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The five best free alternatives to Google Docs that run in your browser

Google Docs is the most well known office suite in existence — well, at least on the Web. When Google first began offering real-time collaboration for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, it essentially changed the way millions of people worked together online. That was then, however, and Google is no longer the only company that offers a Web-based suite of office applications for the. If you’re dissatisfied with Google’s offerings, there’s a wide range of alternatives out there for you. Thankfully, we’ve rounded up the best of them.

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Microsoft Office Online: In many ways, better than Google

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If you’re used to Microsoft’s desktop suite — and hundreds of millions of users are — then Microsoft Office Online is the first alternative you should check out. The service offers Web-based versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote, along with a number of other tools. The service is free for home users, and a license for the desktop version of Microsoft Office is not required. The big advantage here is file compatibility, though. Office Online provides full document fidelity, allowing you to view Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents on the Web as you would on your desktop. Your files should look exactly the way you remember them, and Excel formulas or PowerPoint slides should transfer as expected.

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Another potential pro for longtime Microsoft users is the interface, which is built on the same familiar ribbon Microsoft has used since the release of Office 2007 nearly a decade ago.

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Keep in mind that there’s no upload button in the apps themselves, however. You’ll need to head to the OneDrive homepage to upload files from your computer, or use the included OneDrive integration that comes with Windows 10. Documents in OneDrive sync with Microsoft’s free mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. There’s also support for opening documents directly from Dropbox, which is nice if you’re a dedicated Dropbox user. Files can also be downloaded as Office files, PDFs, and even in the open document format if you’re a Libre Office user outside the browser. All this makes Microsoft Office Online the most complete alternative to Google Docs, particularly for longtime Microsoft Office users.

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