Best Free Office Suite

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Introduction

An office suite is a collection of programs, mainly consisting of a word processor, spreadsheet and 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 Source, an open-source office suite and various mods based on the same programming code making them similar to use.
  3. Online, a cloud or web based suite that can be used on the move; some contain a mobile app for easy updating.

 

Proprietary Office Suite

WPS Office Free  

Most similar to Microsoft Office


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
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.
Read full review...

SSuite Office  

A huge collection of products designed to make any office task easier


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
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.
Read full review...

Softmaker FreeOffice  

A lite version of the commercial application Softmaker Office


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Limited features)
Small, fast & simple. Easy to pick up and use.
No macro/scripting, intrusive tips bar, very limited features.
Read full review...

Open-Source Office Suite

Apache OpenOffice  

A leading open-source office suite offering free productivity applications


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Long standing support, includes Database application.
Java dependency requiring Java installation.
Read full review...

LibreOffice  

A fork from OpenOffice and an actively developed free and open-source office suite


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Very easy to use and learn, very extensive file support.
Java dependency requiring Java installation.
Read full review...

Online Office Suite

Google Drive  

A reliable online office suite for storing, sharing and collaborative editing of documents


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
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.
Read full review...

Zoho  

An online office suite includes Writer, Sheet and Show


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free (Limited features)
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.
Read full review...

ThinkFree  

An online office suite with Java dependency


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Limited features)
Excellent interface, easy to find & use features.
Very slow, tends to lag when clicking any options.
Read full review...

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Comments

I would like to share a word of caution about WPS office if you want to install it on a system that already has MSO2007 (hey, I cannot afford to take the risk of uninstallig it altogether, I have some important encrypted docs that need MSO2007 to work).
So, I installed WPS in my PC and it worked great, however, every time I wanted to launch Word or Excel the MSO 2007 setup program launched automatically and took a while before I could use them.
This lasted for about a week, until I decided to uninstall WPS and everything went back to normal after that.
Am I the only one who faced this issue?
Perhaps WPS office "borrows" some official system files from MSO2007 to work properly?

I can't say what is really going on but it sounds to me like there may be a file association problem.Anyone else have ideas?

I thought the same initially. So I set MSO2007 as my default suite and de-selected all file associations within WPS. Nothing changed, even after a reboot. WPS forums were not of any help. The only solution that worked was uninstalling WPS.
I can add my brother is having the exact same problem, the only difference being his machine runs WinXP.

Kingsoft is now called WPS Office.

Thank you. The name has now been changed. MC - Site Manager.

Not exactly. Both WPS Office 2014(subscription based) and Kingsoft Office 2013 (pro and free versions) can still be downloaded from the Kingsoft web site. Read WPS = new subscription based offer and Kingsoft = Free or Once-off purchase for Pro version

Hi.

What free program is able to manage spreadsheets with an unlimited number of rows?
I'm only aware of two [edited out] but they are both commercial.

I can't believe u could put SSuite Office on a par with softmaker FreeOffice. Whilst ssuite is kinda retro and likeable, get real. Load a multi tabbed excel spreadsheet, graphics and all, into softmaker no problem. ssuite can barely support old excel IV single sheet spreads. Not to mention almost non existent file type support xls rtf txt and that's u'r lot. Crazy!

My vote goes for LibreOffice. What I like of it (aside from the fact that it feels like OpenOffice but this one is like a breath of fresh air) is the pletora of useful extensions (http://extensions.libreoffice.org/extension-center) you can add to the suite.

I didn't like Kingsoft's EULA (we will collect personal information for marketing purposes) and offered to install Glary Utilities during the installation, so I stopped at that point.

Of all the office free ware I prefer the TextMaker. now known as free office.

Lotus, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, OxygenOffice, etc. are practically memory hogging clones!
Everytime I get them I end with some kind of windows error that closes my WinXp Computer.
Lotus Office is the root for all of them and if you choose one choose Lotus to prevent problems
with your system and to save on memory.

Kingoffice Doesn't have the the text color and likes other features.

AbiWriter is clumsy and slow. Very Limited Figures.

Textmaker is a breath of free air. Also hidden in the formats are image tools that like you do all kinds of transparency, photo editing tricks, if you want to freely move the image change the Frame mode and you can type over the image as well.
No fancy plugins and there a limited default text color palette you can always per session edit a color and save it to change text colors.

I have used Kingsoft Writer a few times now, and I cannot fault it (and my gut feeling likes it).
When you mentioned Kingoffics, is that the same program ?
If so, could you elaborate on what you do not like about it ?

Curious,
Rob
PS I also found a couple of new uses for it (new for me) -

1) I have multiple portable versions of IceDragon, which allows me to have one for each category of my browsing.
It can get a bit confusing as to which is running, so I created a web page (In Writer), for each browser, and I open that in the left tab of each browser.

2) I am guilty of having too many tabs open. I am now more confident about bookmarking them all, and closing them all, and additionally saving them to html (FF's save to html).
I can then use Writer to prune those bookmarks, and save them as a web page. I can then open that file in a Tab in that category's browser, and in effect I have saved all my previously open tabs into one single tab.
I have done decades of programming, but virtually have no web (development) experience, so I am pretty pleased with Writer.

Hello again guys, i hate to see this amazing community wither down, most of the sections are barely updated anymore, for all those who are looking for a solid and Free office suite as far as i am concerned there are two options: Kingsoft Office Free 2013 or SoftMaker FreeOffice - an amazing Free office suite, SoftMaker always offered their older office packages for Free, few years ago they were giving away SoftMaker Office 2008 for Free, and it was a very good office suite.
SoftMaker FreeOffice is my top recommendation by far, and why?
It's absolutely Free, it is a full office suite that includes TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentation as alternative for Microsoft's Word, Excel and Powerpoint, amazing compatibility with all the microsoft office file's formats.
Amazing spell checking with free dictionaries for you to download, also you don't need to buy new license to change the language like is MS office.
There are tons of great features to explore, go here http://www.freeoffice.com/en
check SoftMaker FreeOffice and never spend money on commercial software again.

Very good post on Softmaker however you miss one important point - Kingsoft Office Free 2013 can save to docx/xlsx whilst Softmaker FreeOffice can't. So all depends on your individual requirements. As you say they are the best free options to MS Office and furthermore, both have a very small footprint compared with ALL other Office suites.

I have recommended Kingsoft Office Free here almost a year ago, nothing has changed, it is still the best free Office suite, it has all i need: word processor, spreadsheet program and presentation maker, and it does all i ask of it. I work with dozens of documents open simultaneously, multiple document tabs make my life a lot easier, and so does the built in Office to PDF converter, and automatic spell check, and more than anything the absolutely best comparability with Microsoft Office documents.
The new user interface in Kingsoft Office Free 2013 is very easy to use and very good looking.

*Another thing, if you complete the survey on their website, you receive Kingsoft Office Pro for Free (1 year).

I know of all the other free office suits out there, for example SoftMaker's FreeOffice is not too bad.

But i have been using Kingsoft Free Office for over a year, why change something that is Free and works very well.

I'd definitely recommend Kingsoft Office Free 2013 again and again.

Cheers

OpenOffice and LibreOffice still do not have a "normal" or "draft" view in their word processors. For me, that's an absolute showstopper. It's a showstopper for others as well, from some of the comments I've seen: E.g. "I'm not going to drive a car with three wheels even if it's free. I'm not going to use a word processor without Normal View either even if it's free."

Worse, it's an old problem ("Bug 4914" first reported 2002-05-15).

Worst of all, fixing this is *still* considered low-priority. Apparently people either view a normal/draft view in a word processor as a CRITICAL, NEED-TO-HAVE FEATURE! or else are genuinely puzzled as to why anyone could possibly ever want such a thing.

(And no, the "web view" is not an adequate substitute for the lack of a normal view.)

My last opinion of Kingsoft Office as of 20.10.2013 (sic! not 10/20/2013 haha!)- that's October 20th.
- wrong date format in most XLS files
- wrong decimal point format
- insert / overtype apparently not working
- interface problems in Win XP (only modern / ribbon works)
- autonumbers files when saving (e.g. if I open foo10.10.2013.doc and choose save as, automatically offers to save foo10.10.2014.doc and this was not my intention; this is forcing me to edit an additional character in the file name).
- at least *some* fields from MS WORD don't work, such as File name (in document's footer - it's not updating and if trying force update errors invalid bookmark; it's just the file name - what could be missing?
- XLS and DOC won't print from Win XP
I'm in the process of testing LibreOffice and Softmaker FreeOffice and return with my findings.
cheers.
One more thing I've just noticed. Not only Kingsoft Office does not comply to the regional settings already set on the system, but it modifies them switching the dot and comma as decimal point and digit grouping symbol. I am 100% sure about this, because the current settings are just wrong and not typical for the selected country, but re-selecting the country to load the defaults corrected the settings. Even after uninstalling Kingsoft Office, the changed setting were not reverted to the pre-existing ones.

I prefer FreeOffice, simply because I often need to switch files in Word, and Excel formats with my fellow students, and tutors - and this is the only office suite which opens, and saves Microsoft Office formats faithfully. ALL others destroy formatting!

I've tried Kingsoft office on a few computers and found several problems:
1. Under Windows xp sp3, printing of DOC and XLS files is not possible. XLS outputs empty page with "sheet 1" footer, while a 1-page DOC outputs completely empty page. Both files were created in Office 2003 and both print fine from OOOLligt (openoffice variant). Needless to say, the printer is configured correctly, has toner and works in all other apps.
2. Also under windows xp sp3, the headings of the rows (1,2,3 ...) and columns (A,B,C...) in the Spreadsheets appear black instead of gray so they are unreadable (black text on black background). Changing UI to the modern version solves this, but we wanted to use the classic ui. Reverting to classic UI also reverts the table headings to black.
3. Under both windows 7 and windows xp, Excel files saved with MS Excel lose date format (dd.mm.yyyy is opened as mm/dd/yyyy). You can reformat the cells but this is a tedious task if you have lots of files. You need to modify the default date format (i've found this info on their website) by opening the Spreadsheets app with an empty sheet, typing in first cell 09/01/2012 (September 1st - why exactly the site specifically asks for this date? or was it just an example?) and reformatting it (custom) as you like it (e.g.) dd.mm.yyyy (resulting in 01.09.2012) then close the app.
Strange enough, on a computer where OpenOffice was installed, in XLS files saved from OpenOffice the date format (e.g. dd.mm.yyyy) was kept.
4. Even if you modify date format, in the edit cell/formula field (up in the toolbar) the date is still written in the m/d/y format - completelly ignoring OS-level regional settings and locale.
5. The Spresheet ignores the locale/regional setting regarding decimal comma or point.
I can confirm files open a little faster than in Openoffice, but I suppose this come with less feature (no VBA, no XLSX real support, ignoring locale settings).
For me, these all are a deal-breaker so I guess I will have to try softmaker or back to openoffice.

Hi,

In search to help my father with finding a nice free/cheap office suite I just downloaded Kingsoft Free. About the comment below, saying it not being docx compatible: I just opened my recently finished Masters thesis.docx with a lot of Office functions in it.

It just opened in Kingsoft and it looks almost the same (at some points even better)! Two things it wasn't able to do:
1. Show me the Word formula's which you can define yourself
2. Show me to Excel linked figures.

The other functions just worked the same as in Office 2010.

Have to say, I love this! I think i will advise my father to try this a while :-)

About Excel, as earlier commented: Great functionality, as far as I can see they have all functions used in Excel and as cherrie on the cake, files take a lot less time to load. The only thing I might miss every once in a while is VBA.

Oh, and by the way... they have a free suite that runs on Android, unfortunately i can't test that one right now ;-)

PS: About the spellcheck in another language, Kingsoft commented on a topic on their forum the following:
"If you need Spanish spelling check, we recommend you change dictionary for Kingsoft Office, then you can use Spanish spelling check function."

Hi, I did not say it was not docx incompatible, I meant that I needed BOTH docx and SPANISH. I am aware of Kingsoft's comment about dictionaries, but if you look into it, it is not builtin nor easy to setup (especially if you want to switch languages on the fly, my case), so not really operative in my book.
About Docx compatibility, have you tried to save into that format? I was under the impression that you couldn´t in the free version; again in my book docx compatibility should be two-way.

I do have the android version, and find it very usable in my quick test (haven´t used it much), better than Softmaker´s.

Hi, I need docx compatibility as well as a spanish dictionnary; so Kingsoft is not an option.
Among the free options with dictionnary and docx support, I have quickly tested for docx compatibility LibreOffice 4.1 and Ashampoo Office 2010 (free registration and SN)

Ashampoo is basicly Softmaker Office, and uses the same update files. Free registration here:
http://www.softmaker.de/reg/ash10_en.htm

On my quick test, Ashampoo 2010 showed better docx compatibility, so I will use it for docx; Libre for occasional OpenOffice documents.

[Moderator's note: Unnecessary link to sample file deleted]

Update: out of curiosity I compared Apache OpenOffice 4.0 to Libre 4.1, and LibreOffice's docx compatibility is much better.

Kingsoft Office Free 2013 is here! The interface has been radically changed and a lot cleaner, you don't need to get the full version to change layouts. Please update the review :D http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/home-office-and-productiv...

The 2013 version is really nice. They also got a Linux version, which is in Alpha stage. The linux version can save xlsx.

Hope the Windows version could save in pptx, xlsx, docx (which is in plans) and it'll be the first freeware office suite to do this.

Does anyone know how to disable the browser link from opening when application starts in Kingsoft Office Suite?

Only paid version offers to disable this tab.

Hi George.J,
I disabled the tab in the free version following stefan555 directions. I've since done this on three computers and it has worked perfectly every time.

Cheers

In Kingsoft Office 2012 Free there is a box in the bottom left corner and a text "Create blank Document when startup". A tick in the box will do the trick. You have to do it in all 3 programs (Writer, Spreadsheet and Presentation). I am not sure about Kingsoft Office 2013 Free, I upgraded to 2013 from 2012, so my settings are the same as I had in 2012, and I dont see a box there in 2013 Free.

Thanks.
I am using 2013. Writer does open to a blank doc but it also opens the browser link at the same time. It's really no big deal but if it's possible to disable browser link then that would be great.

The browser link to Online Templates depends on the registry value of "StartWithBlank" located at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Kingsoft\Office\6.0\Common\wpshomeoptions. The default value is 0 for getting the browser link. If you don't like the link, change the value to 1 to disable it. It works for version 2012 and 2013. Good luck.

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