- Microsoft Word is an expense that you may not want. Free word processing programs can offer the same features as Word.
- Cloud programs are preferred for MS Word alternatives. With a cloud program, like Dropbox Paper, all files are easy to share and store.
- Open-source programs are popular within the free word processing market. Examples include LibreOffice Writer and Apache OpenOffice.
Maybe you can't afford name-brand word processing software until later, or maybe you just need a quick alternative for an extra computer. That's when free word processing software can come in handy. Many free shareware versions are just as good as their paid-for competitors.
Google Docs is like Microsoft Word's little sister. While it looks a lot like the king of word processing software, it's a little weaker when it comes to the bells and whistles. For example, it doesn't have a clipart library to pull from.
Google Docs does have great graphics tools and the ability to save a document as a PDF or HTML file, so it does have a few perks.
The major downside to Google Docs is that you must be connected to the internet to use the software. For those who never leave the office, this may not be a problem, but for those with laptops who like to get work done on planes and in taxis, this may be a deal-breaker. You also have to have a Google ID to download this software, so if you don't want to go to the trouble, you may want to choose another brand of shareware.
OpenOffice Writer is a shareware word processing software option that is jampacked with features that rival Microsoft Word. Its control panel layout and buttons make it almost indistinguishable from Microsoft Works, so it is easy to figure out if you are used to Word.
The major advantage of choosing this free word processing software over some of the paid-for versions is OpenOffice allows you to insert an array of media into documents, such as sound, videos, notes, bookmarks, drawings and clipart. No other software has this many insertion options.
AbiWord is one of the lesser-known free text document software downloads. Don't let its unfamiliar name fool you. AbiWord actually has a wide range of features, including dictionaries for over 30 languages, a spellchecker and a mail merge tool.
Probably the most interesting feature is that it designed to be used with older computers that can't handle larger word processing suites like Word. This is good news for businesses that can't afford to upgrade their equipment.
WordGraph is straightforward, easy-to-use software that doesn't need Java or .NET to run like other shareware. It has much of the same functionality of brand name software, including spell check, PDF creation, track changes and more. Unfortunately, the layout is a bit different and the icons on the buttons will take some time to get used to. Unless you have only used Microsoft Word for your text files, this won't be a big problem.
Similar to OpenOffice, LibreOffice Writer is an open-source software program. The program easily works with both .DOC and .DOCX files. The interface style is simple to navigate with easy to learn controls. The program supports real-time collaboration as a way to connect with others and share workflow. The newest update provides an option to conceal sensitive information when sharing a document with others.
Tables, objects and shapes are supported within LibreOffice Writer. Newest versions allow for full support of tables and objects with no overlapping. Also, editing modes allow for comments to be shared and later marked as resolved.
WPS Office Free
WPS Office Free has the same design and features as the latest versions of Microsoft Office. Like Office, WPS Office Free even includes free cloud storage up to 1GB. The program comes with multiple templates to help you get started on your document as quickly as possible. All features are unlocked with the free version through ads. The program supports .DOC and .DOCX files and has similar editing options available as premium Word products.
Recent upgrades to WPS Office Free is a conversion program that permits you to convert PDF files to Word documents.
Dropbox Paper has grown in popularity due to the high number of cloud storage users that already have Dropbox accounts. To get started, you need to register for a free Dropbox account. Templates within Dropbox Paper are simple to use and designed based on projects. For instance, find templates for documents used by marketing, human resources, or the sales teams. Easily, add media to the documents including video and audio clips. Dropbox Paper also supports third-party programs such as Trello and YouTube.
Dropbox Paper is designed for collaborative projects. Features include checklists for shared documents and document link creation. The program is based in the cloud and can be accessed online through any type of device.
While free word processing software may not be as good as paid versions, they come really close. They are a great option for businesses and personal computer users that want to put off buying software without losing a lot of functionality.