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Don’t pay $10 a month for Microsoft Office! Here are the best free alternatives

Microsoft Office once had an unquestioned stranglehold on the world of productivity suites and programs. However, recent software developments have given rise to a slew of office suites that fall outside Microsoft’s banner, many of which offer convenient functionality designed to go beyond the basic editing and formatting afforded by company’s premium suite and free-for-all offering (aka Office Online). For instance, the latter still lacks advanced tools such as Mail Merge and Pivot Tables, despite touting many of the same features that comprise Microsoft’s more expansive package.

Related: Before you resort to MS Paint or piracy, give these free image-editing tools a shot

Fortunately, there’s a multitude of capable alternatives available for Windows and Mac OS X, whether you’re looking for a quick means to spell check the copy on your resume or string together complex formulas prior to giving an important business presentation. Below are five of our favorites!

Microsoft Store

Best overall: FreeOffice 2016

FreeOffice Thumb

The latest version of SoftMaker’s FreeOffice 2016 comes with full compatibility for DOC, DOX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, and PPT formats with a lot of work going into making them “loss free” – in other words, you won’t find any unexpected surprises when transferring these files into real Word programs. This compatibility is great if you want a free alternative to Word but still need to work regularly with Word software.

The software is also easy on the eyes and very, very familiar to Word users. The toolbars and document creation options are very similar to the Office suite, and the latest updates to the software ensure that it’s extra-fast, with slim-to-no loading times. Even PlanMaker, the Excel alternative, offers features like conditional formatting and pivot tables that past Excel users will be able to jump into without needing a new tutorial.

FreeOffice is also an excellent choice for professional projects. Not only does it provide compatibility with password-protected files, but it can also help you create PDF files or ePUB files, track changes in the document history to check up on editing, and switching to different languages on the fly. More common features like spellcheck and smart typing also wait in the wings to make sure you’re not missing anything Office related.

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