For those of you who don’t want to pay for Microsoft Office, there are plenty of free options for home use. Those normally fall into two categories: Downloadable office suites like LibreOffice, OpenOffice, and WPS Office or online office suites like Microsoft Office Online or Google Drive.
So which choice is best for you? Well, since they’re all free, you could certainly just give every single one of them a try and pick a favorite. But there are a few things to think about that can help you narrow the field.
How many devices do you use?
If you do all of your word processing or spreadsheet making on one device like a desktop PC, downloading and installing an Office Suite like LibreOffice makes sense. But if you find yourself using multiple computers at home, at school, the library, or at work – using an online suite can make more sense because you can just log into it from anywhere and get right to work on your documents in the cloud.
If you also use tablets and your smartphone to access documents, both Microsoft and Google offer free apps that allow you to get right to your documents. You’ll also find that documents look and act pretty much the same across all devices.
Do you have a constant Internet connection?
If you use an online office suite, you’ll need a dependable high-speed Internet connection for accessing your documents and working on them. If your Internet connection is slow or sometimes spotty, you’ll probably want to download and install an office suite instead.
How much drive space do you have?
Installed office suites tend to take up some room. (usually around 2 GB or more of space.) Now it’s not a big deal if you have a large hard drive. But if you’re using a netbook or tablet without a lot of hard drive space, an online office suite might be a better solution.
How much power do you need?
Downloaded office suites usually offer more options for your documents and spreadsheets. If you have to do complicated reports, publish eBooks or anything else that requires a lot of professional-grade computing power – you’ll probably want to go with a download.
Another option is to look into the premium versions of online office suites. If you’re willing to pay for it, you can get more options.