Microsoft office or alternatives?

Is Microsoft office an essential purchase if you need to do presentations and type a lot or can you use other programmes?

I think there are a few out there now so I ask you do you purchase Microsoft office? If you could find free alternatives would you use it?

I hear Libre Office is basically Microsoft office the only difference is that it’s free, do you guys/ would you guys use it?

I personally have ms office. Since today even office 365 University. If you are in Europe you could get office for about 20€, so why should I use the free edition and have the compatibility issues between libre office and Ms?

I prefer the office suite however I have shifted to google docs online due to the sync. I have used the Corel and star office line in the past. Nowadays you shouldn’t find many compatibility problems as many faced years ago so your options are plenty. You will find that office is standard however for most institutions and while some are shifting away from it, the footprint is still large.

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I hear libre is greatly compatible since they’re allegedly practically the same

It is more like office 2003. But I comes with compatibility problems if you use much of the layout tools and that both ways. (at least as I used it last time a few years ago) maybe they made a view improvements in that sector. I would recommend to download office and use the 30 day trail and download libre office and try if it fits your needs or if its a problem for your use case.

P.S. The biggest disadvantage for me is the missing OneNote equivalent.

P.P.S the best thing is math in libre if you need to write math formulas. Used it for school to make presentations look good and don’t have to scan a hand written formula.

You “can” use something else, like LibreOffice. However, in my experience, Microsoft Office is far better.

If you intend to use it for personal use, LibreOffice is absolutely fine. Should you decide to use it for business use, then you’ll soon start noticing that the documents produced by LibreOffice when exporting to OOXML (Microsoft’s format and, de-facto, the most common) are far from identical especially when it comes to PowerPoint and your slideshows will look very different and often awful once opened with Microsoft Office (meaning: the receiving end).

Should you need it for professional use what I would do, if I were you, would be to give a try to Office 365 as it doesn’t cost much and also gives you 1TB of OneDrive. If you are happy with the software (and OneDrive) you keep it and keep paying the subscription, otherwise you stop paying and uninstall it.


A few years ago I might have answered differently, however nowadays I find that LibreOffice has come to a point where it is an incredibly valid option as a substitute of the far more common MS Office. At present, I am using both Office and Libre Office, and I have to say that more than once I found myself appreciating Writer over Word.
I understand that many people find LibreOffice UI “dated”… Fact is, it is really very functional (and hugely customizable): while using it you feel that it was made and it is updated constantly by people who are using it!
Considering features, MS Office still has an edge in Excel vs. Calc, and in general dealing with multimedia objects (however Libreoffice deals very well with vector graphics).
Ultimately, if you create documents/presentations mostly for yourself (i.e. you don’t need others to edit your documents), I feel LibreOffice is actually the most valid choice: it’s free and opensource and can replicate function by function MSOffice for most usecases.
If your documents need to be shared and edited a lot by others, well MSOffice is pretty much standard especially in the industry/professional/academic environments, as @netkid23 and @Filippo_Possenti have already said.
There aren’t really that many compatibility issues, but when doing business, or working in general you preferably want zero issues and zero delays related to file format compatibility: the only way to achieve that is by using the standard, i.e. the most updated MS Office version available.
(By the way, I use LibreOffice a lot in my daily work, and most of times I have no problems at all with .doc and .docx documents created by libreoffice. However, I have no experience about presentations files created with impress and saved in .pptx file format.)


There are plenty of alternatives, some better, some worse.

  • LibreOffice has quite good compatibility, although it’s not 100% accurate. For normal work it should suffice.

  • SoftMaker Office is really great, has high quality, compatibility is said to be good and offers versions for all 3 major OS: Linux, macOS and Windows.

  • If you want something that does not limit your possibilities, try out LaTeX. It has quite a high learning curve, but simply rocks for writing documents or creating presentations. You can baiscally do everything with it.

For my work at universty I will just install LaTeX and maybe some MS Office via Wine on the V, so I can open and use documents from my colleagues.


Thank you for all your replies it seems that though Microsoft is the standard it’s quite possible to use other programmes; which reminds me, what do you all think about anti-virus software do you need to pay to get good ones or do companies like total AV do the job for you?

To provide an alternative, I use Google docs for personal “office” type needs. Being able to access these documents anywhere on any device from the cloud is excellent as is being able to collaborate with friends on the same document. It is much more basic than office though.

Please refer this thread for antivirus software opinions.

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I do the same with MS Office documents (from time to time).

Thanks I saw that I just wanted to see what these dudes thought but I’ll just stick with that, thanks again!

Yes, I saw that the more recent versions of office offer that, but I don’t think it’s as intuitive or easy to use as Google docs. Personal preference I guess.

WPS Office is a pretty good MS Office clone featuring tabs… :wink:


I’ll second @mulenga on WPS Office. It’s solid and costs less than MS. We use it for everyone that doesn’t absolutely need MS Office.

Hi @Inertiaverse,
I use Microsoft office 365 and it fit`s my needs. Beside I use Apache OpenOffice. it works fine too.

I like MS Office better as have been using the different packages for years at work. But I refuse to do the yearly rental re-up that is required now. I like owning the package ie Office 2003 or 2007 etc and having the option to upgrade or not.
I use OpenOffice now at home until MS gets their head out of their butt… Not holding my breath.

If you have an email address with your Microsoft account (just like you would have a gmail address with your Google account), you get access to Office Online for free. Pretty similar to Google Docs, but it’s Microsoft so you get better compatibility with Office. Certainly not the full meal deal, but does a pretty good job.

Google Docs is also a fairly decent option as it has had plenty of time to mature. Similar to Office Online, it won’t have all the features of full fledged Office, but it’ll probably have enough for the average user 90% of the time.

For presentations specifically there are a couple other option. One is Prezi, or if you’re a coder, there are many frameworks for developing slidedecks for the web


Open office is outdated, libre office is the one that will get updates. It’s from the same guys. Open office will not be developed any further.