Microsoft Word is the most widely used and probably the most complete word processor that allows users to create text documents of any complexity and for any purpose.
Despite its rich editing functionality, the Microsoft application has two serious drawbacks: it is only compatible with Windows (there is no native client for Linux, and the macOS version is a bit different) and comes with a comparatively high price.
Fortunately, today your choice is not limited to Word because you can find a large number of alternative applications that are capable of adapting to your needs or hardware requirements.
The solutions below will offer you practically the same characteristics and features as Word, but you will be able to use them completely free of charge. And most of them can even work on any operating system, which is a big advantage.
1. Desktop Word alternatives
ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors
ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors is a cross-platform open-source office suite designed for editing text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on Windows, Linux, and macOS. There is also an online version of the suite and free mobile apps for iOS and Android. Within this solution, you can find alternatives to the main Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) that are accessible through a single interface.
The ONLYOFFICE Document Editor is an excellent Word replacement because it’s totally compatible with DOCX, Word’s core format. The application also supports various popular formats, such as DOC, ODT, RTF, TXT, PDF, EPUB and HTM, so you can easily edit documents created with other word processors.
The editor is equipped with a tabbed interface that looks modern and intuitive. All the editing features are conveniently grouped into tabs on the top toolbar, and you can switch among them with a single click. The interface doesn’t feel complicated, so new users will find it easy to adapt.
Apart from editing tools, we can highlight a large number of third-party plugins that allow you to extend the program’s functionality. For example, you can insert YouTube videos, translate words or whole phrases right in the document, connect your Telegram account, correct typing mistakes and even convert your text into HTML. Running macros is also possible.
When it comes to security, the ONLYOFFICE has a lot to offer. The key feature is the ability to connect the desktop app to ONLYOFFICE Workspace, an online collaborative office, for encrypted document co-editing in real time in a Private Room. It’s a secure space where every document is reliably encrypted using the AES-256 algorithm.
You can also protect confidential files with passwords and add digital signatures. The source code of the solution is open to the public, and you are allowed to freely modify it according to your needs under the AGPL v.3 licenses.
Another useful feature is the ability to connect the desktop suite to a cloud platform like ONLYOFFICE, ownCloud, Nextcloud, and Seafile. It allows you to edit files stored in your cloud storage using ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors and even collaborate online.
WPS Office is a free complete office suite for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It comes with alternatives for the latest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that are packed with many features and tools. WPS also includes an additional app for PDF conversion. The office suite also comes with mobile apps for Android and iOS and is available in the cloud.
Writer, the word processor of this office suite, is characterized by offering a modern interface, quite similar to that of Word, and excellent compatibility with all types of formats, including Word’s own formats and PDF. It has a wide variety of tools that allow you to create documents of all kinds and be more productive.
Due to the excellent file format support, Writer allows you to save your files in native Microsoft formats (DOC and DOCX) and share them with Office users. The office suite has no database software, but it offers a powerful free PDF reader that can replace the built-in Windows app.
While working with WPS Office, you can face occasional advertisements, but they are rare. If you want to eliminate them completely, you need to upgrade to a paid version. Also, this office is designed for at least mid-range hardware. If your computer or laptop is a bit old, or already slow, look for an alternative for better performance.
FreeOffice is a free version of the SoftMaker premium office suite that comes with most of the professional editing features intact. Like WPS Office and ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors, the suite provides alternatives for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint (TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations respectively) for Windows, Linux and macOS.
TextMaker perfectly works with DOC and DOCX documents and allows you to create PDF files and export to EPUB. There is also support for obsolete Microsoft formats, so you can open files created from 1997 onwards.
TextMaker has a decent set of editing and formatting tools that make it possible to create documents for personal and business use. It’s a pity that some important features are available only in the premium version of the office suite. Some of them (such as tabbed navigation) are good, but not essential, but the lack of a thesaurus is a real drawback for anyone who writes regularly.
The application has a redesigned user interface. You can switch between ribbons or classic menus. The new Quick access toolbar allows you to access the most important features within seconds. In general, the suite doesn’t look as smart as WPS Office, but if you don’t like Microsoft’s ribbon interface and find it unintuitive, it might be a good idea to migrate to FreeOffice.
2. Online Word alternatives
Google Docs, also known as Google Drive, is a cloud-based office suite, one of the most popular online office solutions and a pioneer in the industry.
It’s not a secret that Google Docs is the most popular cloud alternative to Microsoft Word. It has a very attractive, simple and orderly interface that allows you to easily find everything you need. It has all the functions and tools we need in a word processor, it is compatible with MS Word formats and has integration with other services and a complete history of changes.
One more online alternative that you can use to replace Word is Dropbox Paper. This word processor probably has the clearest, cleanest and most organized interface available among online solutions. In addition to allowing users to create and edit documents without distractions, it is also focused on real-time collaboration.
Dropbox Paper offers a minimalist interface and has all kinds of access controls to choose who can see or edit our documents and who cannot, as well as features such as a word counter, comment history and a versioning system to keep track of the previous versions of documents.
This word processor is compatible with many websites to display publications, and integrates with third-party apps such as Google Drive, Trello and Spotify, among others.
GroupDocs.Editor is a free online word processor, part of the Group.Docs project. The project is designed for various operations on files using a set of free cross-platform applications. The most prominent features of the word processor are a simple and intuitive interface, which allows you easy to edit Word documents online, and data privacy, which is very important for online services.
GroupDocs.Editor is compatible with such formats as DOC, DOCX, DOCM, DOT, DOTX, DOTM, RTF, TXT, ODT, OTT, so you can easily work with any Word document online. Using the editor, you can work on all popular platforms like Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The biggest advantage of GroupDocs.Editor is that you don’t have to register or create an account, so it’s perfect for quick document editing in the browser.
3. Mobile Word alternatives
Polaris Office, an alternative to Word for creating and editing text documents on your mobile device, has millions of downloads on the Google Play and Apple App Store. This app provides you with the essential tools you need to work comfortably on a text document, such as various fonts, sizes and colours for the letters, the ability of collaborative editing together with other users and several formats to export your files.
As a good office suite, with Polaris Office, you can also work with Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. In addition, it also plays in its favour that it is compatible with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and OneDrive, platforms on which you can directly store the documents you edit in Polaris Office.
The suite is not available only on mobile devices because it also provides a desktop client for Windows and macOS.
If you are looking for the freedom to work on your text documents wherever you are, you can download SmartOffice to your mobile or tablet. This app allows you to create new documents or use default templates. With its features, you can copy, cut, paste, undo and redo, bold, italicise, underline or change the font colour and size of your documents.
You can also view your Word documents in full screen, switch to the dark mode when working at night, protect files with passwords, insert shapes, tables and graphics, add images or numbered lists, etc. SmartOffice has many tools for creating and editing a text document, so it might be a good idea to download this Word alternative for mobile devices to see everything it has to offer.
Another good alternative to Microsoft Word for mobile devices is OfficeSuite. The aim of this app is to bring all your office productivity to your phone. If you install this app on your device, you can read, edit and create PDF, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files for free.
Other of its most outstanding functions are related to PDF files, as you can open them, edit them with annotations, digitally sign them and convert them without any problems to other formats. Once you’ve finished editing documents, whatever type they are, you can easily store them in the cloud, as OfficeSuite is compatible with Google Drive, OneDrive, Box and Dropbox.
The mobile office suite also offers a desktop app for Windows.
Microsoft Word was the first major word processor available to PC users when it was released on Windows and so far it is the most widely used. However, many users don’t find it appropriate for their needs for some reason.
If you are one of those users looking for free alternatives to Word, this article is for you. Here we have presented the nine best word processors to try in 2021. Check their features and choose the one that best suits your needs.