It’s estimated that more than 85% of all personal desktop and laptop computers worldwide have installed an operating system developed by Microsoft; that is, some Windows version (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1,10). And, almost all of them also has the office program package known as Microsoft Office in its different versions. Also, a good number of other computers that do not have Windows but run different operating systems like macOS, have the Office suite installed, too.
This means that the vast majority of PCs in the world use Microsoft Office, the office suite that includes applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, among others. But, is there no other Microsoft Office alternatives? Has only Microsoft been given the task of creating applications that can fulfill this purpose? Actually, there are several different options, both free and paid, that can do the same work and with pretty good quality.
Among the main Microsoft Office alternatives, with the noted highest quality and popularity at present, are the following:
This is a GPL and cross-platform free software, which has been the main free alternative to the Microsoft suite for several years, presenting among other programs a word processor called Writer, a spreadsheet creator called Calc, a presentation software known as Impress and a database manager named Base. Currently, this office suite belongs to the Apache non-profit foundation; previously it was held by Oracle, who donated it to this foundation and was previously in the hands of Sun Microsystems.
With the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle, the OpenOffice developers saw the freedom of this software in danger and decided to separate from the company, generating a new piece of the project, that is, continuing the development of new software by using the existing code of the program as base that would remain in the hands of the Oracle company. In this way, LibreOffice was born, which was not exactly a clone of the previous one, since non-free components that constituted it were eliminated. Although at first glance they seemed identical, since the tools were the same, later some differences have arisen after their respective updates.
Corel WordPerfect Office
This is an office automation suite marketed by software maker Corel, a company that is famous for developing the graphic design program Corel Draw. Among other applications, it has the WordPerfect word processor, the Quattro Pro spreadsheet application, Corel Presentations, which is a presentation program and Paradox, a database management system similar to Microsoft Office Access.
Apple also offers an office suite similar to Microsoft Office, which is aimed exclusively at its macOS family operating systems. This has Pages as a word processor equivalent to Microsoft Word, Numbers, an Excel-style spreadsheet creation software and a PowerPoint-like presentation designer that has the name of Keynote. This alternative is focused more on the home user than the business user, having less specialized applications and offering a lower cost.
This is the proposal developed by the KDE project as a continuation of the extinct KOffice, mainly for its desktop environment, which is usable cross-platform and, of course, free. It has Words (word processor), Sheets (spreadsheets), Stage (Presentations) and Kexi (Database Management Interface), Plan (Similar to Microsoft Project), Flow (similar to Microsoft Visio), among others. It should also be noted that it offers two very powerful programs for graphic design such as Karbon (similar to Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw) and Krita (Similar to Adobe Photoshop).
In short, we do not doubt that Microsoft Office is the most powerful, complete and popular office suite of all, however, there are very efficient Microsoft Office alternatives, some of them free, so it would not be too difficult to try out any of them. Microsoft’s monopoly is probably due to the fact that in something like office work, maximum compatibility is required and therefore it’s more comfortable for everyone to use the same software, thus avoiding potential problems. This often makes users choose the most popular software, before trying new options.