 24 December, 2012 Get FreeOffice from Softpedia.
Quick Selection Guide - Open Office & Variants


Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very easy to use and learn, very extensive file support.
Java dependency requiring Java installation
211 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
All Windows 98 / 2000 / XP / Vista / 7 / 8, Linux (rpm, deb), Solaris (x86,SPARC), Mac

IBM Lotus Symphony

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very nice layout, tabbed interface, based on OpenOffice source code.
Many formatting tools are very complicated to use.
555 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
NB Fix pack 3 should also be downloaded to correct critical security issues.
Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7, Linux (Most Distros), Mac.

Apache Open Office

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Long standing support, includes Database application
Java dependency requiring Java installation
136.78 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Required JRE (Java Runtime Environment) v6 32bit Only Get Open Office from Filehippo.
Quick Selection Guide - Cloud Office Suites

Google Drive

Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Is a web service or web application
Pages load faster then other office suites, very easy to use. Gmail integration.
Must convert all file types to google doc file type in order to edit them online.
Unrestricted freeware
Internet connection required.
Web based


Is a web service or web application
Very easy to use, tabbed document editing allows for multiple documents at once, compatible with all file types, and many collaboration features.
Can be intimidating for people who first see it, kinda cluttered.
Unrestricted freeware
Internet connection required.
Web based

ThinkFree Online

Is a web service or web application
Excellent interface, easy to find & use features
Very slow, tends to lag when clicking any options
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.

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SoftMaker FreeOffice has been updated to version 2016 Rev 755.0417 (2016.04.19).

I am surprised WPS (Kingsoft) was rated high, much less 31. While a neat program, it fails miserably in one of the most important tasks office suites must do- import and export multiple file types. This is a killer.
I am biased.
For years i used Open Office (OOG) ad loved it. Having started on Wordperfect/Dos then Microsmurf Office OOG was a God-send. Great, versatile and free. Early versions were a horror to load into windows. After getting it up and running it was fantastic. I still keep it as a backup.
Libre office is similar to OOG. I use Libre 90% of the time. Sometimes i have to use a tex editor for obscure things. I have written hundreds of legal documents with every foreseeable and many unforeseeable formatting requirements with Libre- it rocks.

I loved WPS Office, but with the new changes for the worse, I'm quite disappointed.

I downgraded down to Kingsoft Suite instead. It seems to have everything that I need.

My vote goes to Softmaker FreeOffice. Sure it may not have all the bells and whistles of the other office listed in this article but. It's easy to use and have enough features for the adverage office user to use. There are many features hidden within it and for selecting colors there's a simple basic Microsoft basic color tool instead of complicated palettes.
WPS is full of crap! Kingsoft so called Antivirus was a backdoor for an virus to get into my computer I don't use their WPS office either because it keeps trying to make one install software from another company that user doesn't need. SSuite office software wants to add an entire "operation system" to your computer loaded with crap you don't need like yet another web browser. Wordgraph is slow and buggy and the features are hard to find.
LibreOffice, Sun (Lotus) Office and Apache Open Office and a lot of others are software clones with different names! These guys are slow and I kept getting freezes and bugs when trying to type a document.

I see mumbling (in reply to your post) that FreeOffice can open docx but cannot save as docx.
"It is an ill wind that blows nobody no good"
I have no love for docx.
Can it open docx and save as doc without any loss ?
If someone answers yes, I will be downloading this immediately

While I cannot confirm that there will be no loss, I have opened a few docx and saved them as doc and I couldn't tell the difference after. FreeOffice does have a few annoyances (e.g. no tabbed documents view and the inability to permanently hide the sidebar), however, it is more light weight than, say LibreOffice, and it should be more than sufficient for the most users.

I use to like WPS office until I tried to save a file on docx and it said I needed to have the pay version. I'm downloading Freeoffice. After hearing LibreOffice still uses Java I still refuse to use it.

FreeOffice can open and read docx but cannot save in it.

I see that. That sucks. :(

WPS now has a restriction with the free version with regards to printing. It now adds a watermark to your document. It adds the same watermark to pdf files too. Sad really as I really rated this office application.

Regarding WPS,
Can businesses use the free version ?
I have a friend with a small business who is 'renting' the latest MS Office
Is there anyone out there that knows of a business that is using WPS free, instead of Office ?
Is it truly 100% compatible (considering they would be exchanging docs and spreadsheets regularly with other businesses that are using MS Office) ?

WPS has a keyboard shortcut for screengrabs that is identical to several keyboard shortcuts for diacritic signs in my language (Polish)., There is no way to disable it. So people who want to write in languages other than English and who use right Alt key for diacritic signs should beware.

Went over to and noticed that the Windows version doesn't appear any longer - just the iOS, Android and Linux versions. My guess is they've pulled the Windows version from the site (not sure if it's coming back or not...) You might be able to find it somewhere else (FileHippo still carries the Kingsoft Office version from 2013 and MajorGeeks still has the Beta version of WPS Office Free 2014) but we probably need to take another look at the recommendation.

A major upgrade, LibreOffice 5 was released a few weeks ago. The latest version,, was released on 2015.08.27 (release notes are at

Unfortunately LibreOffice 5 still suffers from Bug 37967 - no "normal" view in Writer. Which is a really old bug inherited from OpenOffice. (Bug 4914 from 2002, making it 13 years old now.) And while the LibreOffice people consider it a mere enhancement to be gotten to someday, many (non)users consider it an absolute deal-killer; a bug of severity "causes the program to be automatically shut down and deleted from the user's hard drive, when encountered."

Another alternative that I haven't noticed anyone mention yet is that Microsoft has a free online version of Office at

I know it's not the same as using the full MS Office version, but for receiving/uploading/editing/saving/sending MS Office files (such as DOCX), it's hard to beat since it doesn't lose any formatting that some of your free office suites may do when handling MS Office files (such as LibreOffice). But that's just my two cents. ;-)

To stop WPS from opening their templates link on startup, go to File>Tools>Options. Under the General and Save section, there is a selection to "Start With" (either the Home Page or a New Document) at the bottom. Select New Document and their Home Page won't open any more.

Thanks for the tip RCHamilt it works Great ..

Hi, I've been a user of Kingsoft Office for a few years and agree it's the closest to MS office but reading some comments here about the new upgrade, "WPS Office 2014" being a paid only is not so. I upgraded but theres still a free version called 'WPS Office 2014' and a paid one. I have 2014 and it's free.

What you say is true but the free version is now restricted, or a some users see it, crippled. See details about these restrictions in our forum thread. MC - Site Manager.

What sells FreeOffice on me is its ability to both read and write .odt files, which makes it almost singularly universal as a replacement for Open/LibreOffice and Word. If WPS only included just this one ability they'd a officeful of customers here for life.

Greetings All!

From a an academic point of view - if you use OUTLINING on a regular basis there appears to be NO BETTER CHOICE than WPS aka Kingsoft.

Why? Because it works the SAME as Microsoft Office.

ALL other suite choices are not very intuitive when outlining. In fact they are annoying to use.

I have NOT SEEN this mentioned in any review or comments.

Hopefully, this helps in choosing your "go to" office suite.

To all, happy, safe and healthy New Year 2015!

It might be time to change the recommendation back to LibreOffice instead of WPS Office - the move by Kingsoft to change to a subscription basis in order to have access to all of the features of WPS Office makes it a less practical choice for small businesses or individuals who are looking for a FREE office suite. Yes, WPS Office can be used as a "trial" for 30 days, but after that time you need to subscribe in order to continue using the "Premium" features - including the ability to save files in the newer docx, xlsx or pptx formats compatible with the newer versions of Microsoft Office.

Also, like Microsoft, Kingsoft is trying to switch consumers to a subscription model - you pay for the software on a monthly (or yearly) basis instead of paying for it once. While the pricing may look attractive initially, you end up paying for your software like a cable tv or smartphone bill. Is this what we really want as a "free" alternative to Microsoft Office?

For me, I'm uninstalling the latest release of WPS Office and sticking with LibreOffice. I don't want to subscribe for my software, even at a lower cost than the Microsoft name brand.

I agree with gravedigger. I foolishly installed this latest version without anticipating that the unsubscribed version would put watermarks on print outs and restrict saving functions. Uninstalling. Wondering if the previous version can be installed? Is LibreOffice the next viable option?

You can still download Kingsoft Free Office 2013. Just search for it on Google.
Kingsoft Free Office 2013 is still the best choice, totally free and saves to MS Office 2007/2010 document formats. None of the others save/export to docx, xlsx.
Agree with your comments on WPS Office 2014 - Stay well away!
NB: Significant amount of functionality is removed once trial is expired.

While the free version of Kingsoft Office (2013) is a great choice, I would be reluctant to advise people to stay with it since it's already been replaced with WPS Office 2014 and will probably not be that well supported going forward. The subscription only version will continue to be supported and Kingsoft will probably make it harder to get the older version.

I would recommend going with LibreOffice as it's well supported, continues to be a FREE alternative to Microsoft Office and has been a good choice for a number of years now...

Sorry but the smart money is on Softmaker FreeOffice 2014. By far the best compatibilty with MS Office docs. Similar small footprint and broad functionality to Kingsoft and has regular updates.

Just got done downloading WPS Kingsoft, and it appears as is the free version has been modified to a trail period and then a monthly rental.

Yes, it now includes a trial of home premium version for 30 days. The suite remains free though.

Significant amount of functionality is now removed once trial is expired. Falls well short of Kingsoft Office Free 2013 (which you can still download and use totally free)