Quick Tips: Alternatives to Microsoft Office


If you need the functionality of Microsoft Office, but don’t have access to or can’t afford it, there are other options!

Option 1 - Google


While not (yet?) offering the depth of functionality you see in Microsoft Office, the tools and features you use most often are available:

  • In place of Microsoft Word, use Google Docs
  • In place of Microsoft Excel, use Google Sheets
  • In place of Microsoft PowerPoint, use Google Slides

Other Google tools include: Google Forms (for surveys and other form-based functionality), Google Draw (for basic drawing/workflows, etc.)

If you need additional functionality, there is a library of extensions you can choose from - some free, others at a nominal cost. These tools are web-based, but there is also an “offline” option for those times when you don’t have an internet connection handy.

You can also upgrade (for a price) to GSuite to get “extras” such as: Business email through Gmail; video and voice conferencing; Smart shared calendars; 24/7 support by phone, email, and online; security and administration controls; and more. 

These work on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

Cost: free for the basics/$5 - $10 per user for GSuite

Option 2 - LibraOffice


LibraOffice is a downloadable replacement for Microsoft Office that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

  • In place of Microsoft Word, use Writer
  • In place of Microsoft Excel, use Calc
  • In place of Microsoft PowerPoint, use  Impress

Other LibraOffice tools include: Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), Math (formula editing), and Charts (ability to create and embed charts).

Cost: free but you can also make a donation if you wish

Option 3 - Microsoft 365:


But if you need to have access to "the real deal" for a short time you probably still don't want to pay full price. No problem! For $6.99 (at the time this was published) you can get 1 month access to Microsoft Office 365.

This includes access to:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Microsoft Publisher (PC only)
  • Microsoft Access (PC only)

Just make sure to cancel before they charge you for the next month!

These work on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems (except as noted).

Cost: $6.99/month

FYI: Microsoft Outlook, Skype, OneDrive hit by another authentication issue

The lovely and talented Mary Jo Foley is keeping tabs on this - check her article for updates: http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-outlook-skype-onedrive-hit-by-another-authentication-issue

Tracking Microsoft Edge (Windows 10 browser) in Google Analytics

[UPDATE 08/25/2015: Over the past week or so I’ve noticed that Google Analytics is now reporting Windows 10 and Edge browser traffic! Whoohoo!]

The quick answer is…you can’t (yet). At least not easily, or cleanly.

But, there are a couple of thing things you can do.

1) Look for the new Microsoft Edge user agent string, which will look something like:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/42.0.2311.135 Safari/537.36 Edge/12.10240

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/42.0.2311.135 Safari/537.36 Edge/12.10136

Note: The last numbers, the part after Edge/12, will vary.

2) Compare the Windows NT traffic you were getting before Windows 10 launched to what you see now. Any increase could be signs of Windows 10 users, who are most probably using MS Edge.

3) Grab or create a custom segment. For example: http://tinyurl.com/ngua99w

4) Wait a bit for Google to catch up. (Although, I really don’t understand why they don’t already have this in place. You’d think that they would have been working with the early releases, right?)

Here are a couple of interesting articles to watch - they’ll probably update as new info comes in: