8 Free Microsoft Word Alternatives

microsoft word alternatives

I use a lot of software, and as a programmer myself, I totally understand the need for programmers to make a living from their work. But, I don't like the new trend toward subscription-based software. I prefer to purchase software and use it until it no longer works (due to operating system upgrades usually) or there is some new feature that I need or want. At that time, I will willingly pay for an upgrade. Some people obviously disagree with me. I like it when software companies offer both options - outright purchase and subscriptions.

When my copy of Microsoft Word 2007 continually crashed in Windows 10, I began looking for alternatives. I've listed eight programs below that I looked at, in my order of preference. LibreOffice Writer and  SmartEdit Writer are programs I personally use on nearly a daily basis.

LibreOffice Writer


My Video Course on LibreOffice Writer

  • Totally Free
  • Full-featured word processor
  • Fully compatible with Word formats - can read and write both .doc and .docx files
  • Provides for collaboration using the Track Changes and Comments features
  • You must download the entire suite of products, Writer is not available separately
  • Works on: Windows, Mac, Linux

SmartEdit Writer


My Video Course on SmartEdit Writer

This isn't your typical word processing software. It's kind of a cross between a word processor and notes application. Aimed primarily at authors and creative writers, I use it for a variety of purposes myself and believe it has a wider range of users, including: bloggers, students taking class notes or researching and writing reports or other written assignments, teachers organizing material for courses, etc.

SoftMaker FreeOffice/TextMaker


  • I had to register on their website in order to download the program. A software key was sent to the registration email address. An internet connection was required to unlock the software using that key.
  • TextMaker is the word processing component of this suite. There are limitations on the free version as listed on their website, but it's suitable for basic needs. And the purchased version makes a nice replacement for Word.
  • Has subscription-based or outright purchase options.
  • Free version can open and save .docx files, but can only open .doc files
  • TextMaker does not use document tabs in the free version, the documents open in separate windows. A tabbed interface is available in the paid versions - a handy feature if you work with multiple documents..
  • Developed in Germany
  • Works on: Windows, Linux, Mac (however no free version for the Mac)

Zoho Docs



  • Zoho offers many applications, including Zoho Docs, an online word processor similar to Google Docs.
  • The free version is very generous with its features.
  • Some free features: up to 25 invited collaborators, desktop synchronization, 5GB storage space with 1GB file upload limit, and more...
  • Zoho Docs is primarily an online service, however it is possible to work offline as well. Changes made while offline, sync automatically the next time you connect to the internet
  • Works on: All OS - through web interface



  • Another free, open source application suite
  • LibreOffice branched off from OpenOffice
  • The interface of LO and OO are so similar, that if you know one, you shouldn't have any trouble using the other
  • Currently, LibreOffice is more actively developed. As of this writing, the last OpenOffice update was 8 months ago, while LibreOffice had an update 2 weeks ago.
  • Works on: Windows, Mac, Linux



  • OnlyOffice primarily offers online software, however they do have a free desktop version. It has a nice, modern interface. I tried using it for a while. Once, for no apparent reason, the entire white editing window turned black, and the program froze on me. The file I was editing wasn't damaged, although unsaved changes were lost. I don't know if that was just a fluke or what.
  • OnlyOffice also includes spreadsheet and presentations
  • U.S. and Latvia offices
  • Works on: Windows, Linux, Mac

WPS Office 2016 Free


  • Like LibreOffice, this is also a suite. The Word Processor, also called Writer, is one component. Others include Presentations and Spreadsheet.
  • The free version displays small ads
  • Two additional levels (which remove the ads and offer more features) are paid upgrades
  • WPS has a nice, sleek interface and allows multiple documents to be opened in tabs rather than separate windows
  • * WPS Office Software is based in California, however the product was initially developed in China. WPS is still a subsidiary of Kingsoft Corp with headquarters in China. In an age of concern about internet privacy, spying, etc. I wanted to include that info. Some users have complained of suspicious activity after installing the software. It's enough to make me not want to use it. It's a shame, because it does appear to be nice software.
  • Works on: Windows, Linux, IOS, Android

Google Docs


  • Google Docs is certainly a capable, widely-used option. I'm just not personally a Google fan, so I prefer to use the similar product, Zoho Docs.
  • You must be online and have a Google account to use
  • It works with Google Drive cloud storage
  • You may invite others to view, comment, or collaborate on a document
  • Integrates with Google Slides and Sheets
  • Full integration with other Google products is only available through G Suite, a monthly subscription
  • Works on: All OS - through web interface

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